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3-4 Day Itinerary for Olympia, Delphi, Meteora

I am planning to visit Delphi, Meteora, and Olympia during an upcoming trip to Greece.

Thinking that we'll do this as a 3-4 day self-drive trip from Athens to save some money and have more flexibility with how our time is spent.

The other option (which is in our budget) would be to book either a 3-day or 4-day group/organized bus tour (this includes bus transportation, site entry fees, a guide @ each site, and hotels) or a private 'tour' of the same length (includes private transportation and hotel accommodations only)

Any suggestions?

Posted by
2492 posts

We did it as a private tour with Private Greece Travel and we loved it. I wanted to see each monastery and our driver made sure our touring loop worked so that we saw them all - they have different opening days and hours so you need to plan. He dropped us off near each one and waited for us nearby and we called him when we were done. This worked out very well and gave me as much time as I wanted at each place.

When I priced and did this in 2019, it was only slightly more expensive than a big bus tour with poorly-located hotels and crazy fast pacing. On our own, I was able to add in a stop at Hosias Loukas monastery en route to Meteora from Delphi. We also did a night in Napflio. We also had a chance to stop in Distomo - at a WWII memorial I wanted to see:

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you, Valerie. Private Greece Tours is actually one of the companies that I was considering.

Did you hire a local guide for each of the archaeological sites? I know these companies can arrange that for you, but for an additional fee.

Posted by
2492 posts

We did not use tour guides for any site as I have a short attention span:) However, as we approached and parked at each site, our driver, George, had a diagram of the site and had been discussing the highlights with us. He gave us tips as we walked off and that worked for us. Private Greece Tours did offer to book guides at sites but I was not interested and did not explore it further.

Posted by
150 posts

If it was me I would choose between the two ancient sites, Delphi or Olympia. To see them all would be a minimum of 15 hours of driving whereas omitting Olympia would trim five hours off of that. Omitting Delphi would trim about 1.5 hours off of that. The two ancient sites are somewhat redundant and Delphi has by far the better views while also being close to several other terrific sites nearby (town of Arachova, monastery of Hosios Loukas, port / beach town of Galaxidi).

Stay at least one night in Kastraki, tiny village at the foot of the Meteora monasteries.

Personally, if it were me, I would drive to Hosios Loukas from Athens and visit the monastery, stop in the delightful town of Arachova for lunch and a stroll, and then arrive in Delphi in time for an as-late-as-possible tour of the ancient site (perfectly awesome idea to book a local guide for a tour here). I think they close at 8pm, so we usually show up around 6:15. Place is pretty deserted by that point in the day. Spend the night in Delphi.

Next morning visit the archaeological museum early to beat the tour buses and then drive to Meteora. Stop at Stone Bridge and Waterfall at Palaiokarya and Pyli Stone Bridge for a manageable detour (adds about 1.2 hours). Arrive Meteora in time to visit at least the one monastery that will be closed the following day (there will be one for each day that will be closed). Visit a second if time permits.

Stay the night in Kastraki and drive back up to one of the lookouts for spectacular sunset photography (around 8pm is perfect in summer) after dinner at one of the tavernas. Or, save dinner for after the sunset drive.

Next day visit the rest of the monasteries. I always try to get to Gran Meteoron as early as I can get there to beat the tour buses. There is always a huge line of people coming in when I am leaving and it can be hot in the summer.

On the way back to Athens you could stop at Trikala if you have time, but it's gonna be a four-hour drive getting back to Athens.

Pro Tip: Arrange this to coincide with your departing flight and you can drop the car right there next to the terminal and be on your merry way.