The sacred island of the ancient Greeks, near Mykonos. An incredible open-air museum, part of the World Heritage sites of UNESCO since 1990. An indispensable stopover for lovers of Ancient Greece!

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Southwest of Mykonos, two desert islands rank among the highlights of the whole Cyclades archipelago: the sacred island of Delos and its big sister, Rhenea.

Some 2,500 years ago, both islands were a very important commercial and religious center. It is estimated that tiny Delos (1.32 sq mi), around 90 BC, counted some 30,000 inhabitants! By the way, the name "Cyclades" comes from the feeling that all islands of the archipelago draw a circle around Delos...

As Delos was above all a sanctuary of god Apollo (who was supposed to be born on the island), the main settlement was probably Abelonas, a forgotten city on the northwest shore of Rhenea, near the bay of Aghia Triadha.

Unfortunately, in 88 BC, Delos was devastated by King Mithridate and, twenty years later, it was ravaged again by pirates. Once again, war and lucre destroyed a brilliant civilization...

Delos nowadays

Delos is now an amazing open-air museum, the largest archaeological site of the Cyclades and one of the most important of Europe. It's definitely a must-visit for anybody who is interested in ancient times. The lions and the mosaics are among the highlights, but there is much more to see!

Good to know: you need about 3 hours for the visit. Price of the shuttle boat is 20 euros, entrance fee is 5 euros. Take a hat (no shade at all) and water (the snack bar is outrageously expensive). Don't pick up the tiniest stone as souvenir (strictly forbidden). Don't smoke (or take a pocket ashtray and be very discreet). Don't sleep under the stars to enjoy a private Delos (staying overnight is not allowed).

Rhenea nowadays

Rhenea is now totally deserted, and just used as pasture. In spring, it is covered with millions of daisies and worth a visit. The Friends Association of Delos-Rineia organizes excursions (info: +30 22890 27791) and there are some beautiful beaches. Archaeological findings are exhibited in the Archeological Museum of Mykonos, in Chora.
To discover the other Cyclades islands, use the selector below.
The Pictorial Guide of the Cyclades

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