General Information on Fokida
The Prefecture of Fokida lies in the centre of Central Greece, between the neighbouring prefectures of Viotia and Etoloakarnania. It is a mountainous area, with its highest peak, Mt. Giona, reaching 2,510m high, and the mountain range Parnassos to the east; thus, this creates the perfect place for hikers, skiers and all nature lovers. Fokida is a stunning combination of mountain and sea, offering a true sense of natural beauty and tranquillity.
In the largest valley of Fokida lies the capital town of Amfissa, a picturesque town presenting interesting opportunities to visitors. It is situated amidst vast olive groves and offers breathtaking views to Mt. Elatos. While Amfissa is situated near the mountains, many other towns have sprung along the coastline. Amongst them, of particular importance is the ancient town of Delphi, the centre of the world, according to ancient Greeks. Fokida is a very popular region in Central Greece, and has some of the most beautiful coastal resorts around Parnassos. It is truly a place reflecting recent history without changing the charm of genuine Greek tradition.
History of Fokida
Fokida owes its name to the mythical hero Focus, son of Aiacus, king of Aegina. Despite the early history of Fokida being obscure, it is likely that the first inhabitants of the region were Pelasgians.
The prefecture has geographically changed through the ages. Once, it extended eastwards to Locris and Antikira; during the Persian invasion of 480 B.C. the Fokians joined the national defense, but later, during the Battle of Plataea they changed battlefields in favour of the Persian side. In 457 B.C., they fought against the Spartans, after trying to expand their influence to Cephissus in the territory of Doris. In 448 B.C. a Spartan invasion force against Delphi made the Fokians activate their alliance with Athens to recapture the holy city. The control of Delphi ultimately returned to Sparta after their success during the Peloponnesian War. During the 4th century B.C., Fokida was constantly threatened by its Boeotian neighbours; in fact, they even helped Spartans in an invasion to Boetia during the Corinthian War (395-94 B.C.).
During the 3rd century B.C., the region of Fokida passed into the rule of Macedonia and the Aetolian League, to which it was annexed in 196 B.C. Under the domination of the Roman republic, the national league dispersed, and was later revived by Augustus. The region became a part of the Byzantine Empire and was finally conquered by the Crusaders and the Ottomans.
Towns & Villages in Fokida
Galaxidi: Along the Gulf of Corinth, 30km from Delphi, lies the beautiful town of Galaxidi. Being the first Greek harbour of inetrnational fame, many ship owners arrived here to build ships and recruit captains and crew. It is definitely worth walking along the streets, which are lined by stately mansions and small cafes, bars and restaurants, smothered in geraniums and jasmine. The region also offers many interesting villages and beaches; Vounihora is a small settlement situated at the foot of Mt. Elatos, at an altitude of 700m; Penteoria, a small village, actively participated in the struggle for liberation against the Turks; Agioi Pantes offers a superb sandy beach and many restaurants. Finally, do visit Kalafati beach, one of the best Fokida has to offer.
Itea: Itea is built in the Crissaean Gulf and shares the Crissaean plains with neighbouring Kirra. It is a modern city, founded in 1830, and has been an important commercial and transportation centre, between Delphi and Amfissa. The urban planning, unlike the other Greek cities, is perfect. Following the Hippodamean system of road planning, it provides a soothing feeling to inhabitants and visitors. Tree-filled plazas and alleys beautify the city and visitors always enjoy a walk down the dock towards the beautiful green hill of Agioi Anargiri. Beaches are within easy reach, and people usually take a swim after visiting the archaeological site of mountainous Delphi. The Trokantero and Miami beaches have been awarded with the European “Blue Flag” and attract many visitors. Moreover, Nafsika and Evaggelistria beaches are nearby, offering crystal clear waters and tourist facilities.
Lidoriki: This small city was the main base of Dorians. Through the ages, it has remained a beacon of Hellenism and Orthodoxy in the area. Apart from Lidoriki, the region also includes the villages of Avoros (altitude 750m), Vraila (altitude 590m), Doriko (altitude 700m), as well as the traditional villages of Perithiotissa, Stylia, Sotaina and Dafnos.
Sykia: It is a small mountainous village situated 800m high, at the foot of Mt. Giona. The region, reaching up to 1,200m high, is one of the most important climbing areas in Europe. Near the settlement you may find information halls and a climbing facility, offering rooms. The landscape is really impressive and the several caves of the region are very interesting.
Gravia: This village is famous for the historic battle that took place on 8 May 1821, when many leaders of the Greek Revolution barricaded themselves in “Hani”, a small inn, along with 120 fighters and blocked the passage of Turkish troops under the leadership of Omer Vrionis towards Salona and Peloponnese. Recently, this historic inn has been restored and it is open to visitors.
Vardoussia Municipality: This mountainous region is one of the most impressive in Greece. It consists of thirteen communities and most of its villages are excellent resorts attracting nature lovers all year around. The capital Krokilio is a beautiful settlement, with an abundance of water resources, rich vegetation and traditional houses. Artotina is the biggest village of the area at an altitude of 1,300m. This settlement, due to its alpine position, is ideal for relaxation and serves as a historic lesson of the Greek Revolution as many famous leaders lived here. Another beautiful village is Pentagioi, lying 950m high amidst fir trees viewing Vardoussia Mountains. Other villages of the municipality include Kerassies (1,340m altitude), Ypsilo Horio (1,200m altitude), Dihori (1,150m altitude), Aplohori (990m altitude), Koupaki (850m altitude), Perivoli (600m altitude) and many more.
Mavrolithari: This village is the capital of the Kallieis Municipality. It is a very small village at an altitude of 1,140m, between Vardoussia, Giona and Oiti. The village was burned during German occupation, but it has developed into a well known resort. The settlement has the biggest and probably the most beautiful plaza of plane trees.
Beaches in Fokida
Desfina Beaches in Desfina peninsula are quiet yet difficult to get to. Explore Stenos, or try more remote corners like Sikia, Prosakos, Agios Andrias and Agios Nikolas.
Galaxidi In Galaxidi, visit Kalafati beach, close to seafood restaurants. There's also a beautiful beach near Agios Vassilis, with sandy shores and hidden rocky coves.
Itea Itea has two beaches: Trocadero and Miami, which are quite clean. These gather a lot of Greek tourists, and can be noisy at times while retaining their beauty. Other nice beaches include Nafsika and Evaggelistria. Not far are the beaches of Kirra including the organized beach of Vrachakia with water sport facilities.
Glifada and Trizonia Island Visit the nearby coastal villages of Spilia and Glifada. Cross the sea to reach the small island Trizonia, with nice beaches, restaurants and a lovely port.
Kallithea Between Eratini and Glifada lie the seaside villages of Agios Nikolaos and Agios Spiridonas. Agios Nikolaos offers a ferry service to Peloponnese, reaching Aigio (Egio).
Marathia Beach As the village is close to the sea, Sergoula has a quiet island feel. The beach between Fokiotrypa and Skaloma is great for swimming and has been awarded a Blue Flag. This beach is in the prefecture of Fokida, yet it is close enough to Aitoloakarnania and its main city, Nafpaktos.
Monastiraki Beach The village of Monastiraki on the road to Nafpaktos lies on the hill next to the beach, which is well known for its crystal clear waters. The fish restaurants by the port are worth visiting.
Municipality of Efpalio This municipality has beautiful beaches, including the sandy beaches of Chiliadou. Monastiraki is considered to have one of the best beaches around the Gulf of Corinth. Sergoula beach with its picturesque windmills and Marathia beach are good to swim in, as is the coast and the lovely bays between Fokiotrypa and Skaloma.
Municipality of Tolophon A charming town by the beach, Eratini is traditional yet popular with Greek tourists, offering decent beaches to discover. Tolophon beach is simply delightful, yet touristy.
Paralia Sergoulas About 600 meters of crystal clear and very clean waters await for you to take the ultimate plunge near this traditional village bearing an old water mill. It lies 24 kilometres away from Nafpaktos on the Itea-Nafpaktos road.
Top Things to Do in Fokida
Delphi (Delfi) The site of the famous Oracle of Apollo on the slopes of Mt. Parnassos. The magnificent landscape chosen by ancient Greeks for their sanctuary, framed by the Phaedriades rocks (the twin “Shining Rocks” that tower above the Oracle) with the Gulf of Itea gleaming in the background, is truly unique.
The sanctuary of Athena, the ruins of the temple of Apollo, the Gymnasium, the Stadium with its small statues, the ancient theatre dating back to the 4th century BC, and the Castalia Fountain are just some of the wonders to admire in the region of Delphi. Don't miss the museum, housing the important finds excavated at the site, among them the famous bronze statue of the Charioteer (5th c. BC), the gold and ivory heads of Apollo and Artemis and a Roman copy of the "Navel of the World".
Delphi is also home to the European Cultural Centre, an international organization that sponsors cultural conferences and symposia. On the road to Itea, it is worth stopping for a while at Hrisso, a charming village filled with plane trees and fountains.
How to Reach Fokida
Getting Around in Fokida
For trips within the prefecture or for connections to Amfissa or other towns outside the prefecture, use the KTEL bus service.
Top 10 Destinations in Fokida
All Destinations in Fokida
Map of Fokida