Known as the navel of the world by ancient Greeks, Delphi is only two hours away from Greece’s capital, Athens. A favorite destination among visitors and locals, the ancient site of Delphi is a UNESCO-listed monument with a strong historical and cultural importance. Here are 10 reasons why, if pressed for time, you should visit it over Olympia.
A mystical place where mythology and history collide, the ancient sanctuary of Delphi often leaves the visitor breathless. As the most important oracle in ancient Greece, it welcomed kings and mortals, coming from across the ancient world to hear from the oracle of god Apollo. The site, which includes the temple of Apollo, the ancient theater, the Castalian spring, the gymnasium and stadium where athletes used to compete, the tholos of Athena and many other vestiges of the past, allows visitors to get a glimpse of life in ancient times.
Central Greece is a highly mountainous area, and the ancient site is located on a slope of Mount Parnassus, and overlooks the coastal plain and the valley of olive groves. The nearby modern Delphi offers accommodation and dining options, and is located less than 30 minutes from the Corinthian Gulf, so visitors can enjoy the pleasures of mountain fun and the beach.
On top of the impressive monuments you will get to see on the site, you can also have a stop by the archaeological museum next door. The museum, where the history of the Sanctuary is displayed in 14 rooms, allows visitors to learn the political, religious and social history of Delphi. The museum also includes several artefacts from the site and the surrounding region, including two magnificent sculptures of the Charioteer and the Sphinx.
Situated on the south-western slopes of Mount Parnassos (or Parnassus), Delphi boats several options for mountain activities, such as winter sports, thanks to the Parnassos ski resort, the largest in the country. Peaking at an altitude of 2,260 meters, Parnassos is covered in snow for long periods of time, allowing you to enjoy some ski fun for longer than a few weeks.
Delphi is conveniently located less than 25 minutes away from the mountainous town of Arachova, a little town combining tradition with modern infrastructures and amenities. Located near the Parnassos ski resort, Arachova, a major destination during winter, is still worth a visit during spring and summer as you can relax on the outdoor terraces of cafés and restaurants. The gastronomy of Arachova is also known for its delicious mountain products, such as wild boar meat, free-range goats and local cheese.
Founded in the modern town of Delphi in 1977, the European Cultural Center of Delphi (ECCD) was established to serve international cultural interest, and establish cultural principles common to all Europeans. Summer marks the launch of several cultural activities and events, including music and theatrical performances at the modern open-air theater Frynihos.
Located in the heart of the region of Roumeli, Delphi enjoys a rich gastronomic tradition, mostly based on meat products such as sheep and goats. So while you are there, make sure to find an authentic taverna where you can sample the local fare, which includes lamb and goat often roasted on a spit, wild greens, feta cheese, potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, pligouri and trahana (a sort of yogurt-based granular pasta).
Thanks to its convenient location, Delphi has everything adventure lovers and adrenaline seekers love. With hills and valleys, coastal towns and beaches, there is so many activities visitors can do. Whether you are into skiing and snowboarding, hiking or rock climbing, paragliding and parapenting, cycling, kayaking or Nordic walking, there are plenty of fun activities on offer.
The region counts many small mountainous villages and settlements, which have all preserved their traditional character and charm. Why not try to press pause for once, take the car and follow the mountain road and drive until you find a charming little village that invites you in. Even if you only drop by for a coffee in the café by the main square, you will surely appreciate the fresh air and simplicity of life.
Located 35 minutes away from modern Delphi, Galaxidi is a charming seaside town where it seems time has come to a standstill. Elegant neoclassical mansions and old captains’ houses form the bulk of the harbor town. The presence of the first Greek Maritime Museum betrays the maritime past of the town. If you are looking for a place to swim and relax, the little coves near Hirolakas port are perfect for swimming. Serene and not commercial at all, Galaxidi is a peaceful little town you should not miss.