Athens Surounding

Trip to Cape Sounio

Meet Poseidon, the God of the sea

5 hours
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Take your own postcard-perfect snaps of Cape Sounion’s Temple of Poseidon on a scenic trip from Athens. Cape Sounion is only 45 miles (70 kilometers) from Athens, making it the perfect lazy afternoon destination.

The Greeks chose their temple sites with great care, taking into consideration the natural beauty of the location and its appropriateness to the god in question. Nowhere is this more apparent than the Temple of Poseidon at windswept Cape Sounion.

The site is a popular  excursion for locals and tourists from Athens, with sunset over the Aegean Sea viewed from the ruins a sought-after spectacle.

You will see a fabulous sunset which is considered to be the most wonderful in Attica!

Itinerary

Itinerary

01

After meeting your driver, begin your journey to the Cape passing through Athens most beautiful suburbs Glyfada, Voula, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza.

02
Your first stop will be the Lake of Vouliagmeni. The Lake is recognized as an important Monument of Nature, because of its marvelous surroundings and its natural location. The Lake’s impressive shape was formed by geological changes that were unable to be chronologically specified. The scientific research came to the conclusion that where the Lake stands now, millions of years ago, a huge underground cave existed. The walls of the cave suffered erosion, because of the high temperature hot springs that were streaming inside, causing the roof to collapse and ending with the ground’s sinking.

 

03

We continue our drive through the idyllic beaches of the Saronic Gulf (also known as the Greek Riviera) while approaching Cape Sounio which rises like a sheer cliff out of the sea. The headland is shaped like an axe-head with cliffs on three sides.

The ancient Greeks certainly knew how to choose a temple location, as Cape Sounion is a remarkable site. According to legend, Cape Sounion is the spot where Aegeus, king of Athens, leapt to his death off the cliff, thus giving his name to the Aegean Sea. Homer knew it as the “sacred cape” when he described it in his poem the Odyssey in the 8th century B.C., and when Nestor describes the journey home from Troy, he mentions “Sounion, the sacred promontory of Athens”.

The current Temple of Poseidon, built upon an earlier temple, dates from around 440 B.C. and stands majestically on a jagged spur atop the Cape. Gleaming white when viewed from the sea, it gave great comfort to sailors in ancient times who knew they were nearly home. The view from the temple is equally spectacular. Land masses to the west stand out in sharp profile: the bulk of Aegina backed by the mountains of the Peloponnese.

Built in the time of Pericles, the architecture and dimensions of the building are identical to those of the Hephaisteion in the Agora of Athens. The beauty of the surviving Doric columns has inspired many poets, including Lord Byron who carved his name on one of the columns. Even great poets can’t resist a bit of graffiti!Byron spent several months in Athens in 1810 and 1811 and there are two documented visits by him to Sounion. Byron mentions the Cape in his poem “Don Juan”:

Place me on Sunium’s marbled steep, 
Where nothing, save the waves and I, 
May hear our mutual murmurs sweep

 

04
After being dazzled by the views of the extraordinary contrast of the 12 white columns of the Temple and the deep blue of the sea,we start our drive back to Athens along the same coastal road.

 

Alternative Tour Options:
There are so many other things to see in this area. Keep in mind that your driver is at your disposal, so if you would like to adjust the proposed itinerary at all, just let him know!

Pricelist

UP TO 4 PEOPLE
Yellow Taxi Mercedes E Class Sedan
  • 4
    or 3 + guide
  • 2
  • 3
Colors yellow
€ 160
UP TO 6 PEOPLE
Mini Van Mercedes VIP Viano
  • 6
    or 5 + guide
  • 4
  • 6
Colors black
€ 250
UP TO 8 PEOPLE
Van Mercedes Sprinter 315
  • 8
    or 7 + guide
  • 4
  • 8
Colors black, white, blue, silver
€ 280
UP TO 12 PEOPLE
Van Mercedes Sprinter 315 (m12)
  • 12
    or 11 + guide
  • 4
  • 8
Colors black, white, blue, silver
€ 300
LICENCED TOUR GUIDE
Total additional fee for local licensed tour guide
IMPORTANT
If you would like to request a licenced tour guide for your trip please let us know in the contact form.
€ 150

More Info

More Info

What Makes this Tour Unique?

This is a great half-day tour option if you’re looking to explore Athens beyond Athens, complete with stunning views and world-class Greek ruins with the amazing sunset.

Special Instructions

  • Comfortable clothing and sensible, flat-soled walking shoes are recommended. Sun glasses and sun screen are suggested.
  • Photography is permitted throughout the tour.

Restrictions

  • It is usually a bit windy on top of the hill of Sounio so even in evening summer it is a good idea to bring a light jacket or sweater.
  • To reach the temple area at Sounion, guests must walk uphill on a packed dirt path.

Did you Know?

 
  • The earliest literary reference to Sounion is in Homer ‘s poem the Odyssey.This recounts the mythical tribulations suffered by Greek hero Odysseus in a gruelling 10-year sea-voyage to return to his native island, Ithaca in the Ionian sea, from the sack of Troy. This ordeal was supposedly inflicted upon him by Poseidon, to whom the temple at Sounion was dedicated.
  • Archaeological finds on the site date from as early as 700 B.C. Herodotus tells us that in the sixth century B.C., the Athenians celebrated a quadrennial festival at Sounion, which involved Athens’ leaders sailing to the cape in a sacred boat.
  • The original, Archaic Period temple of Poseidon on the site, which was built of tufa, was probably destroyed in 480 B.C. by Persian troops during shahanshah Xerxes I ‘s invasion of Greece.
  • The water of the Vouliagmeni’s Lake gushes from its water springs located 50 to 100m underground. The water’s temperature remains stable between 21ο C and 27ο C. The level of the Lake’s water is half a meter above the sea level making it to move towards the sea, therefore, keeping its waters constantly renewed.