Delos Island Greece

The small island of Delos has one of the most important archaeology sites in Greece. The only way to visit the site is to get a day return ferry from a nearby island (Mykonos, Paros or Naxos). You can’t stay overnight on Delos, which has been uninhabited since 478 BC. Facilities are limited, so pack a picnic and bring all the essentials, including a sunhat and walking shoes.

Archaeological buffs and lovers of legends can’t miss a trip to the sacred island of Delos (Dilos), the archaeological jewel of the Cyclades. Travelers can see firsthand where the ancients lived and clamber over the ruins they left behind. Held sacred as the mythological birthplace of Apollo, Delos was at the heart of the ancient world as an important religious and commercial center, reaching its zenith in the Hellenic period around the 5th century BC.

The huge site sprawls along the island’s west coast, from the stadium in the north to the old trading warehouses to the south. Standouts include the Sanctuary of Apollo temples and the Terrace of the Lions. The remains of private houses surround the semicircular theater, and the site includes several agoras, monuments, sanctuaries and temples. You can see finds from the excavations at the site museum, including the original lions from the much-photographed Terrace of the Lions. Another must-do is the climb up nearby Mt Kythnos for views over the island, sea and site.

Whether you catch the ferry to Delos to take in as much of its cultural significance as you can, or go to experience for yourself one of the most evocative heritage sites in Greece, you will not be disappointed. The island of Delos truly does have something for everyone visiting Greece. Let’s visit Delos Island Greece! You can also visit our Cyclades Travel Guide for information on all the best Cyclades Islands.

Delos Weather (When to Visit)

The best time to visit is Delos is spring and early summer (mid-Apr to mid-June) or autumn (Sept to mid-Oct). This way, you’ll avoid the summer high season, with its inflated prices, hordes of tourists and high temperatures (heat waves of 100°F are routine). Avoid August, unless you really like scorching heat, crowds, and overbooked planes, ferry boats, and hotels. In the autumn, you will enjoy warm days with still-warm waters. One drawback: Off-season there are fewer boats and flights to the islands, where some shops, hotels, and restaurants do not open until June and then close in October.

Delos Top Attractions

Terrace of the Lions, Delos Greece, best Delos Beaches, things to do in Delos, Cyclades Islands, best Delos hotels, best Delos Restaurants, best delos bars, things to do in Delos, recommended Delos tours & Activities
Terrace of the Lions

Overlooking the Sacred Lake, the Terrace of the Lions is one of the most-photographed tourist attractions in Delos. It is home to a row of magnificent white marble lions — originally there were nine, but only five remain (in fact even these are replicas, the originals being on show in the Delos Museum).

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Sacred Precinct, Delos Greece, best Delos Beaches, things to do in Delos, Cyclades Islands, best Delos hotels, best Delos Restaurants, best delos bars, things to do in Delos, recommended Delos tours & Activities
Sacred Precinct

The Sacred Precinct was approached from the south by a broad paved path, running between two Doric stoas to arrive at the second-century-BC Propylaia, the main gateway into the sanctuary. From here, you reach three parallel temples of Apollo, and opposite them, in the center of the precinct, the Keraton, an Ionic temple surrounded by columns built on granite foundations. The Keraton, which was dedicated to Apollo and contained a famous altar with rams’ horns set round it, was probably built on the site of an earlier temple from the seventh century BC.

Sacred Lake, Delos Greece, best Delos Beaches, things to do in Delos, Cyclades Islands, best Delos hotels, best Delos Restaurants, best delos bars, things to do in Delos, recommended Delos tours & Activities
Sacred Lake

Swans once swam in the oval Sacred Lake, but today it is empty and has been since 1925 when an outbreak of malaria caused it to be drained. It was here, on the shores of the lake that, according to Greek mythology, Leto was believed to have given birth to Apollo, under a palm tree. The lake, which is overlooked by the Terrace of the Lions, marks the end of the Sacred Precinct.

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Temple of Isis, The Archeological Museum, Delos Greece, best Delos Beaches, things to do in Delos, Cyclades Islands, best Delos hotels, best Delos Restaurants, best delos bars, things to do in Delos, recommended Delos tours & Activities
Temple of Isis & The Archeological Museum

Built on a small hill is the restored Temple of Isis dating back to the 2nd-century BC. The Doric Temple houses the lower half of a statue (from the waist down) of the goddess Isis. Originally an Ancient Egyptian goddess representing the ideal mother and wife, Isis was later worshiped by both the Greeks and Romans. In front of the temple stands an altar to the goddess.

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Theater Quarter, Delos Greece, best Delos Beaches, things to do in Delos, Cyclades Islands, best Delos hotels, best Delos Restaurants, best delos bars, things to do in Delos, recommended Delos tours & Activities
Theater Quarter

Lying between Mt. Kynthos and the commercial harbor, the so-called Theatre Quarter dates from the third to the second century BC. The narrow, winding streets are paved with slate slabs. The houses, many of which stand four to five meters high, had at least one upper story.

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House of Dionysus, Delos Greece, best Delos Beaches, things to do in Delos, Cyclades Islands, best Delos hotels, best Delos Restaurants, best delos bars, things to do in Delos, recommended Delos tours & Activities
House of Dionysus

In the Theater Quarter, the House of Dionysus is a fine example of a lavish private dwelling from the 2nd-century BC. One of the larger houses, it was originally on two levels, and you can still see the remains of a stone staircase that would have led to an upper floor. The highlight here is the central courtyard, rimmed by elegant marble columns, with a mosaic floor depicting Dionysus riding a tiger.

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House of Cleopatra, Delos Greece, best Delos Beaches, things to do in Delos, Cyclades Islands, best Delos hotels, best Delos Restaurants, best delos bars, things to do in Delos, recommended Delos tours & Activities
House of Cleopatra

In the 2nd-century BC, this was a lavish Theater Quarter home owned by Cleopatra, but not the famous Egyptian queen. This Cleopatra, according to a plaque at its entrance, was the daughter of Adrastus of Myrrhinou, and the two headless statues inside the ruins of what was once a 12-room house set around two open courtyards, are that of Cleopatra and her husband Dioscorides.

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Delos Recommended Tours & Activities by Viator

Viator.com – Tours, sightseeing tours, activities & things to do

Mykonos Catamaran Daytime or Sunset Sailing with Food and Drinks

Set sail on the bright blue Aegean with this unforgettable catamaran cruise from Mykonos. Swim and snorkel in the crystalline coves around the islands of Rheina and mythical Delos, or visit the pristine southern beaches of Mykonos. Drop anchor for a delicious, multicourse Greek meal cooked up right on board, accompanied by unlimited beer and wine from an open bar. Learn more about the Mykonos Catamaran Sailing.

Ancient Delos Tour

Uncover the myths and legends of ancient Greece on an educational tour of Delos from Mykonos. With an expert historian guide, discover ancient monuments like the Temple of Apollo and the Sacred Way. Enrich your historical knowledge at the Museum of Delos; marvel at the archaic Sanctuary of Artemis; and learn about the culture of the Greek empire from your expert guide. Opt to upgrade your tour to include lunch at a Mykonian farm and a walking tour of Mykonos Old Town. Learn more about the Ancient Delos Tour.

Mykonos: Small-Group Sailing Yacht Cruise to Rhenia and Guided Tour of Delos

Discover the beautiful Cyclades Islands the way they were meant to be seen — from the water! On this full-day yacht cruise from Mykonos, sail across the turquoise Aegean to the uninhabited islands of Rhenia and Delos, stopping to swim and snorkel at a pristine beach cove. Customize your day at sea with either a guided visit to the UNESCO-listed archaeological site at Delos or an extra swimming stop, and savor the good life with a light Greek lunch and refreshing drinks onboard. Learn more about the Cruise to Rhenia and Guided Tour of Delos.

Delos Day Trip from Mykonos

Ride the ferry from Mykonos to Delos with a local guide who shares expert knowledge about the UNESCO World Heritage–listed island. Unveil the drama of Delos during this half-day walking tour through the excavated ruins of its main archaeological site. See the Terrace of the Lions, House of Dionysus, Archaeological Museum of Delos and more as you learn about the sacred isle’s place in Ancient Greek history. Meet at the port or upgrade to include pickup from Mykonos hotels. Learn more about this Delos Day Trip from Mykonos.

All inclusive Day or Sunset Cruises on a Luxury Lagoon Catamaran 44

Go on a half-day sailing adventure in the Aegean Sea. Select your preferred departure time—morning or afternoon—and set sail for Mykonos’ south coast or to the mythical birthplace of Apollo on the island of Delos. Relax at the beach, snorkel in beautiful turquoise water, and marvel at Delos’ ancient archaeological site. Enjoy lunch, dinner, wine, and hotel pickup and drop-off included in the tour price. Sail Mykonos’s south coast and explore the islands of Rhenia and Delos Enjoy flexible departure times to suit your travel schedule and interests Kick back at picturesque Aegean beaches and check out Apollo’s birthplace Make the most of limited time with convenient hotel pickup and drop-off. Learn more about this Luxury Catamaran Cruise.

Private Mykonos Yacht Cruise

This private yacht charter offers an easy and luxurious way to see the island’s best beaches plus neighboring isles, all without the hassle of ferry schedules and crowds. Relax on the deck and enjoy wine and other refreshments as your personal captain navigates to the famous southern beaches or the legendary Cyclades islands of Delos and Rhinia. Book a full-day cruise to fit both destinations into a sun-soaked day on the water. Learn more about the Private Mykonos Yacht Cruise.

Best Mykonos Hotels

Visit our Mykonos Greece Tourist Guide Here

Best Naxos Hotels

Visit our Naxos Island Greece Guide Here

28 Comments

  1. Nate Stone

    Hi Leahrae,

    I’m planning a stag go for this Summer and we’re looking for things to occupy ourselves during the day, the island of Delos sounds like it may well be a good option.

    The stag is somewhat of a history buff so walking around ruins will be right up his street. Would you suggest booking this before we arrive or perhaps finding a local tour/ company once we arrive?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I would book it in advance, so you know you it’s done.  Please let me know how you guys enjoy Delos!  Thanks for visiting.

      Reply
  2. Md Millat

    Thank you so much for sharing such an excellent article with us. I am glad to see your article. Your article is really interesting and informative. I have got a lot of information about Delos Island Greece. Delos Island, Greece, I like very much, thinking for a long time that I was looking for a good place to travel. I enjoyed reading your article and found this valuable information and I love it so I want to take my family to Delos Island, Greece. Can you help me to visit Delos Island in Greece? I will share this article with my friends and after visiting Delos Island, Greece, I will share my new experience with you. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back to your website later. I thank you again for providing such a beautiful post and I wish you good health.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you for stopping by.  Yes, I can help you make your travel arrangements.  Just shoot me an email at leahraearend@gmail.com and I will look forward to it!

      Reply
  3. Karin Nauber

    I have always wanted to visit Greece. So much history took place there including Biblical history. This Delos Island sounds like a perfect day trip. I wonder why they don’t let anyone stay the night.

    While in college, I studied Greek mythology and art and fell in love with the country, the culture and the history. It would be an absolute delight to visit the country and see the places I have only read about and saw pictures of.

    You have some great information on travel and accomodations on your site which will make booking my visit so much easier.

    Karin

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Karin, sounds like you would really enjoy Greece and not just for the beaches.  I agree with you.  I home schooled my son in history, among other subjects and that is when I truly became fascinated with Greece and Italy.  Sure they do have lots of beauty and amazing beaches, but the history is what draws me.

      Reply
      1. Karin Nauber

        Yes. That history is what made me fall in love with the place. The different places I could see and imagine what took place there… And the beaches would be pretty cool, too!

        Karin

        Reply
        1. Leahrae (Post author)

          I would agree Karin 🙂

          Reply
  4. Jon

    This looks like one of the coolest places in the world because it has a lot of ancient and historic architecture and the coolest thing about it all is they are located next to beaches for the most part. This makes learning about Greece’s history all that much more fun of an experience. Do you think that Greece is one of the most awesome places on earth?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I would agree with you Jon!  It is a very awesome place.  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  5. Travis

    Never even heard of this place! It looks like such a beautiful place to visit. I would love to go there, it doesn’t seem like it is crazy expensive either. I am going to have to bookmark this for later! 

    I have not traveled a ton overseas, mostly just throughout North America. I think that the beaches in Europe as well as the culture though offer much more than anything we could find over here. Such beautiful views, such old structures. I hope you keep posting more of these great places to visit! It is a perfect place for someone of any age!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Travis.  I am glad you enjoyed!  

      Reply
  6. Feji ben

    Delos Island is one of the best place to visit Greece I have been there a few times and I must tell you i enjoyed myself to the fullest but for one to enjoy a place like this is getting a good guide like this..thanks alot for this awesome article it would be of great help to the public as it has been of help to me.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Ben.  I am glad you enjoyed my Delos Island Greece guide and it was helpful…..even after the fact 🙂  Lucky you to have been there a few times.  Thank you for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  7. Shanta Rahman

    Many thanks to you for sharing such an excellent article with us and as a traveler I would like to say that Delos Island Greece is a great travel guide .You did a great job of providing all the information you need to plan a great vacation through your article .I’m thinking of going to Greece for my vacation next April .I have heard that in April it is quite useful to go here and also through your article I found that the weather is very favorable at this time. Wish to see famous beaches, restaurants and restaurants, traditional places, cities etc. Delos is very keen to see how the elders lived on the island and the ruins they left behind .Delos is an important religious and trade center as well as a sacred birthplace of Apollo .Besides, the lions are eager to see the lake through the terraces .Knowing more through your travel guide has made me want to go further .And the benefit I get the most from travel guides is that in terms of transactions and linguistic publishing. I kept this article in your collection for the future .

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I’m glad Shanta and it sounds like you are really going to enjoy Delos.  Please let me know how your vacation to Greece goes and where you go, and what you loved the most.  I look forward to hearing back!

      Reply
  8. sabrinamou

    Thank you so much for sharing with us such a beautiful article. I also read your previous article. So I am going to bookmark it. I enjoy while reading your guide on Delos Island Greece. I found it is the best travel guide for Delos Island Greece. Delos Island Greece history, culture, and architecture with a rugged Adriatic setting of traditional fishing villages, shops, hotels, and restaurants. The video is very awesome and I love it. While traveling Delos Island Greece to we will try to visit everything listed by you. Your guide is very helpful for travelers. Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to read more posts like this.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Sabrina and I am glad you enjoyed my Delos Island Greece post.  Let me know if you need any additional information.

      Reply
  9. Linda

    After watching the video and reading the writing, I came to once again see the beautiful creation God made millions of years ago. His creations surely are beautiful (This includes us) A friend of mine told me he visited Greece when I told him I’m about to visit Berlin. I’ll ask him about Delos Island.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Delos is amazing.  If you love history, then you will love Delos.  You can stay on the beautiful island of Mykonos or Naxos and take the ferry.  Worth the trip for sure.  Thanks for visiting Linda.

      Reply
  10. Carmen

    For those passionate about sites, archeology in general and history, a visit to the island of Delos will offer unique experiences. These vestiges of history are looming large throughout the island. But I have a question: if the island was no longer inhabited since 478 BC, how can these unsavory ones be preserved, is there any restoration program?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I completely agree Carmen.  It is a unique experience, on top of being in such an amazing location.  Yes, Delos is doing restoration on various Delos Island monuments.

      Reply
  11. Parveen

    I love your all beach travel destination very much. If I got a chance in my life. I will try to visit as much as possible. Every person have some dream and desire for their life. As a traveler I want to visit as much as I can. I am enjoying each destination with my lovely family. Your detailed guide is very useful for everyone to make a decision for travelling. Now it’s my time to travel Delos Island. thank you for your lovely guide.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Parveen for stopping by and continuing to support beach travel destinations.  I am glad you are finding the information helpful.  

      Reply
  12. Nick

    Thanks for this wonderful, informative post about Delos Island Greece. 

    I am not much of a beach person but my best mate is. And this article comes at the right time as he has already started looking for an ideal beach holiday destination to visit in summers.

    I am going to share this article with him and I am sure it’s going to help him out big deal.

    Thanks for the valuable info.

    Nick.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Nick.   I think you would enjoy Delos too if you enjoy history, culture and architecture.  Delos has a little bit for everyone.  Thanks for visiting my Delos Island Greece Guide.

      Reply
  13. Harish

    Your guide very useful for travelers. While reading I know that the small island of Delos has one of the most important archaeology sites in Greece. The best time to visit is Delos is spring and early summer (mid-Apr to mid-June) or autumn (Sept to mid-Oct).
    In the autumn, you will enjoy warm days with still-warm waters. One drawback: Off-season there are fewer boats and flights to the islands.
    Soon we will make a plan to visit Delos Island.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Sounds like you learned all you need from my Delos Island Greece guide.  I believe you will have a wonderful time in Greece.  Let me know if I can provide you with any additional information.  Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply

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