Discovering Delos: Mykonos’ best-kept secret

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Travellers keen to go beyond Mykonos’ glamorous beaches, sublime seafood, white-washed cobbled streets and spectacular sunsets, are also choosing to visit the Greek island for its cultural connection to Delos – one of Greece’s most significant and spectacular archaeological sites.

ruins at delos

After the Parthenon and the Acropolis, Delos is home to some of ancient Greece’s most iconic historic ruins. Originally built by the Athenians back in the 6th century BC as a sanctuary to honour the birthplace of Apollo (god of daylight, harmony and balance) and his twin sister Artemis (the moon goddess), Delos later became a thriving Mediterranean port, a place where pilgrims flocked to pay homage to the two important light-giving Gods.

By the 1960s, yachts began to bring the glitterati from Europe to explore the magnificent ruins of Delos – much like visitors today flock to Italy’s Pompeii and Athens’ Parthenon and Acropolis.

view from the myconian collection hotel of a yacht in the harbour at mykonos

But with nowhere to stay on Delos itself, visitors had to base themselves on nearby Mykonos, and travel by boat to reach Delos – and it was from here that Mykonos made a name for itself with the cosmopolitan crowd of international artists, writers, historians and celebrities who came to see Delos, then stayed to enjoy Mykonos.

Enterprising Mykonos local George Daktylides, who operated a local transport network, saw an opportunity to service the steady surge of tourists and so the island’s first hotel outside the main town was built, making him Mykonos’ third hotelier, in 1979.

myconian collection hotel at night

Today it is George’s four sons who operate the Myconian Collection Hotels & Resorts, a portfolio of 10 opulent boutique hotels and villas on Mykonos, delivering the same ‘hospitality from the heart’ their father did back in the 1970s. They still arrange for guests to visit Delos to gain an insight into ancient Greek civilisation, which for many guests, is a highlight of their stay on the island of Mykonos.

myconian collectin hotel

“The UNESCO World Heritage listed delights of Delos are just a 30-minute ferry ride – or private yacht transfer, if you prefer – from Mykonos,” said Mr Vangelis Daktylides, president and CEO of Myconian Collection Hotels & Resorts.

“We encourage all our guests to spend a few hours immersed in these painstakingly preserved remnants of early Greek life.”

Highlights of a tour to Delos include the Archaeological Museum’s vast collection of ancient Greek sculpture and original artefacts, as well as a visit to the Temple of Isis, mythical Mount Kynthos, the Agora, the Sacred Lake, the houses of Dionysus and Cleopatra, and the famous Terrace of the Lions. The statues of the lions were dedicated to the Sanctuary of Apollo at the end of the 7th century and stood as guardians of the Sacred Lake and the Sanctuary.

statues of marc antony and cleopatra at the house of cleopatra in delos

The Myconian Collection’s extensive experience in VIP hospitality includes assistance in organising yacht cruises to explore Mykonos, the treasures of the Cyclades and the many neighbouring islands including Delos.

myconian collection hotel in mykonos

Following a day exploring the archaeological sites on Delos, guests can choose from The Myconian Collection’s deluxe properties in idyllic locations in Mykonos – above Elia Beach, at Platis Gialos; and in bustling Mykonos Town, including three Relais & Châteaux properties, two Leading Hotels of the World, two Design Hotels, two Preferred Hotels & Resorts and one Small Luxury Hotel of the World.

Have you been to Mykonos? Did you go across to Delos?

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Written by Anna Caswell



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