Delphi and oracle: an inseparable bond. A fundamental stop for lovers of ancient Greece and for those who seek the places of myth, the name of Delphi is inextricably linked to the most venerated and respected oracle of Greek religion.
According to ancient beliefs, the oracle was a woman, the Pythia, priestess of the temple of Apollo at Delphi: it was she who, surrounded by mysterious vapors, pronounced the expected and sometimes feared response. Her answer, although enigmatic, deeply conditioned the choices of the consultant on very serious issues, such as the decision to enter the war or the exact place where to found a new city.
Walking through the rugged landscape of the mountains on which the ancient ruins rise, it is not difficult to be pervaded by mysticism and to wish you could still invoke a powerful oracle to clarify your ideas on important issues.
Unfortunately, you won’t find anyone to tell you what to do in life, but on the other hand, the remains of millenary buildings immersed in a natural context of extraordinary beauty, exciting sunsets, a lively city center full of bars and typical restaurants and a multitude of paths to walk in peace await you.
And do not forget that Delphi is thenavel of the world, or so the ancients believed: thanks to the two eagles launched by Zeus in opposite directions, which met again right here in Delphi. A reason why right in Delphi there will be: come and discover it.
Most tourists come to Delphi with a day tour to visit the attractions related to the ancient legends that have made this city famous throughout the world and that certainly represent the top attractions.
However, if you have a little more time it is worth stopping by because there are other interesting things to see in Delphi, albeit less known.
Ancient Delphi is the reason why everyone comes here, a magical place without time. What we can admire today unfortunately does not give the idea of the opulence and magnificence of this city in ancient times, but it is enough to understand the importance and to be seduced by the millennial charm of these places.
Past the ticket booths, an ancient stone-paved sacred way will lead you down the slopes of the mountain towards the ancient ruins.
The must-see attraction at Ancient Delphi is of course the Sanctuary of Apollo, considered the home of the oracle.
It is a complex of buildings, streets, statues and columns dominated by the Temple of Apollo, dating back to the 4th century BC, and also including a theater and a stadium (considered the best preserved in all of Greece). From the highest tiers of the theater you can enjoy a splendid view of the ancient city and the mountains in which it is immersed.
The other attractions of the archaeological park include the ancient gymnasium, the Castalia spring where the faithful purified themselves before consulting the oracle and the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia which also includes a tholos from the 4th century BC.
This last one is the most photographed monument of Delphi: it is a circular structure formed by a base with three steps on which 20 columns rested. Currently, three can be seen, reconstructed in the 1940s in such a way as to make clear the distinction between the original (lighter) and restored (darker) parts.
Many of the treasures of Ancient Delphi have been moved to a location suitable for conservation and exhibition: the Archaeological Museum of Delphi, a must-see attraction for lovers of classical Greece, history and art.
Modern and functional, it is a magnificent museum with 14 rooms. The highlights of the collection are the Charioteer, a bronze statue celebrating a victory during the Pythian Games of 478 or 474 BC, and the sculpture of the Three Dancers on top of the Acanthus Column.
You will also be able to admire fragments of metopes from the Treasury of the Athenians, parts of the frieze of the Treasury of the Siphni, the so-called twins of Argos (two kouroi, statues of young men) and the omphalós, a carved stone that in ancient times was positioned at the point that was considered the center of the world.
Unmissable for all lovers of theater and Greek history is the Museum of Delphic Festivals. Housed in an elegant early 20th century house, the museum is dedicated to Greek poet Angelos Sikelianos and his wife Eva Palmer, who worked to make Delphi one of the nerve centers of Greek theater.
On display you will find photographs of the poet and his wife intent on recreating the solemn atmosphere of the ancient theater.
Not only antiquity: Delphi is a modern city in which the cultural ferments are more lively than ever, as evidenced by the foundation of the European Center of Delphi, a cultural center wanted by former Prime Minister Constantine Karamanlis to promote culture in Delphi and make it an international reference point.
The center is used for performances, exhibitions and conferences and also includes an interesting sculpture park.
The best way to admire the breathtaking scenery of Delphi and its surroundings is on foot, walking along hiking trails of epic scope.
About 18 km from Delphi is the magnificent Corycian Cave, the largest in Parnassus, once the place where Pan and the nymphs were worshiped. It can be reached on foot with a fascinating if challenging walk: if you decide to do it you will need the whole day; leave with appropriate clothing for trekking and supplies of water and food.
Another popular walk is the one that leads from Delphi to Chrissò and Kirra, easier than the previous one because it is mostly downhill.
The best way to visit Delphi is with a guided tour. Most depart from Athens, below are those that we recommend, perhaps in combination with other attractions such as Meteora.
Delphi is one of the most visited touristic places of Greece and the offer of hotels and b&b is quite wide; instead there are few apartments and vacation homes.
Low cost travelers will have no difficulty in finding an unpretentious room in a guesthouse or a small family-run hotel; those who want more comfort can choose between 3 or 4 star hotels, including some boutique hotels and luxury hotels with swimming pool.
Accommodations in Delphi are concentrated in the modern part of the city, from which you can easily reach Ancient Delphi. Despite the wide offer, it is always advisable to book in advance.
The easiest and fastest way to get to Del phi is to rent a car. The city is about 170 km from Athens and can be easily reached along the E75 highway.
Those who prefer to travel by public transport can take a bus from Athens; the duration of the trip is about three hours and runs daily. It is not instead possible to reach Delphi by train because the two cities are not connected.
Another possibility is to visit Delphi with a day tour departing from Athens or you can choose a longer tour that also combines the visit to the Meteors.