Visiting Delos from Mykonos

GreeceMykonos › Delos Tours
by Santorini Dave • Updated: September 26, 2022

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weather-eroded stone statues of lions sitting on a rocky landscape

The Stone Lions of Delos. A guided tour to Delos is one of the highlights of a Mykonos visit.

The 3 Best Delos Tours from Mykonos for 2023

  • Guided Boat Tour to Delos

    Excellent tour of Delos with professional guide. The tour leaves from the Old Port in Mykonos Town but if you’re staying outside of Mykonos Town or at one of the beaches then select with Hotel Transfer as it makes the day much easier. There’s also a semi-private tour for groups of 2 to 10 – select Private Group Guided Tour for this option.

  • Boat Tour to Delos and Rhenia Island

    This is a great tour for those who would like to see Delos, but don’t want to spend hours there. It takes you to beautiful Rhenia island for swimming, snorkeling, and a bbq lunch (onboard). Then to Delos for a short, guided tour when the island is usually much quieter than in the morning. Highly recommended.

  • Guided Delos Tour from Cruise Ship Port

    If you’re on a cruise and have a limited amount of time, this Delos tour offers pickup and dropoff at the cruise ship port in Mykonos.

Delos, Greece

In ancient times, Delos was the most important island in the southern Aegean. The Cyclades island group actually gets its name from the fact that the islands form a circle around Delos. Mykonos, by comparison, was considered poor with limited agricultural prospects. A holy island, Delos is the mythical birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, and women were once forbidden from giving birth there; instead, women were ferried to Mykonos for the labor and delivery of their children.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site on the small island of Delos is one of the best-preserved and most important archaeological sites in Greece. First settled by the Greeks around 3000 BC, the island became a shrine to Apollo around 800 BC and a thriving, multicultural center of trade in the centuries that followed, with Syrians and Egyptians adding shrines of their homeland gods to the existing Greek ones. Under the Romans, Delos became a duty-free port and important slave market, but the island’s importance diminished as trade routes shifted and by 300 AD the island was languishing in obscurity, used as a hideout by pirates. Delos is accessible by boat from Mykonos. Use your imagination to transform these extensive, well-preserved ruins into the gleaming city that once stood here.

As you make your way around the ruins from the Sacred Harbor, where the tour boats dock, sights not to miss include the Sanctuary of Apollo, lined with the remains of three temples dedicated to the god, the Artemision – a sanctuary of Artemis, Apollo’s twin sister, and the Terrace of Lions, lined with the much-photographed replica lion statues. (The actual lions can be found within the site’s small but interesting museum, located near the center of the island.) Nearby is the overgrown Sacred Lake where Leto gave birth to Apollo and Artemis after hiding from the wrath of Hera, Zeus’ wife, Zeus being the twins’ father.

In the Theater Quarter, formerly home to Delos’ wealthiest inhabitants, spot the mosaic depicting the wine god Dionysos riding a panther at the House of Dionysos, and another superb mosaic featuring lions, dolphins and griffins at the House of Dolphins. If you have time, it’s well worth climbing Mt Mynthos for great views of the surrounding islands and to visit the Sanctuaries of Zeus and Athena.

View across a landscape of ancient stone ruins to a modern harbor with a large boat at dock

The boat pier on Delos where tours dock and depart from.

Visiting Delos from Mykonos

There are generally four boats daily from Mykonos Town (Chora) to Delos during high season, with departures from 9am to 5pm. Return boats run between 12.15pm and 8pm. There are fewer boats from November to March. The boat trip between Mykonos and Delos takes about 30-40 minutes, and you can buy tickets from the kiosk at the southern end of Mykonos Town harbor. When purchasing tickets, find out which return boats they’re valid for. Boat tickets are 20€ round trip, and do not include the entrance fee to Delos Island, which is 12€, paid at the site entrance.

  • Delos Island boat schedule, pricing information, and online booking
  • Visitors to Delos are given a map outlining three self-guided walking tours. Depending on which one you opt for, these take from 90 minutes to five hours, so it’s best to decide in advance how much time you’d like to spend on the island.
  • You can purchase detailed Delos guidebooks both at the Delos ticket office and in bookstores on Mykonos. Guided tours can be booked at the same time as the boat tickets (adult/child 55/30€ including boat, entrance fee, and guide).
  • Wear a hat, sunscreen, and good walking shoes. The only place to eat is a basic café at the Delos museum; it’s worth bringing a picnic lunch and plenty of drinking water.
Two men stand in an ancient stone structure, with one man gesturing in explanation

A guided tour of Delos is recommended. Without a guide it’s just a collection of ruins without much meaning or context. With a guide it’s a very interesting introduction to Greek history.

Delos from Mykonos

People line up on a windy day at a kiosk selling boat tickets to Delos Island. A Greek flag flaps wildly.

Tickets for Delos Island can be purchased in advance online or at the ticket booth in the Mykonos Town Old Port.

A white boat is docked at a stone pier.

Boats to Delos are small and fill quickly. In the busy summer season it’s a good idea to buy tickets first thing in the morning or in advance.

Wooden tables with cushioned benches next to a window in the interior of a boat.

The boat trip to Delos from Mykonos takes 30-45 minutes. There is ample seating and drinks and snacks are sold onboard.

View across the water of a green and stony island dotted with ruined columns

View of Delos Island when arriving by boat.

Map showing streets, structures, and landforms of ancient Delos Island

This map shows how vast and well-developed the island’s infrastructure was in ancient times.

An empty stone walkway surrounded by ancient ruins.

After arriving on Delos and paying admission, you are free to explore across the entire island.

Ancient ruined pillars and founation stones on a sunny day

There are ruins everywhere on Delos, and few signs; it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re looking at. Taking a guided tour is recommended.

Stone column sitting atop a stone mosic floor

Ancient stone walls and columns on  a sunny day

Ancient ruins of a stone culvert

Ruins of a stone house with pillars extending from the top

Even without a tour, it is fun and interesting to imagine the homes and buildings as they existed long ago.

Ancient stone window framing a blue sky

Stone pillars set in a square around a stone mosaic floor

Stone walls and doorways in an archaeological site

STone pillars set around a patterened mosaic floor

Weather-eroded stone lion statues sitting on rocky ground against a background of blue sky.

Keeping watch over the island’s ruins, the famous stone lions seen here are only replicas.

Weathered stone lion statues on display in a museum gallery

The original statues are displayed and kept safe inside the island’s small museum.

Greek moasic artwork featuring a winged god and a lion

In addition to the stone lions, the Delos Museum also houses original mosaics from the island…

Faded frescoe painting of two figures toasting with goblets

…as well as ancient frescoes…

antique book in French about the excavation of Delos.

and artifacts from the island’s original excavation. There is no additional charge to visit the museum.

Ancient stone pillars and ruins of a marble statue of a woman

Even at its busiest, there’s plenty of room on Delos, and on the more remote parts of the island it can feel like you’ve got the whole place to yourself.

Ancient stone ruins with flowers blooming among them

In the springtime, Delos is abloom with wildflowers. These photos were taken in the month of April.

Ruins of a stacked stone house, with wildflowers blooming

A ruined marble statue of a man, flanked by marble statues of male genitalia.

(Yes, those statues are exactly what they appear to be. In Ancient Greece, phalluses symbolized fertility and were thought to protect against evil spirits.)

Stone ruins amid wildflowers

Ruined stone columns against a gray sky

Dozens of tourists walk back to a tour boat docked on a rocky island

It’s important to keep track of the time, so you don’t miss the boat back to Mykonos. We don’t know what happens if you’re left behind on the island, and we don’t recommend finding out.

View of a boat docked on a rocky island, as viewed across ancient ruins

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  1. Booking Delos Tour in Advance

    We are going to be in Mykonos the first week of October and will have a rental car to get us to the port. Should we book the tour ahead of time or just head over to the port when we get there to book a tour?

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Personally, I would book in advance but could you show up without a reservation? Sure, and you’d likely be fine.

  2. Delos Tours from Mykonos Town

    Is the Old Port walking distance from Mykonos Town? We’re staying at the Belvedere. Thanks!

    1. Santorini Dave The Hotel Expert

      Yes, the Old Port is an easy walk from all Mykonos Town hotels. From the Belvedere it’s about a 10 or 12 minute walk (assuming you don’t have luggage).

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