The Oracle of Delphi and idyllic towns of Itea and Arachova, mainland Greece

In this post, you can read about the ruins in Delphi, Greece, and an itinerary for activities around Delphi in the nearby towns of Itea and Arachova. I visited Delphi in August 2019 and stayed for about 7 days.

Oracle of Delphi overview
The views are amazing from inside the Archeological Site of Delphi

Delphi is a lovely mountain town, mostly known for the ‘Oracle of Delphi’. The ruins are situated just outside the town, and if you come from Athens you will pass by the ruins before arriving in town. Most people don’t stay too long in Delphi, but the town has its charm.

There is some serenity about Delphi, and the atmosphere gave me a feeling of tranquility. Delphi is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the best of Greece in terms of archaeology, food and amazing landscape views. I understand anyone who just stays in Delphi for one night – as Greece is such a great country, and has much more to offer. Read more at the bottom of this post!

Where to stay in Delphi

From our hotel, we were offered an amazing view of the valley and the sea, and we found several good restaurants around the town. We stayed for a whole week since some of my boyfriends’ family lives in Delphi. For the whole stay, we were in Hotel Orfeas, which offers fair prices and a good location in town. We had a pleasant stay, and the room is perfect if you intend to eat your meals out in restaurants.

Greek Cat
You will meet the occasional Greek cat around Delphi

We went out to explore some of the wildlife around Delphi and came across this area down the road, from where you can enjoy more spectacular views. We even found a cool Marginated tortoise!

Delphi from below
Delphi seen from just outside town
Marginated Tortoise
It feels amazing to stumble upon local wildlife such as this Marginated Tortoise

Best food in town

We visited a few places during our week in Delphi. My guilty pleasure will always be eating the famous Greek souvlaki pita. Below are my top 3 places to eat (in no particular order), where we ate at least twice during our week in Delphi:

  • Elia – a modern take on traditional Greek dishes – €€€
  • In Delphi Cafe – €€ (I recommend the mouthwatering honey-fried feta)
  • Souvlaki Gyros Pita – €

One of the highlights of the trip – the Archaeological site of Delphi

We went to the site first thing in the morning, to be sure we could enter as some of the first people on the day. The site opens at 8:30 so there should be plenty of time to have breakfast in your hotel before you go :). We had mistaken the entrance to the site with the entrance to the museum, and to my biggest surprise, we were able to come back to the museum after exploring the site, after having discussed our situation with a museum employee. Go straight to the site, the entrance is a few hundred meters down the road from the museum.

I expected the site to be huge and wore a rather sporty outfit. To my surprise, we covered the whole site in 1½ hours, and I recommend you to go slow – enjoy each ruin you come across, there aren’t that many.. Overall it was a good experience, and if you stay overnight in Delphi you can get up in the early morning before the masses arrive and the heat intensifies.

Ruin 1
Ruin 2
Ancient Stadium
The Ancient Stadium

There is another site to the southeast, where anyone can enter without a ticket. It includes the Athena Pronaia Temple, and it is definitely worth a visit. Just look at that view!

Athena Pronaia
View of the Athena Pronaia Temple – with a free entrance!

The Archaeological Museum

One of the things I love about archaeological sites is the display of all the excavated artifacts from the site in the respective museum. Since I was a child I was always taken to the different museums we found in Athens, Crete, Rome, etc.

I am not going to write a bunch about this museum, except that it is worth your time! Make sure you visit the archeological site first, then the museum. After walking (almost hiking 🙂 ) around the site you will enjoy the cool environment inside the museum. All the guides will drag you through the museum first to prepare you for what to expect at the site. I like seeing things first for myself, then get the history behind it and recognize the actual structures that I have just seen myself. You might want to get one of those audio guides with you, I personally just enjoy the art and read the signs that I find interesting.

The Kauros statues

Arachova – a quiet place for long walks

One of the many souvenir shops in Arachova offering local products

If you grow tired of Delphi, there is another town that offers amazing views and space for everyone. You can reach Arachova by bus, rental car or taxi., and it takes about 20 minutes to reach Arachova from Delphi. In winter, Arachova is where you stay if you go skiing, and in the summertime, the town is like a slumbering giant. Do not expect much in terms of restaurants and shopping in Arachova. We spent a few hours walking about town and was delighted to see a new place.

Arachova 1
Arachova 2

Mouth-watering ice-cream and swimming in the Gulf of Korinth in Itea

You can take the bus from Delphi to Itea, although it will take you on a small detour to Amfissa first (don’t get distressed as we did! You will end up in Itea if you got on the right bus, to begin with 😉 ).

Some of the best ice-cream I’ve had in Greece was from Itea. You can enjoy the delicious ice-cream in the shade by the water.

One of the beaches near Itea – this beach was in the town of Kirra and would require a car to reach, but there are two city beaches in Itea, we went to both and they were wonderful!

Where to next?


I recommend either going to Athens and continuing into island hopping to places such as Santorini, Naxos or Ios, or take a bus from Athens south to wonderful and diverse Peloponnese. Make sure you stop by the Corinth Canal to discover one of the great man-made landmarks in Greece if you head down south of Athens.

Eurasian hoopoe – photo by PE

Bird-wise we saw Eurasian hoopoe, Blue Rock Thrush, Western Rock-nuthatch, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and Pallid Swift in Delphi and the local surroundings.


2 thoughts on “The Oracle of Delphi and idyllic towns of Itea and Arachova, mainland Greece

    • Yes, Delphi is a lovely place! I can imagine it being a lot more pleasant to hike the mountains during spring or even fall! Sorry for the late reply 🙂

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