Mykonos & Delos sailing holidays

The bare rocky island of Mykonos - Μύκονος was once one of the most important trading centres in the western Aegean.

Its arid and only moderately fertile soil permits only a modest development of agriculture, but its beautiful beaches have made it one of the most popular holiday islands in the Aegean.

Indeed, the new marina port is growing in popularity and is actually becoming a small charter base from which you can hire charter yachts to start your sailing holiday. Moreover, it has a flourishing craft industry and Mykonos is the starting point from which to visit the neighbouring island of Delos, the historical centre of the Cyclades.

A breezy sunset in Mykonos old port with Mt Apollonia peninsula in the distance separated by Korfos bay.

Previous Tinos • Andros ↑

Sailing map of Mykonos - Yacht charters in Greece
Mykonos, Delos, Rineia or Rhenea - Ρήνεια islands sailing map

Next island: Serifos ↓

Mykonos old port in the foreground and the useful yacht marina and cruiseliner docks somewhat detached from the actual charm of the capital.
Visiting (charter) yachts are not welcome in the old port: use the east basin of the marina.
Rent scooters  .

History of Mykonos

According to legend Mykonos was the rock with which Poseidon slew the giants.

The island's history was closely bound up with that of Tinos. Unlike Tinos, however, it was occupied by the Turks, though it contrived to maintain a considerable degree of independence under Turkish rule.

The chief place on the island is Mykonos or Chora, cube-shaped whitewashed houses with numerous churches and the eminent windmills, extending in a semicircle round a bay on the west coast. It occupies the site of the ancient city of the same name.

The local museum features archaeological material from Rineia and Delos. The most interesting of the churches is the Paraportiani Church, which is built on four levels.

The mascotte of Myconos for more than 30 years was a tame pelican named Pétros. After his universally lamented death in December 1985 he was stuffed and can now be seen in the local museum.

Delos island

Delos - Δήλος, is likewise a rocky island and lies 5 nm south-west of Mykonos and it is one of the smallest of the Cyclades.

According to the ancient myth Delos was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. The destinies of the island turned on its importance as a pan-Hellenic shrine.

Mykonos • Delos

The extensive area of remains excavated under the direction of French archaeologists from 1873 onwards is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece.

East of Mykonos lies the rocky island of Tragonisi or Dragonisi, with sea-caves frequented by seals.

Yacht charters

Mykonos island is itself a minor yacht charter base. Other starting points are the yacht charter bases of Paros, Parikia port and Athens, Alimos marina.
The iconic windmils of Mykonos' most memorable main hub.

The earliest settlers on Delos, in the 3rd millennium BCE, were Phoenicians and Carians.

After their displacement by Ionians in the 1st millennium BCE the island became the main centre of the cult of Apollo, and splendid games – said to have been originally established by Theseus – were held annually in honour of the god.

Delos map

The Heraion of Samos was a large sanctuary to the goddess Hera.
Delos archaeological site map. Within the dotted lines see close-up below
  1. Area of the Sanctuaries of Apollo and Artemis
  2. Area of the Sacred Lake
  3. Area of the Theatre
  4. Slope of the Mount Cynthus (Kynthos)
  5. Mount Cynthus (Kynthos)
  6. Area of the Stadium
  7. Harbours
  1. Delian Temple of Apollo
  2. Athenian Temple of Apollo
  3. Poros Temple of Apollo
  4. Colossus of the Naxians
  5. Temple of Artemis
  6. Keraton
  7. Treasuries
  8. House of the Naxians
  9. Ekklesiasterion
  10. Thesmophoreion
  11. Stoa of the Naxians
  12. Bouleuterion
  13. Prytaneion
  14. Neorion or Bull Monument
  15. Stoa of Antigonus
  16. Propylon
  17. Sacred Road
  18. Agora of the Delians
  19. South Stoa
  20. Stoa of Philippus
  21. Agora of the Competaliasts
  22. Agora of Theophrastus
  23. Hypostyle Hall or Stoa of Poseidon
  24. Sacred Lake
  25. Lion Terrace
  26. Temple of Leto
  27. Temple of Twelve Gods
  28. Agora of Italians
  29. Sanctuary of Dionysus or Stoibadeion
  30. Sacred Harbour
  1. House of the Lake
  2. House of Diadumenos
  3. House of Poseidoniasts
  4. Granite Palaestra
  5. Trading Harbour
  6. Theatre
  7. House of Kleopatra
  8. House of Dionysus
  9. House of Trident
  10. House of Masks
  11. House of Dolphins
  12. House of Hermes
  13. House of Inopos
  14. Samothrakeion and Memorial of Mithridates
  15. Sanctuary of Syrian Gods
  16. Serapeion A
  17. Serapeion B
  18. Serapeion C, including Temple of the Egyptians Gods and Temple of Isis
  19. Temple of Hera
  20. Sanctuary of Agathe Tykhe or Philadelpheion
  21. Cave of Cynthus (Kynthos)
  22. Cynthian Sanctuary of Zeus and Athena
  23. Hippodrome
  24. Archegesion
  25. Stadium
  26. Gymnasium
  27. Synagoga
  28. (Archaeological Museum) (modern)

   Archaic period
   Classical period
   Hellenistic period
   Roman period
The Heraion of Samos was a large sanctuary to the goddess Hera.
Detailed map of the Delos sites.

In the 6th c. BCE Peisistratos carried out a purification (catharsis) of the island by removing all tombs from the area round the sanctuary, and in a second purification in 426 – 425 BCE all births, deaths and burials on the island were prohibited and the existing tombs were removed to the neighbouring island of Rineia or Rhenea.

A lion sculpture in marble [replica] from the island of Delos, Donated by the citizens of Naxos in the 7th century BCE (the originals are in the museum of Delos). Originally nine or even as many as 16 lions lined an avenue from the sanctuary complex dedicated to Apollo to the harbour of Skardanas.

When the Panionic League was founded after the Persian Wars, the Temple of Apollo was selected as the treasury of the League.

In 454 BCE, however, Athens carried off the contents of the treasury and reduced Delos and the other islands to a condition of dependence. In 314 BCE Delos asserted its independence of Athens and thereafter developed a prosperous trade which made it the economic centre of the archipelago.

Foreign trading guilds including the Hermaists (Roman) and the Poseidoniasts (Syrians from Berytos, present-day Beirut) established themselves on the island.

In 166 BCE the Romans gained control of Delos, and thereafter assigned it to Athens. This brought a revival of the island's prosperity, particularly after the destruction of Corinth.

The end came with the devastation of Delos by Mithridates in 88 BCE, followed by its complete destruction by pirates in 69 BCE. Thereafter the island was almost uninhabited, and when Pausanias visited it in the 2nd c. he saw only the custodians of the deserted sanctuary.

A fresh settlement was established in Christian times, but this was only a brief life.

Dilos regulations

In accordance of Rule 14 of the special Rules of Mykonos harbour:

  • Disembarkation of persons is forbidden from any vessel in Delos island as well as the approach (passage, stay, anchorage), closer than 500 m.
  • Vessels where crew/passengers wish to visit the island may approach and anchor in its harbour ONLY during the hours fow which the archaeological site is open (paragraph 3). That is daily except Monday, from 08:00 – 15:00 hours. It is also closed on 1 January, 25 March, Good Friday, Easter Sunday – Monday, 1 May, 25 – 26 December.
  • Applications for vessels to approach for special reasons, in restricted areas and hours, will be examined by the Harbour Office at Mykonos (paragraph 3). It is also possible to anchor just south-west of Megali Rematia islet and take the dinghy to Delos port.

Despite the strict regulations we have seen several yachts spending the night anchored in the channel between Delos and Reneia (S or SE of Rematia in northerlies and NW of Rematia in southerlies).

Furthermore, several visitors of my website have told me that yachts are condoned, even permitted, to visit Delos and enter Delos port (till 15:00 hours) when the exhibitions close. Locals say that the Fournos / Fourni Bay, 500 m further south, is the best anchorage (there are traces of an ancient harbour there) and for spending the night Rineia will provide good shelter from the Meltemi, which funnels into this narrow and shallow channel with steep waves. To avoid any offence, we use Skinos bay on Rineia.

The island of Rineia - Ρήνεια is west of Delos and is also known as Megali Dilos, the ancient Reneia. After the second purification it became the burial-place for Delos.

All Greek isles and next Cycladic island is Serifos

The façade of the Doric Temple of Isis, Delos. (2nd c. BCE). Partially visible in foreground left is the altar to the goddess.