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Athens - Delphi - Meteora - Athens


We are arriving in Athens in September at approx 8:30 AM. The plan was to get our rental car and head straight to Delphi, spend the night, explore Delphi, spend another night and then head back to Athens for 3 nights before heading to Santorini. After reading a bit about Meteora, I would really love to see it. Is it feasible? Would it be best to only spend 1 night in Delphi, see the ruins and museum early, head to Meteora, spend the night, Explore and head back to Athens the following day?
What kind of time should we a lot for Meteora? I would prefer to only see one or two Monasteries and some good views of the area.
It seems the drive from Athens to Delphi is about 2.5 to 3 hours, and the drive from Delphi to Meteora about 6 hours? From Meteora to Athens is about how long?
Thank you in advance for any insight.

Posted by
4510 posts

Are you arriving in Athens from the US or N America or from elsewhere in Europe? The question is that if you will be jetlagged, that will be a lot to fit into those days. But if jetlag isn't an issue, there is no reason not to drive straight to Delphi. You would probably even have time to explore the museum there that afternoon.

Honestly, one night in Delphi is enough (the city is not at all interesting). Especially if you can see the museum that afternoon, then see the ruins the next morning. Then drive to Meteora. It's more like 3 hours from Delphi to Meteora. The issue would be spending only 1 night. You'd have to see 1-2 monasteries and then a long 5-6 hour drive back to Athens, drop off the car and get all the way into the city. Very long day. I assume this would be summer or fall when you still have long days.

If you choose to skip Meteora and spend 2 nights for Delphi - I suggest staying someplace nicer like Galixidi on the coast. The Byzantine monastery of Hosius Loukas is nearby and well worth it (without the dramatic scenary of Meteora). You could also drive out to Sounio before returning the car (tip of Greece south of Athens). Very impressive temple ruin there.

Posted by
171 posts

I would consider driving directly to Delphi from the airport. If you have enough energy I would visit Delphi when you arrive. When you are done (3-4 hours should do it) continue on that afternoon driving to Meteora. Stay in Meteora that night. See the monasteries that day and either stay a second night in Meteora or drive back to Athens that night.

In September, you should be able to get through 3 or 4 monasteries without a problem. It will be a 5 hour drive back to Athens from Meteora.

Posted by
1 posts

Delphi and its sites are easy to get around and fairly compact. While its worth a full day it can be done without rushing in about 4 hours. Delphi was open till 7 or 8 when I was there this past May/June.

I haven't been to Meteora but it sounds like its larger, more spread out, and more difficult terrain. My guess is you'll need at least 2-3 hours per monastery and there are a half dozen I think. To me that sounds like a visit that warrants at least a full day if not two. I don't know the hours off hand but monasteries tend to close early around 3-5 in the afternoon.

I don't like the idea of night in each. I feel like you'll be under pressure each day to complete your tasks and reach your next destination on time. You'll also have limited flexibilty in your schedule if you find you're running behind or just too tired from the flight. If you feel strongly about Meteora I think you'll have less stress and more sight seeing time by spending two nights there. And Delphi can still be done as side trip during one of you're two driving days.

My suggestion though is to spend the extra night in Delphi, Athens, or someplace around Attica. There are alot of wonderful sites nearby that won't stress your schedule or require nearly as much driving. Hosios Lukas in particular is worth a visit. It's a very convenient side trip on the road between Delphi and Athens.

Posted by
748 posts

How jet lagged are you going to be, that's the big issue here. We arrived Athens after a transatlantic and rented a car for the two hour drive to Nafplio. We had to stop twice for coffee but had enough adrenaline to drive that length of time. After that we just chilled out the rest of the day getting over jet lag.
This is how we did Delphi and Meteora.
We timed our arrival at Delphi for late afternoon so the place has started to clear from the tour bus crowds. We found a hotel on a walk up basis. The village is perched way up the mountainside and has amazing views all the way to the Gulf of Corinth. It is like a river of olive trees.. Chances are you will have time to visit the museum and probably the lower site which is open and ungated.

Next morning arrive at the site at opening. This will give you about 2 or 3 hours virtually alone on the site. It’s great for photographs. By the time the crowds arrive you will be at the top of the site and they will all be at the bottom so that buys you at least another hour. Depart Delphi and drive to Meteora.

Time your arrival in the early evening. They whole area will be peaceful with virtually no one around. Get your photos of the monasterys now. You will have uninterrupted vistas of each monastery. Determine which monasterys will be open the next day and then drive down to the village of Kastraki. Its right in the mountains with beautiful views. Our hotel actually had views of three of the monasterys from our balcony.

Next morning get back to the monasterys. You should be able to see one or perhaps two before the tour buses arrive. We counted 30 tour buses in the parking lot of one monastery. When the crowds become too much, drive back to Athens. It is a 5 hour drive so you probably will want to get away early afternoon.
Olympia Delphi Meteora