As soon as we planned to visit Greece, we knew a visit to Delphi was going to be a must. Every kid who grows up learning about Greek myths and history has heard about the oracle of Delphi. Even UNESCO has recognized the importance of the site at Delphi, and the world wide fame of the site was a part of their decision to inscribe it. But when it came to planning a trip here, things got a little more difficult.
As we began researching our trip to Delphi, the majority of the information we could find was about day trips from Athens. But with a driving time of roughly three hours each direction, I wondered just how much of Delphi would I be able to experience on one of these tours? Also, as parents traveling with a young child, we knew that 6 hour in a car or on a bus would be totally out of the question.
And yet it seemed like every other traveler went to Delphi on a day trip. Spent hours driving to the site, only to rush around the world famous ruins so that they could get back on the bus and go back to Athens.
We thought that Delphi deserved better than that.
Delphi is more than just the UNESCO archeological site. The town itself sits beautifully perched against the side of a mountain. The cobbled streets meander up and down the hill, with stairs acting as shortcuts between them. It’s a nice relaxing little town, where you can escape the normal chaos that is Greece.
We decided to stay the night in Delphi. We found a cute family run hotel called Acropole Delphi that featured unobstructed views out towards the valley. Sunset was epic from our balcony. Our room was airy, large and comfortable with a desk to work at, a bathtub to relax in, and a cot for Jacob. But best of all – good internet! We had struggled up until this point to find hotels with strong internet connections in the rooms, but Acropole Delphi Hotel has a wifi router on each floor so that all guests have good access. Another major highlight was the breakfast. Finding a hotel with breakfast included is a must in Greece, where there are little to no cafe options for breakfast. The Acropole Delphi breakfast was particularly noteworthy, with fresh croissants, mini cheese pies, sausage rolls, cereals, and all sorts of breads and spreads.
But the main benefit to staying overnight in Delphi was getting to visit the Delphi Archaeological site first thing in the morning – before any of the tour buses of day trippers arrived. We had the place entirely to ourselves, and only had to share the views with a couple friendly cats.
The site itself is worth it’s international fame. The site itself is well maintained and well signed, with all the standard features you would expect; a theater, a temple, and a stadium. But it also has a few quirky extras; like the rock where apparently the oracle would stand to deliver her messages, and the rock that Zeus threw down to mark the center of the world.
So I bet you are thinking now, “OK, so I can get to the site before anyone else, but are there any other reasons to stay a night in Delphi and avoid the temptation to just day trip from Athens?”
Well there is, and that reason is Monastery of Hosios Loukas.
Hosios Loukas is another UNESCO world heritage site only about 30km’s from Delphi, but something that most rushed day trippers will end up missing out on. Hosios Loukas is a working monastery founded in the 10th century, and a striking example of Byzantine architecture and art. The peaceful grounds are dominated by the church which is filled top to bottom with stunning mosaics. After spending days visiting archeological sites from ancient Greece, Hosios Loukas offered a refreshing change of scenery.
Tips for visiting Delphi and Hosios Loukas
- Stay over night so that you can get to the archeological site early in the morning and beat the crowds
- Wear sturdy shoes for the archeological site at Delphi. There is a lot of uphill involved.
- If you are traveling with kids, ditch your stroller. The archeological site is mostly stairs.
- Visit the museum after the site – the displays will have more context
- You will need your own transport to visit Hosios Loukas
- Wear appropriate clothing to Hosios Loukas. This means no short sleeves and no bare legs. Otherwise you may not be admitted.
13 thoughts on “Delphi Is More Than Just A Day Trip”
Love these photos of Delphi and Hosios Loukas — two more UNESCO sites to add to my list. Would be especially nice to see Hosios Loukas before it gets more well-known. So peaceful and beautiful.
this is an excellent informative piece on Delhi. I like that you mentioned where you stayed and importance of having somewhere to have breakfast, the stairs on site and Hosios Loukas. photos are beautiful.
I hope I can visit Greece too this year! Oppa. 😀
I have very fond memories of a crazy road trip from Athens to Delphi (and sleeping in the rental car at the airport).
Thank you for this awesome post on Delphi and Hosios Loukas. I will keep this post in mind while planning future travel arrangements! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Mary! I hope you guys make it to Greece some day. I think you would love it
Thanks for some very useful tips. Traveling to Greece soon, and we are in 2 minds if we should go to Delphi or not. We are traveling with a 7 yr old and a 20 month old toddler. Do you think that it would be practical to carry the toddler in a backpack? Or is it just too many backbreaking steps? TIA!!
It depends how good your toddler is at stairs and keeping up with everyone. We definitely needed the backpack for our little guy, but he wasn’t walking yet at the time of our visit. The backpack is good cause they can fall asleep in it if they get bored or tired.
Thanks for the great look at Delphi. I’ve seen Olympia and the Acropolis, but this is one of the treasures that would make it worthwhile to return to Greece and really spend some time. Great-looking photos, too — they’re so sharp and vivid, I feel like I’m there.
Hi there. I am a Greek and just found your article. Indeed Delphi is an amazing place and despite the fact that it is on a mountain is also very close to Itea and Galaxidi. Also amazing places. Next time you decide to visit Greece drop a line to our site and we will suggest a few more exciting things. Have a great day.
Thanks Chris! I’m glad you liked the post. I’m not sure when we will be back in Europe, but I will certainly check out your website next time we do
I like this place, it’s nicely nestled in the mountains and offers great views of the surrounding! Ancient people knew very well where to build amphitheater 🙂 Thanks for nice pictures and review!