Located in Cape Sunion, the Temple of Poseidon is the perfect getaway to do from Athens, so this article is for you if you are staying in the capital (or nearby) and have half a day. In addition to explaining a bit of its history and importance; you will learn how to get to Cape Sunion, what are the opening hours / price of the temple of Poseidon and many interesting facts and tricks to make the trip a little cheaper. Let’s go to them!
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History of the Temple of Poseidon
The history of the temple of Poseidon goes back to the archaic period, when the original temple (previous to the one we can see today) was built. We are talking about the period between the first Olympic Games in history (776 BC) and the Medical Wars (beginning of the century BC).
Precisely the destruction of the original temple we owe to the Persians: It was in the second medical war (480 BC) that King Xerxes I, trying to avenge the defeat obtained by his father Darius I 10 years earlier, decided to destroy the temple of Poseidon.
|Everyday at 10:00 AM|
New Athens Free Tour
Experience Athens through history and mythology on our free walking tour. We cover the major classical sights, infusing a touch of modern Greek life. Discover the heart of ancient Athens as you stroll through Plaka, past the Acropolis, and ancient theaters.
|Everyday at 10:00 AM|
According to the ancient Greeks, it would be these gods, ironically dishonored by the destruction of their temples, who would support them and grant them victory again against the Persian invasion. As a curiosity, the Hellenes would later place an enemy trireme ship at Cape Sunion, as a trophy to their god for the outcome of the battle.
So what happened to the Temple?
The temple of Poseidon that we can see today is a reconstruction made during the classical period, while a young Pericles was testing the world’s first democracy.
Price and opening hours of the Temple of Poseidon
The price and schedule of the Temple of Poseidon varies depending on the season in which you visit, there are two different ones:
- High season (April 1 – October 31):
Opening hours: from 9:00 am until sunset.
Entrance fee: 10 euros
- Low season (1 November – 31 March):
Opening hours: from 9:30 am to sunset.
Admission fee: 5 euros
Indeed, it does not have a fixed schedule. However you have to know that the last access is allowed until 20 minutes before sunset, you must enter before to be able to enjoy one of the most beautiful things you are going to see: the best sunset of the Greek peninsula 🙂
Young people under 25 years old (25 not included) have free access, ask for your discount showing your ID at the ticket office!
Good news for the rest too, on the following dates the entrance is free for ALL public:
- March 6
- April 18th
- May 18th
- Last weekend of September
- October 28th
- Every first Sunday of the month during the low season.
|Everyday at 9:30 AM & 4:00 PM|
Ektor Free Historical Walking Tour
Discover the historic gems of Athens and step into a world of legend. Our adventure starts at Lord Byron’s Statue, leading you through the ancient wonders of Hadrian’s Arch, the Temple of Zeus, Monastiraki, and Plaka. Would you like to join a local Athenian guide for an incredible journey back in time?
|Everyday at 9:30 AM & 3:00 PM|
The Aegean Sea.
Cape Sunion is surrounded by the Aegean Sea, but… why does the sea have that name?
Surely you are familiar with the story of “Theseus and the Minotaur“, that mythical hero (Theseus) who embarks to Crete with the intention of hunting the monster of the labyrinth of Knossos.
Aegeus (King of Athens) was Theseus’ father, and it turns out that he had reached an agreement with his son: if he managed to kill the Minotaur (which he did), he would have to change the sails of his ship to white ones given to him by his father Aegeus.
However, our dear Theseus, on his return to Athens, completely forgot to change the sails; and Aegeus, seeing from Cape Sunion some black sails on his son’s ship, believed that his son had failed and died in the attempt. Consumed by the grief of having lost his son, Aegeus decided to end his life by throwing himself into the sea. In this way Theseus would automatically become the king of Athens and would name the sea where his father ended his life after his father.
How to get to Cape Sunion (Sounion) – Temple of Poseidon
There are several ways to get to Cape Sounion, which is located at the lowest point of the Attica peninsula : by cab, by car, by bus (Greek company KTEL) and by hiring an excursion from Athens (including guide and sunset).
Some last tips:
- I recommend you to take food with you, as in Cape Sunion you will only find a cafeteria with little variety of products and a quality/price ratio according to its exclusivity.
- Check the exact time of sunset with your cell phone and compare it with the bus schedules, as the last bus to return with the Greek company is before it during the summer.
- If you are traveling in a group of 3 or more people I would recommend a rented car, this way you will not have to depend on other schedules. Although the way by highway is shorter (about an hour), if you opt for the main road you will be able to enjoy the view of the west coast of the peninsula during almost the whole trip. Personally I think it is worth it.
- Many people do not know it, but there is a kind of cove or mini-beach very close to the temple. It is located about 500 meters from the archaeological site on the east side. It is easy to find it if you just know it exists, and you will probably have it all to yourself. Enjoy the dip!