Before Mykonos was a popular tourist island, another one just off its coast was where the rich and famous would come. They bought houses, shopped in the markets, cavorted with people from across the world.
But all of this was more than 2,000 years ago.
“Like Mykonos, Delos was the island for VIPs,” says my guide as she starts to show me around.
“It was the island of acceptance,” she explains. “Everyone was welcome – as long as they were wealthy!”
A tour to Delos is one of the most popular things to do from Mykonos these days because, of all the 2,000 Greek islands, it’s one of the most significant historically. During the time of Ancient Greece, it was the commercial and navigational centre of the Aegean Sea.
Just try to imagine all the successful merchants who came here and constructed mansions, attracting the region’s best builders and artisans. And around the port where they would’ve all arrived, luxury shops and boutiques selling perfumes and gems.
That was two millennia ago and, of course, much has changed. What you find in Delos today is not a vibrant bustling city, but a large and fascinating archaeological site stretching out from the water’s edge.
It’s a large site because the ancient city was once home to up to 30,000 people. Although none of the monumental buildings are in their original form, a lot has been excavated and it takes a few hours to walk through the highlights on a guided tour of Delos.
Is Delos worth visiting?
For visitors to Mykonos, it’s certainly worth visiting Delos. Not only does it offer something different to the beaches and the clubs of the larger island, it’s a remarkably easy half-day trip to see one of the most significant archaeological sites in the Aegean Sea. (Delos is also a World Heritage Site.)
What is Delos famous for?
Delos is famous as one of the most important cities in the Aegean Sea two millennia ago. It was a powerful commercial centre that controlled much of the economy of Ancient Greece.
Delos is also said to be the island where the gods Apollo and Artemis were born, and the city built here had an important religious and mythological role in the empire.
Are there tours to Delos?
Yes, there are tours to Delos and I think it’s definitely worth taking one. Although it’s relatively easy to visit Delos independently, you’ll definitely benefit from a guide’s explanation of the site. I would recommend this Delos tour from Mykonos, or I have some more information later…
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