Athens to St. Lukas Monastery & Delphi Tour

A pilgrimage to the religious sanctuaries of the past

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

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In Brief

The "ARC OF FAITH" A VISIT TO HOSIOS LUKAS MONASTERY
A 1.000-year- old monastery at an altitude of 430 m. on the slopes of Mount Helicon, - one of UNESCO’S protected monuments, daily welcomes numerous visitors who bow to its unparalleled aesthetic and undeniable architectural value. Hosios Loukas represents the most complete and therefore, the most important monastic ensemble of medieval Byzantium. Being so close to Athens, isn't it a shame to miss it?
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The unparalleled aesthetic of the historic walled Monastery of Hosios (The Blessed) Loukas along with the natural surroundings, ease the mind and calm the soul, either you come as a pilgrim to offer a candle and pray or just as a tourist. Retaining its religious identity, it has been listed on UNESCO's World Heritage Sites, attracts on a daily basis crowds of visitors who are fascinated by its impressive mid-Byzantine architecture and monumental decoration. Along with the New Monastery on Chios island and the one of Daphne in Athens, Hosios Loukas Monastery is one of the most characteristic and important monuments of the Mid-Byzantine period (896-1204 AD).
"The mosaic floors of St Luke have no soft colors such as the ones in Daphne’s Monastery, but neither does the workmanship of St.Demetrios in Thessaloniki"… writes Fotis Kontoglou a Greek contemporary painter of the 50’s and a writer."Comparing them, they look unassumingly poor, as if they were made by an ignorant. Nevertheless it is exactly this special grace that makes them stand out.
On the same issue the famous British Byzantinologist Sir S.Runsiman commented: "In Hosios Loukas monastery there is nothing from the mundane that begins appear into later works of Daphne’s Monastery and triumph in the 14th century ... Everything is serious, balanced and tied into the high classical tradition of Byzantium, but they become vivid through a feeling of eternity, with some roughness in the parts where inferior craftsmen were used, but so unbeatable in large compositions". These features intrigue visitors from around the world, who come to admire  the mosaics, the frescoes the alabaster windows and the complex and asymmetric construction of the three churches.
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 Fokida valley, lies the Pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, the religious center 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”, center 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 Gaia (the Earth).
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.

Road Map

  • After meeting with your tour driver, your tour starts. Along the way, we will cross the basin of Biotia prefecture, an agricultural center surrounded by cotton plantations, we'll drive passed outside Thebes, a medium - sized modern Greek city but a former mighty City State in Antiquity. We'll make our first stop at the wonderful Byzantine Monastery of St. Lukas, a monument that is definitely worth a visit!
    Having conclude our visit to the Monastery, we continue our route and after a while we will arrive at the Archaeological site of Delphi, which spreads along the slope of Mount Parnassos. 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! The archaeological site of Delphi includes two sanctuaries dedicated to god Apollo and goddess Athena and other buildings mostly intended for sports. Visitors arriving from Athens first encounter the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia “Athena of forethought" with the Tholos of Delphi, the latter being the most characteristic monument in the site. It was constructed between the years 380 and 360 BC and consisted of 20 Doric columns in the outer peristyle and 10 Corinthian columns inside the cella. This is the symbol of Delphi site today as well as the remains of three temples dedicated to the goddess.
    Among many structures one can see the temple of Apollo, the treasuries, the Sibyl rock, the theater with a spectacular view of the entire sanctuary, the gymnasium the hippodrome and last but not least the Delphi Archaeological Museum, which houses precious artifacts that were discovered on site.

    After the visit at the Archaeological museum of Delphi is finished, there is no better way to end your day tour than having lunch in a traditional tavern, either in the historical village of Arahova or in the nearby picturesque town of Delphi. There you will have the chance to taste some traditional recipes of the Mediterranean cuisine which you have certainly heard a lot about.

Highlights

  • the marble tomb of Hosios Loukas
  • The Crypt
  • the church of Virgin Mary
  • the church of Hosios Loukas (Katholikon)
  • 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!)
  • The picturesque town of Arahova

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 information for all the locations that you'll visit, within the car or outside the sites.

Kindly choose one from the following below.

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, 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 1 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: Visitors at the Monasteries and the museum must be decently dressed, as there is a strict dress code. Pants, mini-skirts, skin-tight clothing, short sleeves and low-cut blouses are unacceptable. Women must wear long skirts and long-sleeved blouses and in some cases, may be asked to cover their head with a scarf. Men must wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. During the summer months, a hat and light colored garments are required for this tour.
group Max Group Size: 12-14 persons

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 elite 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.
  • 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 and the 4th c. BC, the Delphic oracle, which was regarded as the most trustworthy, was at its peak. The sanctuary of Delphi fell into Roman hands in 191 BC and was stripped of its treasures by General Sillas 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.
  • Inside St.Lukas monastery is the hermitage of the Saint(896-953 AD), who was broadly known for his healing properties. Where once stood the hermit’s small and unassuming cell, now visitors can see his marble tomb inside the crypt, along with the two larger and imposing temples located directly above it,all together forming the central building complex. The adjoining two churches - the Church of Theotokos and the domed-octagon church Katholicon - they are both architectural gems of the e 10th century AD., resemble tightly embraced in what seems to be a perpetual communication with the divine.

Tour price

320 € (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