Greece is is full of ancient temples and theaters, just think of the world-famous Parthenon at the Acropolis in the center of Athens or of the Great Epidauros Theater. Though we ourselves have visited most of these great archaeological sites the country has to offer, this trip to Delphi was a truly unique experience.
From Athens there are many ways to reach Delphi, which is situated about 180 km from the capital. If you do not want to rent a car – which is something we recommend as you can enjoy everything in your own time – you can take buses daily to the small ski-resort Arachova from the Athens bus station for a small cost and from there it is then very close to Delphi (about 9 km). One can easily take a taxi there only for a few euros.
We drove to Delphi, going out on the big national road (Kifisou) towards the town of Lamia and then we took the exit to Delphi and Arachova. There are good signes all the way so the car journey is easy and takes just over 2 hours from Athens.
The thing that hits you the very second you exit the big road towards Arachova is nature! High and leafy green mountains welcome you to these sparsely populated areas. We say it again: Greece is greener than you may think! When you get up on the mountains, the views are striking! One can easily understand why the ancient Greeks chose this place to build Delphi that had such an important significance for the ancient world.
Delphi was then known as the “center of the world” where heaven and earth met and here you could find the famous oracle that one could ask all possible questions, whether rich or poor.
When you reach and drive past the town of Arachova, which we will return to later, it is only a few minutes drive down to Delphi as said. Entrance to the temple and the museum is 12 euros for adults and 6 euros for seniors and students. There is a magical aura over this place as it almost climbs amphitheatrically on Mount Parnassos, and you actually walk up the mountain to see all temples, especially the Temple of Apollo, once the most important sacred site in the Greek world along side other buildings, and offcourse the theater and the stadium which both could hold thousands of spectators.
The view is simply unique with all the mountains, slopes and valleys that are covered in dense forest so far as the eye can reach. It is worth every euro and hour to wander around the small trails leading up the mountain as well as to visit the museum, which in its 13 halls has an incredible collection of sculptures and other findings of the area. There is also a nice little cafe here where you can take a well-earned break.
But a day trip in these areas does not have to start and end with a visit to Delphi. As we said earlier, you pass the town – and a popular ski resort in the winter months – of Arachova. We recommend that you stay here and have a lunch or a coffee or why not stay longer as the city has many nice hotels and guesthouses to offer? Arachova is a real gem and it is situated 1046 meters high above the sea on Mount Parnassos and looks over the valleys far there below. Arachova sort of climbs on the mountain with its many and narrow stone-lined alleys with their beautiful traditional stone houses. The city is also adorned by a bell tower that was built in 1860.
This picturesque town has just over 2000 inhabitants and is actually a town with cosmopolitan nightlife and many bars and restaurants that are open all year round, but the winter months are when the city peaks as many athenians come here to enjoy some skiing.
On your way back to Athens, if you come from there or are going there, you can also stop at the larger city of Levadia which apparently has the best meat in Greece! But more about that in a future post …