Itea is a town and a former municipality in the southeastern part of Phocis, Greece. In 2011, it became part of the municipality of Delphi. Itea proper is situated on the north coast of the Gulf of Corinth, one mile (two kilometres) west of Kirra, five miles (eight kilometres) southwest of Delphi, seven miles (11 kilometres) south of Amfissa and 32 miles (52 kilometres) east of Naupactus. The Greek National Road 48 connects Itea with Naupactus, Delphi and Livadeia, and the Greek National Road 27 connects Itea with Amfissa and Lamia. The community of Itea covers an area of 2.4 square miles (6.3 square kilometres), while the municipal unit covers an area of 10.1 square miles (26.4 square kilometres).
The Port of Itea is the gateway for a visit to Delphi, one of the world's most intriguing and best-preserved ancient sites. Located deep in the Parnassus Mountains, Delphi was the site of the ancient Delphi Oracle and once believed to be the centre of the world. Beginning in the 8th century B.C., pilgrims from all walks of life made great physical sacrifices to climb the 2,000-foot (615-metre) mountain to seek guidance from the Pythian priestess. It is said that she was an intermediary for those looking for advice and guidance from the Oracle. The recipients expressed their thanks with generous offerings, which were stored in various treasuries and brought great wealth to Delphi. During a period of Roman occupation in the 2nd century B.C., these valuables gradually began to disappear. Today, Delphi retains its mass appeal due to its historical significance and aesthetic beauty. Ruins of many ancient temples and other monuments remain, along with various masterpieces of ancient art.
Itea offers convenient access to a wealth of wonderful cultural and historic treasures in various picturesque locales throughout the Delphi region. Pass through olive groves and take in magnificent vistas of the Gulf of Itea whilst ascending the slopes of Mount Parnassus en route to ancient Delphi. During a visit here, marvel at a wealth of sites of antiquity that include Prophet Ilias Monastery, Archaeological Museum of Delphi, Delphi Stadium and Amphitheatre, Sanctuary of Apollo, Kastalian Spring, the Sacred Way, and more.
Itea's is highlighted by a picturesque harbour and waterfront highlighted by numerous shops and cafes. Popular beaches include Benicassim and Itea, which features shady willow trees that offer a welcome respite from the summer heat, along with a host of nearby accommodations, restaurants and cafés. Itea's abundant coastal waters serve as an ideal launching point for water sports that include swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, sailing, boating, sea-kayaking, and a wide array of other popular outdoor excursions during your visit.
Due to its compact size, Itea can be easily explored in just a single day.
Going Ashore in Itea
The ship is scheduled to dock at Itea Pier. Itea's city centre can be reached via a brief, 164-yard (150-metre) walk on-foot. If needed, metered taxis are available on the pier. Please make sure to establish a price before starting any journey.
Several small, yet interesting shops can be found along the waterfront and Itea's main street. Carpets, ceramics, clothing, silver, jewellery, and handicrafts are typical items available here. The local currency is the euro.
Greek cuisine makes significant use of olive oil, garlic, herbs, fruits, vegetables. Lamb, fresh fish, seafood, moussaka, dolmas, and Greek wine are mainstays in Greek cuisine, as are cheese pastries and baklava for dessert. Itea offers an exquisite selection of sumptuous Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. Popular restaurants in-and-around Itea include Skala, To Kare tou Meze, Zephyros, To Kokoraki, Xtra Large Itea, and Taverna Trokadero.
Prophet Ilias Monastery
Located approximately seven miles (about 11 kilometres) from Itea and built at a height of 1,312 feet (400 metres), the Monastery of Profitis Ilias is among the most famous monasteries of ancient Greece. The base for fighters of the revolution against the Turks, it was attacked by Turkish army in the 19th century and during a period of occupation by the Italian army during World War II. Miraculously, the Woodcut Icon bearing scenes from the Scripts survived unscathed, and is among the best-preserved icons of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Archaeological Museum of Delphi
Situated on the slopes of Mt. Parnassus at a height of approximately 2,300 feet (700 meters), Delphi was once thought to be the centre of the earth. Upon arrival at the museum, one of the most important in Greece, view exhibits depicting the history of this Delphic sanctuary, site of the most famous ancient Delphi Oracle. Included is the famous bronze Charioteer, along with architectural sculptures, statues and other objects that reflect Delphi's religious, political and artistic influences from the 8th century to its decline in late-antiquity.
Delphi Stadium and Amphitheatre
The well-preserved Delphi Stadium still holds tiers of seats that were reserved for officials of the day. The Pythian Games were held here beginning in 590 B.C. They included musical and athletic contests, as well as chariot races in the hippodrome below. It is still possible to see the original marble starting blocks in position. Built in the 4th century B.C., with later additions by the Romans, the Amphitheatre accommodated 5,000 spectators. It featured excellent acoustics, and was situated within the Sacred Precinct.
Sanctuary of Apollo
The Temple of Apollo attracted pilgrims that came to Delphi to consult the Oracle. The present temple, the third one on this site, was built between 346 and 320 B.C. Today, the main structure's foundation is all that remains. The High Priestess of Pythia (or Sibyl) delivered the oracles from this site; her ambiguous prophecies were well-known and respected throughout the ancient world.
In a gorge between the two Phaidriades is the source of the Kastalian Spring, where the High Priestess of Pythia washed before speaking her prophecies. The faithful also purified themselves here before making their way to the Temple of Apollo.
The Sacred Way
The Sacred Way leads uphill to the Temple of Apollo, which was once lined with impressive monuments erected by various Greek cities to commemorate victories achieved in battle. The monuments themselves have disappeared, but many of their bases survived. Farther along are more than 20 treasuries in which offerings were safeguarded from weather and possible theft. Along the Sacred Way is the Omphalos Stone, a symbol of the ancient belief that Delphi was the 'navel of the world'.
Kirra's reputation as an ancient pirate village near Delphi has given way to its present-day status as a popular summer resort destination renowned for its soft, white-sand beaches, lovely tree-line, camping and watersports.
The 'Jewel of Parnasses', Arachova is a popular winter ski resort perched on the north slopes of Mount Parnassas at an elevation of 2,625-3,609 feet (800-1,100 meters). However, the village is so beautiful and offers such exquisite panoramic views overlooking the entire region that it remains a popular destination for skiers and non-skiers alike. A stroll through Arachova's narrow streets also offers traditional architecture and a variety of locally-made products, especially its Formaella cheese.
Situated on the bay near Itea and in the foreground of Delphi, the traditional village of Galaxidi is considered one of the most romantic destinations in mainland Greece and an ideal place to visit, especially in summer and early fall.
The largest city of the Delphi region, Amfissa is an amphitheatrically-shaped urban centre with well-appointed architecture, and quite an impressive site to see whilst approaching it via the highway.
Vardoussia Mountain Range
This imposing and impressive mountain range in the Delphi region overlooks the picturesque, traditional villages of Lidoriki, Gravia, Desphina and Efpalio.
Located adjacent to Itea Pier, this stunning hotel features wonderful panoramic vistas of the sea, distant islands and mountains. At night, its brightly-lit façade is a splendid sight to behold.
Hosios Loukas Monastery
Located near Livadeia, the stunning, 1,000-year-old monastery of Hosios Loukas is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the finest pieces of Byzantine architecture in Greece. At the heart of Hosios Loukas are two ornate medieval churches. Relics of the 10th-century saint to whom the monastery was dedicated are still housed within the Katholikon Church today, and a millennium's erosion on the remaining frescoes and dazzling mosaics only adds to the air of sanctity and serenity.
Itea's inland hills and nearby Parnassus Mountains combine to create a splendid array of outdoor activities, including nature-watching, hiking, off-road exploring, and mountain-biking and climbing. Itea's picturesque shore, sandy beaches and teeming coastal waters are ideally-suited for virtually all water sports, including fishing, sailing, boating, sea-kayaking, swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, and more.
Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board the ship.