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- 1 Introduction
- 2 Getting to Delphi
- 3 Transportation in Delphi
- 4 Accommodation
- 5 Activities
- 6 Food
- 7 Overall
Delphi makes its mark as a much-visited attraction in central Greece, owing to the fact that it was the place where the oracle of Delphi (Pythia) made her prophecies in the past. It was once considered to be the centre of the Earth, a significant spiritual centre of the ancient Greek world. Legend states that Zeus once sent two eagles flying from opposite ends of the world and they crossed paths over Delphi. Many people do day trips to Delphi to visit the ruins of Delphi as well as the temple of Athena. My personal recommendation would be to actually stay a night in Delphi. This allows you to appreciate the town of Delphi better, and get to visit the ruins without the burdens of tourist groups and the scorching Greek sun.
Getting to Delphi
To get to Delphi, there are a few ways, depending on your origin. These are the two most common origins that people use.
To get to Delphi from Athens, there is a bus that runs daily. It takes about 3.5 hours. Below is a screenshot of the bus timings (summer time) from Athens to Delphi and vice versa.
Price: €9.9 one way (reduced), €16.40 one way (normal)
To get to Delphi from Meteora, you take the public bus and change 3 times: once at Trikala, once at Lamia, once at Amfissa. Once you reach Lamia, you purchase a new ticket to get to Delphi. Attached below are the screenshots of the relevant bus timings (coa August 2017)
Price: €15 (Lamia to Meteora, includes change at Trikala), €10 (Lamia to Delphi, includes change at Amfissa)
Tip: Do tell the bus driver where your stop is. They are usually helpful and will not have any intentions of letting you getting lost. My bus drivers all waved me to exit the bus at my changing stop!
Transportation in Delphi
People generally use their own 2 feet in Delphi to get around. However, there are instances in which you would get pretty tired and thus there is the option of using the bus, either to get around the town or to get to the Delphian Ruins.
To get back to Athens or to other locations from Delphi, do kindly purchase your tickets from In Delphi Cafe (which acts as the current “bus ticket counter” for Delphi)
I stayed in Hotel Lefas. This was a legitimate hotel that had amazing rooms for the price. Quite unfortunately, they did not have hostels in Delphi (I really tried most websites to try and find hostels 🙁 Thus, I had to spend a total of €25 / night for a private room. This was terrible for solo travellers in my opinion. However, if you are travelling as a couple or in a group, this would not be too bad.
The air-conditioning was perfect and cooled the room fast. The bed was also adequate with comfortable cushioning. The bathroom was very well-equipped with all the necessities. I was definitely not used to this extravagance (a private room) when I travel solo and thus was quite shocked at the start. Look at those well-packaged toiletries 🙂 The room also has a balcony that offers a fantastic view of the beautiful surroundings. It was amazing just looking at the scenery.
The only issue I would have about Hotel Lefas was the dark corridors. Although the lift (yes, they had a lift which was amazing) was probably about 5 metres away from my room, the badly lit corridor gave me a sense of unease. However, this is only a personal opinion and most people would find it to be alright.
Opening Hours: 08.00- 20.00 (Last admission 19.30)
Price (includes admission to Delphi Museum): €12 (normal), €6 (reduced)
Please view the website here to check for free admission days and holidays (when there are altered opening hours)
Delphi was once known as the centre of the ancient world. Its history dates back to 510-523 BC. Leaders, merchants and even ordinary people would travel and meet at Delphi to seek the opinion of the Oracle before making major decisions. The Oracle supposedly channelled the spirit of Apollo before giving her advice. Unfortunately, Delphi’s mystic miracle started to decline when the Romans came and razed buildings to the ground. However, the impressive ruins still tell a lot about the place.
The scenic mountain views were definitely gorgeous as I walked from my hotel to the ruins. This is because Delphi lies on a slope of Parnassos mountain, overlooking a valley with a river running through the middle.
I reached the Delphian Ruins in the early morning and was delighted at the lack of tourists. I got to view the Sacred Way, the Temple of Apollo, Treasury of Athens, and the Delphian Theatre.
The Sacred Way
These pillars held important monuments and treasures by various cities in the country. However, only the bases remain today.
Take note of : bases
Temple / Sanctuary of Apollo
Legend states that Apollo defeated a dragon here in order to protect the naval of the Earth, the “omphalos” , which is a religious stone artifact on display in the Delphi Museum today. Apparently, it was razed to the ground, but rebuilt , but again destroyed by a massive earthquake around 373 BC.
Take note of : base, few reconstructed columns of temple
Treasury of Athens
The only building to have enough preserved material to be almost entirely reconstructed, it held the money and treasures of Delphi.
They say that Delphi was the precursor of the modern Olympics , with the Pythian Games being held every four years.
Tip: Try not to be lazy 🙂 and walk all the way to the top of the complex. You will be able to see the Delphi Stadium, where the Pythian Games were held every 4 years in ancient times. It was worth the extra 15 minutes of climbing. It is said to be the most preserved stadium in Greece.
Tip: I would suggest going staying in Delphi for a night and going to the ruins early in the morning when they open (around 0800). This will make your experience a much more fulfilling one without streams of tourists milling around in the late morning to early afternoon. Another alternative would be go late in the evening (around 1600-1800) when the sun would not be that scorching. By this time, the tour groups would also have left and you would have the whole site to yourself 🙂
Opening Hours: Monday: 10.00 – 17.00 (Last admission 16.40) Tuesday-Sunday: 8.00-20.00 (Last admission 19.40) Sunday 9/4/2017: 9.00-16.00 (Last admission 15.40)
Price: (includes admission to Delphi Ruins): €12 (normal), €6 (reduced)
Please view the website here to check for free admission days and holidays (when there are altered opening hours)
The Delphian Museum houses many ancient archaeological findings, such as sculptures, statues and other significant objects donated to the sanctuary. It shows how prominent Delphi was in the religious, political and artistic world in the past.
There is a small cafeteria if you are hungry after roaming about the ruins. If you’re not a history buff (like me), you would probably take only 1.5 hours to complete the entire museum.
Tip: Since the museum is air-conditioned, I would recommend visiting it during the late morning or early afternoon (1030 to 1600), when the sun is at its strongest. Leave the ruins for the early morning, or the late evening. Be reminded that this only works if you are staying a night in Delphi, which is a marvellous idea in my opinion.
Click on the thumbnails to enlarge them.
Temple of Athena
Price: free entry
Besides the Delphian Ruins and the Delphian Museum, there is also another less commonly known attraction just down the opposite site of the road (where the ruins are). Located more downhill, the sanctuary of Athena, or Marmaria is known for its circular temple Tholos. A circular structure is unusual for Greek temples. I felt that this part of Delphi was much quieter and less visited than the ruins and museum. Walking around the site, you could admire the buildings with the views of the valley in the background. It makes for stunning photographs as well.
This site took me about 20 minutes to visit.
Tip: Most people come here after visiting both the Delphian museum and ruins as it is down the road. I suggest doing the same.
There is also a good photo spot to take your jump shots, with the scenic mountains as the background for the photo. The google map diagram for the location is given below. To get to the spot, you might have to walk through some overgrown lallang grass and weeds but the end results are definitely worth it. Do bring along a tripod or anything that can be used as a stand to prop up your camera / phone. I had to jump multiple times to get the photo right, but it was all worth it. The pictures I caught here were one of the best jump shots I ever gotten during my travels.
TripAdvisor review: here
Prices: Pork Souvlaki (€8)
This was the first restaurant that I tried when I reached Delphi, as I had read up on it on TripAdvisor. True enough, it lived up to its #1 spot on Tripadvisor’s list of Where to Eat in Delphi. The Pork Souvlaki was simply delicious. The only downside to this restaurant would be the fairly numerous flies that were buzzing around while you were having your lunch. It would be helpful if they burnt an insect coil. In spite of its shortcomings, I would recommend trying this restaurant at least once during your stay in Delphi, no matter whether you’re here on a day trip or staying overnight.
Elia by Kastalia Boutique Hotel
Tripadvisor review: here
Prices: Carbonara (€8), Revani (€4)
Amongst the restaurants that I tried, I reckon that this was the one with the best view, overlooking the valley and river. It was also a brilliant location to view the sunsets over the mountains. The restaurant here was part of the boutique hotel above it. However, they do welcome guests from other areas to dine at their fantastic restaurant. I ordered the classic Carbonara and loved the taste. The spaghetti was very well-cooked, and fresh ingredients added made for a delightful meal. I also loved the ambience as the music they played here was extremely soothing – definitely well-suited for a quiet and reflective dinner. And, not to mention that the WiFi was incredible, perfect for digital nomads!
One thing that I would like to mention is not to take their traditional sweet cake -the Revani which costs a whooping €4. Basically, it reminded me of a butter cake that my mum makes back at home. It was terribly disappointing, unless you’re comfortable paying €4 for a piece of butter cake drizzled with some orange syrup .
Lefas Cafe and Restaurant
Tripadvisor review: here (the review page also includes reviews for the hotel as well, since they do not have a separate page just for their restaurant)
Prices: Risotto Special (€10)
Hotel Lefas has its own restaurant as well. I just had to try the restaurant of the hotel that I was residing in at least once. I would say that the portions here are massive. However, the taste and flavour did not impress. I ordered the Risotto Special but it turned out to be an average one. However, if you’re one that values portion size over taste, this would definitely be worth your buck.
In Delphi Cafe (also to purchase bus tickets)
Prices: Hot Chocolate (€2.50)
I visited this cafe on my last day in Delphi. This is also where most people would wait while waiting for the bus back to Athens as it is just beside the bus station. And, it has air-conditioning, what a blessing! I would recommend ordering the hot chocolate as they have really big portions (cups) as well.
Delphi is indeed a great place to delve into Ancient Greece. Supposedly, you can feel mystical auras surround you when you visit the ruins. Unfortunately, that didn’t really happen to me but I definitely was enlightened by all the culture and history that was around me. It is a good pick to balance your itinerary , especially when you are going to the Islands after Mainland Greece. And, as I suggested above, do consider staying a night in this little town, just to wake up to the the beautiful scenery.