General Information & Reviews

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Delphi is one of the most significant historical places in Greece, most famous for its Oracle. The location took its name from the word "delphini" (dolphin) as according to the myth god Apollo arrived there from Crete riding a dolphin.

Archaeologists have evidence that Delphi Greece was inhabited since the Neolithic period. Towards the latter stages of the Mycenaean period, Delphi evolved a key religious and political hub. Even as the role of the oracle during the prehistoric times is somewhat vague, largely due to the lack of records, the significance of Delphi in the ancient times is rightfully acknowledged by numerous distinguished ancient writers.

In the Mycenaean period, from 1600 and 1100 BC, Delphi was the place where the ritual worship of the deity of Mother Earth was conducted. The deity was popularly referred to as "Ge" in the local dialect. Her influence knew no bounds and by the 8th century BC, the oracle of Delphi attained worldwide recognition for accurately forecasting the future of mankind.

In ancient times, Delphi was regarded by the ancient inhabitants of Greece as the center of planet earth, to be more precise "the navel of the universe". In those days, the Oracle of Delphi was a sacred place.

The visitors were first purified from their sins in the Castalian Spring and then they were going to the oracle to ask for advice. The oracles were bestowed by Pythia, the priestess who is most famous for her strange sounds while in a state of trance. She would give the prophecy to the priests of the temple and the priests gave it to visitors. In many times, this prophecy was vague and could be easily misunderstood.

The fame of the Oracle in Delphi spread all over the Mediterranean Sea. From the average man on the street to the mighty emperors, everyone sought to advise from this Oracle if the matter was of great importance. Matters varied from the routine everyday family disagreements to the more important proposition of waging war against enemy states or to expand the territorial boundaries. The Oracle of Delphi cut across boundaries, and throughout its existence, it offered neutral opinions without any bias or favor.

These visitors would bring many gifts to the Oracle, which is why Treasury buildings were constructed. The most famous is the Treasury of the Athenians and the Treasury of Syphnians. Every four years, the Delphian Games would also take place to honor god Apollo, the protector of the Oracle. The games were taking place in the Stadium above the temple and the participants used to exercise in the Gymnasium.

Although the Oracle of Delphi played a large religious and political role in the ancient times, it gradually declined with the spreading of Christianity and was finally shut down in the 4th century AD by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius.


10 Reviews
  • feispla98 20 May 2011
    Happy to go again someday
    Last month I found a great travel agency to book a one day tour in Delphi. We started early in the morning from Athens Omonia, passed through Levadia and Arachova, where we made a stop for a while. This small town was full of coffee shops and stores selling their local products. Arachova is famous for the colorful carpets and handicrafts. As soon as we arrived in Delphi, we first got to see the museum with the amazing marble statues, the large Sphinx, the perfect Charioteer with the oval eyes, a whole new ancient world!

    The actual site pf Delphi was very interesing, it is surprising how one site and another have not much comparison to each other. For example, Olympia is so different from Delphi and Delphi is so different from Epidaurus. I was really amazed by the spectacular view of Mount Parnassos and the amphitheatrical location, so mountainous, so imposing. The view going down from the stadium was perfect! A trip that will stick to my mind forever, happy I want and happy to go again one day.
  • gorgeousl 15 May 2010
    Easy with a tour
    Obviously a lot of tours leave from Athens and go to Delphi for a day. It is not difficult to find such a tour from the Internet and book online. We went to Delphi last minute. Apparently five days were many to see Athens and after we had seen all in 3 days of sightseeing, we thought why not go to Delphi? The sign of a tour agency in Omonoia square had attracted our interest and so we booked last minute.

    The road was good up to a point (for about 2 hours) and then the road got a bit windy for another hour but nothing extreme, just a few winds. Delphi is situated along a hillside and you get to see some gorgeous view of the olive groves beneath the site. It was a very impressive and big site, need about an hour to see it all. The ancient theatre was nice and I heard that performances of ancient drama are played there in summer. It would be a nice experience, wouldn't it? The museum was also large and had very interesting exhibits: life-size marble statues, the Sphinx, the Charioteer in bronze and all those small vases with the pictures on them. The only problem was the labels, maybe better explanations are needed because not all people know the archaeological terms.

    It turned a very interesting trip, well recommended to make tours from Athens. So many tours and so nice places to visit in the inland, before you go to the islands. Next time in Greece, we get a tour to Mycenae and Epidaurus.
  • ivana26 05 Nov 2009
    Peaceful place
    I visited Delphi on a single day trip some months ago. We took a bus from the central bus station in Athens, but I also heard is very easy to get there from Patra, a city nearby Delphi, so you could probably add that to your travel, better than I did. The public cus leaves you in the village and then you take a taxi to the site. Delphi in general, was a quiet place, looked peaceful and sacred. We visited the temple of Apollo, climbing up the hill. Cann't say it was that easy, but the view from there rewarded us, more that we expected, with the green valley of olive trees laying under our feet. There is also a museum there, but we didn't visit it.

    The view and the whole area was very beautiful and we preferred to stay outside. Also met some groups of tourists on a tour around the ruins. There are some cafes and bars at bottom and some places to eat, but still all quiet and calm, don't expect to go partying in Delphi. And something cute for the end! The place was full of little cute kittens running around! I don't know if it was only when we visited Delphi, or if that's something normal for the place, but you really cannot miss them. Little grey kittens playing around and they were actually quite friendly, used to the human appearance. I hope you will meet them, too.
  • bbenjimen 26 Jul 2009
    Delightful place
    A delightful place to visit two nights is enough as in high season it becomes a little to cosy for me.
    It is quite easy to visit from Kefolonia, catch a ferry to Patras and then a bus to Delphi the journey is quite interesting, when returning it is advisable to catch a taxi back to Patras then you are sure to meet the ferry times.
    Ask at your hotel the night before to arrange the taxi back.
  • jellyf 22 May 2009
    Interesting statues in the museum
    I didn't like the site of Delphi too much. It seemed familiar to me after so many pictures of Delphi that I have seen. The view though was excellent and a bit terrifying for me (I am afraid of heights!). The museum though was great and very beautifully organized. I have seen many museums in the Greek islands, but I think the mainland has the best. They take more good care of them. The spinga was very impressive and a statue of a horse rider. I am very fond of ancient Greek statues.
  • alexa23 20 Jan 2009
    Prefered the museum to actual site
    Last weekend we went to Arachova and then drove to Delphi, which is about 30 minutes away. The site was not crowded at all. In fact, only a couple of families were there, so we were almost alone. I guess people doesn't like sightseeing in the winter :)) Anyway, the site was interesting, but being a Greek myself, I am used to ancient temples and ruined statues, so I was not that impressed. However, I really liked the museum with the nice organization and the well-cared exhibits. The Sphinx was the most impressive. I didn't know that the ancient Greeks were so influenced by the Egyptians...
  • jane24er 14 Nov 2008
    Get a glimpse of ancient Greece
    Delphi is said to be the centre of the world. When we visited the site last summer, we found some almost ruined temples and an interesting museum. I believe you have to be really in connection with the Greek history and culture to be touched by the site of Delphi. I was personally not truly touched, but rather I was curious about the findings and the remains of the ancient Greek civilization. The bottom line is go to Delphi, but do not expect to magically fall in love and appreciate the glorious Greek antiquity. You will only get a glimpse of that.
  • olkadrop35 01 Sep 2008
    An impressive site with great view from up there
    I visited Delphi two years ago, while we were traveling around Greece. We didn't spend the night in the nearby town, just went to visit the archaeological site and continued our trip to Patras. We first visited the museum, which hosted some interesting exhibits; my favorite one was Iniochos, I thought it was impressive. Then we went to the temple, which was situated up onto a hill; going there was tiring because it was a hot day! However, we all got impressed by the Temple of Apollo and the other ruins. Not to mention, the view was amazing! Have in mind that I am afraid of heights and still couldn't resist looking down to the olive tree valley…
  • joaquinsalm23 14 Apr 2008
    Past would jump out of the ruins
    Last September, I was backpacking with some friends along Greece. Among other places, we also visited Delphi. We took the bus from Patras and arrived after nearly three hours. We visited the Archaeological Museum, the Oracle and the Temple of Apollo. I remember the archaeological site was on a mountainous area and it was a very hot day! We had to walk up to the Oracle and when we reached the area, we were exhausted! However, it was worth the tiredness because we saw a special place. It was as if past would jump out of the ruins! The location and the view were also astonishing. We could see a valley of olive trees lying beyond our feet!
    We spent the night in a motel in the city of Delphi and ate in a local tavern. The food was excellent, although I thought it was quite expensive. Later, we looked for a nice bar to go but all we found were cafes with low music. I guess things don't get very wild in this small city. The other morning we took the bus and continued our trip to Volos. However, my photos of the Oracle will remind me of this beautiful place…
  • Fred_J 12 Dec 2006
    Unique experience
    The drive from Rio/Antirio until Delphi was truley breathtaking. We left early in the morning to avoid traffic, this allowed us to see the beautiful colors in the sky as the sun was coming up behind the mountains.
    To our right we had the Gulf of Corinth and the mountains to our left. The scenery was beautiful as we passed through the small towns. we finally get to Galaxidi and have a cup of coffee at one of the traditional cafes in the center of town. We get back on the road and finally reach Delphi. The town is a small place you wouldn't have guessed this was considered the center of the world by the ancient Greeks. Then we get to the archaeological site and I see the grandure that once existed in this area. The remaining ruins of Delphi were very impressive, such craftsmanship and detail. And the view from the site was extrodinary. I would definitely recomend that everyone visiting Greece try to make it to Delphi it is a unique experience