At the sunkissed heart of the Aegean Sea, right next to Mykonos, lies the small Cycladic island of Delos. Delos was known as one of the most significant places of worship in Ancient Greece. Today, it is a uniquely beautiful and easily accessible archaeological site.
On this page, you will find all necessary information about your visit, the history of the island, ferry tickets and schedules for Delos.
Delos, an open air museum in the middle of the Aegean Sea
Although Delos is one of the smallest islands of the Aegean, its rich and unique history makes up for it. What used to be a sacred place of utmost significance in ancient times is today one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. In fact, Delos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the remarkable findings that were discovered on the island.
Visiting Delos feels like wandering through an open air museum. Excavations have brought to light a large settlement that dates back to the Hellenistic and Roman times.
The settlement is in an exceptional state, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the daily and private lives of the inhabitants of an ancient city. A walk on its paved streets, among its houses, temples and statues is enough to take you back to ancient times.
How to get to Delos
As the island does not have an airport, you can only travel to Delos by ferry. There are no direct ferry crossings between mainland Greece and Delos. Instead, you can access Delos through Mykonos, its closest island. During the summer months, ferry routes from other nearby islands (Naxos, Paros, Tinos, Syros) are also available, making day trips to Delos easier to plan.
You can find more information on ferry crossings, schedules and ticket prices in the relevant section.
The House of Cleopatra and Dioscorides, with their beautiful statues
What to do in Delos
Visiting Delos is ideal for one-day trips filled with impressive sightseeing. The island has many ancient monuments for you to explore, making it an exceptional destination for lovers of history and mythology. Discover all that Delos has to offer below!
Sightseeing in Delos
Delos' rich past is evident in every corner of the island. During your visit, you will have the chance to explore one of the most important sanctuaries of Greek antiquity and discover a large Greco-Roman city. Dive into the past and let the history of the island unfold!
Some of the most impressive landmarks in Delos are:
- The Terrace of the Lions: this is probably the most famous monument in Delos. It is an impressive path lined with marble lions, built in the 7th century BCE by the inhabitants of Naxos. The lions that you see there are replicas, as the original statues are displayed in the island’s museum.
- The Temple of Isis: this is one of the most important attractions on the island. It was built in the 2nd century BCE and is located at the foothills of Mount Cynthus. You can see the statue of the goddess and protector of sailors inside the temple.
- The Ancient Theater of Delos: initially a wooden construction, it was replaced by today’s stone one in the 3rd century BCE. The theater could accommodate more than 5,000 visitors and offered spectacular views of the Aegean.
- The Theater Quarter: this is the oldest district of the settlement. Its most unique highlights include the House of Cleopatra and Dioscorides, where their statues are preserved.
- The House of Dionysus: here, you will find the famous mosaic depicting god Dionysus riding a tiger. Exceptional mosaics are also preserved in the Houses of Masks, Dolphins and the Trident.
- The Archaeological Museum of Delos: one of the most significant museums focusing on ancient Greek sculpture and private life during the Hellenistic period. Inside, you can marvel at the gorgeous statues and findings, including vases, figurines, mosaics, murals and objects of everyday life. A visit will offer you the chance to learn more about the history of Delos.
Tip: it’s worth going to the top of Mount Cynthus, the tallest hill in Delos (112m). Το reach the top, you can take the ancient stairs, an ascent that takes about 20 minutes. The view of the island, the sparkling Aegean Sea and the surrounding Cyclades is breathtaking.
The famous Terrace of the Lions, one of the most remarkable landmarks of Delos
Tips for sightseeing in Delos
Here are some tips for your visit:
- Make sure that you carry water and snacks with you, as there are no shops selling food or drinks on the island.
- There is hardly any shade in Delos, so remember to bring your hat and wear sunscreen.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as exploring the whole island might take a few hours.
- Delos is ideal for photography lovers. Don't forget to charge your devices to capture the beauty of the island through the lens of your phone or camera.
The mythology and history of Delos
To learn more about the monuments and landmarks of Delos, you can read about the island's mythology and history here!
According to Greek mythology, Delos was the birthplace of Apollo and his twin sister, Artemis. Because of that, the island was considered sacred in ancient times. The surrounding islands joined in a circular dance around Delos, and thus the name “Cyclades” came to be.
Delos was first inhabited in the 3rd millenium BCE, and during the late 15th century BCE, Mycenaeans settled on the island.
The worship of Apollo had already been established during the Homeric Age and reached its peak in the archaic and classical eras. At the time, the city that ruled the island of Delos politically and culturally was Athens, the founder of the so-called Delian League. This was an association of Greek city-states that had Delos as its base.
During the Hellenistic and Roman periods, Delos emerged as one of the largest and richest commercial ports in the Aegean. This led to an increase in population and construction activity on the island. The city that was brought to light by the archaeological excavations and that travelers can visit today dates back to those glorious days.
In the 1st century BCE, however, Delos was attacked and looted twice. After that, the island started to decline until it was eventually abandoned.
Beaches in Delos
Delos is a protected archaeological site with important findings in every corner. Because of that, swimming is not premitted on the island.
Is going for a swim on your to-do list? Keep reading to learn about our island-hopping recommendations and enjoy beautiful Cycladic beaches elsewhere.
Useful information for Delos
Since the whole island of Delos is an archaeological site, camping and overnight stays are prohibited. The same applies to staying on the island outside of the site’s opening hours.
In Delos you will find ticket offices, facilities for people with disabilities and public restrooms. In terms of services, there are guided tours available. In the summer, the archaeological site is open from 8:00 to 20:00 on a daily basis. The ticket fee is €12 (full price) or €6 (discount) and includes access to the Archaeological Museum of Delos.
It is important to note that certain groups of visitors are entitled to free access to the archaeological site (for instance, children and adults under the age of 25 that come from member states of the European Union, and holders of a Greek unemployment card). Make sure that you carry all the necessary documents with you to prove that you are eligible for the discount. These prices do not include ferry tickets from neighboring islands.
Important phone numbers for Delos
Some useful phone numbers for your visit to Delos:
- Archaeological Museum of Delos: +302289022259
- Delos Tours (its headquarters are located in Mykonos): +302289028603, +302289028613, +306944374983, +306978830355
- Mykonos Port Authority: +302289022218
- European emergency number (for EU countries): 112
Getting around Delos
Delos is an archaeological site, so you can only explore the island on foot. You can either join one of the available guided tours or follow the paths suggested at the entrance of the archaeological site.
Reminder: the archaeological site and museum are easily accessible to people with disabilities, as they are equipped with ramps and disabled-friendly toilets.
Ports in Delos
Delos has one small ferry port. It is located close to the ruins of the island’s two ancient ports, the Sacred Port and the Commercial Port.
A close look at the Ancient Theatre of Delos
Island hopping from Delos
Although you can't actually go island hopping from Delos, you can visit the sacred island as part of your tour in the Cyclades!
As Delos is located at the center of the archipelago, you can easily reach it from Mykonos, plus Naxos, Paros, Tinos and Syros. Check our Map of ferries to find all available crossings between these islands and continue reading to learn more about your trip to Delos.
Delos ferry: schedules and tickets
You can travel to Delos mainly from Mykonos, its closest neighboring island. Read everything you need to know about the ferry trip from Mykonos to Delos below.
Mykonos - Delos ferry crossing: local operators provide ferry routes from Mykonos to Delos. Boats depart from the old port of Mykonos, located in Chora. In the summer, there are daily ferry crossings to Delos, taking approximately 30 minutes. Return tickets cost €20 for adults, with discount tickets available for children. You can buy ferry tickets from the ticket offices in Chora, Mykonos.
Tip: ferry tickets do not include access to the archaeological site.
Wondering how to get to Mykonos? Check all the possible ways to travel to Mykonos!
During the summer, there are ferry services to Delos from Naxos, Paros, Tinos and Syros. The routes are operated by local companies. Ferry tickets can be purchased on the island you are departing from.
Plan your trip to Delos
Eager to explore the sacred island of Delos? On Ferryhopper, you can find all the necessary information about your visit, the archaeological site, the history of the island and the available ferry schedules. Plan your itinerary with our useful tips, explore island-hopping routes in the Cyclades and enjoy your trip to Delos hassle-free!