The most popular day trip from Athens, Delphi was once considered the heart of Ancient Greece. Here, visitors could consult the oracle for advice about the future or make offerings to Apollo and Athena. It was also the site of numerous games, including the ancient Olympic Games and Pythian Games.
I chose the easy option of joining a tour bus, which picked me up from my hotel and drove to the site. I did look into public transport options and there is the option of taking a public bus, however after a busy few days sightseeing and with a flight the next day I figured an organised tour would be less stressful! I spotted a good last minute deal when wandering around the city yesterday, just €59 for transport and guide. The usual going rate seems to be €93 without lunch or another €10 with – although some people on my bus had paid as much as €180 each for their tickets, depending on the agency. Some hostels offer discounts so keep an eye out.
The standard entrance fee for Delphi is €12, with half price tickets for e.g. over 65s and free for EU students.
First, we visited the main archeological site, containing a huge collection of important structures. I left the tour group almost immediately to wander around on my own, since they weren’t planning to visit the stadium and were being super slow due to needing to repeat everything multiple times in different languages. There are good information boards (Greek, English, French) next to all the important structures and plenty of information in guidebooks of online so personally I thought a guide was unnecessary.
First up was the former market area, where pilgrims could purchase items to donate or take home as souvenirs.
This is the point at which most tour groups stop, however a five minute hike further up the hill bought me to the simply breathtaking stadium, which is definitely worth the effort. Here the Pythian Games (and others) were held. From the viewing point, at the far end is the start line while the finish is located at the near end. On the left, one section of the benches is smoother and slightly raised, this is where the judges sat with the best views of the games.
Having seen all the sights in the main archeological site (which took about 1.5 hours, but I was rushing because the bus had a strict leaving time), I walked all the way down and out the entrance. From here, turning left and walking about 15 minutes brings you to some stairs leading down to the Sanctuary of Athena Nike – where the famous Tholos can be found.
Next, I headed back towards the main archeological site entrance and continued into the museum. The museum is definitely worth a visit – I spent around half an hour seeing the highlights, but you could easily spend an hour.
At this point, I rejoined the tour group and drove to the nearby village of Arachova. This seems a popular spot for tour groups to stop for a break, but really is just a standard ski resort and if I had been travelling alone wouldn’t have bothered visiting. There some great views of the water and a lovely little church and clock tower however.
Overall, a really great day trip from Athens, although if I was to do it again I’d try and find a group of friends and organise an independent tour so we could have more time exploring and less picking up people from various hotels around Athens.