A Day Trip to Delos
If you’ve been to Mykonos, you know that the “Meltemi” blow constantly in July and August. These glorious winds keep beach-goers and sunbathers cool under the hot, Greek sun and fill the sails of island-hopping yachts. They also transform the ferry crossing from Mykonos to Delos into the Chunder Boat. If you’ve never hear the term “chunder”, let me elucidate.
“Chunder” – to vomit. Evolved from ancient seafaring days when mariners would call out “Watch under!” as they stuck their heads out a porthole to projectile vomit over the boat rails. “Watch under” = ‘chunder.
Now that we have that out of the way, I’ll continue my story and end with a few tips about planning a chunder-less trip to Delos. First, don’t let this put you off. Delos is one of the most important archeological and mythological sites in Greece. Current excavations date ruins back to 3000BC and confirm that Delos was considered not only the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis, but an important center for trade and commerce in ancient times. The entire island is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and a highlight to a stay on Mykonos.
Delos view from the temple
Headless statues in the House of Cleopatra
We managed to find a parking space in town and walked to the old town dock to buy ferry tickets. I heard stories of rough crossings to Delos and forced fed everyone breakfast and stocked up on carbonated drinks and dramamine. The ferry was big and comfortable and we happily scored a cushioned banquette under a window. All was well as the boat pulled out and into the harbor.
All was not well when we rounded the corner into open water. The little whitecaps immediately turned into hull pounding waves.
We survived the crossing, but there were a few families looking worse for wear as they left the boat. Our crossing took 40 minutes instead of the usual 30. It must have been the extra distance the boat traveled up and down and side to side that tacked on the extra 10 minutes.
It’s Greek to me…
We left the boat and went directly to the tiny ticket office. We ended up hiring a local guide at the site, who purchased our entrance tickets and gave us a private tour for 15Euro per person (including entrance fee).
She was well versed in ancient history and local lore of the island and enabled us to avoid the ticket lines and larger cruise-ship groups milling about. We considered it money well spent.
Climbing to the temples
We had a few hours to wander the island and the ruins after the tour before the last boat left the island at 2. It is impossible to see everything in 4 hours, but we managed the highlights.
We climbed to the temple over looking the sea and visited the amphitheater, Terrace of Lions, House of Dophins, wandered the ancient ruins of streets, homes and shops.
It was a little disappointing the island isn’t open longer. Delos is an archeological wonderland.
Dramamine makes you sleepy. No dramamine makes you look like the lady in the blue t-shirt.
We walked back to the boat early to make sure we had a seat for the ride back to Mykonos. Good thing. The trip back was diverted due to rough seas and lasted 50 minutes, instead of the usual 30.
We had front row seats for watching the nice French family turn successive colors of white and gray and green. We watched the elegant woman in the corner mop her forehead repeatedly and hang her head out the cabin window for fresh air.
I waited for chunder warnings, but no…Luckily, the boat staff knew just what to do and took turns handing out sick bags and leading the not-so-well out to the open deck for fresh air and a heavy dose of sea spray.
It was a great day out. Really! Just be prepared.
Looking for more information about Mykonos?
Eat Like the Greeks
Sun Yourself Like Apollo/Beaches on Mykonos
A Pool With A View
Things to Know About A Day Trip To Delos
Ferry boats leave Mykonos’s old port every day except Monday, starting at 9:00AM. A round-trip tickets costs 17 Euro. It’s a good idea to take the 9am boat as you will have at least an hour to explore the island before the crowds arrive. Prepare for your trip by taking bottled water, sun protection , a guidebook and a dramamine. Don’t let the calm harbor waters deceive you. The minute you exit the harbor into open water, it’s rock and roll on a windy day.
After the boat docks in Delos, head to the small ticket office and purchase your 5 Euro entrance ticket. If you have a guidebook outlining the sites, you can wander around at your leisure. We hired a local guide for 10 Euro per person.
Don’t miss the last boat back to Mykonos. Not only is the island uninhabited with the exception of the French archeological teams, there are no hotels or cafes to accommodate the left behind.
Weird fact: It is illegal for anyone to be born or die on the island, so be….careful.
Have you been to Delos? Did I forget or miss anything? Tell me about it in the comments below…
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