Tag: Delos (page 2 of 3)

Promotional videos mark a travel milestone — a full century of organized tourism in Greece


The English-narrated video Greek Tourism. An eternal journey features stunning views of some of the most beautiful and famous sights and attractions in Greece



Significant Century:  With its long and storied history, Greece has been associated with tourism for what seems like an eternity. Not surprisingly, tourism is the country’s oldest industry.

“The Greek passion for travelling, for both knowledge and adventure, began long ago with Odysseus, the paradigm of the eternal traveller; with Herodotus, the first tourist and most famous story teller; and with Pausaniuas, who wrote the first travel guide 2,000 years ago,” narrator Donald Morgan Nielson notes in the promotional video Greek Tourism: An eternal journey

The five and a half minute film features utterly splendid video photography of spectacular scenery from the Greek mainland and some of the Greek islands, and is accompanied by soaring, uplifting music by Dimitris Papadimitriou. With a script directed by Andonis Theocharis Kioukas, the video was produced by QKas Productions for the Greece National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), and has been posted on the GNTO’s Visit Greece YouTube page.


From 10,000 tourists in 1914 to over 17 million in 2014

The video celebrates the 100th anniversary of officially-organized tourism in Greece. Back in 1914, respected Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos founded the first national service to oversee Greek tourism. That same year, 10,000 tourists visited the country, and the numbers just kept on growing from theret. They reached record proportions last year, when more than 17 million people visited the country — an all-time high. And even though it’s still early in 2014 and the main summer tourist season hasn’t even begun, Greece appears on track for another banner year.

There was an 8.4% increases in the number of international arrivals at Greek airports in January, February and March compared to the same quarter last year, while travel officials report that summer bookings from major markets like Germany and the USA have risen substantially. And with more than 150 new airline routes operating to Athens this season, along with numerous new international direct flights to Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and other islands, Greece appears likely to top its target of 18 million visitors by the end of the year.

Frankly, I’m surprised the number of visitors isn’t considerably higher. But once more people get to view Greek Tourism: An eternal journey, I’m sure they’ll consider planning trips to see the amazing sights and attractions for themselves.

Below is a slightly shorter version of the video which will let you enjoy Dimitris Papadimitriou’s inspiring music without the narration. Turn up the volume, sit back, and enjoy the 4-minute journey to “Greece … a small piece of heaven on earth.”




Visiting Delos will be easier this summer with Sunday openings, longer hours & extra ferries


Tourists explore some of the historic ruins on Delos island near Mykonos

This summer’s extended hours and Monday openings mean tourists will enjoy the best opportunity ever to visit the historic ruins on Delos island near Mykonos


 [Editor’s Note: See my Visiting Delos in 2016 post for current information about ferry ticket prices and entrance fees for the Delos archaeological site.]


Delos every day: Tourists travelling to Mykonos this summer are in for a big treat — they’ll be able to visit the ancient city and archaeological museum on nearby Delos island seven days a week, and even during the early evening for a change.

Delos is one of the most important archaeological locations in all of Greece, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It’s easily reached on a short ferry ride from Mykonos, but restrictive opening hours have long made it difficult for many people to see Delos — especially thousands of cruise ship passengers who visit Mykonos for only part of a day during a short call into port. Indeed, the island is totally off-limits to the public at night, and for years has also been completely closed to tourists on Mondays (as has been the case with most museums and archaeological sites elsewhere in Greece).

But “never on Monday” isn’t the case for Delos this summer, thanks to operating hour changes that the Greek government announced several weeks ago for the 2014 tourist season.

As I reported in my March 4 post, Delos is one of 33 major Greek museum and archaeological sites that will be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, from April 1 until the end of October.

For years, the Delos ferries have departed Mykonos Town at 9, 10 and 11 a.m., making return trips at 12:15, 1.30 and 3 p.m. (In low season and winter, when there is substantially less demand, there is only one return ferry on Fridays and Sundays). When I learned that the government would be extending the visiting hours for Delos, and opening it to the public on Mondays, I contacted Delos Tours to find out what, if any, schedule changes might be forthcoming for excursions to the historic island. (Delos Tours is the joint venture company that operates the boats which are used to ferry passengers from the Mykonos Town harbour to Delos and back.)



New return trip in late afternoon/early evening 

Delos Tours owner Maria Chatziioannou told me that plans were in the works to add an extra afternoon ferry departure; however, she was still waiting for the Greek shipping ministry to officially approve additional ferry trips and couldn’t confirm any schedule details for me at that time.

Just this afternoon, however, Maria was able to send me Delos Tours’ new summer ferry schedule.

From Tuesday through Sunday, ferries will depart Mykonos as usual at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and return as usual at 12:15, 1:30, and 3 p.m. The big change is that a late afternoon/early evening return trip has been added to the roster — a ferry will depart Mykonos at 5 p.m. and return from Delos at 8 p.m. That’s excellent news for people whose cruise ships or ferries don’t arrive at Mykonos in time for them to catch the morning departures (and good news, as well, for anyone already on Mykonos who might happen to sleep in after a late night enjoying the island’s infamous restaurant, nightclub and party scene).

However, on Mondays there will be only two ferry trips, with boats departing from Mykonos Town at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and returning from Delos at 1.30 and 8 p.m.



Small increase in ferry ticket prices on May 1

As of May 1, prices for return ferry tickets will increase slightly from the current fares, which have not changed in several years.  An adult ticket will cost €18 (up from €17), while the price for children aged 6 to 12 will be €9 (a nominal increase from €8.50 at present). Kids under 6 can travel for free.

Guided tours also are available at a cost of €40 for adults and €20 for kids aged 6 to 12 (no charge for younger children). Guided tours are offered every day, but only on the 10 a.m. ferry departure. Full pricing and schedule information — as well as online advance ticket booking — is available on the Delos Tours website: www.delostours.gr.

For more information about Delos, click on the links below to see some of my previous posts:

♦ Visiting Delos, the sacred cradle of the gods

♦ Visiting Delos: So much to see, indoors & out

♦ Visiting Delos: How to get there


The Orca Delos ferry

A view of the Orca, one of the Delos ferry boats, as it departs the Old Port at Mykonos Town en route to Delos island


Pic of the day: Exploring Delos island


Tourists walk a path below the Temple of Isis (center left) while other Delos island visitors climb stairs to the summit of Mt Kynthos (upper left)

Tourists walk a hillside path on Delos island (foreground) while other visitors climb steps to the top of Mt Kynthos (upper left). The monument near the center of the photo is the Temple of Isis. Click on the photo to view a full-size picture.


Delos ferry prices & times unchanged for 2013


Delos ferry ticket booth

The Delos island ferry ticket booth at the Mykonos Old Port


[Editor’s Update: For information about extended opening hours and extra Delos ferry service in 2014, please see my April 2 2014 report Visiting Delos will be easier this summer with Sunday openings, longer hours and extra ferries.]



No change: Some good news for people travelling in the Cyclades on tight budgets this summer —  prices for visiting Delos island from Mykonos have not increased this year. It still costs €17 for a return ferry ticket (same as in 2012), while admission to the grounds remains €5 (a price that hasn’t changed in years).

According to Greek mythology, Delos is the sacred island on which the Greek gods Apollo and Artemis were born. Administered by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Delos is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the top Greek island tour destinations for archaeology and history buffs. Day trips to Delos rank among the top “things to do” for visitors to Mykonos, which is the closest nearby island, and are popular excursions from Naxos and Paros as well.


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2012 Greek holiday trip report: Mykonos Part 5


Windstar Wind Spirit cruise ship

Mighty masts: A view of the Windstar cruise yacht Wind Spirit anchored near the Mykonos Old Port on a clear, sunny morning May 20 2012. It was perfect weather for a day at the beach.



Sunday May 20 2012


Beach weather: May 20 brought us a beautiful bright and sunny morning and the promise of perfect weather for the beach. Since I had only two full days left on Mykonos, I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and spend my Sunday beach hopping. My destinations would be Kapari beach, which I had never been to before, followed by Agios Ioannis and Ornos beaches, which I had previously seen.

I walked from Hotel Tagoo to the Fabrica bus depot where I was one of only five people waiting to board the Ornos/Agios Ioannis bus. By comparison, there were at least two dozen people lined up for the bus to Paradise, and even more standing beside the one going to Platis Gialos. I took the lack of a similar lineup for my bus to indicate that the beaches I was about to visit might be exceptionally quiet. Maybe the limited bus service explained why more people weren’t going to the same places as me. At this time of May, there were only 8 return bus trips per day to Ornos/Agios Ioannis, with the last bus returning to Mykonos Town at 18:45. Although the last bus back to Town from Paradise was scheduled for 19:00, service from Platis Gialos continued until 21:00.


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Visiting Delos island, the sacred cradle of Greek gods


Delos island

Fascinating ruins and antiquities abound on Delos island


House of the Trident on Delos island

… an outstanding archaeological site where visitors encounter the vestiges of ancient Greek history and mythology as they wander the vast outdoor museum to explore remarkable ruins like the House of the Tritons, above


Daytripping back in time:  One of the top sightseeing attractions for visitors to Mykonos isn’t even situated on that island — it’s a short ferry ride away, on a separate island altogether.

It’s Delos, a UNESCO world heritage site where visitors can observe scores of antiquities and other riveting remnants of ancient Greek civilization just by wandering through remarkable outdoor ruins and a museum filled with amazing archaeological treasures.


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Visiting Delos: So much to see, indoors & out


House of the Masks on Delos island

The House of the Masks …


The Temple of Isis on Delos Island

The Temple of Isis …


House of Hermes on Delos Island

The House of Hermes …


House of Dionysus on Delos island

… intricate mosaics, like this one in the House of Dionysus …


The Agora of the Competialists on Delos Island

… and ruins and antiquities practically everywhere you step, like these in the Agora of the Competialists, will enthrall you for hours on Delos


Delos Archaeological Museum

And when you need a break from the intense summer sun, you can cool off while viewing hundreds of sculptures, mosaics, frescoes and antiquities …


Delian lions

… including the original marble Delian lions, now displayed in their own special gallery inside the Delos Archaeological Museum


Ruins and treasures aplenty:  If you’re a big history and archaeology buff, a half-day excursion to Delos probably won’t offer nearly enough time to explore the vast outdoor ruins, let alone the treasures inside the Delos Archaeological Museum. There’s plenty to see, and after three separate visits we still haven’t seen it all.

But visiting Delos involves a lot of walking, usually under a hot, bright sun, and that makes it even more challenging to view as many of the island’s highlight attractions as possible in just one trip.


Hordes of tourists at the four houses with mosaics

Competing for viewing space with hordes of people in huge guided tour groups certainly doesn’t help, either. When we took a guided tour in 2006, we practically got trampled trying to see some of the spectacular mosaic floors at the four famous houses — the House of Dionysus, the House of the Tritons, the House of the Dolphins and the House of the Masks. About half a dozen different tour groups, with up to 50 people in each, converged on the houses at nearly the same time. There was some pushing and shoving as people from different groups tried to squeeze past each other to view or photograph the mosaics, and I couldn’t begin to count the number of times that I got bumped and jostled or had my feet stomped by other tourists trying to get in front of, behind or around me. It wasn’t pleasant, and I only got brief glimpses of some of the mosaics. The floor mosaic in the House of Dionysus was the only one I was actually able to photograph.


Heimdall’s tip for viewing the mosaics

Heimdall, a TripAdvisor.com destination expert for Antiparos, has planned his Delos visits strategically so he has been able to view and photograph the mosaics without the crowds and hassles we have encountered. Heimdall told me he catches the very first (9 a.m. ) Delos ferry from Mykonos, and heads directly to the four houses — basically moving in the direction opposite to the one most tourists are inclined to take when they enter Delos. This plan of attack puts Heimdall at the mosaics long before the tour groups and other throngs of sightseers descend en masse, giving him a prime opportunity to shoot unobscured photos of the stunning mosaics. Sometimes he’s the first person to arrive, so he doesn’t have to worry about shadows or squeeze past other people blocking the narrow wall openings through which the mosaics can be viewed.  Be sure to check out his impressive Mykonos & Delos album on flickr. (I’ll admit I’m jealous Heimdall got those amazing pics, because I had to settle for stealing quick glances of the artwork — usually over somebody else’s shoulder!)


Don’t miss the museum

Many visitors don’t bother going in the Delos Archaeological Museum, preferring to explore the outdoor sites, but it’s worthwhile visiting its galleries to view the many sculptures, reliefs, mosaics, pottery, figurines, jewellery, and scores of small tools and household items that had been used in day-to-day life in ancient Greece. It’s also where you’ll see the original Delian marble lions; the ones on the outdoor Terrace of the Lions actually are replicas. (The gallery with the lions was roped off the last two times we’ve been to Delos, so we had to view and photograph the lions from several feet away. )

Many of the museum’s treasures were discovered in the late 1800s during a major archaeological excavation project that the Ecole Française d’Athènes  (French School at Athens) launched on Delos in 1872. (The research project actually continues to this day.) In 1904, the Archaeological Society of Athens built what was originally a five-room museum to house and display some of the finds, while many more antiquities unearthed on the island were sent to Athens for display at the National Archaeological Museum. Expansions in 1931 and 1972 increased the Delos museum’s size to nine rooms.

The photos below will give you a good idea of what you’ll get to see, both outdoors and inside the museum, when you visit Delos yourself.


Map of ruins on Delos island

You can view and download this basic map of the Delos archaeological site from the visitgreece.gr website operated by the Greece National Tourist Organisation (GNTO). I have circled the area where the four houses with the famous mosaics are situated. If you take the 9 a.m. ferry from Mykonos to Delos and head directly to that area upon arrival, you should be able to view and photograph the ruins at your leisure before large tour groups arrive and crowd the site.


Delos island

Inside the entrance gate to Delos. The Orca, one of the excursion boats from Mykonos, is docked at the pier just outside the ticket booth.


the Sacred Way on Delos Island

A couple strolls the 13-meter-wide Sacred Way


Delos island

Tourists explore the ruins closest to the entrance gate


Delos island

This visitor looks like she’s walking through a field of tall grass …


a pathway on Delos island

… but she was actually walking one of the paths that meanders through the ruins


Agora of the Competialists on Delos island

This small round structure in the Agora of the Competialists was constructed from marble and dedicated to the Greek god of commerce, Hermes


Delos island

A narrow street separates rows of stone houses


 Delos island

A pair of columns tower above plants and tall grasses


ruins on Delos island

A solo visitor walks a path surrounded by ruins of ancient buildings


Delos island

A column stands next to a footpath that passes between ruins of ancient houses


Sanctuary of Dionysus on Delos Island

Two phallic monuments at the Sanctuary of Dionysus


Sanctuary of Dionysus on Delos island

Explicit phallic images adorned many public and private buildings on Delos. The phallus is a symbol of the god Dionysus; in ancient times, the Greeks believed that phallus symbols would ward off evil spirits.


Establishment of the Poseidoniasts on Delos island

Columns in the Establishment of the Poseidoniasts


Delos island

Tall stone walls remain intact on this large house


Stoa of Phillip in the ruins on Delos island

The Stoa of Phillip next to The Sacred Way


A Minoan fountain on Delos island

A Minoan fountain


a pathway on Delos hillside

A pathway on a Delos hillside. Good walking shoes are advised, but we — and other tourists — have walked extensively on Delos wearing sturdy sandals.


Terrace of the Lions on Delos

The Terrace of the Lions


Terrace of Lions at Delos

Spring wildflowers surround one of the Delian lions


Establishment of the Poseidoniasts on Delos

Columns in the Establishment of the Poseidoniasts


 House of Hermes on Delos Island

Visitors approach the House of Hermes


House of Hermes on Delos Island

Looking up at the House of Hermes


wildflowers and ruins on Delos island

Looking toward Ano Remiataris island across a field of wildflowers and ruins


House of Dionysus on Delos island

Columns rise above the stone walls of the House of Dionysus


House of Dionysus on Delos island

Columns and the mosaic floor inside the House of Dionysus


Temple of Isis on Delos island

The Temple of Isis


Temple of Isis on Delos island

Overlooking the Temple of Isis from the adjacent hillside


Building remnants on Delos island

Rows of column segments, bases and other foundations of ancient buildings


Delos view of Mykonos island

These visitors have a good view of Mykonos as they explore the ruins


a house on Delos island

Looking down on the remains of an ancient house


palm tree on Delos island

An elegant palm tree near The Sacred Lake


House of the Tritons on Delos

Lion head consoles carved into a column at the House of the Tritons


ancient commercial port on Delos

Seaside ruins of the ancient commercial port on Delos


Delos snack bar and archaeological museum

Approaching the snack bar, left, and the Delos Archaeological Museum. The snack bar has seating on an outdoor shaded terrace, but prices for its beverages, light snacks and souvenirs are quite steep. If you’re travelling on a budget, bring bottled water and a picnic lunch with you to Delos.


Delian lions in the Delos Archaeological Museum

The heads of three of the original marble Delian lions


Delian lions in the Delos Archaeological Museum

Peeking below the bellies of the Delian lions


a fresco in the Delos archaeological museum

A plaster wall painting in the ‘daily life’ gallery


panther mosaic in the Delos archaeological museum

A colourful panther mosaic


sculpture in Delos archaeological museum

The museum has six separate rooms of sculpture and reliefs


sculpture in the Delos archaeological museum

A close view of the face of one of the sculptures


Delos Archaeological Museum

Phallic symbols and sex-themed artifacts in a display case


Mosaic of Hermes and Athena

This giant mosaic of Hermes and Athena has been mounted on a wall at the juncture of two Hellenistic sculpture galleries


Mosaic of Hermes and Athena

I waited for the gallery to empty so I could snap this photo of the mosaic …


Delos archaeological museum

… without getting someone else’s head and body in the picture


Hermes and Athena mosaic

An image near the upper right-hand corner of the frame for the huge wall-mounted Hermes and Athena mosaic


Delos archaeological museum

One of the wall paintings in the daily life gallery


wall painting in the Delos archaeological museum

Another wall painting in the daily life gallery


wall mural in Delos archaeological museum

Another colourful plaster wall painting


Delos Archaeological Museum

A giant frame supports the tall Statue of Ofellius Ferus


sculpture in the Delos archaeological museum

People at my gym practically kill themselves doing squats in the hopes of someday boasting a rock-hard butt like the one on this sculpture …


Delos Archaeological Museum

… while this sun-streaked, trim torso confirms that six pack abs have been revered since ancient times


antiquities in the Delos Archaeological Museum

An interesting collection of facial expressions!



Visiting Delos: How to get there


Google map showing Rinia Delos and Mykonos

This Google map image shows Delos island’s location between Mykonos, right, and Rinia, left. Mykonos offers the closest and most convenient access to Delos, with ferry service from the Mykonos Town harbour


[Editor’s Note: Please see my Visiting Delos in 2016 post for current Delos information, including new ferry ticket prices and new fees for admission to the Delos archaeological site.]


Getting there from Mykonos: It’s relatively easy to reach Delos from Mykonos, which just happens to be the closest populated island.

Every day except Monday, when Delos is closed to the public, excursion boats depart the Mykonos Town harbour in the morning, and return in the early to mid-afternoon. Three different boats — the Delos Express, the Margarita and the Orca — offer round trips that typically depart at 9, 10 and 11 a.m., and return from Delos at 12:15,  1:30 and 3 p.m. I say “typically,” because the service depends upon both the season and demand. In May 2011, for instance, boats departed Mykonos only at 9 and 10, and returned at 12:15 and 3. In extremely windy or stormy weather, the boats might be cancelled altogether. You don’t have to return on the same boat that took you to Delos; you’re free to select whichever returning boat you prefer.



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