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
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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.
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.
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.
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€.
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.
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.
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 treasury of the Athenians was built by the Athenian people to house their offerings to Apollo.
By the Treasury of the Athenians is the Sacred Omphalos, which the ancient Greeks believed was the center of the world.
At the Temple of Apollo, you can see the remains of the columns and the foundations.
After passing the temple, you start to climb the mountain further.
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.
There’s also a museum there, but I skipped it so that I could spend more time on the mountain.
From Athens, you can take public buses or go on a bus tour.
The entrance fee is 9€.
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.
- 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
- The top attractions at Delphi
- Check out Around the World L to get the details on the history of Delphi and the scandalous facts behind the temple
- Check out this National Geographic video about the site
- Ancient-greece.org covers the oracle’s history and mythology
- TravelingSolemates.com covers their trip, including their visit to the museum
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.