Delphi Day Tour
Delphi Private Tour – Duration 10 Hours
- Distomo – Hosios Loukas
- Arachova – Village of Delphi
- The Oracle of Delphi
- Museum of Delphi
- Sanctuary Athena Pronea – Gymnasium
This is a great opportunity to visit one of the most renowned sites in Greece in one day. The Delphi day tour starts with a drive on the national highway towards northern Greece. Passing by the plane of Thieves and the city of Levadia. Then we will be on the slopes of Mount Parnassus before reaching Delphi. Our first stop is going to be the monastery of Hosios Loukas, which represents the second golden age of Byzantine art (11th -12th century) in particular its golden mosaic decoration and fine architecture.
After spending some time in this area of serenity we will drive to the site of Delphi, an ancient Greek sanctuary with a PanHellenic character dedicated to the God Apollo. It functioned as an Oracle and was considered ‘the naval’ the center of the world and is today a symbol of Greek cultural unity. The scenic location allows you to have a view of the Greek mountains and two more sites the Gymnasium and the secondary sanctuary of Athena Pronea. In the site, you will visit the Temple of Apollo where Pythia spoke to the oracles, the theater, and the stadium. While in the museum you will be able to see the famous charioteer and Gold Ivory statue.
After the site we will have our lunch at the modern village of Delphi with a view of the mountains of Fokis and our last destination will be the village of Arachova. A mountainous village built on a cliff 900m above sea level very close to the Parnassus ski resort. It’s the mainland’s answer to Mykonos. After some free time for shopping and wandering around we will have a pleasant drive back to Athens.
The World Heritage–listed monastery, Moni Osios Loukas, is 23km southeast of Arahova, between the villages of Distomo and Kyriaki. The monastic complex includes two churches. Its principal church contains some of Greece’s finest Byzantine frescoes. Modest dress is required (no shorts). Nearby is the smaller 10th-century Agia Panagia (Church of the Virgin Mary). The monastery is dedicated to a local hermit who was canonized for his healing and prophetic powers
The interior of the larger church, Agios Loukas, is a glorious symphony of marble and mosaics, with icons by Michael Damaskinos, the 16th-century Cretan painter. In the main body of the church, the light is partially blocked by the ornate marble window decorations, creating striking contrasts of light and shade. Walk around the corner to find several fine frescoes that brighten up the crypt where St Luke is buried.
Delphi was an important ancient Greek religious sanctuary sacred to the god Apollo. Located on Mt. Parnassus near the Gulf of Corinth, the sanctuary was home to the famous oracle of Apollo which gave cryptic predictions and guidance to both city-states and individuals. In addition, Delphi was also home to the PanHellenic Pythian Games.
MYTHOLOGY & ORIGINS:
The site was first settled in Mycenaean times in the late Bronze Age (1500-1100 BCE) but took on its religious significance from around 800 BCE. The original name of the sanctuary was Python after the snake which Apollo was believed to have killed there. Οfferings at the site from this period include small clay statues (the earliest), bronze figurines, and richly decorated bronze tripods.
Delphi was also considered the center of the world, for in Greek mythology Zeus released two eagles, one to the east and another to the west, and Delphi was the point at which they met after encircling the world. This fact was represented by the omphalos (or navel); a dome-shaped stone which stood outside Apollo’s temple and which also marked the spot where Apollo killed the Python.
The Oracle of Apollo at Delphi was famed throughout the Greek world and even beyond. The Oracle – the Pythia or priestess – would answer questions put to her by visitors wishing to be guided in their future actions. The whole process was a lengthy one, usually taking up a whole day and only carried out on specific days of the year. First, the priestess would perform various actions of purification such as washing in the nearby Castalian Spring, burning laurel leaves and drinking holy water. Next an animal – usually a goat – was sacrificed. The party seeking advice would then offer a pelanos – a sort of pie – before being allowed into the inner temple where the priestess resided and gave her pronouncements, possibly in a drug or natural gas-induced state of ecstasy.
Perhaps the most famous consultant of the Delphic oracle was Croesus, the fabulously rich King of Lydia who, when faced with a war against the Persians, asked the oracle’s advice. The Oracle stated that if Croesus went to war then a great empire would surely fall. Reassured by this, the king took on the mighty Cyrus. However, the Lydians were overpowered at Sardis and it was the Lydian empire which fell, a lesson that the oracle could easily be misinterpreted by the unwise or over-confident.
Delphi, as with the other major religious sites of Olympia, Nemea, and Isthmia, held games to honor various gods of the Greek religion. The Pythian Games of Delphi began sometime between 591 and 585 BCE and were initially held every eight years, with the only event being a musical competition where solo singers accompanied themselves on a kithara to sing a hymn to Apollo. Later, more musical contests and athletic events were added to the programme, and the games were held every four years with only the Olympic Games being more important. The principal prize for victors in the Games was a crown of laurel or bay leaves.
The site and games were managed by the independent Delphic amphictyony – a council with representatives from various nearby city-states – which asked for taxes, collected offerings, invested in construction programmes, and even organized military campaigns in the Four Sacred Wars, fought to remedy sacrilegious acts against Apollo committed by the states of Crisa, Phocis, and Amphissa.
The first temple in the area was built in the 7th century BCE and was a replacement for less substantial buildings of worship which had stood before it. The focal point of the sanctuary, the Doric temple of Apollo, was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 548 BCE. A second temple, again Doric in style, was completed in 510 BCE. Measuring some 60 by 24 meters, the facade had six columns whilst the sides had 15. This temple was destroyed by the earthquake in 373 BCE and was replaced by a similarly sized temple in 330 BCE. This was constructed of porous stone coated in stucco. Marble sculpture was also added as decoration along with Persian shields taken at the Battle of Marathon. This is the temple which survives, although only partially, today.
Other notable constructions were the theatre (with capacity for 5,000 spectators), temples to Athena (4th century BCE), a tholos with 13 Doric columns ( 580 BCE), stoas, a stadium (with capacity for 7,000 spectators), and around 20 treasuries, which were constructed to house the votive offerings and dedications from city-states all over Greece. Similarly, monuments were also erected to commemorate military victories and other important events. For example, the Spartan general Lysander erected a monument to celebrate his victory over Athens at Aegospotami. Other notable monuments were the great bronze Bull of Corcyra (580 BCE), the ten statues of the kings of Argos (369 BCE), a gold four-horse chariot offered by Rhodes, and a huge bronze statue of the Trojan Horse offered by the Argives (413 BCE). Lining the sacred way, from the sanctuary gate up to the temple of Apollo, the visitor must have been greatly impressed by the artistic and literal wealth on display. Alas, in most cases, only the monumental pedestals survive of these great statues, silent witnesses to a lost grandeur.
In 480 BCE the Persians attacked the sanctuary and in 279 BCE the sanctuary was attacked again, this time by the Gauls. During the 3rd century BCE, the site came under the control of the Aitolian League. In 191 BCE Delphi passed into Roman hands; however, the sanctuary and the games continued to be culturally important in Roman times, in particular under Hadrian. The decree by Theodosius in 393 CE to close all pagan sanctuaries resulted in Delphi’s gradual decline. A Christian community dwelt at the site for several centuries until its final abandonment in the 7th century CE.
The site was ‘rediscovered’ with the first modern excavations being carried out in 1880 CE by a team of French archaeologists. Notable finds were splendid metope sculptures from the treasury of the Athenians (490 BCE) and the Siphnians (525 BCE) depicting scenes from Greek mythology. In addition, a bronze charioteer in the severe style (480-460 BCE), the marble Sphinx of the Naxians (560 BCE), the twin marble archaic statues – the kouroi of Argos (580 BCE) and the richly decorated omphalos stone (330 BCE) – all survive as testimony to the cultural and artistic wealth that Delphi had once enjoyed.
Admission Fees for Sites:
SUMMER PERIOD: 1 April – 31 October
WINTER PERIOD: 1 November – 31 March
Full: € 12,00 – Reduced: € 6,00
(Valid for Delphi, Delphi Archaeological Museum)
Winter: 08:00 – 15:00
Summer: 08:00 – 20:00
Hosios Loukas Monastery:
Full: € 3,00 – Reduced: € 2,00
(Valid for Delphi, Delphi Archaeological Museum)
Winter / Summer: 09:00 – 17:00
- 1 January: closed
- 6 January: 08:00 – 15:00
- Shrove Monday: 08:00 – 15:00
- 25 March: closed
- Good Friday: until 12:00 – 17:00
- Holy Saturday: 08:00 – 15:00
- Easter Sunday: closed
- Easter Monday: 08:00 – 20:00
- 1 May: closed
- Holy Spirit Day: 08:00 – 20:00
- 15 August: 08:00 – 20:00
- 28 October: 08:00 – 15:00
- 25 December: closed
- 26 December: closed
- Escorting teachers during the visits of schools and institutions of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education and of military schools.
- Members of Societies and Associations of Friends of Museums and Archaeological Sites throughout Greece with the demonstration of certified membership card
- Members of the ICOM-ICOMOS
- Persons possessing a free admission card
- The employees of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Archaeological Receipts Fund, upon presentation of their service ID card.
- The official guests of the Greek government, with the approval of the General Director of Antiquities.
- Young people, under the age of 18, after demonstrating the Identity Card or passport to confirm the age.
Free admission days:
- 6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri)
- 18 April (International Monuments Day)
- 18 May (International Museums Day)
- The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days)
- Every first Sunday from November 1st to March 31st
- 28 October
Reduced admission for:
- Greek citizens and citizens of other Member – States of the European Union who are over 65 years old, upon presentation of their ID card or passport for verification of their age and country of origin.
- Holders of a solidarity card
- Holders of a valid unemployment card.
- Large families’ parents of children up to 23 yrs old, or up to 25 yrs old (on military service/studying), or child with disabilities regardless the age, having a certified pass of large families, certification from the Large Family Association or a family status certificate issued by the Municipality
- Persons with disabilities (67 % or over) and one escort, upon presentation of the certification of disability issued by the Ministry of Health or a medical certification from a public hospital, where the disability and the percentage of disability are clearly stated.
- Single parent families with minors, upon presentation of a family status certificate issued by the Municipality. In the case of divorced parents, only the parent holding custody of the children
- The police officers of the Department of Antiquity Smuggling of the Directorate of Security
- Tourist guides upon presentation of their professional ID card.
- University students and students at Technological Educational Institutes or equivalent schools from countries outside the EU by showing their student ID.
Please take time to read carefully our terms and conditions.
Private Tours are personal and flexible just for you and your party.
- local taxes
- Baggage charges
- Entrance Fees
- Personal expenses (drinks, meals etc.)
- Visa costs
- Sightseeing and services other than those mentioned in our itineraries. If in doubt whether something is included in the price of the tour, please inquire.
- Drivers must work under strict legal and time restrictions. Therefore you will be dropped back at convenient stops, depending on the traffic conditions. Our drivers will do their best to drop-offs at your hotel or as near as possible unless stated otherwise. Drivers will be happy to assist and advise you.
- The drivers are not a licensed to accompany you on your walk to the top of the Acropolis or inside any other site or museum. If you require a licensed guide to tour the sites with you, you need to hire one additionally.
- All the guides, on the various tours, lecture in English. A previous arrangement must be made to lecture in another language.
- A special offer is on for our guests to have a certified tour guide. They will show you on the site and /or museum and happily share their knowledge with you. The tour guides we cooperate with are authorized and have experience in the museums, archaeological, historical and religious sites of Greece. They are ready to meet your expectations, to answer your questions and to guide you thoroughly through Greece.
- Suitable clothing and athletic walking shoes are recommended for your comfort
- Hats, sunglasses and suntan lotion are highly recommended.
- Photography is permitted throughout the tour, excluding some museums.
- Clothing: When visiting Churches and Monasteries entrance will be allowed only to those with proper outfits i.e. Gentlemen (long trousers) and ladies (skirts, not short ones). These are places of worship and we pay them the respect they deserve.
- Firstly and most importantly. ALL CANCELLATIONS MUST BE CONFIRMED BY Olivesea.gr
- In respect to Day Tours cancellations. There is NO cancellation fee (deposit or full amount) WILL be refunded. That’s right you will be fully refunded 100% the amount you have paid whether it is a deposit or the full amount, just so long as you cancel your reservation at least 48 hours before your service date.
- Apart from the above cancellation limits, NO refunds will be made. If though, you fail to make your appointment for reasons that are out of your hands, that would be, in connection with the operation of your airline or cruise ship or strikes, extreme weather conditions or mechanical failure. You WILL be refunded 100% of the paid amount.
- Let it be noted that, if your cancellation date is over TWO (2) months away from your reservation date, It has been known for third-party providers such as credit card companies, PayPal, etc. to charge a levy fee usually somewhere between 2-4%.
- Olive sea.gr reserves the right to cancel your booking at any time, when reasons beyond our control arise, such as strikes, prevailing weather conditions, mechanical failures, etc. occur. In this unfortunate case, you shall be immediately notified via the email address you used when making your reservation and your payment WILL be refunded 100%.
- Please take the time to carefully go through the individual terms and conditions for your information and protection. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you have read and understood the various terms associated with your contract in advance to placing any bookings.