The ancient site of Delphi, dedicated to Apollo, is one of our favorites of our 3 months in Greece. Located east ofAthens, the ruins are set on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. The environment is simply sublime, mountainous and planted with olive trees with the sea, in the distance, in the background.
We suggest you come with us to explore the site of Delphi classified as a World Heritage site.UNESCO. We give you below all our advices to enjoy 100% of this exceptional site, time of visit, opening hours, what to see and what to do ? as well as how to go to Delphi from Athens… We wish you a nice visit in this magical place !
- What to see and do in Delphi?
- How to get to Delphi from Athens?
- Our hotel recommendation in Delphi
- What to do around Delphi?
What to see and do in Delphi?
Do you have to be an expert in Greek history to visit the archaeological site?
We’ll reassure you right away that even if you’re not an expert on ancient Greece, chances are you’ll enjoy exploring Delphi for its incredible natural setting alone.
We advise you to visit the museum first (included in the price of the ticket) to better understand the ancient site. It is a beautiful and luminous museum, gathering objects (ofrandes, statues, vestiges of columns…) found on the sanctuary of Delphi. The little extra, for the French speakers, the explanatory panels are in French because the archaeological excavations were partly organized by France,
If you want to understand the full dimension of the archaeological site, we also advise you to watch some videos to update your knowledge, for example this short video “Understanding Ancient Greece“You can also take a paper guide or book a ticket with an audio-guide.
A little history!
Delphi is one of the most important religious sites of antiquity. It is in this place that the temple of Apollo was built. The Greeks came to consult the gods before making important decisions, who answered them through the voice of a priestess named Pythia.
Many decisions such as wars were made according to this oracle. A priori his predictions were not always easy to interpret and therefore not always very accurate, this is not very reassuring. Olympic Games were also organized in Delphi, every 4 years, just like in Olympia (which is less well preserved).
Why is Delphi considered the center of the world? because, according to the legend, Zeus released two eagles at the two ends of the world, their trajectories crossed above Delphi. Note that at that time the known world was not as extensive as today, perhaps Delphi represented more or less the center of the ancient Greek world.
The sanctuary of Delphi is one of the best preserved ancient sites in Greece. A village has covered the ruins for many years, this protective layer has allowed to preserve some ancient elements, likeHerculaneum and Pompeii in Italy.
How long does it take to visit Delphi?
It is a place that can be visited quickly, there is only one path that climbs, whose points of interest are located on both sides.
We spent 30 minutes in the museum and 1 hour visiting the ancient site. Note that we were not able to see the entire sanctuary because the access road to the stadium was being renovated.
We also made many stops to enjoy the incredible view. This makes it one of the most beautiful ancient sites in our opinion.
Moreover, we were there with our 2 years old daughter, we try to respect a maximum visit time of 2 hours to keep it pleasant for the whole family.
What are the hours to visit Delphi?
We advise you to arrive as soon as it opens in order to enjoy the site without too many visitors. From mid-morning onwards, the tourist buses arrive at the site.
Don’t forget that in summer it can get very hot very quickly, and the site is not planted with trees, so mornings are the best option. The end of the day is also a good option to enjoy the beautiful lights.
Delphi is open almost every day from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm in winter (November to March) and from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm in summer (April to October), we advise you to check the timetable and the days of closure on the official website.
What are the different options for visiting Delphi?
- Entrance ticket: the tickets are to be bought on the spot, 12€ in summer and the price is divided by 2 in winter. As for all the Greek sites, traveling in winter will allow you to save a lot of money and you will have the places all to yourself.
- Guided tour: if you wish to understand in depth the dimension of the archaeological site, you can opt for a guided tour, in French, all expenses are included and your guide will wait for you at the entrance of the site.
- Excursion from Athens: if you want to visit the sanctuary of Delphi without taking care of the organization, you can book an all-inclusive excursion(pick-up from your hotel, tickets, lunch and guide on site) with driver from your Athens.
- Two-day excursion to Delphi and Meteora from Athens: If you want to see the two emblematic sites of Greece in two days, you can inquire about this excursion.
What not to miss in Delphi?
To visit the ruins, you will not need to prepare an itinerary since there is only one passable path that climbs. All the visitors take the sacred way which leaves the agora (the entry of the site) to reach the temple of Apollo then the theater. The main things to see surround the sacred way.
The sacred way was lined with offerings, offered by the different Greek cities, in the form of temples, treasures, and columns.
- The Athenian Treasure: a small Doric temple, built in honor of Athenian victories, one of the few monuments to have been restored. Imagine that the sacred way was surrounded by small temples of this type.
- The temple of Apollo: it is in this temple that the Pythia, the sacred priestess, worked. At the level of the temple, the view is incredible !
- The theater: it could accommodate 5,000 spectators, it is one of the largest ancient theaters in Greece with that of Epidaurus, located in the Peloponnese that we strongly recommend.
- The stadium: it is one of the best preserved in Greece, 180 meters long, it hosted every four years the Pythian games, both sports and intellectual games. For information, it is usually closed for restoration in winter.
At the museum, don’t miss the replica of theomphalos, the sacred stone marking the center of the world and the status of the charioteerof Delphi, a life-size chariot driver.
Our essentials for visiting Delphi
This is a small site that is quick and easy to visit. We give you some tips to facilitate your exploration:
- Comfortable shoes, because the path climbs a little.
- A camera or your phone charged, because the place is extremely photogenic, it would be a shame to run out of battery.
- Enough water and food, there is only one snack bar on site.
- A small bag, because it is forbidden to enter the site with a bulky bag.
- During summer, take your hat and your sun cream,because Greek summer could be very hot !
That’s it, you’re ready to enjoy.
How to get to Delphi from Athens?
The site of Delphi is located about 180 kilometers northwest from Athens.It is one of the most visited ancient sites in Greece, so it is easily accessible from Athens. To visit Delphi from Athens, you have several options:
- By vehicle: we opted for this option, count 2h15 of road to reach Delphi from Athens, half of the journey is done on the highway then you will use mountain roads. We advise you to stop in Arachova, which you will cross. This small mountain village is located 10 minutes from Delphi on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. You can park along the road near the site.
The road before arriving at the sanctuary is incredible, you will go along fields of olive trees and you will have a magnificent view on the whole valley. We even rescued a bold land turtle that was trying to cross the road.
Pour comparer les prix des locations nous vous conseillons le site RentalCars qui compare le prix de centaines d’entreprises de location de voiture pour trouver le meilleur prix. Pour vous donner une idée de tarif, vous pourrez louer une voiture à partir de 30€ par jour, à l’aéroport d’Athènes.
- By public transport: several buses make the journey daily, count 3 hours of journey so if you wish to make the round trip in the day we advise you to take the first bus which leaves around 8 am. You can find all the information on the schedule and prices on the website of the company KTEL.
- Organized tour: to visit the site of Delphi without any organization, you can book an all-inclusive tour (pick-up at your hotel, tickets, lunch and guide on site) with driver from your Athens.
Our hotel recommendation in Delphi
We advise you to sleep in the village of Delphi located a few minutes walk from the ruins and to take an accommodation with a view on the valley, it would be a pity to miss it.
➡️Avec view of the valley: Fedriades Delphi Hotel, a charming hotel in the center of Delphi, you can walk to the ruins, with breakfast.
Where to eat in Delphi?
We recommend the tavern“To Patriko Mas“, a 10-minute walk from the site, which offers a breathtaking view of the valley and the sea in the distance, both from the interior and from the patio with trees.
The food is delicious, everything is home made. We took the local dessert, obviously with a lot of honey, a killer even if it sticks to the teeth and fingers. The prices are slightly higher than average but still reasonable. We were delighted to find this small authentic address in such a touristy place. By the way, it is one of the best restaurants of our stay.
What to do around Delphi?
Delphi is in the center of mainland Greece, so you can either choose to explore the north, by visiting the Meteora site. (geological formations housing monasteries) and Thessaloniki with its magnificent beaches, or explore its capital Athens or head south to visit the Peloponnese region.
It’s a small and lovely mountain village only 10 minutes away from Delphi. It is a famous ski resort in winter.
The Greek capital is a must-see during your stay in Greece, with theAcropolis the most visited ancient site in Greece. We will quickly devote a series of articles to Athens.
Olympia and the Peloponnese
Olympia is the other must-see ancient Greek site, located further south in the Peloponnese. The setting is still less nice than in Delphi. It is also a good gateway to visit the Peloponnese region. We will also dedicate a series of articles to this region that we have loved.
Delphi is an ancient site nestled in a sublime natural environment, we loved writing this article to immerse ourselves in this visit and in our photos.
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