Known as the geographical centre of Greece, Fokida (or historically Focis) is home to the ancient spiritual locality of Delphi, the stunning yet quiet naval town of Galaxidi, the mountains of Vardoussia, the sandy shores of Efpalio and the nature reserve of Parnassos. Blue skies, majestic mountains and rolling olive groves mingle with remote villages, remote archaeological sites and age-old churches that fill every visitor with wanderlust.
Even the quiet capital of Amfissa, tucked away among green mountains, beckons with its Frankish fortress and the Byzantine church of the Saviour from the 11th century. Its very old neighbourhood of Harmena which still features rope-makers cobblers and other nearly extinct professions must be visited. Yet it is the town of Delphi some 20 minutes away, both in its ancient and modern elements, that inspires visitors – a must-see before moving on to the rest of the prefecture. Delphi's oracle, fountain, gymnasium, ruins and stadium are awe-inspiring, so is the sophisticated museum that harbours its treasures. The traditional stone-built town of today boasts a myriad of usual tourist shops, in addition to more interesting boutiques from a delightful health store to a unique photography shop.
The touristy modern town of Itea on the coast facing Delphi, particularly its centre, is best dropped in favour of the infinitely more charming Galaxidi some 20 minutes away, particularly if you want an enchanting overnight stay. That said, Itea has two good if popular beaches (Trocadero and Miami) and two modest archaeological sites in the vicinity (Kirra and Tritea) although very little actual ruins have remained from these once bustling ancient settlements. In Galaxidi do visit the Maritime museum and sample the unique baked-rice dessert, as well as the almond-sugar pudding, both unique to this little town.
Further down the coast from Galaxidi is another picturesque fishing town of 700 inhabitants, known as Eratini in the municipality of Tolophon, where there is an ancient site by the same name. From here you can go inland and explore nature towards Lidoriki and the X-shaped Lake Mornos, or you can continue on the coast to Efpalio with its irresistible beaches such as Monastiraki.
Only a short distance further down the coast beyond Tolophon, the village of Glifada boasts old fortifications and an important acropolis from ancient times. Across the shores lies the sizeable island called Trizonia, beckoning to curious visitors with its seaside villages.
Up the mountains, the municipality of Lidoriki – considered the heart of Doric Greece in ancient times – boasts medieval castles, notable archaeological sites, an old resort town of Diakopi that used to house patients of Tuberculosis, and the lake of Mornos, as well as an archaeological museum. Higher up, the same municipality offers excellent mountain climbing opportunities and caving activities.
Indeed, the mountainous areas of Fokida are impressive. As with neighbouring Viotia, the mountain range of Parnassos also blesses Fokida with adventure, trekking, skiing and exploring, particularly at Eptalofos and Lilea. The E4 hiking route passes through the area and takes you on many adventures, while Lilea (Kato Agoriani) will captivate with its ancient city walls and castle, as well as its two main springs.
If one side of the prefecture inland boasts the mountain range of Parnassos, the other side competes with Vardoussia, a lesser known mountainous haven but equally awesome, hiding gems such as the lovely village of Krokilio rich with water, exotic flora and traditional architecture. Further up is the resort village of Pentagiou with a curious 'School of Free Speech', while on even higher ground there are the rival villages of Artotina and Dorida who both claim that national hero Athanasios Diakos hailed from their village.
The Fokida TopoGuide, a fantastic new hiking app, has just been released for Fokida, Central Greece. Great images, wondrus hiking routes, geological curiosities and even roadmaps will guide users on amazing journeys. www.ecotourism-greece.com is proud to have contributed its insights to this app! You can download this app from Google Store here!