If you’re trying to put together your Greece itinerary and choose whether to visit Delphi or Meteora, you’ve come to the right place! While both of Greece’s UNESCO World Heritage sites are stunningly beautiful and historic, they are very different places. Here are twelve points to help you decide. At the bottom, we have links to help you plan your visit, whichever you choose!
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Where to Stay in Greece
If you’re visiting Greece any time soon, you’ll probably spend some time in Athens before moving to discover other amazing places in the country. In that case, it’s a good idea to check this accommodation guide to Athens to find the best places to stay in Greece’s capital. Check this article as well, if you’d like to book a room with unforgettable Acropolis views.
Remember that booking early is always the best way to get better prices and nicer rooms! We recommend checking out Booking.com as early as possible since this is a popular time to visit. These are some of the places we suggest you check.
Budget: If you’re looking for a budget hotel in lively Monastiraki, book a stay at Fivos Hotel. Located right by Monastiraki Station, the hotel has free wifi and ensuite bathrooms. Check out prices and availability at Fivos Hotel here.
Mid-range: If you want more traditional accommodation, stay at the Kimons Athens Hotel in Plaka. The rooms are cozy and there’s a roof terrace that guests can enjoy. Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Kimons Athens Hotel here.
Luxury: To enjoy a bit of luxury in Monastiraki, check into the four-star Emporikon Athens Hotel on Agia Irini Square. The rooms are sophisticated and swanky, with a traditional take on comfort. Check out guest reviews, prices, and availability at Emporikon Athens Hotel here.
Choose Delphi if…
Here are four reasons you should choose to visit Delphi.
…You Love Greek Mythology
The ancient Greeks believe that Delphi was the center of the world and the home of the Greek god Apollo. It appears in important works of Greek literature, and it has the ruins of gifts brought to the Oracle from all over the world.
Delphi is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the ancient world. If you love ancient Greek history and mythology, then Delphi is the right choice.
>> Read Next: 10 Best Athens Hotels with Acropolis Views <<
…You’re Intrigued by Oracles
All of ancient Greece and many of the surrounding civilizations believed in the power of the Oracle at Delphi. We think we know how the Oracle worked, and how the women who acted as the Oracle saw their visions.
If you’re interested in learning more about exactly how the Oracle at Delphi foretold its many prophecies, then you need to come and learn directly at the source!
>> Read Next: Your Picture-Perfect 2 Days in Corfu Itinerary <<
…You Love Ancient Greek Sports
The Olympics weren’t the only important games to the ancient Greeks. The Pythian Games were held at Delphi every four years in honor of the god Apollo. While here, you can run around the stadium or pretend to be an ancient Greek athlete.
…You’re an Avid Skier
We think that both Delphi and Meteora are great places to visit in winter (here’s why we think Meteora in winter is a fantastic idea), but if you want to combine your historic site with a few days of skiing, then head to Delphi. Mount Parnassus is one of the best ski resorts in the Balkans, and it just so happens to be just a short drive away.
>> Read Next: How to Plan a Meteora Day Trip from Thessaloniki (The Right Way) <<
Choose Meteora if…
Here are four reasons to choose Meteora over Delphi.
…You Want to Explore Orthodox Monasteries
We’re a little obsessed with visiting Orthodox monasteries, we admit. We adore the monasteries in Bulgaria, but the ones in Meteora are insane! Perched high up on the top of rocks, they defy gravity.
Yet when you tour the inside, you see the beauty and mystery of the Greek Orthodox faith and how the monasteries are a testament to the faith of the people who built them.
>> Read Next: Is It Worth Visiting Meteora? 5 Reasons Why I Say Yes! <<
…You’re Interested in Medieval History
In Delphi, it’s all about ancient Greek history, but the monasteries of Meteora were built in from the eleventh through the fourteenth century.
These are masterpieces of medieval Greek architecture, and the reason they were built where and how they were has to do with the medieval traditions of hermeticism and the prevailing Ottoman Empire.
…You’re Obsessed with Kitty Cats
We love running into kitties wherever we go, but the monastery cats of Meteora do have a special place in our hearts. They walk around with the confidence of cats who know they live in the coolest place in the world, and that makes them better than you.
And they’re okay with you knowing that.
>> Read Next: 10 Things to Know Before a Meteora Tour for a Magical Trip <<
…You Love Game of Thrones
I will travel for Game of Thrones. I’ve seen Game of Thrones locations in Malta, Northern Ireland, and here in Meteora. These rocks to the back and right were used in Game of Thrones as part of the Eyrie.
Just imagine you’re Tyrion Lannister, staring at them from the top of an open-air mountain prison cell. Chilling.
>> Read Next: 25 Snowy Photos of Meteora in Winter to Inspire Your Visit <<
Choose Both for…
Sometimes you have to choose Meteora or Delphia, and you want to know what is similar about them so you know what you won’t have to worry about missing out on.
Or, you want to know if they’re both worth seeing, and you shouldn’t force yourself to choose. Here’s what you can count on from both sites.
Greece is full of beautiful places, and even though I’ve seen many of them, both Delphi and Meteora stand out as two of the best views I’ve ever seen.
Both the mountain view from Delphi and the views of the monasteries at Meteora are the kind worth getting on a plane, but, or train to see.
…Feats of Architectural Wonder
How did medieval monks build monasteries on the tops of cliffs? How did ancient Greeks build temples so high in the mountains?
Whichever site you visit, Delphi or Meteora, you’ll set to see some of the world’s truly great architecture and wonder about the incredible feats of strength and smarts required to get them there.
…Visiting a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Both Delphi and Meteora are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you love visiting WHS or want to start looking at the list, these are two of my favorites in the world (and I’ve been to over a hundred so far)!
…Escaping the City for a Day
I love Athens and Thessaloniki because I love cities. But sometimes you want to escape the city and get out into nature.
Both Meteora and Delphi are set in gorgeous settings that let your eyes feast on the beautiful greens and grays of mountains and rocks. Leave the smog and traffic of the cities behind!
Plan a Trip to Delphi
If you’re more interested in a visit to Delphi, you can do what I did on my trip and visit Delphi Day Trip from Athens. Unfortunately, there is no organized day trip from Thessaloniki to Delphi, so you’ll have to go on your own and stay overnight.
Plan a Trip to Meteora
Are you more interested in visiting Meteora? Allison and I have both been, but we’ve taken tours from different cities. I visited Meteora on a day trip from Athens with a guided tour company. I chose this one-day Meteora Full-Day Trip from Athens by Train. Another option if you want to spend more time here is to go for a two-day visit.
You can read all about how to visit Meteora from Thessaloniki. Allison went on this tour guided tour of Meteora from Thessaloniki. If you want more time to see the monasteries, you could also go on a Two Day Train Journey from Thessaloniki to Meteora
Tour Recommendations for Meteora or Delphi
Here are all the tour recommendations from this post in an easy-to-reference list.
- Delphi Day Trip from Athens.
- Meteora Full-Day Trip from Athens by Train
- Guided tour of Meteora from Thessaloniki
- From Athens: Two-Day Rail Tour to Meteora
- Two Day Train Journey from Thessaloniki to Meteora
5 Things to Bring with You to Greece
If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more packing tips, check out our complete Greece packing list.
– A physical guidebook, on paper or Kindle. We love Lonely Planet Greece for this region and strongly recommend it to supplement blogs. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.
– A water bottle with a filter. While generally, the tap water in most of Greece is drinkable, we generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant! There are places in Greece, especially on the island, where the water tastes like minerals.
We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.
– Motion sickness pills. Santorini roads are winding, especially around the coast. If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.
– Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, TP & other Balkan transit needs. Bathrooms in the Balkans tend to be… how can we say it?… not so well-stocked. Save yourself the disappointment and bring a mini-rescue pack of wet wipes & hand sanitizer.
– Travel safety items. We think Greece is safe to travel to, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Allison nor I use these. Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack.
It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.
More Greece Travel Resources
First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more. We also have a separate guide to tipping in Greece so you know what to give to different servers and staff while you’re here.
Next, you’ll want to read our all-season Greece packing list.
If you know you’ll be spending time in Athens, check out our Athens Instagram guide, the best Athens day trips, and our complete Athens hotel guide. We also have a guide to the best things to do in Athens in winter.
We also have Athens safety tips so your trip can be hassle-free. We are currently working on our mega-post of things to do in Athens as well as our itineraries, so stay tuned!
We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.
Finally, Make Sure You Come to Greece with Travel Insurance
I’m sure you’re aware that travel insurance is essential for traveling in Greece, the Balkans, or anywhere in the world! Allison and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.
While Athens is perfectly safe to travel around, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel like theft or injury, so it’s better to play it safe. The saying goes “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel” is true!
Pin this Guide to Better Decide Whether to Visit Delphi or Meteora in Greece
Stephanie has been living in and traveling around the Balkans for the past three years. She’s written for National Geographic Online, appeared on CNN Arabic and in the New York Times, and ridden more Balkan buses than is good for a person.