Destination: GREECE

An Excursion To Delphi
An Excursion To Delphi

The sacred site of Delphi (Delfoí), 93 miles northwest of Athens, is the obvious choice for a day trip. The greatest shrine of the ancient Greek world, the center of their earth, lies in an unrivaled position below the great peaks of Mount Parnassós. Dedicated to the god Apollo, in ancient times Delphi was independent - belonging to no state - so enemies could worship there together. It was famed for its oracle, which gave enigmatic and prophetic advice through the medium of a priestess.

In return for this, petitioners brought gifts and erected treasure houses to hold them; ancient writers referred to the marble and precious stones of the sanctuary. For centuries, pilgrims trudged through the mountains to bathe in the sacred Castalian spring and worship here, but in the fourth century Christianity triumphed and the last oracle slipped away. Below the site, olive groves spread down to the sea, the ground is carpeted with flowers and the sky is full of birds.

The French excavated Delphi in the 1890s, and today it lies on a series of terraces below Parnassós. The paved Sacred Way leads past treasure houses - one sensitively reconstructed - to the Temple of Apollo. Six columns still stand, giving an idea of its former size and grandeur. Up the hill you'll find the 5,000-seat theater, and higher still, the marvelously evocative athletic stadium, set amid pine trees. To visit the ruins of the Sanctuary of Athena, leave the main site and cross the modern road. Use the columns of the fourth-century BC Tholos, undoubtedly the most photographed of all Delphi's wonders, as your guide.

Delphi Museum
The adjacent museum contains the finds from Delphi, some of the finest in Greece. Sculptures from the Temple of Apollo, two superb examples of archaic koroi (statues), ivory, jewelry and pottery are all here. The highlight is the bronze Charioteer, dating from 478 BC, an artistic and technical masterpiece.

Address: Delphi
Phone: 226 508 2312
Open: Daily 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Apr.-Oct.; Tue.-Fri. 8:30-6:45, Sat.-Sun. 8:30-2:45, rest of year
Admission: €2-€4
Info: A guided excursion is the easiest way to visit Delphi

Excursion Operators Chat Tours (

Address: I9 Xenofontos Street, off Amalias Avenue
Phone: 210 323 0872) is an experienced tour operator in Athens.
Greece (Mainland)

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