Visiting the archaeological site of Delphi from Athens

Visiter Delphes depuis Athènes

Spending a few days in the Greek capital? Be sure to visit the archaeological site of Delphi from Athens!

For history and archaeology buffs, Greece is a must-see destination. This cradle of Western civilization is home to ancient treasures and numerous historic monuments. If you spend a few days in the Greek capital, be sure to visit the archaeological site of Delphi. Easily accessible from Athens, it offers an incredible adventure in the footsteps of the Greek gods.

Do you have any questions for the famous oracle Pythia? Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the archaeological site of Delphi from Athens.

Delphi in a nutshell

Site archéologique de Delphes

Photo credit: Shutterstock – isidoros andronos

The city of Delphi is home to the Panhellenic sanctuary of Apollo, the Olympian god of light, knowledge and harmony. According to mythology, it was here that two eagles released by Zeus met, one to the east, the other to the west. According to the ancients, Apollo’s temple housed the Omphalos, the navel of the universe. The village was inhabited as early as the second millennium BC. From the 8th century B.C. onwards, the sanctuary and oracle expanded.

The center of the ancient world

For the ancient Greeks, Delphi was the center of the world. Pilgrims came from all over the world to listen to the advice of the Pythia, the most famous priestess of the time. The Oracle of Delphi was made up of elderly women, believed to have inherited the powers of Apollo. Under the influence of various drugs, the women of the oracle would enter a state of trance, and priests would interpret their words. Delphi was considered the most important religious site in the Hellenistic world. Throughout the centuries, Delphi would play a major role. Kings, states, dynasties and military leaders all made precious offerings at Delphi to secure the gods’ favor. The sanctuary of Delphi is also a model of Hellenic architecture.

Today, Delphi is a small tourist village on the southern slopes of Mount Parnassus, with a breathtaking view over the valley and the sea. The site is a unique testimony to the religion and civilization of ancient Greece.

What to see and do at Delphi?

Que voir et faire à Delphes

Credit photo : Shutterstock – Yoav Tabakman

The Delphi archaeological zone

The archaeological zone is the site of the ancient city of Delphi. It’s also the highlight of your visit. You’ll discover the famous Temple of Apollo, discovered in 1892. You’ll then take a tour of the theater, which could seat up to five thousand spectators. Don’t miss the nearby stadium, where the Pythian Games were held every four years. The fountain of Castalia and the polygonal wall, where the oracles of Pythia were held, are also worth a visit. Delphi also offers a panoramic view of the Gulf of Itea.

Visiting the archaeological site of Delphi from Athens is an opportunity to discover one of the most eminent examples of the great Panhellenic sanctuaries. A day in Delphi also offers you a moment of tranquillity, far from the hustle and bustle of the Greek capital.

The Archaeological Museum of Delphi

Once you’ve completed your visit to the archaeological site of Delphi, head for the city’s Archaeological Museum. This is Greece’s most important museum dedicated to antiquity. You’ll discover architectural sculptures, statues and artefacts dating back to Ancient Greece, displayed in fourteen exhibition halls. Highlights include the Aurige of Delphi, a bronze sculpture commemorating an important victory at the Pythian Games in 478 BC, and the Sphinx of Naxos. The museum also has a cafeteria and souvenir store.

A visit to the village of Delphi and the surrounding area

After visiting the archaeological site of Delphi, take time to wander through the narrow streets of the modern village. From the panoramic terraces of the town’s bars and restaurants, you can enjoy incredible views over the valley. Delphi also boasts a number of pretty lanes, monuments and boutiques. Below Delphi, you can also explore the pretty village of Arachova.

How do I get to the Delphi archaeological site from Athens?

After taking one of the many international flights that land in Athens every day, you’ll need to make your way to the village of Delphi. From Athens, the village is only accessible by road. It takes just under three hours to drive the two hundred kilometers to the archeological site of Delphi. The journey is a visit in itself. Along the way, you’ll discover the fertile plains of Boeotia, the mountain range of Mount Parnassus (with its famous colorful carpets) and finally the city of Delphi.

Car

To visit the archaeological site of Delphi from Athens, you can rent a car. It’s an easy way to be completely autonomous and not dependent on bus timetables.

From Athens, take the E75 freeway towards Lamia for around 100 km and exit at Castro. Follow the signs for Levadia. You can also take this road through the pretty village of Arachova.

Bus

If you don’t want to rent a car to visit the archaeological site of Delphi from Athens, buses are available. Just go to Terminal KTEL B, located on Liosion Street n260, in the center of Athens.

  • Bus departure times: 7.30 a.m. or 10.30 a.m.
  • Return bus times: 4.30pm, 6pm and 9pm

We strongly recommend reserving your seat on a bus well in advance, especially during the summer months. And remember to take the first bus of the day, so you can enjoy your visit to the archaeological site of Delphi from Athens.

Excursions

Many travel agencies offer day or multi-day excursions from Athens to the archaeological site of Delphi. Whether in a group or with a private guide, this can be an interesting option, especially for families and those who want to be looked after from start to finish.

Timetable and prices for the Delphi archaeological site

Intérieur du musée archéologique de Delphes

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Anton_Ivanov

Opening hours

  • Wednesday to Monday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Last admission: 15 minutes before closing
  • Closed: January 1, March 25, Easter Sunday, May 1, December 25 and 26.

Please note: opening times are subject to change at certain times of the year. We advise you to check this information on the website before visiting the Delphi archaeological site and museum.

Rates

  • Adults: 12 euros
  • Children under 18: free
  • Students: 6 euros (please note that proof of enrolment is required)
  • Free on the following dates: March 6, April 18, May 18, the last weekend of September, October 28 and every first Sunday of the month between November 1 and March 31.

The ticket gives you access to the Museum and the archaeological site.

GOOD TO KNOW

1. To visit the archaeological site of Delphi, you’ll have to do some walking. The site is located at the top of a small mountain. However, the museum is easily accessible to people with reduced mobility.

2. Allow an hour and a half to visit the Delphi archaeological site and another hour to explore the museum.

3. Especially in summer, it can be very hot in Greece. It’s best to visit in the morning or at the end of the day.

4. Most visits to Delphi are conducted in English, but it is possible to find French-speaking guides.