Athens to Thermopylae Historical Battle & Delphi Tour

Two strikingly different “facets” of ancient Greece: Spirituality and Devine serenity meet Strength and Honor on the battlefield.

Available departures

  • Our tours take place all year long, in all weather, rain or shine.
  • The tours do not take place on the following public Holidays: 25 , 26 December, New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, May 1st and March 25, the Greek Independence Day.
  • Kindly be advised that all services are subject to availability, your request shall be secured only following receipt of a confirmation email from us and clearance of your deposit.
To ask a question or make a booking request please contact us.

Central Greece

Greece is a beloved destination and in addition to the more familiar islands, the mainland offers plenty of options for a classic Mediterranean holiday! You’ll find unspoilt fishing villages full of tranquil charm or fulfilling city break. Enjoy a wealth of archaeological sites, fascinating culture, spectacular coastline and picture-perfect scenery! Central Greece Central Greece, known Find out more about our tours in the area

We are sorry, there are no reviews yet for this tour.

In Brief

August 480 BC!! The most uneven battle in the World’s Military History Delphi and Thermopylae, two strikingly different images of Ancient Greece! We invite you on a tour where  Spirituality and Devine serenity meet Strength and Honor on the battlefield. Visit the battleground of one of the most important battles ever recorded in the Greek and International military history, where a handful of brave and heroic free men, determined to make a stand against the huge Persian army, fell to the last defending their homeland and the ideal of freedom thus becoming a bright example of selflessness, sacrifice and obedience to both Law and Duty. Then hit the road to Delphi, where the impressive landscape will undoubtedly make you realize why the Ancient Greeks chose that location to erect Apollo’s sanctuary and created a mystic aura around Pythia and the Delphic oracle, which remains a riddle until our days .

THERMOPYLAE (/thar-mop-i-lee; Greek: Μάχη τῶν Θερμοπυλῶν, Machē tōn Thermopylōn) The Battle of Thermopylae is characterized by a peculiarity. Usually, during the recording of historical events the winners are praised. However, in the case of Thermopylae, immortal glory surrounds the losers and the winners are accused of the cowardly way in which they attained the victory against an army that showed faith and devotion to their duty. The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion in Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August or September 480 BC, at the straits of Thermopylae ("The Hot Gates"). The Persian invasion was a delayed response to the defeat of the first Persian invasion in Greece, which had ended with the Athenians’ victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. Xerxes had amassed a huge army and navy, and set out to conquer all of Greece. The Athenian general Themistocles had proposed that the allied Greeks block simultaneously the Persian army at the pass of Thermopylae and the Persian navy at the Straits of Artemisium. Ιn the middle of 480 BC, a small Greek force of approximately 7.000 hoplites marched north to block the strait. The Persian army, which, according to ancient sources, numbered over one million, [although this number is nowadays considered to have been much smaller, between 100.000 and 150.000), arrived at the pass late August or early September. The vastly outnumbered Greeks held off the Persians for seven days (including three of battle) before the rear-guard was annihilated in one of history’s most famous last stands. During two full days of combat, the small force led by Leonidas blocked the only road by which the massive Persian army could pass. After the second day, a local resident named Ephialtes betrayed the Greeks by revealing to the enemies a small path that led behind the Greek lines. Leonidas, aware that his force was being outflanked, dismissed the bulk of the Greek army and remained to defend the location with 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians and 400 Thebans. At Artemisium, the Greek navy, under the command of the Athenian politician Themistocles, received the news of the defeat. Since the Greek strategy required both Thermopylae and Artemisium to be held, and given their losses, it was decided to withdraw to Salamis, anisland close to Athens. The Persians overran Boeotia and then captured the evacuated Athens. The Greek fleet—seeking a decisive victory over the Persian armada—attacked and defeated the invaders at the naval Battle of Salamis, in late September 480 BC. After been defeated a year later, in 479 BC, during the decisive battles of Plataea and Mycale, the Persians completely abandoned their desire to conquer Greece Both ancient and modern writers have used the Battle of Thermopylae as an example of the power of a patriotic army defending its native grounds. The performance of the defenders is also shown as an example of the advantages of training, equipment and good use of terrain as force multipliers. From a moral point of view, it has become a symbol of courage, selflessness and sacrifice against overwhelming odds. DELPHI There is probably no other place in Ancient Greece that exudes such intense spiritual energy as Delphi, with the shrine of Apollo and the oracle. At the foot of Mount Parnassos, within the angle which is formed by the twin cliffs, known as the Phaedriadhes (“the Bright Ones”), in the valley of Phocis, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, the religious centre and symbol of unity of the ancient Greek world. Delphi was regarded as the center of the world. According to mythology, when Zeus, the father of the 12 Olympian Gods, sought to find the center of his "mother Earth" (Gi, Gea, or Gaia), he launched two eagles from the East and West, the two ends of the world. Leaving at the same time and flying at equal speed, the eagles’ path crossed above the area of Delphi. From that point, Zeus threw a stone from the sky and marked the “omphalos”, centre of the earth or “navel of Gaia”, founding the Delphi Oracle, which was thereafter dedicated to the earth-goddess Gaia. The ancient Greeks believed that the oracle was guarded by Python, a monstrous dragon-serpent set by Gaea (the Earth). Apollo killed his chthonic enemy Python after the latter’s attempt to rape his mother Leto, while she was pregnant with Apollo and Artemis. Thereafter, the priestess of the oracle at Delphi got the title “Pythia“.The Oracle exerted considerable influence throughout the Greek world and she was consulted before all major undertakings: wars, the founding of colonies and so forth. The oracle is thought to have existed since the dawn of time. Indeed, it was believed to have successfully predicted events related to the cataclysm of Deucalion, the Argonaut's expedition and the Trojan War; more certain are the consultations over the founding of the Greek colonies. Between the 6th and4rth c. BC, the Delphic oracle, which was regarded as the most trustworthy, was at its peak. It was delivered by Pythia, the priestess and interpreted by the priests of Apollo. Cities, rulers and ordinary individuals alike consulted the oracle, expressing their gratitude with great gifts and spreading its fame around the world. It was the oracle's fame and prestige that caused two Sacred Wars in the middle of the 5th and 4rth C. BC.  In 339 BC, king Philip of Macedonia interfered against the Amphictyonic alliance when the Krissans trespassed on Apollo's sacred grounds. Philip punished the Krissans and, in 338 c. BC defeated the combined armies of the Athenians and the Spartans, thus becoming the dominant force in Greek affairs. The sanctuary of Delphi fell into Roman hands in 191 BC and was stripped of its treasures by General Sulla in 86 BC. Despite some building restorations by the Romans, over the next few centuries the Oracle of Delphi lost its influence and its spiritual fire gradually extinguished, as Apollo's worship was replaced by a new religion imported from the East: Christianity. Some of the most prominent edifices on the sacred slopes of Delphi are the Temple of Apollo, the Ancient Theater, the Stadium, the Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia with the Tholos, Castalia spring and the various treasuries that adorn the sacred way. The archaeological Museum on the site contains extraordinary artifacts from the excavations in Delphi.

Road Map

  • After meeting your tour driver, you will depart towards Thermopylae battleground. Along the way, we will pass by the basin of Boeotia, an agricultural center surrounded by cotton plantations and Thebes, a medium- sized Greek city and former city state in Antiquity. and you will continue driving north towards Agios Constantinos before you reach Thermopylae area. Once you get there, you will see the Statue of Leonidas, a monument representing Leonidas in full armor, designed by B. Phalereus and erected in the 1950s at the expense of Greeks living in America to commemorate the battle at Thermopylae. It was placed opposite the historical hill of Kolonos, at the center of the pass, where iron and bronze spearheads dated from the 5th century BC were found, indicating the location of the final phase of the battle.
  • Your visit won’t be complete unless you visit the Thermopylae's Innovative Centre of Historical Information which consists of three halls, the applications of which have been curated by the Foundation of the Hellenic World. The collection of the educational material is based on Herodotus' history and on archaeological researches. In the first hall, which is named 'Leonidas', the visitor can watch a seven-minute video about the operation of the Centre and the exhibits housed in the halls of the Centre for Historical Information. In the second hall, which is named 'Diinekis', the visitor wears special glasses to watch a virtual- reality 15-minute-film, with historical facts about the Battle, the Greek armory, the ascend of the Anopaia Way and the end of the Battle. In that specific scene the viewer feels as if he is present and watches Efialtes, the traitor, leading the Persians in the night through the Anopaia Way to the West Gate and to Kolonus Hill. In the third hall, named 'Thermopylae', the visitor can use touch screen interactive tables to retrieve general historic information and facts about the Battle and the causes of the Persian Wars, watch the Naval Battle of Artemision, learn about the leading Generals and the 300 Spartan Warriors, their weapons and armor and the strategic moves of the two opposing armies.
  • Continuing our route, after a while we will arrive at the Archaeological site of Delphi, which spreads along the slope of Mount Parnassus. Delphi dates back to the 9th c. BC and the amazing landscape that surrounds it combined with the imposing ruins will leave you utterly impressed!
  • A mouthwatering culinary trip is the ideal ending of our day tour. We will take you to a local tavern either in the nearby historical village of Arahova  or in the picturesque  coastal town of Galaxidi, where you will have the chance to taste some traditional recipes, which you have certainly heard a lot about.

Highlights

  • Leonidas’ statue
  • Thermopylae's Innovative Centre of Historical Information
  • Delphi Ancient Theater
  • The Sanctuary of Athena Pronaia “Athena of forethought"
  • Tholos
  • Castalia fountain
  • The Doric temple of Apollo
  • The Athenian treasury
  • The Hippodrome
  • The Delphi museum (the Charioteer is a MUST- see!)

Useful info

Our tour packages don’t include a professional licensed tour guide, in order to be more affordable to our clients. However your driver will provide substantial & enough information for all the locations that you'll visit, within the car or outside the sites.

Notice that  you could choose from the below choices.

a/ You can have your driver - tour Leader  to accompany you. ( No additional cost)

b/ We can provide upon request a Professional tour guide.

c/ For tours that are taking place outside Athens we can always book a local tour guide in each place of visit , upon your request.

Whatever your choice might be, kindly send your request and we will inform you of the additional cost if that exists!

In case you'd like to be picked up by us at Athens International Airport "El Venizelos", we offer you transportation in significantly better price.

Our representative will welcome  you at the Arrival Hall, holding a sign with your name written on it ,will  help you with your luggage and escort you to the car.

duration Itinerary [total duration 11 ½ hours approx.]
vehicle

Car Type: For your chauffeured transportation, we provide fully air-conditioned vehicles that meet all technical and security standards. Depending on the number of participants, you can choose:

a/ Sedan- type vehicle, new Octavia 7 or Mercedes, capacity 1 to 4 pax (depending on availability)

b/ Mini Van, capacity 4 to 8 pax (depending on availability)

c/ SUV- type vehicle, capacity 1 to 5 pax (depending on availability)

Notes: 1) Child safety seats available upon request 2) Luggage restrictions may apply

walking-pace Activity level: Moderate to hard
equipment Dress Code: During the summer months, a hat and light colored garments will also be required for this tour
group Max Group Size: 12-14 persons

 

Thermopylae's Innovative Center of Historical Information
Working hours:
Winter period: weekdays: 8:00-17:00- weekends: 09:00-17:00
Summer period: weekdays: 8:00-19:00- weekends: 10:00-18:00
Authority: Municipality of Lamia
General information Tel: 22310- 93054
Area: Thermopylae
Accessibility for the disabled: Yes
Cost: | General admission: 3€ | Disabled, Students, Free Entrance

Did you know?

  • The city state of Thebes acquired its fame and power after the end of the Peloponnesian war, which established Thebes as the most powerful city-state in Greece. Due to its strong military role, it became a key player in Ancient Greece. The Sacred Band of Thebes was the elit force of the Theban army  led by the charismatic general Pelopidas. General Epaminondas,  the most successful general Thebes had ever had and one of Greece’s finest ever commanders, employed the most innovative and devastating pre-meditated military strategy . On July 6, 371 BC, the Theban heavy infantry defeated the Spartans at Leuctra in Boeotia, smashed Sparta’s military invincibility and achieved hegemony in Greece. This battle also established Epaminondas as a military genius.
  • There are three precepts carved into the Temple at Delphi: γνῶθι σεαυτόν (gnōthi seautón = "know thyself"), μηδέν άγαν (mēdén ágan = " Nothing to excess") and Ἑγγύα πάρα δ'ἄτη (eggýa pára d'atē = " A pledge comes from madness"). In antiquity, the origin of these phrases was attributed to one or more of the Seven Sages of Greece by authors such as Solon, Plato,Pausanias, Thales of Miletus.
  • The worship of Apollo as the god of light, harmony and order was established between the 11th and 9th centuries. Slowly over the next five centuries the sanctuary grew in size and importance. During the 8th c. BC Delphi became internationally known for the Oracular powers of Pythia--the priestess who sat on a tripod, inhaled ethylene gasses and muttered incomprehensible words that foretold the future.

delphi-map

  • Epitaph by Simonides of Cios: A well-known epigram, composed by the poet Simonides, was engraved as an epitaph on a commemorative stone placed on top of the burial mound dedicated to the fallen warriors, the 300 Lacedaemonians at The Battle of Thermopylae. This memorial is situated atop the hillock where it is believed that the Spartans and Thespians made their last stand. The original stone has not survived, but in 1955 the epitaph was engraved on a new stone. The text from Herodotus is:
Ὦ ξεῖν', ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε κείμεθα, τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι. Ō ksein', angellein Lakedaimoniois hoti tēide keimetha, tois keinōn rhēmasi peithomenoi. Oh stranger, tell the Lacedaemonians that We lie here, trusting their words.
  • The name “Thermopylae” derives from the hot sulphur springs.which were created by Hephestus at Athena’s request, as a gift for Hercules. A sanctuary and an altar existed in the area as well.

Tour price

380 € (Prices applies per vehicle not per person)

  • Mercedes/Octavia 7 A/C Sedan Yellow Taxi
  • Up to 4 people
  • From Athens Center
  • For a Minivan service up to 8 persons please ask us for a quote.

Inclusions - Exclusions

inxclusions

  1. Transfer to/from the sites.
  2. Hotel pick up (for downtown Athens).
  3. Car fuel
  4. Tolls
  5. Car parking
  6. All taxes
     

exclusions

  1. Gratuities (optional)
  2. Food or drinks
  3. Licensed guide
  4. Admissions