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Delphi day trip

Is doing a day trip from Athens to Delphi doable or is it better to just stay in Delphi for a night?

Posted by
11153 posts

It is doable but it is better to spend a night in this beautiful mountain setting.

Posted by
35 posts

I agree with the previous poster. Delphi is amazingly beautiful and one of the most wonderful experiences is to wake up in this town sans tourists, hearing the goat bells in the distance and getting to the site before the tourist busses arrive mid- morning.

Posted by
2494 posts

I agree with the spending the night. It really is a pretty place. I had not expected the mountains. We passed a ski resort before entering Delphi!

That said, we were at the museum at 8 am and there was a a large tour group there also. So no guarantees. The evening before we went to the archeological site at about 5 pm and it was void of tourists.

Posted by
3320 posts

Agree with Beth that it's a great idea to see the museum between 5-8 pm, when there is NO ONE there... the signage is very good, so you can appreciate the treasures with minimal preparation. If you then enter the ruins at 8 the next AM, you'll have ample time before the majority (8-10 tour busses arrive around 10:30 ... and by the time these crowds invade you'll have climbed high above them. BTW, the very tippy-top (stadium) is an arduous climb and now not worth it, since they don't let you enter due to rockfalls, and its hard even to get a good glimpse of it. And dont forget the "other ruins"... a short walk down the road from the main entrance, youll find the Tholos of Athena (open 24/7, low fence-surround) and Castellian Springs of sacred water (look it up & fill your canteens).

As for the major ruins sites... the "Sacred Way", Temple of Appollo, etc -- if you want to D-I-Y, you'll need to prep Or get help, or it will seem mainly like rocks in a nice mountain setting. YOur options for most meaningful site experience:
• PREP - a GOOD guidebook or fab websites some to print & take (will list only if requested)
•LICENSED GUIDE - the going rate as of2022 was about €60 hr/2 hr minimum, for up to 4 people -- best local one http://www.delphi-guide.gr/ has 5* reviews always busy but available if u r not going tomorrow
• D-I-Y AUDIO GUIDE - Best one I heard of is this one - https://www.getyourguide.com/delphi-greece-l116/delphi-the-google-of-the-ancient-world-self-guided-tour-t124919/ -- Choose the one marked "skip-line-entry-ticket+audio tour @ €16 ... the skip-line thing is nothing but guide works on your mobile -- NOTE: try it out beforehand!

Until this year a Delphi admission ticket was good for museum/ruins entry on 2 different days, but I read they changed it to 1 day ... that means you'd have to pay 2 admissions if u go to museum in evening - but I think it's only €6? to museum -- worth it for the better experience.

Posted by
3320 posts

As a PS to the Delphi overnight experience -- Just get a moderate-rate hote liike Artemis or Pan on the main street, and specify the DOWNHIILL side ... End of May, we were offered a main-floor room on a corridor back of lobby at Pan. We were dubious, said, show us; manager walked us into room & out on balcony, and hawks were circling 50 feet BELOW Us!!! and the view was down the mountain, thru silvery olive groves out to a shining sea! We'll take it, we said.

At 630, we walked along the rampart (flags fluttering, stunning views) beside the downhill road to the Museum, then back past the hotel to a Y-intersection that apparently is the "center' of the village.. there were fancier restaurants, but we chose one just at the intersectiion on downhill side, just a little cafe (poolroom inside, outdoor tables on terrace), for a simple pasta meal. we were enjoying a sublime sunset when the waitress came to fill glasses from a large pitcher; is this bottled? I asked. Oh No, she said proudly... it's right from the tap because we get our water straight from the snow melt up there.. and she pointed behind her at the lofty peaks of -- MT PARNASSUS. Wow, a classical drink, I thought... and then I tasted the BEST water i've ever had in my life... and drank glass after glass. Next morning we filled our travel bottles with "tap water" too.

Posted by
750 posts

I am appreciating the advice and thoughts of Delphi travelers!

Can anyone comment on their transport experience - Athens to Delphi? I'm reading that bus is the way to go without a car, but, as we will travel in June with many others, I am concerned that buses could be full. At least I've read the warning that an advance ticket doesn't insure a seat. I would prefer an overnight, but feel I may be forced to consider a day trip either with a small group or private transfer to avoid "issues" with the bus transport.

If anyone feels I should not attach my question to the original post, let me know. I'll be happy to start a new question thread. I just thought this concern was related enough to include here - perhaps not.

Thanks for any advice and thanks to the OP for the question!

Posted by
3320 posts

I agree that using the intercity bus can be a challenge, but mainly arranging for booking -- the ride itself is just fine! The busses are clean & modern, very prompt, A/C and serve all levels of society -- from grannies in black dresses to businessmen w briefcases. The trip takes 3 hrs 15 mins/ roughly, and on multilane level highway until last 30 mins up into mountain area. Bus has rest-stop/ snack stop half way.

This website can give you very helpful information : https://thedelphiguide.com/getting-to-delphi/#bybus

However, it's not quite complete: Here are some things it doesn't quite cover:
• GETTING to LIOSSION TERMINAL - from Airport an express bus, but if coming from Central ATH, a taxi is best -- should be no more than €15 -- if u want to be sure, have your hotel staff get taxi & speak to driver & tell him u are informed about approx fare. ALso, know that taxis can only take 4 psgrs (during covid only 3) check w. hotel & take small bags if possible & store huge ones in hotel lock-up.
• TIMETABLE SITUATION - this is SO frustrating... timetables are supposed to be online at https://www.ktel-fokidas.gr/en/delphi But I can NEVER get this to open up. (Solution below) Service varies - off season many fewer busses... but May-October r more; during pandemic a deep cutback but I hope restored. The earliest USED To be 7 AM -- which would get u there 10:30 -- just about same time as 12 tour busses! (eek). LAST bus about 6PM (1800) ... that's problem w. the 1-day thing. Also -- those are the 2 busses that would be the busiest. The BEST deal would be to arrive afternoon and leave next day noon or so. Trip takes 3:30/fare is about €15?/ MAy be slight saving for roundtrip/return.

• BUYING TICKETS AHEAD - You're supposed to also be able to buy tix online but same problem as above. SOLUTION - have your hotel desk TELEPHONE (they need to because phones only answer in greek) - and either arrange Purchase on line or RESERVE if that service is still available: NOTE: if Purchase, then u or hotel must be able to print-out tickets. When they had the Reserve thing, they would only hold the reservation until 30 or 45 mins before departure ... importent for ouor hotel desk to ascertain. IMPORTANT -- all seats are reserved & numbered, and if all are sold, u can't buy standee tickets. Of course, mid-day departures either way will be half-full.

• BUYING on the DAY -- You mention a group -- do you mean 4 or 5, or 12?? Big Difference. If the smaller number, and not going on very first bus, in high season, u can just have hotel call ahead/reserve if seems good. Taxi is best way to go. I assume u can buy via credit card, tho I paid cash, but last time was nearly 10 yrs ago. Best to bring along any needed snacks bevs.. bus stations the world over are not food meccas.

• FINAL BUS NOTE -- This is enjoyable ride, sitting witih your friends. But if you board and find a black-dress granny in your numbered seat, do not argue with her -- make the driver sort it out.

Posted by
3320 posts

ORD Traveler -- for future, please know that fuller details help ... Vital to say WHEN -- April-May or Oct is far different from High Summer. And just saying "group" not enough -- need numbers to advise about private transfers. If you have 4 people sharing a car (Mercedes size), a one-way could be not too bad -- for each of 4 people maybe 2x the cost of KTEL bus plus taxi. Then you could take the KTEL bus BACK to Athens. But without key facts, we are not mindreaders. And we do want to help!

Posted by
750 posts

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I did say our trip will be in June. I said "travel with many others" meaning June is a higher tourist season as in: there would be other groups of travelers. I was not clear there! There will only be two of us.

Thank you for the comments. The details on the bus experience, booking and riding, is especially useful. I'm thinking I will look into a small group day tour or private transfer. I'm getting tired of managing every ticket purchase myself and worrying about all the details and execution!

Posted by
3320 posts

The usual group bus tour day trips (30 people) are a nightmare -- 3.5 hours each way (AFTER delay to do hotel pickups) VERY Limited time onsite -- then you are dragged awy for a group lunch @ a taverna, NOT good and paid for by you (can you spell kickback?) and then taken to a souvenir store (kickback again), then drive bck to Athens during rush hour.

There may be small-group tours that either start early (7 am) or late (1l0 am) to miss the 10:30am - 1:30pm MOB scene ... or you can do a private transfer... prepare to pay thru the nose -- after all you would represent a full day's earnings for the driver. Then a D-I-Y tour of site as suggested n my earlier post. Your pocketbook will be the decider.

Posted by
257 posts

We (myself and my two adult sons) did a day trip to Delphi from Athens with a private driver last month and could not have had a more enjoyable day. We used Dimitris Roussos of drpremiumtaxi.com. He picked us up at our hotel in his Mercedes and it took two hours to get to Delphi (it was Sunday). He is not a guide and doesn’t go into the site with you, but gave us a lot of information on the way there and he is just an overall pleasant person to spend time with. We had watched the BBC video “Delphi Why It Matters” (one hour on uTube) before our trip and had printed out Rick Steve’s maps of the site and the very nice museum. We were very satisfied with our visit. Afterwards he took us to a nice little family restaurant for lunch. We sat on this beautiful terrace overlooking a gorgeous valley. We were back in Athens about 4pm. Delphi is beautiful up in the mountains and it would be nice to stay overnight but our schedule didn’t allow that and we have no regrets about doing the day trip.

Posted by
750 posts

Than you both, Janet and sboh.

Janet, I hadn't considered the possible numbers of others on a day trip bus. I will check on that before booking if I go that route. The prices I briefly glanced at seemed "too reasonable" - I suspect I found exactly what you warn about!! I'm usually a DIY traveler - I'd forgotten that souvenir shops are often part of organized day tours. Thanks for that reminder also - I'm back on guard and will read reviews very carefully! I have hired transfers and guides before in several countries so I know what to expect. Money yes, but when well-chosen in the right circumstances, worth the cost to me.

Sboh, thanks for the personal recommendation. Invaluable! I appreciate your distinction of driver vs driver/guide. We would also enjoy doing the upfront research on our own, in fact, probably we'd prefer it.