Visiting Delos: How to get there

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Return ticket price in 2011 was €17 per person

Tickets can be purchased from a booth on the same pier from which the excursion boats depart. Last year, the price for a return ticket was €17 per person; this year it probably will be slightly higher. A separate admission fee must be paid on arrival at Delos to enter the archaeological site; in past years that fee has been €5 per person. [Guided tours cost significantly more, and tickets for those can be purchased from vendors at the pier. I haven’t taken a guided tour since 2006, so I can’t tell you what they cost now. Some of the travel agencies in Mykonos Town sell tickets for guided tours, so you can inquire there for pricing. I discussed guided tours versus doing-it-yourself in my post Visiting Delos, the sacred cradle of Greek gods.]

The boat ride from Mykonos to Delos can take as little as 20 minutes, or as long as 40, depending upon the sea and weather conditions. The seas in the channel between the islands often can be rough, so if you’re prone to seasickness, be sure to take anti-nausea pills either before or during the trip. Or, if you’re spending several days on Mykonos, keep an eye on the sea conditions and do your Delos excursion on a day the water is smooth and the winds calm.

Further details about operating hours, entrance fees, and free admission days can be found on the Delos webpage of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

 

Mykonos Town harbour and Old Port

Overlooking the Mykonos Town harbour and Old Port. The boats to Delos depart from the long, narrow pier that juts into the harbour in the center of the photo.

 

Excursion boats in Mykonos harbour

A closer view of two of the Delos excursion boats at the pier

 

welcome sign on the Mykonos harbour pier

It’s easy to find the excursion boat pier, but if you have trouble, just look for the ‘Welcome to Mykonos’ sign on the stone wall …

 

Delos ticket booth on Mykonos

… it’s just a few steps away from the ticket booth where you can get information and buy your round-trip tickets. Signs usually are posted on the door to indicate any changes to the regular daily departure and return times

 

Mykonos harbour

Tender boats for cruise ships anchoring near the Mykonos Old Port use the same pier as the Delos excursion boats. This red, white and blue tender is docked in front of the Orca, one of three Delos excursion boats.

 

Mykonos pier

Another Delos excursion boat, the Margarita, seen at Mykonos harbour

 

Delos Express excursion boat

Delos Express is another of the three excursion boats that make the regular return trips from the Mykonos harbour to Delos six days a week

 

Orca excursion boat

Another view of the Orca. The excursion boats have interior as well as open-air outdoor decks. The trip to and from Delos can be windy and chilly, so bring along a windbreaker in case you get seated outside.

 

Margarita excursion boat

The Margarita departs the Mykonos Old Port en route to Delos

 

Delos excursion boat Margarita

The Margarita at the excursion boat dock on Delos

 

Delos Express excursion boat

The Delos Express prepares to leave the Delos pier to return to Mykonos

 

Excursion boat Orca

The  Orca pulls away from Delos as it begins its return journey to Mykonos

 

tourists on Delos looking toward Mykonos

Visitors look toward Mykonos from a waiting area near the Delos boat pier

 

Delos coastline and view toward Mykonos

Looking across the rocky Delos seashore toward Mykonos

 

rough waters in a channel at Delos Island

Rough waters in the narrow channel between Delos and Kato Rematiaris island

 

Little Venice Mykonos

Looking toward the Little Venice seaside area of Mykonos Town from a Delos excursion boat returning to Mykonos

 

Getting there from Naxos and Paros: If you’re visiting Naxos or Paros, you might be able to visit Delos by taking a daytrip from one of those islands.

In past years, Panteleos cruises has offered excursions from Naxos that took visitors to both Delos and Mykonos three days a week, along with a once-weekly daytrip to Mykonos only. The service depends upon demand, so in low or off-season the excursions might not be available.

In 2009, we used the Naxos Star excursion boat to travel from Naxos to Mykonos on a day that there was no direct ferry service between the islands. We got to spend several hours visiting Delos before the excursion boat continued on to Mykonos, where travellers had approximately three hours to wander around Mykonos Town before heading back to Naxos. On the same day, the Alexander excursion boat took people from Paros on a similar trip to Delos and Mykonos.

If you’re visiting either Naxos or Paros, check with local ferry ticket agencies and tour companies to find out if any of the Delos or Delos + Mykonos excursions are available.

Don’t forget your anti-nausea pills!

Again, if you’re prone to seasickness, be sure to bring along anti-nausea medication. It was extremely windy in the Cyclades on the day we took the Naxos Star to Delos, and the seas were rough, with whitecaps. As the boat left St George’s Bay on Naxos and headed deeper out to sea, the waves got bigger, crashing loudly against the prow and spraying the windows the entire length of the boat. Inside the passenger cabin, it felt like we were riding through a car wash, and the many young children on board initially had a riot watching water splash against the windows whenever the boat hit a big wave. But their glee lasted only a few minutes. As the sea got rougher and the boat dipped and rose in the swells, kids and adults alike started turning green and reaching for paper seasickness bags. There was a lot of vomiting followed by near silence as nauseous passengers laid down on the floor or sat back with their eyes closed, undoubtedly praying for a fast arrival at Delos!

Below is a short videoclip showing the waves washing against the Naxos Star’s windows, followed by a series of photos showing the boat and excursion signs in Naxos.

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Naxos Star excursion poster

If you’re on Naxos, look for a travel agency displaying one of these posters. They’ll confirm availability and pricing for the excursions to Delos and Mykonos.

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Naxos Star excursion poster

Another Delos excursion poster we saw on Naxos. If you’re visiting Paros, check with ticket agencies there to find out if trips to Delos are available.

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Alexander excursion boat

Passengers on the upper deck of the excursion boat Alexander. It arrived at Naxos port while we were waiting for the Naxos Star to take us to Delos and Mykonos. The Alexander already had some passengers on board but, as far as we could see, it didn’t pick up any new passengers at Naxos …

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Alexander excursion boat

… and minutes later left for Paros, where it collected a full load of passengers at the port in Naoussa. It reached Delos shortly after our boat arrived there.

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Naxos Star excursion boat

Not long after the Alexander departed for Paros, the Naxos Star arrived at the Naxos Town port to take us to Delos

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Naxos Star interior

An interior cabin on the Naxos Star. If you look closely, you’ll see a painting of Jesus Christ in the rectangular white frame in the background. I’m certain He received a lot of prayers from passengers who got seasick during our voyage.

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Naxos Star cabin interior

When passengers started feeling seasick during our ride to Delos, many people — especially children — laid down on the floor for the rest of the voyage. Out of respect for their privacy, I didn’t take any photos of the seasick passengers.

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Naxos Star cabin interior

Another view of the Naxos Star interior

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 the Naxos Star at Delos

Waiting to board the Naxos Star at the end of its stopover on Delos

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Naxos Star departs Mykonos

The Naxos Star departs the Mykonos Old Port for its return trip to Naxos

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Visiting from cruise ships: Mykonos gets a lot of cruise traffic, with many ships docking at the island’s New Port at Tourlos, and others dropping anchor in the bay near the Old Port at Mykonos Town. If the ships arrive in port early and stay late enough in the day, passengers can easily get to the pier in time to catch one of the excursion boats to Delos.

But some cruise ship itineraries actually include a stop at Delos, sending passengers to shore there by tender. If you’re taking a Greek Islands cruise, be sure to check with your cruise line to find out if your ship will be stopping right at Delos.

In May 2009, two cruise ships anchored near Delos and tendered their passengers ashore. One was the Nautica, an Oceania Cruises ship, while the other was the tall-masted Star Clipper.

I’ve heard there are some cruise ships that have received permission from the Greek government to visit Delos on Mondays, when the island is closed to the public, as well as in late afternoon and early evening after normal closing hours, but I haven’t been able to confirm if that’s true.

If you really want to splurge and see Delos the way the rich and famous do it, you can arrange exclusive private tours through independent operators, including Hellenic Adventures. According to an article in the March 2012 edition of Condé Nast Traveler magazine, Hellenic Adventures will take two people on a private charter boat trip to Delos, with guide, for only $3,140. Or if you can gather eight people together, the price is a mere $3,840. Just think of the envious stares you’ll get from the ordinary ferry-riding folks when your traditional Greek caique glides into Delos harbour!

Below are some of our photos showing the Nautica and Star Clipper off the coast of Delos.

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cruise ships and tour boats at Delos island

Busy seas off Delos: An orange and white tender boat from the Star Clipper approaches the Delos harbour while the excursion boat Alexander, right, arrives with daytrippers from Paros. At center is the Oceania Cruises liner, Nautica.

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Oceania Cruises cruiseship the Nautica

Passengers walk near the Delos seafront as the Nautica looms large in the bay

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Oceania cruise ship Nautica

Ancient ruins contrast with modern transportation technology. The two ships are the Star Clipper and the Oceania Cruises Nautica.

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cruise ship tender passes Naxos Star

A Star Clipper tender boat passes the day excursion boat Naxos Star

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Nautica cruise ship

Another view of the Nautica, anchored just off the Delos coast

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Star Clipper tender

A  Star Clipper tender departs the Delos port, bound for the cruise ship

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Star Clipper cruise ship

The tender boat approaches the Star Clipper

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Oceania cruise ship Nautica

The Nautica looms large above the Delos ruins

 

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13 Comments

  1. I want know if exists hotels in delos islands, thanks

  2. We will be travel in Greece in mid October. Is it possible to tour Delos from Mykonos on either October 16th or 17th? If so, what is the best way to arrange it?

    Thank you.

    • admin

      July 30, 2013 at 8:23 am

      There should be at least one return ferry trip to Delos each day — depending upon the weather.

      Check on the schedule as soon as you arrive at Mykonos. Your hotel reception will be able to call an appropriate travel agency to get this information for you. Or, if you are in Mykonos Town early in the morning, go directly to the Delos ferry dock to check times and ticket information.

      The boats leave from a jetty near the Mykonos Town Hall.

  3. Great info on Delos. Thank you! The pictures and explanation – very helpful indeed.

  4. Dear sir/madam,

    Please could you help me. We have booked flights to and from Mykonos from the UK. We have accommodation in Paros. we are getting the ferry from Mykonos to Paros on 19 July 2014. However we need to get from Paros to Mykonos to fly at 13.45 on 26 July. Can you tell me of any early ferries. We need to leave Paros at 10am I think to arrive at airport at 11.45. I have searched but not found any? How else could we get to Paros if not?

    Thanks

    Matt Keddie.

  5. Great post with so much helpful information and images – thanks!

  6. You said “Every day except Monday, when Delos is closed to the public,”, but other sites said Monday is still open for ferry and Delos Archeological Site. Which is true?

  7. Can you tell me:
    1. where the NCL cruise dock, old or new port?
    2. It seems that all Delos ferry leaves at old port. How to get to old port from cruise port and how long?
    3. I was told there are ferries to Delos leave from cruise port and come back to port near the town. So there are significant time saving. NCL arrives at 8:00 am and depart at 3:00 pm.
    Thanks

    • admin

      August 2, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      You will have to ask NCL where the ship will dock. It’s probably at the New Port, but it can handle only a couple of cruise ships, and on days there are five or more ships at Mykonos some anchor near Mykonos Town and tender people ashore. The good news is that if you tender, you will arrive right at the same pier where the Delos ferries depart. If your ship docks at the New Port, you can take the Mykonos SeaBus to the Old Port — very short boat ride operated by the same company that runs the Delos ferries.

  8. Can we visit Delos by sailingyacht (43 ft)? We will be there september 29 or 30. I know that it is prohibited to stay overnight and that Delos closes at 15.00 hours.

2 Pingbacks

  1. Visiting Delos island, the sacred cradle of the Greek gods | MY GREECE TRAVEL BLOG
  2. Walking the ruins in Delos … How to get from Mykonos to Delos » Rishi Sankar: Ah Trini Travelogue / Ah Trini Traveller | Rishi Sankar: Ah Trini Travelogue / Ah Trini Traveller

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