Planning a Delphi day trip from Athens is one of the best ways to see some incredible historic sites within easy reach of the Greek capital. Visiting Greece is truly the ideal destination for history aficionados and those searching for deep exploration in a travel destination.
While visiting the capital city of Athens, you may crave to dig deeper into the history of Ancient Greece, and luckily, there are plenty of evocative day trip options to satisfy that need. One of the most popular is the UNESCO archaeological site of Delphi, located in the southern part of mainland Greece. Continue reading this article to prepare for the perfect Delphi day trip from Athens.
How to Get from Athens to Delphi
By Organised Tour
When planning for your Delphi day trip from Athens, you may decide that you’d much rather visit the site with a group.
It can take a lot of the stress and planning away if you decide to go with a tour; how to get there, the driving, travel time and learning about the sites and history. Fortunately, there are plenty of organised tours leaving from Athens to Delphi for a full-day excursion.
Both this full-day tour and this full-day tour include transportation from Athens and an archaeologist tour guide to show you the sites of Delphi as well as stopping at the village of Arachova, so it’s great if you want to visit Delphi and Arachova together.
Other options for your Athens to Delphi day trip are this full-day tour and this guided day tour which include entrance tickets, an expert guide while you visit the archaeological site of Delphi and time in a few charming local towns before heading back to your hotel in Athens.
Those who would rather have a guided tour to themselves and have the cash to spend will love this private day tour which takes you from Athens to Delphi. A private tour to Delphi is great for visitors who don’t want the fuss of public transport or self-driving but still want some independence.
Finally, if you want to visit both Delphi and Meteora, it is possible to take this two-day tour that visits both sites and is a great option for those looking for a longer tour from Athens.
If you’re hoping to use bus transportation for your one day in Delphi, you’re in luck. Bus transportation from Athens to Delphi is pretty straightforward, not too long, and with pretty frequent daily routes.
The bus system that you’ll be using to get from Athens to Delphi, is the KTEL bus system. They’re pretty much regional buses connecting Greece, mainly in part due to the lack of a thriving train system.
All of the buses from Athens to Delphi leave from the KTEL Bus Station B at 260 Liossion Street. This bus station is conveniently located just about a 10-minute walk from a metro station (Agios Nikolaos), so it’s not too difficult to reach the bus station if you’re taking metro transport. Tickets are available for purchase online, at the station, or on the bus.
It’s important to keep in mind that the summer season gets busy on the KTEL buses (especially the Athens/Delphi route), so you’ll want to arrive early. Once the bus is full, there’s no more room to purchase tickets.
Even if you’ve purchased a ticket online, you’ll, unfortunately, lose your spot if you’re not there early enough to secure your seat before early ticket buyers purchase at the station or on the bus.
There are typically around 5-6 buses a day leaving from Athens to go to Delphi as well as from Delphi to Athens. You can expect the bus ride to be around 3 hours depending on traffic and the driver will usually stop at the midpoint of the ride so you can use the toilet and purchase snacks or lunch.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a feasible train journey option for those traveling from Athens to Delphi on a Delphi itinerary. While Greece does have a train system throughout the mainland, it’s not what most travelers are used to when compared to the majority of European train systems.
Delphi is in more of a remote area and surrounded by small towns, so the only option would be to take a train to a city about an hour away from Delphi and then take a taxi to the site.
Due to the difficulty, cost, and lack of access directly to Delphi, I wouldn’t recommend taking train transport for a Delphi day trip from Athens.
In my opinion, the ideal way to reach Delphi from Athens is by driving. While taking a bus for a day trip to Delphi from Athens isn’t too long or too costly, driving to Delphi is the quickest option and also gives you the most flexibility for your Delphi itinerary or for extending your trip to the Peloponnese. You can browse car rental options on Rentalcars.com which compares prices across several providers.
There are a few different routes to take when driving from Athens to Delphi and the one you choose will ultimately depend on the amount of time you have and if you’re interested in making other stops along the way.
Traffic is typically the same for all routes but it’s usually busier on Sunday evenings and during post-work rush hour in the late afternoon.
Route 1 is the shortest, taking around 3 hours. The scenery for this route is mainly rural farmland, passing through small villages before arriving at the stunning Mount Parnassus area and then Delphi.
Route 2 is ideal if you’re looking to get more out of your Delphi itinerary. This route will take around 5 hours and tolls are far more expensive. You’ll drive through the Gulf of Corinth and have opportunities to stop at the famous Corinth Canal and the Ancient archaeological city of Corinth.
From there, you’ll drive on the Rion-Antirion Bridge, the bridge with the largest, continuous suspended deck in the world, then head to Delphi on a singletrack road, passing directly through the heart of rural Greece.
While this route is lengthy, it is possible to do it in a day if you’re up for it, but I recommend it if you have a night to stay and take your time on the journey.
There’s no specific parking lot or surveilled parking at the sites of Delphi, it’s just street parking. So it’s definitely best to arrive as early as possible to make sure that you’ll be guaranteed parking.
Delphi Day Trip Itinerary
Delphi is easily one of the most monumental locations to visit in Greece, and that in turn makes it the most popular excursion site for a day trip from Athens.
For the Ancient Greeks, Delphi was the most important spot where people would travel to consult with the famous Oracle, Pythia. Delphi was also known as the “center of the world” and in the modern day, an estimated 500,000 tourists flock to this UNESCO World Heritage Site yearly to understand the importance of Delphi.
On a day trip to Delphi from Athens, you’ll understand the importance of this world-famous Ancient site as well as immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the rustic Greek mountains and countryside.
Archaeological Site of Delphi
Visiting the Archaeological Site of Delphi is the main thing that you’ll be doing on an Athens to Delphi day trip. The archaeological site itself begins with the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, a temple devoted to worshipping the goddess Athena in Greek Mythology.
Next on your Delphi archaeological tour, you’ll make your way down the “sacred way” and through the ruins of Delphi. From here, you’ll find yourself at the Temple of Apollo, a temple devoted to the Greek God, Apollo, and also where the famous legend, the Oracle of Delphi would deliver her prophecies to Ancient Delphi.
In the archaeological site, you’ll also find the theater and stadium of Delphi (which is higher up and usually void of tourists as the trek is quite long and tours tend to be too short to visit).
The area itself is incredibly dense with ruins, remnants, and monuments built by the most popular and wealthy Athenian families during Ancient Greece.
Because of this, even if you aren’t taking part in a tour, I highly recommend having your own audio guide or brushing up on the importance of Delphi before your visit. It enhances your time in Delphi especially since information at the site is pretty sparse and vague.
Tickets for the Archaeological site of Delphi include the Archaeological Museum of Delphi next door. You can buy skip-the-line tickets here.
Both the Archaeological Site and Museum are open daily with free admission days throughout the year as well as holidays closed or with reduced hours.
Archaeological Museum of Delphi
The Archaeological Museum of Delphi is located directly next to the archaeological site and is the perfect spot to visit afterwards (or beforehand if you’d rather see the artifacts before the ruins and site).
This museum is one of the most important museums in Greece and is home to the discoveries made and artifacts found at the Archaeological Site of Delphi.
The museum displays many famous statues; from the Charioteer of Delphi to the Sphinx of Naxos. You’ll also witness pieces found from the Treasury of the Athenians as well as pieces from the late Hellenistic and Roman periods.
The museum is made up of two floors and follows a timeline from the early Greek periods until the most recent that’s represented in the museum.
Tickets to the Archaeological Museum are included with entrance to the ruins and operating hours are the same for both the museum and archaeological site.
After spending most of the day in the mystical ruins of Delphi, a great way to wrap up your one day in Delphi is to head to the nearby village of Arachova. Arachova is located about 12km away from Delphi and is undoubtedly one of the most wildly beautiful villages in central Greece.
Sitting within the hills of Mount Parnassus at an altitude of 960 meters, Arachova is a true winter destination but also a lush and lively place to visit throughout the warmer months.
Wander around the main Lakka Square and its many shops while taking in the stunning scenery and decorations. Maybe even take the long walk up to the Holy Church of Agios Georgios for outstanding views of Delphi and Parnassus.
If you’re visiting in winter, skiing is the main activity of choice and Arachova is a bustling small town throughout the winter months.
Looking for something to eat in Arachova before heading back to Athens? I recommend the restaurant, Skala, located in the center of Arachova. The food is highly rated, local, and with moderate prices in comparison to the high quality of the dishes.
Have More Than One Day in Delphi?
If you have more time to spend in the region, central Greece is full of treasures to discover no matter the time of year. It’s an entirely underrated part of the country that has so much history and beauty worth your time to explore
Hosios Loukas Monastery
The Hosios Loukas Monastery is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the area located around 38km from Delphi and close to Arachova. The monastery’s church is one of the most well-preserved small churches from the Middle Byzantine era.
This church was established by the famed Greek monk Loukas and is the only known church in Greece that was built in the 10th century. Inside you’ll find relics to showcase the Byzantine period as well as the wealth and history of the monastery.
Although it’s another 3 hours away by car, another destination in the area that without a doubt is worth the visit is Meteora. Here you’ll find the most monumental Greek Orthodox monasteries built on top of some of the most uniquely extravagant and inspiring rock formations in the world.
Nearby, you’ll also find Theopetra’s Cave, which is believed to be the home of the oldest human construction on earth!
Where to Stay in Athens
Athens Ivy Suites – Mid-range visitors to Athens will love this centrally-located hotel. They have a number of clean, bright and comfortable rooms to choose from. There is also an on-site bar and a gorgeous terrace with incredible views over the Greek capital. Click here to see their availability
The Modernist Athens – This luxury hotel will ensure that you have all you need to make sure you’re well-rested and comfortable for both exploring the Greek capital and embarking on a trip to Delphi. They have a number of beautiful rooms to choose from and plenty of amenities to ensure your stay is a great one. Click here to see their availability
101 Adrianou Apartments – For those who would like their own space while basing themselves in Athens (and to ensure that you’re well-rested for your day trip to Delphi), this aparthotel is a great option. There are a range of flats available depending on your group size and it has a great location for exploring the city. Click here to see their availability
City Circus Athens – This hostel is an excellent option for those visiting the Greek capital on a tight budget. They have a number of both private rooms and dorms on offer, good self-catering facilities and they organise social events for visitors, as well. Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Athens hotels!
It’s very clear why Delphi is one of the most visited locations in Greece and visiting for yourself will undoubtedly give you a good understanding of why. From tales of Ancient Oracles to relics from the beginning of Democracy, a day trip from Athens to Delphi will surely be a magical day that you’ll find hard to forget.
Are you planning to spend a day in Delphi? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!