UNESCO World Heritage Site #31: Archaeological Site of Delphi (Greece)

Now your statues are standing and pouring sweat. They shiver with dread. The black blood drips from the highest rooftops. They have seen the necessity of evil. Get out, get out of my sanctum and drown your spirits in woe.

-The Oracle of Delphi to the Athenians as the Persians Approached

The Temple of Apollo at Delphi
The Temple of Apollo at Delphi

My Visit

Delphi is a beautiful place. I knew about the mythology before I got there, but I hadn’t seen tons of pictures of the landscape. It’s gorgeous. Tucked up high in the mountains, the temple is perched on the edge overlooking a hazy valley.

Delphi is Gorgeous!
Delphi is Gorgeous!

I went on a bus tour that went from Athens to Delphi and back as a day trip. The ride was about two hours each way, so we had a good amount of time to explore the site. The ride there and back was pretty easy. but I did make the mistake of booking a company that catered more to older married couples. I was the one of only two people there by themselves, and the other guy was a tourist from Asia who spoke little English and had no interest in chit chatting with me.

The bus to Delphi
The bus to Delphi

During my time there, our tour guide gave us a pretty in-depth overview of the history of the Oracle, then gave us time to explore the site.

View from the ride to Delphi
View from the ride to Delphi

After seeing Delphi, we got lunch in the town. I had ditched the official tour lunch, which gave me time to explore the little town more and I ended up getting a really delicious lunch of dolmades for about 4€.

Walking around Delphi after lunch
Walking around Delphi after lunch

After lunch, we had a brief stop in a little town nearby specifically designed to bring commerce to the town. It was a cute town, but I had no interest in buying rugs so I walked around and took pictures.

A little village on Mt. Parnassus
A little village on Mt. Parnassus

The Site

Delphi was the site of the Temple of Apollo which housed the Oracle of Delphi. Located on the side of Mount Parnassus, it was the most important shrine in the ancient Greek world.

The Temple of Apollo at Delphi
The Temple of Apollo at Delphi

From UNESCO’s description:

The pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, where the oracle of Apollo spoke, was the site of the omphalos, the ‘navel of the world’. Blending harmoniously with the superb landscape and charged with sacred meaning, Delphi in the 6th century B.C. was indeed the religious centre and symbol of unity of the ancient Greek world.

When you get there, you start by going up the Sacred Way, the route to the temple that was lined with offerings and treasuries.

The Roman market at Delphi
The Roman market at Delphi

The treasury of the Athenians was built by the Athenian people to house their offerings to Apollo.

The Treasury of the Athenians
The Treasury of the Athenians

By the Treasury of the Athenians is the Sacred Omphalos, which the ancient Greeks believed was the center of the world.

The Omphalos, the navel of the world
The Sacred Omphalos, the navel of the world

At the Temple of Apollo, you can see the remains of the columns and the foundations.

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After passing the temple, you start to climb the mountain further.

The amphitheater at Delphi from above
The amphitheater at Delphi from above

Above the temple, you pass by the amphitheater, and then climb up the mountain path to see the stadium (Stadion) that was the home of the Pythian Games every four years.

Walking up the mountain path at Delphi to the stadium at the top
Walking up the mountain path at Delphi to the stadium at the top

There’s also a museum there, but I skipped it so that I could spend more time on the mountain.

The stadium at the top of Delphi
The Stadion at the top of Delphi

Getting There

From Athens, you can take public buses or go on a bus tour.

Selfie at Delphi ... cracks me up when I say it in my head
Selfie at Delphi … cracks me up when I say it in my head

Getting In

The entrance fee is 9€.

View of the remains of offerings at Delphi
View of the remains of offerings

Things to Do While You’re There

  • See the different spots along the path up the mountain
  • Visit the museum
  • Explore the town or other nearby villages
  • That’s all I got–I wasn’t there for too long. Check below for some links to other travel blogger accounts if you’re looking for more ideas on planning your trip.
View of offerings and the Treasury of the Athenians from above
View of offerings and the Treasury of the Athenians from above

Tips

  • There isn’t too much shade-wear sunscreen
  • Bring water, there isn’t any on the mountain unless you leave and go to the museum vending machines
  • The climb to the top isn’t too bad, but wear comfortable shoes
Stadium seating at the Stadion
Stadium seating at the Stadion

Further Reading

 

Final Thoughts

The place was gorgeous. I enjoyed walking to the top more than I expected, because you’re surrounded by such beautiful landscape. My memories are all hazy, beautiful mountain peaks. I wish I had more concrete memories, but it was a pretty uneventful, beautiful day.

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: November Travel Expenses in Athens Greece and Sofia Bulgaria

  2. Ahh, this brought back great memories! Thanks so much for mentioning my blog at the end. 🙂 So much exciting and geeky history behind this gorgeous spot!
    Lillie – Around the World “L” recently posted…You Won’t Believe the Architecture and Art of the UAEMy Profile

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