Arachova On a BudgetA mountain town in the western part of Boeotia, Greece, Arachova has become a popular tourist destination for its traditions, proximity to Delphi, and its location in the mountains. The panoramic views of the valley, picturesque cobblestone streets, signature bell tower, and mazes of curious architecture all add to the allure of the place. Local customs are celebrated annually in honor of the patron Saint George on April 23rd.
Arachova is a popular winter destination for those looking to ski down Mount Parnassus, but the town is beautiful any time of year if you wish to wander along the traditional village streets. There are many hotels and traditional guest houses tucked away into the quaint mountainside, and the nightlife is bustling with many bars and clubs around town.
SightsThe town itself is the epitome of picturesque. Walk the endless labyrinth of cobbled streets and peculiar stairwells to fall upon undiscovered gemscraft and gift shops, cafés and tavernas, cozy guest houses and decorative doorways. The place is enchanting to say the least, bustling with activity during peak hours and charmingly peaceful during the afternoon siesta. Even sipping the afternoon away at a local coffee shop is satisfying with gorgeous views all around, traditional village on one sloping mountainside and sweeping views of the valley on the other. The Byzantine churches of the village are also a must see with beautiful well-preserved frescoes and the sound of bells always on the wind.
NeighborhoodsAs mentioned before, Arachova is a quaint little village in itself. The region is well-known for its textiles, woodwork, dry wines, and the local cheese, called formaela. You can also sample some of the local wines crafted from the Black Aráhova vines, which produce full-bodied libations of a deep red hue with high alcohol contents. There are many other local specialties to try your palette, but the crafts of the region take the spotlight as well. Some of the more exquisite take-aways from the place are definitely the colorful textiles, hand-woven into beautiful carpets and rugs. There are also shops that showcase woodcut creations and other handicrafts.
ActivitiesBeing nestled at the foot of Mount Parnassus, Arachova is a frequent home base for passionate ski lovers from all over. With an altitude of 2,260 meters, the mountain ranks among the highest in Greece, and also houses the biggest downhill ski resort in the nation. When the soaring peaks are not covered in snow, the region of Parnassus National Park is thriving with wildlife and has many trails perfect for any hiker's getaway.
The archaeological site at Delphi is also just a short trip away, 10 to 15 minutes at most. Proclaimed to be the center of the world by the ancient Greeks, Delphi and its ruins also exist on the sloping mountainside of Mount Parnassus. With breathtaking views just over the cliffs, one cannot help but marvel at the sweeping valley dotted with olive trees all the way down to the sea. The beauty of it all truly brings one to a place where they understand why Delphi was marked as the center of the earth.
While the archaeological site and modern town of Delphi exist side by side, the real attraction is the historical and mythological allure of the ruins. Home to the legendary Oracle of Delphi and sanctuary to the god Apollo, the worn stone and marble of the site was once a hub of civilization and cultural activity. People would come from all over the ancient world to walk the paths up the steep mountainside to the center of everything.
Food and DiningIn addition to the wine and cheese specialties mentioned above, some of the native cuisine of Arachova features items like:
Kontosouvli: skewered pork rotisserie-cooked with oinions, tomatoes, peppers, and seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano
Kokoretsi: lambs intestines stuffed with offal
Sarmades: stuffed grape leaves
Of course every bakery will have the traditional cheese and spinach pies, and yogurt and honey is a popular indulgence just about everywhere in Greece. Some of the top restaurants in the village, as recommended on TripAdvisor, are Ffterolakka, To Fasouli, Karaouli, Pomodori, and Agnanti. While most of these tavernas serve local Greek cuisine, there is some variety thrown into the mix where you can find pizza or Italian food. The key to finding a good place to eat anywhere in Greece is to pick one that draws a crowdthe livelier the better.
TransportationThe trip from Athens to Arachova is about 3 hours by car if you plan on renting or taking a taxi. If you plan on doing a lot of driving to the nearby attractions like the ski resort or Delphi, renting a car may be a good option. Do be aware though that the narrow cobbled streets of Arachova can turn into a nightmare to navigate if you get close to its residential center.
The bus to Arachova departs from Liossion KTEL Station in Athens. If you take the bus to Delphi or Amfissa, you pass Arachova on the way, so you will just hop off the bus there. The bus trip is also about 3 hours.