I wasn't sure which page to put this on. The nearest town is Distomo but that is not on VT, so I decided to put it on the next closest town, Arachova.
The Monastery of Ossios Loukas was founded around 945 by a hermit named Loukas Stereiotis. The main building was built in 1011 by Emperor Romanos and contains precious mosaics, frescoes, and icons.
The monastery saw lots of fighting during Ottoman rule. It was also an important location during the Greek revolution, and is where Bishop Isaias declared his support to the freedom fighters in 1821. The monastery has been damaged by earthquakes over the years and was bombed in 1943 during WWII.
Admission is charged. There is a dress code. No shorts or bare shoulders. Women must wear a skirt that is about ankle length. Men must wear long pants. Hours are 8am-6pm daily but it may be closed for a few hours in the afternoon from 2pm-4pm.
Getting there if you aren't renting a car is a pain and may require it to turn into a whole day's trip, but it is well worth the trouble. The best way to get there is to take the bus that runs between Athens and Delphi and asked to get dropped off at the road that runs to Distomo. Walk the 3km to Distomo and take a taxi to the monastery 8km away.
See my other "Off the beaten path" tips for more info.
From Arahova, a small road leads after 6 km to Koriκio Andro (Koριkιo Aνδρo) or Corycian cave (from the nymph Corcya), a cave that was already famous in the antiquity, visited by Nymphs and Pan with the Thyads. It is also named Pan’s cave
It is said that during the winter months the governing gods at Delphi celebrated Orgiastic rite at the cave with the local women acting as nymphs. « It is the most remarkable of all the caves I have seen », Pausanias notes, having visited it in the lst century AD..
The cavern itself is enormous, about 60 m long, 26 m wide and 12 m high. Thick stalactites hang from its roof, resembling "korikes" (leather pouch). Several inscription dating from the 4th century BC or the beginning of the 3rd century can be seen. The cave was excavated by French archaeologists in 1969 and produced a tremendous number of objects from all periods of antiquity. I have not found where they were on display. They should be in Delphi museum, but who knows !
The cave is open for visits but we missed it. As far as I know, there is no facility (light) and you should bring a powerful torch
Alternatively, Korikio Andro can be reached from Delphi by a lovely hike through the fir trees of Livadi. After 4 hours walk on the E4 European long distance trail, you will reach the cave.
Inside the crypt you can find the remains of Ossios Loukas and other saints, along with more beautiful frescoes.
Loukas Stereiotis was born in Aegina in 906. He was very spiritual and left his home as a teenager to live in isolation in central Greece. He later developed a reputation as a healer, and arrived in the area of the present monastery in 945. He settled and founded the monastery, and died in 953.
The dome inside the main church of Ag. Loukas is a mural of Christ surrounded by saints and angels. It was painted in the 16th century to replace fallen mosaics. The rest of the interior is also full of amazing mosaics and frescoes. There are also icons by the 16th century iconographer Michael Damaskinos, a native of Crete.