you are visiting Delphi by rental car or with George the Famous Taxi driver don't miss these other
interesting places nearby. When I went we started out early from Athens, visited Delphi and then continued west before crossing over to the Peloponnesos and headed east to Athens where we arrived in time for dinner.
Just 12 kilometers from Delphi this small town is
famous for its flokati rugs, Formaela cheese, honey and wine.
Most tour buses stop here as do most people going to
Delphi on their own. Because it is smaller then the
town of Delphi some people base themselves here though
in the summer many cafes and restaurants close down
since Arahova is primarily a center for skiing in the
winter though with lots of mountain trails it is a good place for those looking for outdoor activities like hiking, mountain climbing and rock climbing. Saint George and his feast
day is celebrated on April 23rd with a village
festival of eating, drinking and dancing plus a race
of senior citizens up the hill the village. The winner
gets a lamb that is brought down from Parnassus by the
local shepherds and the survivors get their chance
again next year. If the saint day falls within lent
however, it is postponed to the Tuesday after Easter.
Above Arahova is the Corycian Grotto, the cave that in
ancient times was dedicated to Pan and where women
from the surrounding areas would gather every five
years, wearing disguises, to dance by torch light
through the night. For information on winter skiing
see my Greece in the Winter page. For hotels and villas in Arachova see Booking.com's Arachova Hotel Search. If you plan to come here in the winter you need to book well in advance, particularly on weekends because Arachova is to the winter as Mykonos is to the summer.
Monastery of Osiou Louka
century monastery built on the slopes of Mount
Hellicon has two inter-connecting churches. The great
octagonal church of Agios Loukas contains the tomb of
the saint, though the bones have been sent to Rome. It
also contains some of Greece's finest Byzantine
frescos and icons by Michael Damaskinos, the 16th
century Cretan icon painter. The wall paintings in the
crypt are from the 11th century. The views from the
monastery terrace are spectacular and there is also a
small cafe. The monastery open from 8am to 7pm daily
but is closed between 2 and 4 pm from may to September
and you can't get in wearing shorts.
The Archaeological Museum of Thebes
The agricultural town of Thebes has one of the best archaeology museums in Greece which is not surprising when you recall that Ancient Thebes was an important city state in the classical period and has been continuously inhabited since the Bronze age. It was also the birthplace of Hercules and known for The Sacred Band, a military corps of 300 infantrymen linked in homoerotic pairs, the idea being soldiers would fight harder if their lover were at their
side. It worked. They defeated the Spartans
at the Battle of Tegyra in 375 BC and the Battle of Leuktra in 371 BC and became the most powerful city state in Greece until their defeat by the Macedonians in 338 BC. The museum which was recently expanded and modernized contains artifacts from each period of the history of Thebes and in fact sits above the ancient streets and walls. You can go down to the basement and see them. All the exhibits are carefully explained in Greek and English, and there are videos and multi-media presentations. Thebes
is roughly half way between Athens and Delphi. See the Archaeological Museum of Thebes Website. The center of Thebes is a large tree-covered square with cafes and restaurants and scattered ancient ruins. Chances are that you will spend more time in the museum than you planned and you may want to stay the night here. See Hotels
Galaxidi was a 19th century ship
building center, has a number of hotels and a
naval museum. There is an old castle, a 13th
century monastery and many old mansions. It is one
of the most beautiful towns on the gulf of Corinth
and well worth a stop for lunch or to visit the
ducks who have a floating apartment building in
the middle of the harbor. You may even want tospend a day or so here. There
are numerous beaches and coves along the coast
below Delphi and heading west towards Nafpaktos.
Kira was the ancient port of Delphi and hasa decent beach and two campsites. The Ganimede Hotel is housed in a 19th century house with a beautiful garden and patio and comes highly recommended, the kind of hospitable, family run boutique hotel that people come to Greece looking for and keep returning to. More Information and Hotels in Galaxidi.
is one of the most interesting towns in the area
and has perhaps the most impressive castle in
Greece after Nafplio. Known as Lepanto in the
middle ages a famous naval battle took place here
in 1571. The town has a beautiful fortified harbor
and a platanos shaded main square. There are two
long attractive beaches on either side of the
harbor and lots of restaurants, cafes and hotels.
The surrounding area is quite green. Be sure to go
as high as you can get to see the castle and the
amazing view of the town and the Peloponnesos
across the gulf of Corinth. See Matt's Nafpaktos page or
information on hotels in Nafpaktos
Harilaos Trikoupis Bridge
The most impressive thing you will probably see if you continue west is the amazing bridge that connects the mainland with the Peloponnesos at Rion and Antirion. It is one of the world's longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges and longest of the fully suspended type. It opened in August 2004. It is named after Charilaos Trikoupis, a 19th-century prime minister of Greece whose idea it was to build a bridge there. If crossing the bridge makes you nervous
then you can still take the ferries that go
back and forth.
Castles at Rion and Antirion
This castle at Rion in the Peloponnesos and the one other one across the way in Antirion are both in the shadow of the bridge and strategically guarded the straits into the Gulf of Corinth. The castles were built in 1499 by Soultan Vagiatzit II to defend what was later known as the Dardanelia of Nafpaktos. Antirrio was called Kasteli of Roumeli, while the castle across the way in Rio was called Kasteli of Moria. Both castles have been restored and like many others
around Greece are
now used for concerts and cultural events.
If you want to cut your trip short there is a
ferry at the small town of Agios Nicholaos
a few kilometers beyond Galaxidi that goes to the town of Egio on the Peloponnesos. The ferry trip
takes around 45 minutes and they run every couple
of hours but if you miss one you can always swim
at the small beach nearby. From Egio or Rion you can go west to
Patras or go east and head back to Athens
about two hours away. If you do decide to go all the way to the bridge or stick around the area near the village of Glyfada there is a small ferry that takes you to the island of Trizonia, the only inhabited island in the Corinthian Gulf and where the book Lizzie's Paradise by Elizabeth Parker takes place. There are restaurants, cafes and hotels too and there are no cars.