Occupying a high mountain terrace dwarfed either side by the ominous crags of Parnassós, it's easy to see why the ancients considered DELPHI the centre of the earth. But more than the setting or the occasional earthquake and avalanche were needed to confirm a divine presence. This, according to Plutarch, was achieved through the discovery of a rock chasm that exuded strange vapours and reduced supplicants to frenzied, incoherent and undoubtedly prophetic mutterings.
Delphi is divided by the road from Aráhova into three scattered sites: the Sacred Precinct, the Marmaria and the Castalian spring. There's also a well-lit and -labelled museum, reopened in 2004 after a lengthy refurbishment. The attractions are best taken in two stages, with the sanctuary ideally at the beginning or end of the day, or (in winter) at lunchtime, to escape the coached-in crowds. Lots of clambering up rough stone steps and paths means taking sturdy footwear and a water bottle; the little café opposite the Castalian spring is more appealing than the one in the museum.
Modern Dhelfí is as inconsequential as its ancient namesake, 1500m to the east, is impressive. The village is notorious as one of the most right-wing towns in Greece, with perhaps the last street in the country honouring post-war King Paul and his quasi-fascist consort Frederika. Entirely geared to tourism (including Greek skiers), Dhelfí's attraction lies in its cliffside setting, proximity to the ruins and access to Mount Parnassós.
There's a single bus terminal at the Itéa (west) end of town, where the upper and lower commercial streets link up. Westbound buses go to Ámfissa (for onward connections north), Itéa and (usually with a change) Náfpaktos, while eastbound services go to Aráhova, Livadhiá or Athens. The main problem, since all coaches originate elsewhere, is that seats allocated for the Dhelfí ticket booth are limited and sell out quickly. Other amenities, along the same street, include a number of bar-cafés, at least one of which will be offering Internet access.