A must-see day trip from Mykonos is to take the boat to Delos, birthplace of Apollo and the largest city in the world at one point. Its history goes back to 3000 BC, and the remains are in excellent condition. The entire island is a UNESCO site. I don't think it took more than 20 minutes to get there.
Visiting Delos island (located opposite Mykonos) will be an easy half day trip.
Just take the excursion boat From Mykonos (duration approx. 30').
You wont spend more than 2-3 hours there but it's enough to explore the archeological site.
The boats operate daily except Mondays (when the site is closed)
You will take the boat from the old port at 9.00am or 10.00am or 11.00am
The boats return at 12.15 13.30 15.00
The return ticket is about 13 euros (you can take it from any travel agent but also at the kiosk near the boats)
you also need to pay 5 euros for entering the archeological site.
Go to the port and buy a ticket the previous day. I suggest not to take the guide if you have a good travelguide with you. Just take care of your feet with comfortable shoes because you will be walking for 5 hours! A very interesting visit you cannot miss staying in Mykonos a few days!
The archeological site of Delos is unique. Located on a small barren island 30 minutes by boat from Mykonos, the island is devoid of vegetation but resplendent in the sunlight on account of its rock formations. A large city of about 30,000 inhabitants grew up around the sanctuary of Apollo in the Hellenistic period. According to myths, it was in Delos that Leto gave birth to Apollo and his sister Artemis and it was from this dual divine birth that the island acquired its sanctity. In 478 BC, it became the center of the Delian League.
Today, the most important ruins are those of the Agora, the numerous stoas, the Propylaea, house of the Naxians, the Sacred Way, temples of Apollo, Treasures, the Prytanaeum, the Artemisium, the Hippodrome, the stadium, the Agora of the Delians, the Aphrodisium, the Heraeum and the Theater.
High quality floor mosaics may be admired in ancient houses like the House of Dionysos, House of the Masks, House of Dolphins and House of Tritons.
This entire island is an archeological site and is really quite amazing. Take your time to go through it. You don't necessarily need a guide if you do your own research before and after. But it could be useful. You can probably get a guide when you arrive on the island. It will be cheaper and a smaller group than if you arrange for a tour ahead of time. Also - BRING WATER. It is hot. There is no shade. You will rush through too fast if you have no water.
Delos is a great escape from busy Mykonos and is a truly moving experience if you do just a little homework before you go, so that you have an understanding of the significance of this place. Delos is located very close to Mykonos and is an easy day trip. For 1000 years it was a holy sanctuary and then it became known as the birthplace of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis. Around 800 BC many temples and sanctuaries were built here, mostly by aristocrats from Naxos, in honor of Apollo. Though the island was later pillaged by pirates and many of the old estates ruined, many of the incredible mosaics have remained.
Before anything, you'll need the following for an enjoyable visit:
1. Comfortable shoes
3. A Hat.
4. Water and maybe some food
5. A guided tour or guide book of the sights on Delos
There are boats running about three times in the morning and the trip only takes about 20 minutes. They leave from the old pier in Mykonos Town and you ca buy your tickets right at the boat. We took the 10 AM boat and returned with the 13:15 boat--and this was just enough time because it is very hot and there is no shade. We also had a guide on the island and it was SO much more interesting than it would have been without a guide.
Dilos is included in the World's Cultural Heritage, protected by the UNESCO. This small island was used, in ancient times, as a religious and cultural centre and it is also known as the sacred island of Apollo.
Delos is this little island near Mykonos. The island is completely covered in ruins and is only open for day trips. There are no overnight places to stay and no restaurants on the island, so make sure you don't miss the last ferry! Be sure to pay for a guided tour to learn all the fascinating facts about the island. Then be sure to climb up to the highest point of the island - the views are worth it! Make sure to bring your own drinks and snacks because there's no place to buy any on the island, and you'll definitely want to have something to drink during your hike up to the peak (which is really just climbing a lot of steps).
Delos has so many well preserved monuments, it's difficult to keep up with what each one is. I've got no idea what's in this photo, but it looks pretty cool. Please inform me if you know what's in this picture.
The Stoivadeion is a rectangular platform to the NW of the Sanctuary, containing a statue of Dionysos flanked by two actors impersonating Paposilenoi (now in the Museum). On either side of the platform, a pillar supports a huge phallus, the symbol of Dionysos. The southern pillar, which is decorated with relief scenes from the Dionysiac circle, was erected in ca. 300 B.C. by a Delian named Karystios in order to celebrate a victorious theatrical performance sponsored by him.
The Temple of Isis was built in the 2nd century BC and repaired by the Athenian in 135 AD. It contains a statue of the godess Isis, known for providing health to people and protecting sailors (from venereal disease).
This is the Terrace of the Lions, which at one time looked over the Sacred Lake, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. The lake was drained in 1925 to avoid malaria outbreaks, but four lions remain from the original nine, a fifth one having been taken by pirates to Venice where it now guards the entrance to the arsenal.