The Cyclades fulfil their collective name (kyklos – circle) by encircling the sacred island of Delos. The mythical birthplace of twins Apollo and Artemis, splendid Ancient Delos was a shrine turned sacred treasury and commercial centre. This Unesco World Heritage Site is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. Cast your imagination wide to transform this sprawling ruin into the magnificent city it once was.
While many significant finds from Delos are in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, the site’s museum retains an interesting collection, including lions from the Terrace of the Lions (those on the terrace itself are plaster-cast replicas).
The island, just 5km long and 1300m wide, has no permanent population, so offers a soothing contrast to Mykonos (though in highest summer many visitors throng to the island). Overnight stays are forbidden and boat schedules allow a maximum of four hours at Delos. Bring water and food; wear a hat, sunscreen and walking shoes.
The ticket office sells detailed Delos guidebooks, and Mykonos bookshops sell some with reconstructions which are helpful for picturing the ruins as they were in their heyday.