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Public bus to Delphi vs an organized Chat Tour trip?

How easy it is to get on the public bus to Delphi from Athens and back?
How much extra time does this take vs booking a regular tour bus trip?

Posted by
3874 posts

We took the bus in early November. It was easy and took about 2.5-3 hours each way. The bus makes a potty/snack stop at the same place about halfway between Delphi and Athens.

We spent 2 nights in Delphi with the full day between for the ruins and the museum, which is not to be missed. It is the one I liked best on our whole trip to Greece.

Delphi is so special, I can't imagine doing it as a day trip. We didn't plan it that way, but our day between 2 nights was the 1st Sunday of the month, so the ruins and museum were free.

Knowing nothing about the tour you mention, the driving time is going to be the same each way. That means 5-6 hours on the road total. If you intend to visit Delphi in one day, a tour might have more scheduling flexibility, but you can do it by long distance bus from Terminal B on Liossion street in downtown Athens.

Google "Athens Delphi bus schedule" to get several references for it. The best is probably the one on Matt Barrett's Guide, Athens Long Distance Bus Schedules: Terminal B.

Please note that the only useable toilets at the Athens Liossion bus station were squat ones when we were there.

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks for this great info. Yes, we do prefer to do a two day trip to Delphi, but our itinerary is getting crunched a bit. I may have to decide between one day in Athens and a two day trip to Delphi OR two days in Athens and a one day trip to Delphi. Hard choice! Sounds like if we can only do a one day trip, it would be best to get on a tour for more efficient travel time though. I've heard the early morning in Delphi is so wonderful, though. I'll reconsider the two day Delphi for sure. thanks!

Posted by
1350 posts

Here are the bus times for the public bus.

If you do decide to do a one day tour then I'd advise not getting the lunch included deal. For one thing the lunch, in a local restaurant, is indifferent but more importantly it takes time better spent on the site or the museum. If you get sandwiches before you get on the coach then you can munch as you go!


Posted by
27 posts

Sorry, I saw this post a little late! We took a day trip to Delphi from Athens and hired George's Taxi for the day. If allowed in your budget, I would highly recommend looking into this option. I feel like we were able to get a lot more accomplished this way by avoiding public transportation and it was much less stressful for us! Our driver, Kostas, was absolutely wonderful! He was not allowed to give us a tour but gave us a wealth of information along our drive. We also had wonderful discussions about economics, education, and anything you could think of related to Greece! It was one of our favorite days. He recommended a great restaurant in town where we had a relaxing lunch and on the way back to Athens, we included a stop at Thermopolyes. Also, Rick Steves' recommendation for Penny Kolomvotsou as a tour guide at Delphi is a great idea either way you decide to go! She is extremely insightful and really makes Delphi come alive!

Posted by
3147 posts

Hello Dorris!
It would help in giving advice if you said when going: May? July? September? At any rate here's an alternative view to Laura"s. Yes it IS nice to hire "George's Taxi" but that can cost €500++; what is your budget?? Also, disagree w"avoiding public transportation" is "much less stressful". Of course for an American from Midwest or LA who's never set foot in a bus in a lifetime, "public transit." may be scary. But KTEL (Intercity) busses are not like crowded US city busses. Clean, quiet, reserved, comfortable upholstered seats, A/C, windowshades, swift express travel. And used by ALL levels of society, NOT transport (as in US Stereotype), only the poor.

PLUS actually, travel time on KTEL bus is MORE efficient than tour. Here's why: tour bus may pick you up at your hotel at 7:30, BUT it will spend another hour++ going to other hotels, will not actually leave town till nearly 9. Same at end of the trip. So, looong time on bus, short time on site!! Tour arrives site about 10:30-11, gives you only 2 - 2.5 hours for BOTH the ruins and museum... then drags u off to a taverna for lunch YOU pay for & may not want... then takes you to Arahova (next town) for stops at rug store or souvenir shop (they get kickback for this). How do I know this? From bitter experience my first Greece trip 1999, hated it ... I've been back to greece many times since, finally went again to Delphi by KTEL bus, stayed o'nite had fabulous experience. But you also can have a FINE 1-day experience via KTEL Bus. Here's How:

First bus departs 7:30, so have hotel call you a taxi for 6:30 -- from Plaka district to Liossion KTEL Station, about 20 minutes, €10-12. Buy "Return" (R-T) ticket, Dep 7:30 & Return on last Delphi departure 18:50 (6:50pm). Trip is about 3 hours (brief stop at 2-hr point for snacks/restroom). Nearing Delphi up the mountain, you first see the sites/museum, then modern Delphi, then bus station at other end of the village. Since you have no luggage & already have your return ticket, you can sweetly ask the driver ahead of time to drop you off in front of museum... saves u a walk. You can arrange in advance for a local licensed tour guide to meet you there, Penny is also recommended by my Delphi friend. Usual charge is about 60E per 1-2 hrs ... if you want to do DIY, the ROUGH GUIDE to GREECE has excellent section on Delphi, & here are my fave web links to PRINT and TAKE: 3 best maps/3 best articles (the wider area, including town) (the "tholos" outside main site) (explan. of ruins on "sacred way" path" )
•The museum (after renovation) has VERY good signage, so u can enjoy it without a guide NOTE: -- go to museum FIRST, because bus groups go fto the Ruins FIRST, so U can enjoy museum without crowds
• TIP -- The stadium is waaaay up top... and a disappointment, hard to see, because closed off (due to rockfalls) U may skip it.
• After Museum & ancient site, Food! Museum has snacks outside, OR picnic on site OR just walk along mountainside parapet to Delphi Main St for leisurely Taverna lunch. What's left? the beautiful Tholos ruin (the round thing, on all the posters), which is steeply downhill from the main site. A clever thing to do, after that late lunch, about 4 PM or so, is to hire a taxi to go down to the Tholos, wait while you explore a bit, drink from the Castelli Spring, then bring you back uphill. Across from where bus stops is a nice cafe w. open terrace & mountainside view, to have a glass o' red & relax ... then you'll snooze on bus all the way home!!

Posted by
27 posts

Sorry, I didn't mean to add confusion for public transit. I actually rely on public transportation 90% of the time, and found it quite effective in Greece. I just found that it was less stressful to make our way to the bus stations and figure out schedules for transfers when we wanted to get out early in the day. For an 8 hour day, it should be around 300-350 euro with the taxi company. Either way you choose, it will be a wonderful time!

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks all! We will be there the second week of June this year.
We are from San Francisco and ride the bus and bart all the time, so very used to it. However, I do appreciate your tip on the taxi to save time and stress. But $300 plus is pricey for just the two of us.

I know it is advised to make Delphi a two day trip, but our time on the mainland is only three days - so thinking we should have two for Athens - this including the day after I fly in and may have some jet lag. that leaves one day for Delphi. From what I hear it is worth it even tho a long day, so think we are going for it.

We are going off to the Cyclades for the duration of our time and really looking forward to that part for the relaxation and water time.
Thanks for all the details on the bus schedules!

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks Janet!
I really appreciate all your very detailed advice. You've convinced me that doing Delphi in a day is really doable! Nice to have an excellent plan so well laid out.

Should we pre purchase those bus tickets?

Posted by
3147 posts

Glad I could help, Dorris!! And the 2nd week of June the weather should be Divoon ... I'm In fact In Greece May 27 - JUne 16, so I do as I say. About pre-purchasing tickets -- of course that would make sense, but this is Greece! Although their bus equipment is nice & modern, their business model is not... you cannot get a ticket any way but going to the Window. Not kidding!!

BTW, it's always good to have snacks in advance ... Bus station of course has pastries etc but, you know bus station. If there are any cute bakeries or shops near your hotel the night before you can always buy stuff in advance... even sometimes fare for picnic if that's your wish. Also (but you know this) before you leave hotel use your "powder room" because, altho they've renovated the bus stations last year ... those are never where we want to use the facilities. During the trip rest stop, facilities very nice.

ALSO, if you want to contact that guide, Penny something, the Delphi Museum will have contact info for her and any other local licensed guides. The museum # is 30 2265 0 82312 (30 is the country #).

I'm also going to be in cyclades ... Sifnos May 27 for 4 days, also in Naxos the week of june 7. My favorite time, my fave isles.

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks again! You are so full of great tips. We may get to Sifnos as well - as I think we can ferry from Milos to there.
I'm getting excited! I meet my daughter in Athens. She is on tour with her band and finishes up there in Athens at a festival. Then we have two weeks to celebrate both our "big" birthdays. She is turning 25 and I just turned 60.

Glad to hear the weather will be good. I'm ready for much hotter weather than SF!

Posted by
7 posts

Hi everyone,

Just to follow-up with all this great info as I plan on doing a complete one day DIY Delphi trip, can you hit the bus station a couple days early to buy your tickets? As I only have one day to do it, and don't want to have to bus sold out.

Also I was a bit confused where exactly the return bus picks up from in Delphi?


Posted by
3874 posts

We just walked in the Liossion station and bought our tickets for the next bus. But it was the first Saturday in November, and it was not the first bus of the day. We did get round trip tickets, the return one being for Monday, so that implies that you can buy them in advance. But you may have to go to the bus station to do that.

When you get to Delphi you will see that it is basically 2 one-way streets. The bus drops you off as you enter town and you walk. You will have passed the museum and ruins as you enter, so you will head slightly downhill back to them on foot.

The bus back stops almost across the street from where you arrive. In November it was in front of an old empty hotel. So you will have to walk back slightly uphill to get to it.

There are NO signs indicating either stop that I remember. And, things may be different at high season. Rest assured, you will not be the only person visiting Delphi for the day. Just follow the crowd!

Very good news is that there is a lovely outdoor cafe between the museum and the ruins to get something to eat before, and maybe after, you visit them. The toilets and gift shop are together with it.