After meeting your driver, begin your journey to the Cape passing through Athens most beautiful suburbs Glyfada, Voula, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza.
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 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”:
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!
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.
- Comfortable clothing and sensible, flat-soled walking shoes are recommended. Sun glasses and sun screen are suggested.
- Photography is permitted throughout the tour.
- 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.