If you are an independent budget traveller and have been breaking your head trying to figure out how to get from Delphi to Kalambaka (Meteora) without wasting too much travel time or spending a small fortune, stress no more, your answer is here.
I had the exact same problem. I wanted to travel from Athens to Delphi, Delphi to Meteora and, finally, Meteora to Thessaloniki. While it is possible to take a direct train from Athens to the town of Kalambaka (which is at the foot of Meteora), travelling there from Delphi (which is already one third of the way from Athens to Kalambaka) is a completely different story.
(No time for my full story? Find the Delphi-Meteora travel instructions at the bottom of this page)
Some people recommend taking a taxi from Delphi to Kalambaka. That service does exist, but it costs a fortune and you spend more time in a car than doing actual sightseeing…not my idea of a holiday! You could, of course, also join a bus tour from Athens, which includes Delphi and Meteora, but that works out much more expensive than doing it yourself, and your time at the actual destinations is limited.
Mountainous and rocky terrain
The problem with transport in Greece mainland is that much of the terrain is mountainous and only accessible by bus (no train). While very scenic, these bus trips can take a very long time, something most travellers can’t afford – no matter how beautiful the landscape!
In my case, I did not want to have to travel back five hours to Athens by bus, just to catch a train from there to Kalambaka. It would have been crazy, as Delphi is already one-third of the way to Kalambaka.
After much research on the internet and in travel forums, I figured it out and, as a female travelling on my own, I can assure you that it worked out really well and I never felt unsafe. In fact, it was quite an adventure, and that is why it deserves a full blog post.
Delphi to Livadia
The trick is to take an early morning bus from Delphi to the town of Livadia, from where you can connect with the direct morning train from Athens to Kalambaka. You will have to kill some time before the Athens train arrives, but it’s total worth the time and money you save by not having to travel back to Athens first. (I invested my saved time and money in an extra day at Meteora!)
I took the very early bus (05h30) from Delphi to Livadia. The bus stop is in Delphi’s main road and easy to find. While waiting for the bus, I admired the incredible mountains and views one more time in the early morning light.
The bus is a nice modern KTEL public bus and the only one you’ll see at that early hour of the morning – so no need to worry that you might miss it! The only few other souls on the bus were people commuting to work and one other tourist. I bought my bus ticket from the bus driver and paid about 4 to 5 euros.
The bus journey took about an hour and we arrived in the centre of Livadia town around 06h30.
The train station is 6-8km out of town (in the middle of nowhere!) and the train to Kalambaka only departs at 09h53, which means you have a total of three hours to kill. (The 05h30 bus from Delphi is the only one that will get you to Livadia in time for the 09h53 train.)
I spent some time at a small shop near the bus station, where people came to buy their coffee before work. It was the only place open in the area and I figured it would be busier there than at a train station out of town. I used my time to enjoy some breakfast and read.
What is very convenient, is that there is a taxi stand right next to the bus station. By 08h00, I was getting very bored and decided to take the taxi to the train station. The taxi fare was just under 10 euros.
Livadia train station – in the middle of nowhere
I arrived at the train station around 08h30 – it was totally deserted, except for two friendly railway employees (one of them female), who were manning the ticket office. They couldn’t really understand much English, but “Kalimera”, “Kalambaka”, “Meteora” and a friendly smile were enough to buy me a train ticket for 12 euros. Besides them, a few stray dogs were my only other company.
I had the opportunity to take some photos of the dilapidated old station buildings and the beautiful wild flowers overgrowing them. The place had a special charm to it – it felt as if time stood still.
Eventually, a few more people started to arrive at the train station, two local trains came and went, and then, finally, my train arrived around 10h00. I boarded the train, felt reconnected with the world and arrived in Kalambaka 3 1/2 hours later at 13h30. The nice thing about Kalambaka is that it is the very last station – the railway literally stops there.
My trip from Delphi to Kalambaka was a mini adventure in itself and totally worth the money (and time) I saved. If I had to do it again, I would not change a thing!
- 05h30: take the public KTEL bus from Delphi to Livadia (1h journey, about 5 euros)
- Take a taxi from Livadia bus station in town to the Livadia train station (8-10km out of town, 20 minutes, about 10 euros)
- 09h53: catch the train from Livadia to Kalambaka (3h30 journey, 12 euros)
- 13h18: arrive in Kalambaka (the town at the foot of Meteora)
Total cost of trip from Delphi to Kalambaka: 27 euros.