There are several ways to get from Meteora to Delphi but driving is the most convenient. This scenic route from Meteora to Delphi is across the Thessaly Plain and the Pindus Range. The drive is full of history from both remote and recent pasts, the latter including World War 2. Your decision to drive to Delphi will ensure that what you see will be aspects of Greece that you otherwise would have been missed if you had chosen other modes of transport, such as bus or train.
The drive from Meteora to Delphi is quite safe. You won’t be required to attempt any type of driving you haven’t already done, even in the mountains. You’ll be on good roads all the way – sometimes the roads will be excellent. And, of course, the destination will be worth any effort, whether you are interested in seing Temple of Apollo and its Oracle or visiting the ruins of Ancient Delphi. Both will invite you to decipher the role of Delphi within the ancient world.
The road trip from Meteora to Delphi can be divided into two stages.
The first stage of the drive to Delphi is across the flat Thessaly Plain between Meteora and Thermopylae. The route will first take you south of Meteora through Trikala. You may wish to spend a couple of hours to see Trikala’s Roman and medieval past. You will then cross the Thessaly Plain to Thermopylae. The ancient site of Thermopylae is not only celebrated for the famous battle against the Persians in 480 BC, but was also the site of a heroic rear guard stand by allied forces during World War 2.
You may also wonder as you drive to Delphi from Meteora about the Thessaly Plain. Notice how flat the plain is and how it ends with an abrupt rise of the Pindus range. We briefly address these landscapes in the post.
The second stage of the drive to Delphi from Meteora is a lovely mountain road trip that crosses the southern branch of the Pindus Range between Thermopylae and Delphi. This part of the journey will give you a feel for the mountainous terrain that dominates Greece. You will also ponder the remoteness of some of the towns and villages that are scattered across the landscape. Should you take this route in Spring you will see a generous display of wild flowers. You will also pick up on some history of the allies as they continued their retreat from the conflict zone during World War 2.
How Much Does it Cost to Drive from Meteora to Delphi?
|Driving Distance from Meteora to Delphi||350 km|
|Car Rental||Driver’s Quotation|
|Fuel Costs||25 Euro|
|Drive Time from Athens to Meteora||Allow 4 hours|
|How Long Does it take to Drive from Athens to Meteora||Allow 5-6 hours|
The Drive from Meteora to Delphi
Drive from Meteora to Delphi Across the Thessaly Plain
- You See the Regional Town of Trikala
- The Route South from Trikala
- The E30 Regional Road
- The A3 Tollway
- You See the Thessaly Plain so Flat?
- You See the Site of Battle During World War 2 in Greece
- A Battle Beckons in Thessaly
- The Battle Resumes at Thermopylae
Drive from Meteora to Delphi Across the Pindus Range
- The Route Across the Pindus Range to Delphi
- You See The Pindus Range Suddenly Rise Out of the Thessaly Basin
- War in Greece During World War 2
- The Battle Continues to Bralos
- You See Itea Near Delphi
- Food and Drink in Itea
- Final Thoughts On the Drive from Meteora to Delphi
Drive From Meteora to Delphi Across the Thessaly Plain
See the Regional Town of Trikala
You’ll drive away from Kalambaka on the E92 which is a well-used dual carriageway with an acceptable surface. The E92 takes you south across the Thessaly Plain to Trikala.
If you have decided to use the whole day to get to Delphi from Meteora, then pull in to the sizeable city of Trikala to to see its attractions and to enjoy a coffee.
Trikala’s history dates back to antiquity which is associated with some other sites you might have on your itinerary, such as Epidaurus (or Epidavros) and Mykines. Epidaurus does not only have a famous amphitheatre but is also the site of an ancient healing centre. The healing in Epidaurus was ascribed to the God of Medicine, Asclepius (or Aesculapius) who was said to have been born in Trikala. Mind you, Trikala is not the only city in Greece to claim the birth of Asclepius! Trikala also connects with Mykines in that both cities in antiquity were important Mycenaean centres of their respective regions (You may also wish to view our post on Mycenaean culture at Tiryns.Trikala has a long history of foreign invasion dating back from antiquity right through to the middle and modern ages. Some of the attractions of interest are related to these periods of occupation; the Roman Baths, 6th Century Castle with a 17th Century Clock Tower,
Byzantine castle and clock tower at Trikalamedieval mosque,
Kursum mosque at Trikalaand Trikala Old Town.
The older parts of the city centre of Trikala
17th C clock tower: GNantin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons;
Kursum Mosque: Ava Babili, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons;
Trikala Old Town: GNantin, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The Route to Delphi South from Trikala
Just south of Trikala you have a choice of either staying on the E92, which feeds into the E30, or diverting onto the A3 tollway.
Driving To Delphi on the E30 Regional Road
The E30 is the typical, well-used inter-town regional road that can be seen in any country. It requires regular maintenance due to its consistent use. Soil and grass verges run its length in the absence of many road-side gutters. The E30 often converges to a single carriageway and can get quite busy because it is the preferred route of local residents and business traffic. The route becomes the E65 at Neo Monastiri, the road that will take you over the mountains to Delphi.
The E30 is not a colourful route to get to Delphi but does offer an insight into the cost of the financial crisis on Greek life. Perhaps you could add some colour to the journey by imagining the convoy of German troops, artillery and Panzer divisions rumbling their way down the E30. This is the most likely route the German forces took when they forged south pursuing the allies through Central Greece in 1941. More about that later in the post.
Driving To Delphi on the A3 Tollway
Alternatively, you can make your Meteora to Delphi road trip easier if you divert onto the new A3 tollway near Rozario just south of Trikala The A3 morphs into the E65 further south near Metallio in the direction of Lamia. The dual carriageway surface of the A3 is excellent and as you head south you will never lose sight of distant mountains to the west and the plains of Thessaly to the east. There will be kilometres and kilometres of a straight dual carriageway in front of you. The monotony of driving this section of your route will only be broken by the need to pay tolls – regularly.
And we shouldn’t forget to mention the space-age rest-room capsules that are all along the tollway. You will be pleasantly surprised by their functionality and cleanliness. Bravo!
Approximately 10kms south of Anthili you will come to a junction of the E65, the E75 and the A1.
The E65 leads to Delphi via Skamnos and is the mountain road that will take you over the Pindus Range to Delphi. The E75 and A1 head towards Athens. If you haven’t yet visited the Leonidas Memorial at Thermopylae now is the time to do it because it is just a few kilometres along the A1 from the junction.
You can read more about the Leonidas Memorial and Greece’s battle with the Persians at Thermopylae in our post describing the drive from Athens to Meteora.
You See the Flat Thessaly Plain
The flatness of the Thessaly Plain is hard to miss as you drive from Meteora to Delphi. You could draw a straight line over the surface of the Thessaly Plain, a landscape that has resulted from earlier stress on the earth’s crust. There are many events that stretch the earth’s crust and it is not always easy to identify the type of event it was. For example, heat rising from the mantle may cause the crust to expand and fracture, resulting in lateral displacement. This and alternate events can result in what is known as a rift.
The flat Thessaly Basin resulted from a rift during which the faulted crust was forced downwards, later to be back-filled with water-borne sediments. The sediments may have been brought down by rivers from the north or perhaps left behind by a retreating sea. The former appears more likely due to the large amount of debris that would accumulate due to the erosion of mountain ranges to the north.
Greece and other countries on the Balkan peninsula are seismically active and so twe describe other examples of rifting in our posts. The Gulf of Corinth is the result of rifting that is still active. Another rift produced the spectacular landscape of Skadar Lake in Montenegro, as is the rift valley on the drive between Montenegro and Bosnia. In each case images capture the rifting with brief explanation.
You See the Site of Battle During World War 2
So, the question is “did the second world war come through here?”
A Battle Beckons in Thessaly
The answer to that question helped us to understand that Trikala and the adjacent city of Larissa made a significant contribution to the modern history of Greece during World War 2. These towns felt the effects of the German invasion of Greece in 1941 when the German forces attacked Greece from the north through Albania and Bulgaria. The Germans overpowered the defences of the allied armies at the Servia Pass and Mount Olympus. The allies were forced to withdraw to the south. They protected their retreat through Thessaly by leaving behind an Australian and New Zealand rear-guard to slow the German advance. They were to fight to extinction if necessary. The rear-guard action took place at the Pineios Gorge on the Pineios River in the vicinity of Larissa. The Pineios, you’ll recall, flows through Meteora.
This account of World War 2 in Greece continues when the journey arrives at Thermopylae.
This historical Greece in War image of the Servia Pass near Mount Olympus is from the public domain archives of the Australian War Memorial.
The Battle Resumes at Thermopylae
And so back to 1941 and Greece during WW2. There had already been one historical battle at Thermopylae in 480 BC – there was about to be another one.
The allies informed the Greek commander at Lamia that they were going to pull back all their forces from the Pineios and establish another defensive position at Thermopylae. The agenda was a general withdrawal of allied forces from Greece. Again, the New Zealand and Australian troops were deployed for the rear guard.
A division of the New Zealand Army was given the task of defending the pass at Thermopylae, the coastal road and the north-facing slopes of the Southern Pindus. Australian troops were assigned to hold up the advancing German armies at the village and pass at Bralos, further along the E65 in the mountains.
Drive from Meteora to Delphi Over the Pindus Range
The Route Across the Pindus Range to Delphi
You will see during your road trip to Delphi Thessaly how the main spine of the mountainous Pindus Range dominates western Central Greece, running north-south. You will be confronted by a change in landscape when on the E65 just south of Anthili. The flat Thessaly Plain yields to the mountainous southern spur of the Pindus. This spur runs east-west across southern Central Greece and you will cross it to reach Delphi and Itea.
After having spent so much time driving across the flat Thessaly Plain the sudden emergence of the Pindus’ southern branch just begs another question.
You See the Pindus Range Suddenly Rise Out of the Thessaly Basin
The change to a mountain landscape that you will see as you drive south towards Delphi is the result of very powerful forces. During the period when the Alps were formed the softer limestone rocks that make up much of central and southern Greece were thrust against harder, unyielding continental sediments. The softer rocks underwent a sequence of these subduction events which resulted in their ongoing compression and folding. The result was the formation of mountain-valley systems which were later subjected to further tectonics.
Your first experience of the Southern Pindus will be the drive up the steep ascent of the northern face. There are a couple of vantage points to look out for when driving the ascent, and if you stop you will see the stunning panorama across the Thessaly Plain.
This climb announces the altitudes that await you between Gravia and Delphi via Amfissa. However, with careful driving you will be able to enjoy the scenery. We’re sure you will agree that the views you will see will be worth the concentration.
The E65 for this part of the drive to Delphi is mostly single carriageway, but the road is well-sealed, well-marked and quite wide. It makes for safe driving and there aren’t any sections of switch-backs to cause concern. The route passes through a number of small towns and villages, the first of which is the pretty village of Skamnos, followed by Bralos.
War in Greece During World War 2
The Battle Continues at Bralos
As previously stated, Bralos was an important site of rear-guard action in Greece during WW2 to protect the general evacuation of allied forces from Greece.
The rear-guard actions at Thermopylae and Bralos confronted the German infantry and a Panzer Division. The larger allied force withdrew further south to eventual evacuation. The allied rear guard at Bralos, led by the Australians, held the Pass for about 24 hours. The rear guard then joined the main force in Thebes, and eventual evacuation. The British Mediterranean Fleet arrived at various locations east and west of Athens. They embarked 50,000 soldiers between the 24th and 29th April. The German forces had entered Athens before the last of the ships departed. (Greek Campaign, 1941, Battle of Bralos)
And on to Delphi
Spring is a lovely time of the year to drive through the highland landscape of Greece on the E65 and you see along the route displays of beautiful spring flowers.
Amfissa, due to its proximity to Ancient Corinth, is closely linked with the Peloponnese. It also has excavations of Mycenaean civilisation.
The E65 slowly descends from the Southern Pindus and on the way to the coast the EO48 points the way to Delphi. But the town of Itea is only a few minutes further along the E65.
You See Itea Near Delphi
We didn’t choose to stay in Delphi but rather the lovely coastal town of Itea – a pleasant and convenient alternative. We can recommend it as an added facet to the journey – a couple of balmy evenings on the shores of the Gulf of Corinth.
Itea is well-equipped to provide for a happy, summer seaside holiday. And of course, it is a doorway to a region of rich archaeology.
Accommodation is available along the sea front and is priced fairly.
Food and Drink in Itea
The plentiful restaurants are well-located. The menus are similar to those of Meteora and offer typically seafood, pizza, salad, moussaka, meat balls, schnitzels of veal and pork with sauces typically made from freshly pressed tomatoes. Typical breakfasts included sliced meats, eggs, cheeses, yoghurts (particularly sheep) and bread. Yummy!
Enjoy an evening meal in one of the restaurants on the water’s edge and then a pleasant walk along the promenade in the setting sun and evening breeze. It’s all part of the ambience of a European vacation.
We were pleased to have picked out Itea for our accommodation. Its coastal location provided a pleasant contrast to the scenery we had experienced for a few days. There are plenty of water sports available for longer stays in the summer months and skiing in the winter is only a short drive past Delhi to Arachova. And, of course, right throughout the Pindus, walking trails without end.
Itea is a great place to stay when visiting Delphi, because it’s …
“Out the door, across the road and we’re in the water, on the sand or at a table. Happiness”.
Final Thoughts On the Drive from Meteora to Delphi
Driving from Meteora to Delphi is not difficult. You will need to concentrate when crossing the Pindus Range but no more so than for any similar route or road conditions.
The road trip to Delphi from Meteora is also not too long, but it’s worth thinking about how to best plan the time to make the journey more enjoyable. We hope that if you haven’t thought about it previously then you’ll find useful our suggestion of framing some simple questions to make your driving more interesting.
Greek Campaign 1941
Battle of Bralos
Australian War Memorial