Greece Day 6: Delos and Mykonos

We are up early for breakfast at 8:00am with an amazing breakfast spread at this new hotel. We sit out on the front terrace eating our breakfast, and watching the new cruise ships come into the port. Its another perfect day of 78 degrees, sunny, but now windy.

We are ready at 9:15am sharp to walk down to the harbor and board the Sea Bus once again. The group loads on and we make our way back to the Old Port, where we disembark the small Sea Bus, and hop on the large passenger ferry boat, The Orca. 

This boat takes us 35-minutes over to the UNESCO World Heritage Site – the island of Delos. This boat ride was pretty easy, and we sat on the back ground-floor seating of the boat, and could watch us the island of Mykonos grow smaller in the distance. It is extremely windy here, so I recommend a light jacket and tennis shoes/hiking shoes. 

During the summer, hundreds of tourists from Mykonos and the nearby islands visit the birthplace of two of the most important ancient Greek gods, Apollo and Artemis.

The island of Delos, near the centre of the Cyclades archipelago, is one of the most important mythological, historical, and archaeological sites in Greece. The excavations on the island are among the most extensive in the Mediterranean; ongoing work takes place under the direction of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades.

An entire ancient city is considered a sacred island. The ancient homes, “guest quarters,” market places, public squares, and buildings, with sanctuaries and temples dedicated to the ancient gods. 

Our walking tour guide, Katarina, gives each of us a whisper device, and she narrated the history of the ruins into our ears, as we walk through the ancient city. The walls are stacked high with perfectly fitted stones, with bits of the original plaster colors walls still showing inside. 

We enter a rich home of an unknown family, and she points out the unique architectural layout of the home, complete with individual rooms, a formal sitting room, and a central courtyard, with a beautiful Hellenistic mosaic depicting the god, Dionysos, as a winged daemon riding on a tiger.

We cross back to the front of the site where we first arrive and pass The Temple of the Delians, dedicated to Apollo. Beside the temple once stood a colossal Kouros of Apollo, only parts of which remain extant. Dating to the 6th century BC, parts of the upper torso and pelvis remain in situ, a hand is kept at the local museum and a foot in the British Museum.

We then round the corner and approach the famous Terrace of the Lions, also dedicated to Apollo by the people of Naxos shortly before 600 BC. It originally had nine to twelve squatting, snarling marble guardian lions along the Sacred Way; one was removed and is presently situated over the main gate of the Venetian Arsenal. The lions create a monumental avenue comparable to the Egyptian avenues of sphinxes. (There is a Greek sphinx in the Delos Museum.) Today only seven of the original lions remain. All alongside our walk lays bits of columns laying on the ground and miscellaneous cut pieces of rock and marble. Around 69 BC,

Delos was turned into a quarry site with its temple columns burnt for lime, and its houses left in ruins.

Our tour guide then releases us and we are allowed 1-hour to continue exploring the sacred island. We quickly hurry up a winding path that circles the back portion of the city and trek up a small hill to The Doric Temple of Isis. It was built on a high over-looking hill at the beginning of the Roman period to venerate the familiar trinity of Isis, the Alexandrian Serapis and Anubis.

We snap some panoramic photos of a view of the entire city below before we head back down the trail to pass The House of the Dolphins. Similarly named from its atrium mosaic, where erotes ride dolphins; its Phoenician owner commissioned a floor mosaic of Tanit in his vestibule.

The final thing we passed was the Theater of Delos. Construction on the Theatre of Delos began shortly after 314 BC and was completed 70 years later. The koilon (cavea), the audience area, was supported by a sturdy marble retaining wall. It is divided into two sections, upper and lower, of 26 and 17 tiers, respectively, with a seating capacity of approximately 6,500 spectators. Access to the koilon was either by the parodoi, i.e. two large gates on either side of the semi-circular orchestra, by another two entrances at the level of the passageway separating the two sections, or by a final one in the middle of the highest point of the koilon. The seats in the first row (the proedria) have been best preserved and are the only seats with back support, as they were reserved for honored persons. The semicircular orchestra, which was the main part of the theatre, was closed on its straight side by the skene, the stage-building, and dressing rooms.

We are absolutely in awe of this beautiful island and couldn’t believe how much was there to explore. This has been the absolute highlight of the trip so far and a must-see place for anyone’s bucket list. 

After the 5-hours spent on Delos, we return back to the boat for a choppy ride back to Mykonos. Now back in the Old Port of Mykonos, we have the rest of the day to ourselves. Some group members take the local busses and enjoy some private beach clubs on the other side of the island. Some return to the hotel for an afternoon of relaxing and swimming at the pool. Jay and I return to the main shopping area in search of a good lunch.

We journey a little further into the city center and happen upon Parapoetiani Tavern. It was a quiet outdoor restaurant with only a few people seated, eating and drinking some light refreshments. It is cool and shaded and we order a seafood plate for two for €60. It included fish, prawns, two types of octopus, calamari, and french fries. For dessert, they bring us out each a small ice cream bar. So sweet! This was such a feast and we dug in and savored every bite! During our lunch, we also witnessed a MASSIVE pink pelican walk straight through the dining room and into the restaurant’s kitchen. The cook then came walking out with a giant fish and tossed it to the pelican, who immediately gulped it down. So wild! I highly recommend this restaurant for a quiet and relaxing atmosphere.

After lunch, we spent the next few hours walking back through the streets of Mykonos, enjoying time stepping into the little shops and boutiques as we go. I absolutely adore this city, with a new scene around every corner. The city is now filled with local tourists, along with 8 cruise ships of tourists walking around, yet as we navigate through the labyrinth of streets, it is completely silent, other than the footsteps of other travelers slowly crossing paths. The streets are also dusted with the fallen petals of the bougainvillea, so you brush past beautiful pink petals as you make your way through the city’s maze.

Now ready for dinner, we make our way to the waterfront and enjoy a beautiful sunset meal at Vegera Restaurant and Cafe Bar. I ordered a glass of white wine and greek salad, and Jay orders the Mykonian sausage.

We had the best time, chatting and people-watching. The ocean breeze in our faces as we watch the evening crowds begin to emerge, ready for a fun night of drinks and dancing.

We finish dinner and walk across the pier to the Sea Bus once again and for €2 each, make our way swiftly across the water, back to our hotel.

I’m going to miss the beautiful town of Mykonos. It holds such a special place in my heart, and I’m happy to have Jay here to share it with me.

Tomorrow, we pack up and travel north to the city of Athens.

2 thoughts on “Greece Day 6: Delos and Mykonos

  1. Those lions are pretty cool. And I always love mosaics. Thanks for sharing! I like sea food but I’ve never tried a whole octopus tentacle; not sure I could do it. And that’s so funny about the pelican! Hope you found some souvenirs in all those shops as keepsakes for this trip.

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