Settlements on Parnassοs Mt. expand from the foot of the mountain up to an altitude of 1.200m.
Starting from the southeast side of Parnassos, Davlia (Boeotia prefecture) is the first settlement met, built at an altitude of 350m with a population of approximately 1,800 residents. Davlia is located where the ancient city of Davlis used to be. The fortification of the ancient city, along with some more buildings, still stand in good condition. The “Jerusalem nunnery” is a local attraction, located at the north of Davlia.
Heading southwest of Parnassos (on the way to Delphi) and at an altitude of 800m, Zemeno is found, a verdant settlement, right before reaching Arachova (Boeotia prefecture) built at an altitude of 950m, with a population of approximately 3,500 residents.
Arachova is a major winter destination due to its access to the ski resorts of Parnassos Mt. Attractions of the settlement are the crag with the 18th century clock, St. George’s church and Karaiskakis Memorial.
Fifteen (15km) to the west of Arachova, one comes across the most important oracle in the ancient world, the archaeological site of the Oracle of Delphi (Phocis prefecture), as well as the Navel of the Earth and the Delphi settlement with the homonymous municipality, built at 550m altitude, with approximately 2,370 residents.
Delphi settlement is the residential continuation of the historical Oracle of Delphi and Kastri settlement -developed on the ruins of the Oracle.
The archaeological site of Delphi is considered a world cultural heritage of UNESCO and the world's cultural interest heart.
Leaving Delphi towards the seaport of Itea, one passes through Chrisso settlement, built on the western slopes of Parnassos Mt., at 400m altitude, with magnificent view to the Corinthian Gulf (about 1,000 residents).
Moving around the foots of the mountain, heading northwest and at an altitude of 600m, the Eleonas settlement is met, named after the famous plain with olives. It is a very quaint village with natural beauty, shady trees and abundant springs.
Heading to the north, at an altitude of 910m, Drosochori settlement is found, a scenic mountainous village of only 336 residents. Years ago, its residents were forced to move to Amfissa, due to a major landslide. Today, the situation has reversed and a wonderful resort has begun to emerge with restoration of old and newly built houses.
Continuing our tour to the north, we reach Vargiani, a small traditional, stone village of about 80 inhabitants, at 900m altitude, known for a great battle that led to the Greek victory over the Turks in 1824.
Vargiani is also known for a cave with stalactites and stalagmites called Neraidospilia (cave of fairies). Visitors approach the cave through a steep path.
Next stop, continuing the tour to the northeast of Vargiani, at an altitude of 400m, is Gravia settlement, with about 900 residents. Major attraction here is the Historic Hostel -“Chani”- where the famous battle took place, on May 8, 1821. To honor this battle’s victory, happenings are being organized each year, on that day.
Heading southeast, at an altitude of 350m, Mariolata is found, with about 600 redidents. This settlement is divided into the old and the new district. Its name derives from the ancient “Marioles”, “common” but holy women, where passengers to the Oracle would overnight.
The canyon that leads to “Baroutospilia” (a cave used for gunpowder produce, during the revolution of 1821) and the ruins of the Doric city Voion (that was destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC) are also found in the wider area of Mariolata.
Heading on the same direction, Lilea is found, built at an altitude of 330m and a population of approximately 340 residents. The name derives from the ancient city of Lilea, one of the strongest cities of ancient Phocis and one of the nine that had participated in the Trojan War. The ancient city walls are still in good condition.
Lilea is also called “Kato Agoriani” (which means Lower Agoriani) opposed to Agoriani or Eptalofo (700 residents), located at an altitude of 830m, surrounded by a beautiful fir forest. Gurgling waters are crossing the settlement and the picturesque square is full of tall, plane trees.
Polydrosos, or Souvala, is another settlement east of Lilaia which offers a cool environment to its guests. Built at an altitude of 380m with a population of 1,465 residents, is a both summer and winter destination with access to the ski resorts of Parnassos.
According to Herodotus, the ancient town of Erochos once flourished where Polydrosos is today. Parts of ancient buildings still stand near the ruins of Paleopanagia or Panagia Eleousa (“old Holy Virgin Mary” or “Holy Virgin Mary the Merciful”), located next to the springs of the Boeotian Kifisos river.
Ano Polydrosos or Pano Souvala (meaning “Upper Polydrosos” or “Upper Souvala”) is about 7km from Polydrosso, located at an altitude of about 800m, in a privileged location full of dense pine and fir forest and an abundance of running waters. Today, it mostly consists of cottages and fine restaurants!
Moving on to the east, at the north-northeast side of Parnassos Mt, Amfiklia of the Fthiotis prefecture is found (head office of the Parnassos NPMB), built at 400m altitude, with about 3,800 residents. Being a traditional preserved settlement, is of interesting and remarkable architecture with picturesque cobbled streets, churches, fountains and squares. Its first name was Ofitia, but during the Turkish occupation was named Dadi. It has a great view of the valley of the Kifisos River.
Access to the ski resorts of Parnassos and hospitality are easily provided to the visitors, as its residents engage in interesting traditional events (cultural, sporting, environmental, etc.), such as the Easter pits, the feast of the Ascension, traditional Christmas celebrations, etc.
The town is also known for its Halloween huge bonfires (the Chei), the masquerades’ parade and more. Unique is the celebration of bread, taking place every two years, in November.
Leaving Amfiklia behind, heading southeast, Tithorea or Velitsa settlement is found, also belonging to the Fthiotis Prefecture. It has 900 residents and is situated at an altitude of 440m. It is a beautiful village built over the ancient walls that surrounded ancient Tithorea, one of the finest surviving examples of Hellenistic fortification.
Three of the “must visit” list of the area are: the Aesthetic Forest of Tithorea (half an acre timing with fir, oak, juniper, arbutus and other native trees and shrubs), the cave of Odysseus Androutsos and the popular mountain path which leads to the Liakoura summit.
The Agia Marina settlement is at the east and right next to Tithorea. It is mostly a rural village known for its monastery, built in the 1000 AD, located high on Parnassos Mt, and the “dolines”, a rare geological phenomenon just outside the village.
Last but not least, Parorio (also Parori or Bescheni) is a village in the Boeotia Prefecture, built at an altitude of 150m at the foot of the eastern Parnassus. So called because it is on the verge of Viotia and Fthiotis and has a population of 340 residents.
Τraditional architecture with stone houses, narrow cobbled streets, beautiful tiled roofs and traditional decorative elements, are some of the characteristics of Parori. Also worth seeing are the traditional threshing floors, the medieval tower and notable wall paintings in St. Theodore Church.
Continuing our journey to the southwest of Parori we arrive in Davlia, thus ending our journey around the settlements of Parnassos!