May 20, 2016
Sanctuary of Apollo
The archeological site at Delphi, the Sanctuary of Apollo, was once a place of worship. The Rick Steves self-guided tour found in his guide book tells the story of the pilgrims who climbed the Sacred Way that switchbacks up the side of Mt Parnassus to the Temple of Apollo where they had their fortune read by the oracle. The site also includes a well preserved theater and stadium.
We loaded our bags in the car and parked in front of the site. At just after 8AM when the site opened there were plenty of parking spaces. Also at this hour there were just a few individual tourists and I was able to make it up to the stadium and back down to the temple of Apollo following the Rick Steves tour, including taking photos, before running into a tour group.
Mid-May the sun was already fairly high in the sky but cloud cover quickly softened the light. It may be better to try to see the ruins in the late afternoon for better light. Many of the viewpoints face east into the morning sun.
Following the self -guided tour brought the site to life, otherwise there isn’t much left of many of the structures and statues. The theater and stadium are impressive, but the history and the views are what really draw the crowds.
Sanctuary of Athena
After visiting the archaeological site we drove the short distance down to the Sanctuary of Athena which we were lucky enough to catch in-between tour groups. The classic photo seen in all the postcards is from a viewpoint about halfway down the path, but it is also worth walking down to the site to see the other, prettier side of the remaining structure.
The archaeological museum has what is left of the “good stuff” from the site and is definitely worth the time. Even at 10AM it wasn’t too crowded. Again, we followed the Rick Steves self-guided tour that describes the more important artifacts in the museum.
Some of the highlights included: