Welcome to Delos!
Magical Delos, the sacred birthplace of the god of light, commercial center in antiquity, religious center for thousands of years, pirate hideout for centuries. An island of grandeur and wealth, of many different rulers over the millennia, looted and pillaged, destroyed and rebuilt, always then and now the center and heart of the Cyclades.
This tiny island of little more than five square kilometers in size, and not far from the shores of Mykonos, had been a religious center since 1000 BC, and a commercial center since 478 BC. Modern systematic excavations began in 1873 and continue to the present, carried out by Greek and French archaeologists. It is one of the best-preserved archaeological sites of Greece, the largest open-air site in Europe, and it is the oldest. Access to it is restricted only to employees of the Greek Ministry of Culture and those who wish to visit it.
Opening days and times are the same as those for museums all over Greece. In this regard, any accommodation which appears to be linked to Delos, or which uses the name Delos, only exists on the nearby island of Mykonos and not on the very island of Delos itself.
In spite of its relatively small size, there are so many houses, temples, and sanctuaries to view that one trip will barely scratch the surface of this incredible open-air archaeological museum. In fact, if you were to combine your visit of the main sites, which are primarily clustered near the Sacred Harbor on the west coast of the island, with a visit to the outstanding indoor Archaeological Museum, and with a climb to the top of Delos’ lone mountain (Mt. Cynthus at 113 meters), you would need at least three days, or three visits, to say that you have “seen” Delos!
Since the entire site, i.e. the whole island, shuts down to visitors at 3 P.M., at the very most you could only spend 6 hours for each visit. If time available to you is short, or if you want to really understand what you are viewing, then you would be well advised to explore Delos with a guide. You still won’t see it all, but you will at least make the most of your brief visit.