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178km (110 miles) NW of Athens

Delphi is the big enchilada of Greek sites. Even more than Olympia, this place has it all: a long and glorious history, spectacular ancient remains, a superb museum, and a beautiful location on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. Look up and you see the cliffs and crags of Parnassus; look down, and Greece's most beautiful plain of olive trees stretches as far as your eyes can see, toward the town of Itea on the Gulf of Corinth.

Delphi is especially magical in the spring, when there's often both snow and wildflowers on Parnassus -- and fewer tourists tramping around the site than in summer. But whenever you visit, you'll understand why the ancient Greeks believed that Delphi was the center of the world, the spot Apollo chose as the home of his most famous oracle. The Sanctuary of Apollo is the main attraction here, although the smaller Sanctuary of Athena has Delphi's most photographed attraction, the mysterious round tholos (discussed later).

The modern village of Delphi's main drag is Vasileos Pavlou and Frederikis, also simply called Pavlou; sometimes, just to keep you on your toes, the street is called Karamanlis. Not to worry: this is obviously Delphi's main drag, usually clogged with herds of tour groups migrating from hotel to restaurant to the generally indifferent souvenir shops. It's the side streets, clinging to the slopes of Parnassus, that give a sense of village life.