Very close to the sanctuary of god Apollo and sacred oracle of the ancient Greek world, with beautiful panoramic views of the Corinthian Gulf and fields of olive trees you will find the village of Chrisso, a place few ever venture into. Usually, you might stumble across a sign if you follow the road that leads down the hill towards the port of Galaxidi.
It is a pleasant drive, along the ancient path that pilgrims followed to climb up to the oracle. The village stands at the foot of Delphi, as ancient and as important as its famous cousin, yet seldom visited by tourists.
Chrisso is built amphitheatrically at the piedmont of Mount Parnassus and is usually thought of as the “balcony of Delphi”, with splendid views of the ancient olive groves of Amfissa, and the Corinthian Gulf.
Road to Parnassus
Chrisso – an aristocratic and rural village at the same time
The old houses of Chrisso are neoclassical traditional manors dated from the 19th century. Even the newly built ones must follow the same architectural lines as the whole settlement. It has been characterized as traditional and it is a truly perfect environment for relaxing promenades.
The two floor houses, with colored wooden windows and doors, stand proud and tidy one next to each other, hiding in them the past and present of working rural families. Take your time and stop to admire the details, the flower burdened fences that protect paved backyards, the green gardens, flower pots and chimneys, or the old olive oil presses and the stone churches.
One of the most impressive parts of this picturesque village is the old school, an astonishing stone building, designed by the famous architect Ernest Chiller. The building has been renovated in order to host the admirable collection of traditional costumes, jewelry and ornaments of the area. During your visit, you will also have the chance to see a part of the lifelong work of a very passionate local collector, Elias Daradimos.
Abandoned building in Chrisso
Chrisso – Name and History
Chrisso translates to gold in Greek, but you would be wrong to assume that there is a connection between the two. The name actually dates back to ancient times as it was first mentioned by Homer as a settlement built in the 15th or 14th century BC. Chrisso or Krisa as it was called at the time, belonged to the Phocians, an ancient Greek ethnic group, that was established in the area of Phocis.
The area has maintained the name in modern years and is one of the least populated regions of Greece.
Krisa was one of the ancient Phocian cities that took part in the Trojan Wars and had at different times control of the sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi.
There are different accounts about what happened to Krisa with minimal historical traces until the Byzantine times in the 4th century AD. The area is believed to have been deserted following extensive wars and invasions
Things to do in the area
Chrisso is an ideal weekend escape, perfect for families, nature lovers and those seeking relaxation and peace.
There are several attractions in the region that can be reached by car. First and foremost, you will definitely want to stop by Delphi, the famed oracle of Pythia that gave obscure prophecies after inhaling hallucination inducing fumes that escaped from underground crevices. You can also learn more about the Delphic festivals organized by Eva and Angelos Sikelianos in more recent years.
Some of the most beautiful cities of Central Greece can be reached from Chrisso in under an hour like Galaxidi and Itea, as well as Arahova, Livadeia and Amfissa. You will also want to check some of the tavernas in the village, that are famous for high quality meat and dairy products. Everything you eat will be locally produced and home-made.
Ask a local or head to our own local favorite pick, Fourlas, that offers exquisite roasted and charcoaled meat dishes and a stunning view of the area. There are plenty of tavernas in and around Delphi as well so going hungry is one of the things you won’t have to worry about.
In the area, you will also find the historical Monastery of Prophet Elias that was destroyed twice, once during the Ottoman Occupation during the War for Independence and then later during WW II by the Italians. The view from the area is magnificent.
You can also stay here if you are planning on hitting the ski center of Mount Parnassus for some winter fun.
Rania grew up in Thessaloniki and after some years of travelling around the globe has now settled down in Auckland, New Zealand. When she’s not studying to complete her undergraduate degree she’s either reading, writing or exploring the outdoors.
She loves going on mini adventures, whether it is an impromptu road trip, exploring her local op shops and antique shops or going on multi-day hikes. She is interested in photography and strongly believes that feta should be consumed with every meal.
She also thinks Greece is the best holiday destination and invites anyone that thinks otherwise to prove her wrong.