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takemewithu May 28th, 2014 11:55 PM

Sights near Delphi
We will be driving to Delphi from Nafplio taking the scenic coastal route crossing into central Greece via the Antirrio bridge. According to the map ( and Clausar here on Fodor's forum ), we will be driving through some very scenic towns like Galaxi, et al. I'm assuming if we leave Nafplio in the morning and take our time sightseeing en route, we will be arriving in Delphi mid to late afternoon.

We will be overnighting in Delphi for 1 night ( Pan Hotel ) and plan to see the archeological site in the morning the following day, before we head up to Kastraki after lunch. Are there any places in or near Delphi that we can visit to get a feel for the town after we check in to our hotel? Does Delphi have a charming square or plaza where we can soak up the atmosphere?

Your suggestions are most welcome if this sightseeing plan is too aggressive. Thanks in advance for your input.o

Odin May 29th, 2014 12:09 AM

You can go a bit further on from Delphi to Arachova or back to Galaxidi (note it is not Galaxi) which is a lovely town with bags of atmosphere and character.

takemewithu May 29th, 2014 12:37 AM

That's right, I meant Galaxidi. Thanks for your response.

artsnletters May 29th, 2014 05:09 AM

I enjoyed both Galaxidi and Arachova, very different towns. Just be careful driving into Galaxidi. It was tricky finding my way around, although eventually I did figure out how to get out once I had stumbled onto the waterfront cafe area. Lots of one lane roads, and which way they go isn't apparent (or, in the great Greek tradition, they are two-way - somebody backs up until the other gets through and then takes their turn).

takemewithu May 29th, 2014 08:06 AM

Thanks Artsnletters, I know you just came back from Greece. Looking forward to your TR ( no pressure )

PetrosB3 May 29th, 2014 09:19 AM

On your way to Delphi, near the Rio Antirio Bridge, is the town of Naupactus. An ancient port-city with a charming old town and medieval walls.

takemewithu May 29th, 2014 09:29 AM

Artsnletters, I forgot to ask you...did your GPS work when you were finding your way out of Galaxidi and some of the smaller towns you visited ? How was the GPS coverage in the Peloponnese and Central Greece area?

takemewithu May 29th, 2014 09:31 AM

Petros, thanks for your suggestion. I'm adding Naupactus in my list of possible stops.

clausar May 29th, 2014 09:37 AM


you will have to pass through Nafpaktos anyway..

There is a very nice small medieval port and a fortress on the top of hill, which will give you an amazing view of the town and the port.

Makeithappen May 29th, 2014 10:46 AM

Bookmarking for upcoming trip to Greece. Thanks!

PetrosB3 May 30th, 2014 03:55 PM

Also, if you have time, I would recommend you to visit the Hosios Loukas Monastery. Its 1 hour by car from Delphi. The Monastery is considered a masterpiece of Byzantine Architecture, constructed 1000 years ago in honor of Osios Loukas, a priest who could predict the future, like the liberation of Crete by the Emperor Romanos II. Because of that, the Monastery was prodected by the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, the Architects were of the Imperial Court from Constantinople, and the best Constantinopolitan Imperial Artists decorated the Monastery with golden mosaics, and frescoes. Today, Its a UNESCO world heritage site.

mariha2912 May 31st, 2014 03:25 AM

When is this trip planned for?

takemewithu Jun 1st, 2014 08:38 AM

Mariha, wew are taking the 2 week trip in the first week of October. When are you going?

mariha2912 Jun 2nd, 2014 01:33 AM

Hi again.

Delphi is my hometown and I am living semi-permanently here (long story!) so I go nowhere lol

I asked because between Nafpaktos and Itea there are many sea side and even inland villages with very limited local population. On summer though they get more lively and depending on where you happen to be around lunch time or coffee break time, a visit might have been worth the effort. On October many of them might have only the one local cafeneion/mini market/tavern open or not even this, so I hesitate to suggest a visit.
Nafpaktos is not only scenic and an important area transport wise but holds a 20000 people population so you'll have no problems there.
Galaxidi holds about 3500 permanent citizents and visitors favorite it mostly late June till early September. On October it will be quiet but there are plenty of cafes or taverns open all year around. Galaxidi waterfront is very scenic, but do remember to walk a bit on the back streets too. Interesting architecture and history and if you have time and it is open, you may check the nautical museum too.
Itea and Kirra, prectically one town nowadays is the last sea side town before Delphi, holding ~5000 population and serving as the cruise port for Delphi. It is less charming than say Galaxidi but offers a decent waterfront and eating options.

On early October sun sets ~ 7pm and it is too early to know for sure when the archeological sites/museums' timetable will swap into the winter one...But usually this is on end of October. If so, sites are open till 8pm, last admission ~7.30 pm and depending on when you arrive in Delphi, on mood and stamina, visiting the lower (free admission) part of the sites might be a wise decision. You might be there on time to catch the sunset and even if not, there will be less or no crowds around and you may appreciate the place way better than most visitors. It is actually more logical a visit too, because this is the way ancient visitors traveling overland would reach Delphi too, visiting Temple of Athena Pronaea before continueing towards rest of the site. And of course visiting part of the ruins on day one is a time saver for your visit next day.
In modern Delphi town, depending on how much time you'll have available, I always urge people to allow some time outside the very touristy two "main" streets. A hike towards (or even a visit) to Angelos and Eva Sikelianos museum is a pleasant one and one could even hike further up at the start of E4 path. Allowing only one night in Delphi, I doupt you have time for all things mentioned, so I will not add more suggestions.

For your drive to Kastraki, I will mention this which is on your route but depends on your interests to visit or not.

takemewithu Jun 2nd, 2014 10:17 AM

Mariha, thanks so much for the useful information on Delphi and the cities nearby. The cities and our would be planned stops/slight detour are more interesting than we originally thought. So far our planned stops are in Nafpaktos and Galaxidi and plan to linger around for just a bit in these two towns.
We will definitely explore the backstreets a bit as you suggested, away from seafront. We enjoy exploring daily life at local neighborhoods and some of our fondest vacation memories are just doing exactly this. As an aside, we had a very memorable exploration in the small town of Perast on our way to Montenegro a couple of years ago. I also like shopping in the small neighborhood stores and markets for truly local souvenirs. In Perast, we picked up some painted wood sardines hanging from a rope from a local vendor outside the old church. They now hang in one of trees in our backyard. Apparently Perast is known in the area for its sardines.
Sorry for the rambling digression...

Back to Delphi...we are currently booked for just 1 night in Delphi, at Pan Hotel which I think is along town's main tourist drag. We tried to book at Varonos Hotel but it's sold out for the dates we need. It looks like most tourist oriented hotels are located along this street. If you have any hotels or accommodations you can recommend, would appreciate your suggestions.

We are also open to taking a day before or after our overnight in Delphi as our hotels here are cancelable and changeable. We are currently booked for 5 nights in Nafplio and 3 nights in Kastraki to visit the monasteries. We will not be visiting Olympia or Monemvasia so we are open to taking a day out from the Nafplio nights, same with cutting the Kastraki leg from 3 nights to 2 nights.

Thank you so much again for all the useful info.

artsnletters Jun 2nd, 2014 09:40 PM

I stayed at the Pan Hotel on my very recent trip. It is indeed on the main road through town, on the opposite end from the archaeological site. I walked to the site from the hotel, although it was a bit of a hike, especially to the lower site - it's a good half-hour walk back from there, maybe longer. Pan is an OK hotel. Rooms are reasonable size, although the bathroom in my room was so small you couldn't open the door all the way. Good breakfast provided.

I'm not sure you need two full days for the monasteries. I saw three of them in one day and could have seen more if I had (a) skipped an afternoon nap and (b) felt up to another set of steps. I did take a morning bus tour that went to two of the monasteries; it was particularly good because it dropped us at the top of the hill above one monastery and picked us up at the bottom of the hill, meaning we only had to walk downhill, and it included a lot of good information about the geological formations, how the monasteries developed, etc. You would still have most of the afternoon free to explore further. Anyway, back to the monasteries. In a way they are pretty similar, just variations in scale and a little different set of "museums" inside. If you are really into Byzantine art and are interested in looking at multiple versions of the pretty much the same thing by artists who are not really distinguishable from each other, you may want to visit all of the monasteries. Otherwise, you may be happy with just seeing two or three, which is easy to do in a single day (two nights).

Do check into what days the monasteries are closed - many on Fridays - or perhaps you will need to be there three nights to have the opportunity to see them all.

If I were going to take a night from somewhere to add to Delphi, I would take it from Kastraki before I took it from Nafplio, where there is a lot to see. I was there four nights and really needed another night.

takemewithu Jun 3rd, 2014 12:30 AM

Thanks Arts for the feedback on Pan Hotel and the monasteries. I am seriously considering adding a night to our Delphi leg. If we did this, we will be in Kastraki on Wed and Thursday. A follow up question: if you were to visit only 3 monasteries, which ones would they be. Should Megalo monastery be #1 in our list? Btw, our hotel in Kastraki ( Dellas Boutique Hotel ) is cancelable and changeable without penalty. Are there interesting towns near Kastraki and Kalambaka that are worth exploring?

mariha2912 Jun 3rd, 2014 01:09 AM

The problem I see is that there are many options but a lot depend on mood, interests and weather.
For example many people allow one or two days in Delphi for hiking along which is a very weather-dependable activitiy I guess. Or you could simply drive through Arahova all the way to Corycian Grotto, then make a small road trip inside Mt Parnassos fire tree forest, and/or visit the ski center which will be closed on October but still interesting to have a look around and/or continue to the mountain villages on the other side of the mountain.
Then of course you could head to Arahova, keep going till Distomo area, visit Hosios Loukas Monastery (an other UNESCO Heritage site) and make a mini-road trip through Antikirra, Desfina and Itea.

The same applies to Meteora area I guess, you could always head to Plastira lake area for a night or two before Meteora, it is a scenic place with low key B&Bs and great taverns and tiny villages scattered around, rather too quiet on October though. Then it is always tempting to suggest other places after Meteora, you have gorgeous areas a few hours driving away but this will only complicate things...

It is a personal call, but is specific accomodations so important for you that you can not risk to sleep elsewhere in case they are fully booked? I honestly can't imagine arriving in Delphi, Kastraki or Nafplion on early October and not been able to find a place to sleep. Those are year-around destinations and most hotels are open all year around. Outside large celebration periods such as some bank holidays, Christmas and Easter, there is always accomodation available on the go unless there is a specific event- and I am not aware of one on early October. Going without reservations could give you much more flexibility to decide on the spot without having to follow a strict itinerary.

artsnletters Jun 3rd, 2014 07:08 AM

I only saw three of the five, so I can't comment on the comparative delights of all five. The three I visited are the Great Meteora (highly recommended), the Roussanou (actually a convent), and St Stephen's (also a convent). Both Roussanou and St Stephen's were relatively small. I'd probably include St Stephen's regardless because it involves no steps, so it's quick and easy to visit, although it's off in a different direction than the others. Still, it didn't take long to drive over there, and the parking lot was ample, at least in the later part of the afternoon.

artsnletters Jun 3rd, 2014 07:11 AM

I'd also echo Mariha on finding an accommodation on the fly. The place I stayed, five rooms, only had one room other than mine occupied on the two nights I was there, and if Pan suits you, probably so would my place, which was a whopping 30 euro a night. Just saying, I would not expect you'd have any trouble finding a good place if you just turn up. If you have preferences, you could always call ahead or go on when you know which days you'll be there and arrange something then.

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