It saddens me to say this will be the last explorative post as I envisage only a couple of philosophical and reflective writings for my final few days.
As sad as that might be, you have my permission to chuckle at the fact that my last day of exploration proved to be one of the most tedious, transportationally. Seriously though, eight months later and literally the last adventure of the season proves to be a ball ache of the year. Lol, classic.
So prior to my arrival in Delphi, I was staying in Trikala which was 20km from Meteora. Knowing where the bus ticket office was, I enquired with the older lady on shift one afternoon about getting here.
'No train go. Come here 8.15 tomorrow morning, bus leave for Delphi at 8.30'.
Okay, great that's easy enough then - destination Delphi was go go go!
So why Delphi? Well, I was aware it was another UNESCO heritage site but also it was in the direction of Athens. Considering both these points, you should be surprised to learn that Delphi doesn't have any hostels and also getting here is not easy. That seems nonsensical to me, especially on the hostel front.
To help you with your bearings, here's a little map depicting my Greek crusade that started almost a month ago. What would have taken my youngest brother 5 minutes to put together took me a whole lot longer! :-)
With location 1, 2 and 3 already visited and with Athens (number 5) as my last destination, there was a vast expanse of land in between Meteora (3) and Athens (5). I took to the WWW for informational assistance and eventually stumbled on a website that claims to have 30,000 subscribers! It wasn't that statistic that I was primarily interested in but their blog post titled: 'The 10 Best Places to visit in Greece'. I liked the simple format of their post and I especially liked the fact that I've now visited 6 of their 'top 10'. Having noticed an entry to 'Delphi', I saw that it was 2.5 hours away from Athens and in the direction I was heading. Location 4 was now 'on the map'.
Trikala departure day:
As I had expected a direct drive to Delphi, I thought getting here well before 12 noon would be realistic. However that wasn't to be. Now I understand why the information online about getting here from Meteora is vague. Therefore I hope these bullet points will be useful and informative to future travellers.
1) The bus from Trikala at 8.30am was actually a local bus to take me to the main bus depot some 15 minutes (drive-time) away.
2) At 9am I caught a second bus (coach) destined for Lamia. Apparently then there is no direct bus to Delphi. This cost was 13 euros and took over 90 minutes.
3) Having arrived in Lamia at 10.45, my next bus was at 12.45. Doh. That was two hours from now! Still, I'm happy to report the bus station area here was pleasant, it offered free Wifi and had a Lidl supermarket close by so thankfully those 2 hours went quickly. This next bus ride would cost me a further 10 euros.
4) 12.45pm comes. I board the bus only to be informed this still doesn't go direct to Delphi! Instead this stops in Amfissa - 20KM away from Delphi. At least there was no more ticket fares to be endured as the last one I had paid was for the remaining of my journey.
5) Get this though, it was more wait this time but only an hour this time. Still, I landed in Amfissa which really looked and felt like a sleepy town. Sleepy towns can at times feel eerie right but being in Greece, I was not fearful or anxious at all and of course I still had the sun's rays keeping me happy.
6) Finally I arrive at my accommodation at 16.20pm - nearly a full 8 hours later.
What a schlep! Also from what I can tell, there is no faster means of getting here other than by private car hire.
So was visiting Delphi from Meteora worth it? Here are the pros and cons...
- 23 euros public transport cost. Also consider next bus fare to move on from here. Athens, for example, was another 16 euros.
- I required four different buses to get here.
- The lack of hostels and therefore comparable expense of hotel pricing
First up, Delphi's ancient gymnasium:
And then the other attraction from the sign post: The Sanctuary of Athena
The two aforementioned ancient ruins are accessible from the public road as far as I'm aware, they're free to enter.
Still, and as impressive as they are, they're not the primary relics visitors come here to see. Look at the image below that I took situated from the Sanctuary of Athena and you can see two more structures in the far distance. I also provide a zoomed-in shot too immediately after.
Delphi's visual delights proved to be somewhat unexpected. Yes, I expected ancient ruins but I did not expect the ruins to be so vast and well contained in the form of a sanctuary. Also, I never expected the site (or town) to offer such breathtaking scenery with mountains providing a magnificent backdrop. In fact, I never thought of Delphi to be situated anywhere other than sea level so it was a nice surprise to be some 600 meters high.
Time now to enter the general ancient Sanctuary of Delphi, which includes The Temple of Apollo, an Athenian Treasury and a mountain-high ancient stadium!
The Athenian Treasury:
The temple of Apollo:
For the final light climb, the destination was the stadium which I believe this to be around 180 meters in 'track length'.
Ain't no sub 10 second sprint records being set here!
There was just another positive aspect to the day. Due to this being low-season, entry (on Sundays) for the winter season are free to both the archaeological site itself and the associated museum. This meant I saved a combined dual 9 euro ticket price making me a very happy man.
If you are looking to come here from Athens as a day trip, there's little doubt that's the easier option. You'll have a straightforward 2.5 hour coach ride (each way) but that will be direct so you'll set off early in the morning and return in the evening. A long day, but perfect by comparison to my adventure!
BTW, for another day trip from Athens I can thoroughly recommend Cape Sounion.
Top tip: I stayed two nights here in Delphi at the cheapest hotel I could find online. The rate was 25 euros per night with breakfast included and so for someone whose home currency is stronger than the euro, £18 GBP per night with buffet breakfast was a satisfactory price for me. In fact, I actually ended up staying here two nights (the buffet breakfast and breakfast table views bewitched me) but you could easily get away with one day if financially that suits you better. How? Well, even if you end up arriving at 16:30 like I did, don't forget that you will be able to keep your baggage at the hotel the next day before departure so simply get up early and you will easily have enough time to explore the delights of Delphi for many hours before catching a bus late afternoon to your next destination.
So was it worth it? Yes it was and knowing how limited public transportation options are to get here, I'm proud to say I made it to the most impressive archaeological site I've ever seen.
Oh, and as for that view at breakfast, how does this fare looking on to Itea whilst nibbling on some feta cheese, tomato and cucumber...