Visiting Delphi from Athens: Highlights, Tips & Tours

Delphi is a marvelous archaeological site located 180 kilometers northwest of Athens. It was one of the most important religious sites in the ancient world, as well as its “capital” or main center. Today there are a lot of great places you can visit in Delphi, but many are the ancient ruins scattered all over the countryside. Not only are they incredible, but the history behind them is fascinating. 

So, if you’re looking for an interesting trip from Athens, Delphi is definitely worth considering. And to help you with that, I’m going to give you the highlights, tips, and suggested tours when you visit Delphi from Athens. Read on!

Visiting Delphi from Athens: Highlights, Tips & Tours

1. Delphi Theatre

Most tours from Athens to Delphi start at the Delphi Theatre, which is conveniently located just below the ancient ruins. It was constructed in the fourth century BC, and it is here where music contests were held during the Pythian Games. It was one of the most known monuments, and it could host around 5.000 people at a time.

Although the theatre was built during Delphi’s glory days, it’s still an incredibly well-preserved theatre and very impressive to see. And just walking around this area, I could picture how grand it was in the past. Plus, it also offers amazing views over the valley below.

Read More: 17 Best Things to Do in Athens

2. The Temple of Apollo

Just a short walk from the theatre is the Temple of Apollo, which was constructed in the fourth century BC. It was here that pilgrims awaited the Oracle before he gave her prophecies. The priestess at Delphi would say that Apollo spoke through her and that his words could be interpreted by the Pythian priestesses.

Nowadays, the temple has been mostly destroyed. However, the temple’s most impressive feature is its massive stone columns, many of which are still standing today. And from the terrace, you will have a wonderful view of the valley. This area is absolutely stunning. I felt like I could have just stood there for hours looking out over all of this.

The temple of Apollo is a pretty cool place to visit from Athens to Delphi, especially if you’re interested in ancient history and mythologies.

3. Athenian Treasury

On the right side of the temple of Apollo is a short flight of steps that leads down to the treasury. This building was constructed around 510 BC is yet another fine example of Doric architecture. It was made to house precious offerings brought to Apollo by various people. The treasury was destroyed by fire and re-erected again in 1903-06.

Today, you can only see the remains of what would have stood here. You can get an idea about just how magnificent this place must once have been. The frieze around the exterior of this building is particularly good. Even if you’re not into that sort of thing, it is definitely worth a look.

The Athenian treasury is one of the highlights I’d recommend when visiting Delphi from Athens. It’s an ancient building that shows you just how advanced these civilizations were.

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4. Stadium at Delphi

The stadium can be found further up the hill. This was constructed in the 5th century BC for foot races during the Pythian Games, held every four years here at Delphi. Its original capacity was approximately 500 spectators, not much by today’s standards but extremely impressive for its time.  

This is also the best place to get an idea of how large the Pythian Games actually were. The panoramic view from here is absolutely stunning, and it’s easy to see why this spot was chosen. Just up the hill, you can see the remains of a small shrine that may have been used when athletes came up to consult Apollo before taking part in the games.

I thought the stadium was definitely one of the more impressive sights at Delphi. And even though it’s quite high up, it’s really easy to get to.

5. The Castalian Spring

The Castalian Spring is situated just below the Temple of Apollo. This was where pilgrims had to purify themselves before entering the temple and consult the Pythian priestess. Not much has changed here in all that time, and you can see the remains of two monumental fountains. I suggest that you try and find a shady spot near the spring and just relax for a while. You’ll be amazed at how silent it is here. It’s just another cool spot to visit when in Delphi from Athens.

6. Archaeological Museum of Delphi

The Archaeological Museum of Delphi is a great place to go if you want to learn more about the history of Delphi. This museum has an excellent collection of artifacts, frescoes, and statues from Ancient Greece.

These include many fascinating exhibits, such as seals of various Greek cities, material from the treasury of the Athenians, numerous statues, and an impressive collection of Greek and Roman coins depicting Apollo. The museum is arranged in chronological order, which means that you can work your way through the exhibits from the 8th century BC until the Late Antiquity.

I definitely recommend coming to this place if you’re visiting Delphi from Athens. There’s so much history packed into this small space that it will give you an even better idea of how advanced these civilizations were.

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7. The Tholos

The Tholos is a circular building constructed in the 4th century BC as part of the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia. It’s actually not one but three buildings, all connected to form what is known as the Tholos (meaning round building).

There are 20 Doric columns spaced evenly around the interior of the cylindrical structure and 10 Corinthian columns in the interior. Only a few of these columns still stand today, but from the remaining ruins, you should be able to get an idea about how impressive this place must have been originally.

The purpose of the building is still open to debate because there are several theories as to what it may have been used for. I recommend you come here early in the morning when the sun is rising and flooding through the structure. It was truly breathtaking.

8. Visit the Mountain Village of Arachova

I added the Mountain Village of Arachova to my list of highlights at Delphi because I love its quaint atmosphere. It’s a small mountain village with narrow, cobbled streets lined with old traditional stone houses, hotels, and guesthouses. I recommend going for a walk around the small winding streets and just taking in the atmosphere. There are lots of shops and romantic taverns where you can stop for a drink or something to eat.

This place is definitely a must-see if you’re visiting Delphi from Athens. It’s a great place to spend an hour or two, especially if you love being outdoors and going on hikes.

9. Tour the Modern Town of Delphi

The modern town of Delphi is another interesting place to visit if you’re in Delphi. You can get an idea of how the locals live, explore the cobbled streets, and see some cool shops selling Greek art and souvenirs. There’s also plenty of taverns where you can stop for lunch or dinner. I recommend that you try out some Greek food while in Delphi if you haven’t done so before!

If you’re planning to spend a night here, remember that there are plenty of accommodation options. I stayed at Nostos Hotel and thought it was a great place for anyone visiting Delphi from Athens. It’s close to all the main attractions, clean, comfortable, and reasonably priced. But if you’re looking for something cheaper but still nice, there are plenty of other options nearby.

Tips and Tours: How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Delphi

Traveling to Delphi proved to be one of the most memorable parts of our European holiday. I was impressed by how many cool sights this place had, and it wasn’t nearly as crowded or expensive as I’d expected! The trip up there also made for a pretty interesting day excursion from Athens. Check out the tips below to help you.

  • Getting to Delphi

If you’re looking to visit Delphi from Athens, then there are a few options available to you. First and foremost, I recommend hiring a car and driving yourself around. This is not only one of the more fun ways to get around, but it will also save you time. And on top of that, you’ll have far more freedom when exploring this historical site if you’re driving yourself around.

Another option would be to go by bus. It’s definitely cheaper than renting a car, and you’ll have the advantage of being able to sit back, relax and not worry about having to drive. The downside is that you won’t be able to go wherever you want at your own pace.

And finally, there are guided tours available if you prefer taking things a little slower. You might be better off doing this if you’re using public transportation to reach Delphi. The downside is that you’ll have to stay with your group, which might limit where you can explore.

  • Can you make a day trip to Delphi from Athens?

Many people visit Delphi on day trips from Athens. I think this is a great idea if you want to really get to know more about Ancient Greece. You’ll visit the stunning site, spend some time learning the history of Delphi, and then head back to your hotel in good time.

However, there are many other places to go in the area. So why not consider staying overnight? Delphi has a number of hotels that are very reasonably priced. You can then use your time in the evenings to explore the restaurants and bars.

  • What to wear

Make sure you bring plenty of sunscreens, especially if you’re visiting Delphi during the summer. There’s not a whole lot of shade here, so it can get really hot under the sun. It’s also good to remember that you will be walking on hilly terrain, which means you’ll probably want to wear sturdy and comfortable flat shoes too.

In summary

Visiting Delphi from Athens is a pretty amazing day trip for anyone who loves Ancient Greek culture. There are countless cool things to do here, even more than I was able to see myself on my last visit. This place alone could make for an action-packed holiday, and you’ll make some great memories. I hope you enjoyed reading. And if you liked this post, feel free to share it with your friends. Have a great day.