Planning a great Greece itinerary for your next trip? Don’t miss a visit to Delphi and learn all about the Oracle. This world heritage site is a must-do!
Just about every Greek myth mentions the oracles and everyone goes to Delphi to hear their fortune be told. We would be no different. What would the oracle proclaim for us?
Delphi, long revered by the ancient Greeks as the center of the world, is home to yet another amazing UNESCO world heritage site in Greece. As the “navel” of the universe, the most important person to dwell there was the Oracle.
Jim and I have long been fascinated by Oracle stories and fables, so we were anxious to put this as a stop on our Greek road trip.
In this article:
We want to share all the fun we had in Delphi, a small central Greek town. It houses the world heritage site of an ancient city that was very important around the 6th century BC. We will tell you about:
- The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Delphi
- The town of Delphi and where to eat and stay
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What Was Delphi Most Famous For?
The Temple of Apollo on Mt. Parnassus was revered in ancient times as the place to go before attempting any ambitious endeavor.
You would make a significant sacrifice, confer with the oracle, and reap your rewards. Many influential citizens of the time did just that, and the Delphi Oracle is mentioned over and over in history.
We went not really knowing what to expect, but looking for a few things: one – the oracle or some tales of the oracles and what they did and predicted; and two – King Midas’ throne.
Supposedly he had made his way to Delphi and had given a very handsome and expensive throne as an offering to Apollo.
In the end, we learned more about the oracle because the museum only briefly mentions Midas, and we were highly disappointed about that.
The Archaeological Site and Museum at Delphi
Visiting the Archaeological Site in Delphi is one of the highest-rated activities for a trip to Greece, and with good reason. The collection of artifacts in the museum and the individual excavations on site really bring the story of the oracle to life.
These are ruins, however, so some imagination is needed to get an idea of how large the Delphi complex was in its prime. Still, the gymnasium and amphitheater are some of the best-preserved structures of their kind.
Climbing through the wooded hillside offers a shady green pine-scented trip through time. You can, and should, hike as far up as the gymnasium, or stadium. It is the largest and best preserved in Greece and well worth the hike.
My recommendation? Bring a small picnic lunch of olives, bread, tzatziki, and figs along and enjoy some wine and snacks while sitting on the stone seats, taking in the expansive view looking out over the valley and imagining the cheers of the crowd as their favorite athletes came sprinting around the track.
I also recommend visiting the museum before hiking around the site. Inside, you’ll find collections of artifacts that were donated as sacrifices to Apollo, his priests and priestess, and the oracles.
The curators have gone to great lengths to identify the items and show exactly which area on the site they came from. So you can see if an item was offered at the temple of Apollo, or “tossed” into the votive pit along the Sacred Way. Fascinating!
Cost: Entrance to the museum and site are under a combined ticket at the current cost of 12 euro for adults, children under 18 are free. However, the site has several free days, check out their website for more details.
For more information about the site and the museum, or to check for closures or free days, visit the website below.
Delphi Archaeological Museum
Delphi 330 54, Greece
+30 2265 082312
The Town of Delphi and Dinner
We didn’t get to spend much time in the town itself, but it is small and filled with places to eat and stay. We spent the better part of the afternoon, about four hours, between the museum and the site, there was that much to see and do.
Afterwards we drove up to our hotel, checked in, and went out in search of a Taverna. Luckily enough, we found a crowded wine bar and restaurant just up the hill from our inn that had one last table for four, named Vakhos Taverna.
The place was crowded with Greek families enjoying a night out, drinking the tavern’s homemade wine, and feasting on mezes (appetizers), mains, and desserts. We, of course, had a liter or two of the red wine which was delicious, and we tried a few of the mezes that were recommended to us by the neighboring tables.
We stayed long into the night attempting to sing along as the crowd got livelier and livelier. I’m not sure what the ancient oracle of Delphi would have proclaimed for our Greek “invasion,” but I would call it a complete success!
Apollonos 31, Delfi 330 54, Greece
+30 2265 083186
Where to Stay
Delphi is a small town but there are several options for accommodations and food in a range of quality levels, but the Fedriades Delphi Hotel is our pick, due to its location. Clean, comfortable, and friendly, it’s one of the best places in town.
Getting to Delphi from Athens
By Car: Delphi is about 3 hours driving time out of Athens along, mostly, national highways in good condition
By Bus: Regular bus service is available between Athens and Delphi aboard Ktel-N.Fokidas buses; approximate travel time is also 3 hours
No matter how you get there, go to Delphi! It was one of our favorite parts of our road trip through Greece. It’s scenic, and the site itself is expansive and impressive. We loved the museum, and the town was full of friendly folk ready to show us a good time.
Author Bio: Jim Vail, is a travel, food, and video creator and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 15 years. For many years he lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands, and he’s visited over 90 countries.
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