Both of these incredible sites in Greece demand the reputations they carry; however, if you’re on a time crunch and can only choose one, which one should you choose?
This post is to offer a comparison as well as my opinion about choosing between the two, should you need to do so.
It might help to know what kind of traveler I am to understand how I’ve decided which is better. I travel light, cheap, and with buddies. My brother is an architect who enjoys ruins, but none of us are too fond of museums; we would rather see natural monuments than manmade. We were also on a schedule to get to Athens by a certain day, and we used public transportation.
On a recent trip to the Balkans, we only had a couple of days to get all the way from Ohrid, Macedonia to Athens, Greece, which is a complex undertaking in and of itself, especially so if you wish to see anything decent along the way, and I recommend avoiding Thessaloniki if at all possible.
We opted to go south through the center of Greece, not quite bee-lining it to Meteora (I’m not sure it’s possible to easily get anywhere in Greece without your own car). We figured we could hit Meteora for a full day, then transfer to Athens via Delphi, again in just one day. We knew that would be a tight connection and would leave us with just a few hours in Delphi, but we figured better to see it than not, and we took our chances.
Cons of Visiting Meteora
- Hard to get to without your own car
- Monasteries close on random days (just one at a time so you can still visit the others)
Pros of Visiting Meteora
- Stunningly beautiful
- Rich history
- Cheap to get into monasteries (about $3 per entrance, but at the same time this can add up)
- Great for a walk/hike on a nice day
- Experience culture of the monastery (wearing wraps, lighting candles, speaking with monks)
- Takes half a day for a good visit of the monasteries (can be in and out in one night if need be)
Cons of Visiting Delphi
- Archeological site is just a walk through a bunch of ruins that won’t make sense if you haven’t been through the museum
- There isn’t a whole lot left as it was heavily ransacked and ruined in earthquakes
- Hard to get to without your own car, or best to do an out and back from Athens
- Museum and site visit costs 9 euros, bring your student ID if you have one
Pros of Visiting Delphi
- Whole site can be seen in a couple of hours (good if you are on a time crunch)
- The setting is beautiful, with views from the mountains out to the sea
- The town is cute if you have time to explore, and some of the restaurants overlook the cliff with sea views
Each traveler has different preferences and you need to make the decision for yourself about which place sounds like the best fit for you, but my opinion, in the end, is that Meteora is definitely more impressive and more worth it than Delphi.
If you are short on time, it is certainly a sight to see and you won’t forget your experience there, whereas Delphi may eventually just become more photos of ruins in your travel albums.