Delphi – the Extraordinary Centre of Earth In Ancient Years

Locals say that there is no day of the year without visitors wandering through the famous archaeological site and the narrow steep streets of the village stopping for a minute to admire the exceptional view towards the endless olive groves that continue all the way to the sea…

Where is Ancient Delphi Greece?

The Modern Village of Delphi

Where is Delphi Greece on the Map?

How to get to Delphi Greece?

10 Sights in Delphi Greece

The History of the Excavations

How Old is Delphi Greece?

Is Delphi Greece the Center of the World?

Where to Stay in Delphi Greece?

Delphi - Photo by Sotiris Lambadaridis
Ancient Delphi – Photo by Sotiris Lambadaridis

Where is ancient Delphi Greece?

Driving the few kilometres from Arachova you will find the village of Delphi after a sharp turn. The town is built on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, between two large imposing rocks, Yampeia and Nauplia, offering breath-taking views of olive groves and the Corinthian Gulf in the horizon. The Trans European Footpath E4 passes through the east end of the town. In addition to the archaeological interest, Delphi attracts tourists visiting the Parnassus Ski Center and the popular coastal towns of the region.

The modern village of Delphi

Delphi town - evening view of quiet street, Central Greece
Evening view of Delphi village

So, coming from Arachova you will see the beautiful intersection with the plane trees and the first old houses, and will necessarily move right on the uphill Apollonos Street. Do not make the mistake to assume that you have seen all there is to see of Delphi by walking back and forth in these two streets. Spend some time climbing from the streets or the higher stairs of the town, above the beautiful church of St. Nicholas, and to the old houses on the last hill before the mountain. In the two parallel streets of Delphi village you will find a great number of taverns, souvenir shops and hotels.

Where is Delphi Greece on the map?

Map of the Corinthian Gulf and ancient Delphi Greece
Click to enlarge map
Delphi - Photo by Sotiris Lambadaridis

Delphi Tours


How to get to Delphi Greece?

You can book a day tour to Delphi from Athens including a guide. This is a great chance to learn everything about this extraordinary archaeological site. You can also reach Delphi from Athens by bus. It is the KTEL-bus leaving from Liossion bus station. Delphi is around 180 km from Athens and the bus trip lasts approx. three hours. If you want more freedom to explore the mountainous area around Delphi the best solution is to rent a car. You must follow the National Greek Road Athens – Lamia. Arriving at the junction of Thebes you take the direction towards Livadia and continue in direction of Arachova and Delphi.

10 sights in Delphi Greece

  • Ancient Theatre – dates back from the 4th century B.C. and is located next to the Temple of Apollo. It is made of limestone from Mt Parnassos. During summer you might be lucky to attend an ancient play or other cultural events.
  • Temple of Apollo – was dedicated to Apollo, the ancient god of light and music. The temple of Apollo hosted the oracle of Apollo with the priestess Pythia giving her prophecies.
  • Sanctuary of Athena Pronea – includes the Tholos and is located next to the Gymnasium on the southern side of Delphi. When arriving at Delphi on foot from the east, this was the first sanctuary to come into sight.
  • Ancient Stadium – is located on top of the hill. In ancient years it was used to host the Pythian Games and other events of the oracle.
  • Treasury of the Athenians – was constructed during the 6th century B.C. to host the offering by the Athenians to the oracle of Delphi and the god Apollo.
  • Archaeological Museum of Delphi – hosts findings from the site, including marble statues, golden jewellery, coins, and other findings from the region. The museum is located right next to the site. The impressive Delphi Museum has many rare and well-preserved treasures on display.
  • The Charioteer – One of the most famous exhibits in the Archaeological Museum of Delphi and a masterpiece of ancient Greek art. It is a bronze statue, the only one left of a large chariot.
  • Castalian Spring – is located near the Oracle of Delphi. In ancient years it was believed to have waters of cleansing effect for the souls of the visitors at the Temple of Apollo.
  • Museum of Delphic Festivals – is located above the modern village of Delphi with a stunning view to the region and the ancient site below. You will find it in the house of Angelos and Eva Sikelianos.
  • Stoa of the Athenians – a building of the Ionic style, constructed in 478 B.C. to host the trophies from the sea battles of the Athenians.
ancient theater in delphi greece.
The amphitheatre of ancient Delphi

The history of the excavations

The old village called Kastri was built at some time during the Middle Ages just above the buried archaeological site. When in 1892, the first serious excavations of the French School in Athens began, the houses and the belongings of the locals were confiscated and the locals themselves were moved a few hundred metres to the west. Afterwards the settlement was renamed from Kastri to Delphi and as the narrator says: “the rest is history…”

How old is Delphi Greece?

Delphi is dating back to 1400 B.C., and the Oracle of Delphi was the most important shrine in all Greece, and in theory its independence was respected by all Greeks.

Is Delphi Greece the center of the world?

Built around a sacred spring, Delphi was considered to be the omphalos – the center (literally navel) of the world. The reason for this consideration was Delphis connecting point to the most significant sacred sites of ancient Greece – the Acropolis of Athens and the Aphaia Temple in Aegina are equally spaced from Delphi at 121 km.

Touring in this exceptionally great ancient site, you may want to divide your tour in three different parts.

First part of the tour

The Serpent Column of Plataea and the Temple of Apollo in Delphi

Coming from Arachova and looking to your left, a bit lower, you will see the “Tholos”, dominant and with its special beauty, one of the most photographed places in Greece. The circular masterpiece was built in the beginning of the 4th century B.C., of Pendelic marble with twelve Dorian columns of which only three are still standing today. Responsible for this fact are numerable earthquakes and landslides up until a century ago. Nobody knows the exact reason for the creation of the Tholos. Scattered around you will find the ruins of the Sanctuary of Athena Pronea and the Gymnasium (half a mile from the rest of the sanctuary).

Second part of the tour

The next part of the tour will take you uphill on the path which leads you to the impressive temple of Apollo. The construction of this temple was finished in 330 B.C. It was built on top of another temple of the same size and design which was destroyed in an earthquake in 373 B.C. Even further back into history there was an even bigger Dorian temple built in the same spot, which was ruined by a fire in 548 BC.

As you walk further uphill the view becomes steadily more and more impressive and you start to understand the ancient ancestors in their decision of building the religious centre of the ancient world in this place.

Admire the Treasury of the Athenians, the sections of the North Stoa of the Roman Forum, the parliament and the Delphic Sibyl (a legendary figure who made prophecies in the sacred precinct of Apollo) before a stop at the beautiful and well preserved ancient theatre. Built in 4th century B.C. instead of a smaller and older wooden, it is today a favoured spot for tourists to have a break before continuing the tour. During the 20th century this old theatre hosted spectators once again and loud applause could be heard echoing over the landscape after many centuries of silence.

Walking a short distance, the tour will finish even further uphill in the large stadium, smothered in trees and spectacular views of the mountains.

Third part of the tour

The ancient Stadium in Delphi Greece
The ancient stadium

The third and last part of the tour will take you to the Ancient Museum of Delphi. It is a museum of great significance with many rare and well-preserved treasures on display.

Where to stay in Delphi Greece?

Visiting ancient Delphi there are various great options for where to stay. If you want to explore ancient Delphi for a couple of days you can choose to stay in Delphi village or drive a bit further to the picturesque village of Arachova, a winter weekend hub of the Athenians. If you prefer to stay by the sea you could continue to either Galaxidi or Naupaktos, both with stunning views to the Corinthian Gulf from the northern side.

Acropolis of Athens with the Parthenon temple on top of the hill, Athens Greece

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