Right now the summer heat is blazing, so why not think ahead for your vacation in Greece and make a point to visit fascinating Delos on a day trip this autumn. From September onwards the weather begins to cool a little in beautiful Greece and becomes far more comfortable. Yet you can still lounge on the beach, acquiring the perfect sun tan, and swim in the ocean without shivering. You can also go on a historic excursion and see all the local sights.
If you have done all the common sights and visits in Greece, why not try something different this year. For a unique visit to Greece, Delos is the perfect place to be. This tiny island, close to Mykonos in the Cyclades archipelago, is not only starkly beautiful, but is also one of the most important archaeological, historical and mythological sites in the whole of Greece.
While staying on more modern and up to date Mykonos, it is worthwhile taking a day trip out to Delos. The ongoing archaeological excavations on the island are said to be the most extensive in the whole of the Mediterranean region and many fascinating artifacts continue to be uncovered even in the present day. If history is your thing, visit the archaeological museums in Athens to see some of these discoveries up close and personal.
The island was apparently famous as a holy sanctuary a millennium before it was named as the Apollo and Artemis’ birthplace in the Olympian Greek mythology and has been important as a center of culture for hundreds of years.
While you visit fascinating Delos this autumn on your vacation in Greece, take in some historical sites, including the Sacred Lake, a circular bowl which is now left dry to prevent the spread of bacteria.
It is still possible to see, and access a certain amount of water from, the Minoan Fountain – a public water spring hewn into the solid rock, which was made into a sacred spring in the 6th century.
Many ruins are strewn around the island, including market squares, the remains of residences, and a temple and Terrace of the Lions, both dedicated to the god Apollo. Intricate mosaic floors and building walls, some in a fair condition, are in evidence everywhere.
Apparently the island did not have the capacity to grow food or timber and also had limited water, so most requirements had to be imported in the old days to the port on the island. A complicated aqueduct system was set up, using sea water to wash out sewage, so that the limited fresh water was optimized for the residents’ use.
Delos is on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1990, due to its unusually extensive and rich archaeological sites which they said gave the appearance of a great Mediterranean port back in the day. However, in these modern times, there are reportedly only around 14 people living permanently on the island.
While there are no hotels or resorts available on the island, Delos is easily accessible on a daily basis by boat, weather permitting, from Mykonos. In the summer months, extra boats are laid on from Tinos and Naxos. The video below shows a trip by boat from Mykonos out to the island of Delos and shows some of the impressive ruins and mosaic work still in evidence today.
So if you are planning a vacation in Greece this autumn, make a plan to stay in Mykonos or close by, and take a historic day trip out to visit fascinating Delos, preferably with camera in hand.
By Anne Sewell