Updated June 18th, 2022 by Travel the Greek Way
The ancient theater of Thorikos is the oldest still existing stone theater in Greece, built at the end of the 6th century BC. Thorikos was an important ancient coastal city of the southeast Attica, which controlled the neighboring mines of Lavrio, from which lead and silver were mined in antiquity.
Other similar important coastal towns of Ancient Athenians were the Ramnous Fort and the Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon site. However, what is unique about the ancient theatre of Thorikos is that is not circular like the later ancient theatres, but ellipsoidal with a rectangular orchestra and 21 rows of seats.
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In this post we visit the ancient theater of Thorikos in a bit more detail, I provide information on how to get there from Athens and what are the other important sites that you shouldn’t miss. The idea is to make a great itinerary for an enjoyable trip from Athens.
Athens Quick Reference
Essential Things to Have for Athens Metro: An anti-theft design Backpack
How to Get to the Ancient Theater of Thorikos
The distance between Athens center (Acropolis) and the ancient Theater of Thorikos is 82 km. There are buses that can get you there please visit http://www.ktelattikis.gr/en/ for more info.
However, the best way to get to the ancient theater of Thorikos is through the Athens Riviera by private or RentalCar because that way you will get to see:
- Every suburb, beach, and seaside resort of the beautiful Athens Riviera
- You can stop at the Thermal Spa of Vouliagmeni Lake and have a swim or a cafe or have a fresh fish at Lambros restaurant right across from Lake (see Google map)
- You can visit the stunning archaerological site of Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon. Drive from Cape Sounion for another 11.7 km and you get to the ancient theatre of Thorikos
- After Thorikos drive in the same direction for another km until you find the industrial facilities of Ravazzo Lavrion on your right side. Park cross the road and start walking uphill to the Mycenean Acropolis and the 5 tombs there, see more details on the post.
The Ancient Theater of Thorikos
The ancient theater of Thorikos was used not only for performances but also for the meetings of the citizens of the Demos (ancient Greek word still used and meaning ‘municipality’) with a capacity of 4,000 spectators. Nearby you will also see the remains of a silver mine and a wash plant that has been restored right next to the ancient theater.
As soon as you get to the Thorikos site you can park right outside the entrance. This is not at all an organized historical site; it is free, and there are no staff there or booklets to buy. There is an information board that gives you a bit of an orientation.
When I visited, it was early March and it was quite chilly and windy. However, the plains around me were full of wildflowers which were so beautiful to walk past them.
And no surprise, a few kitties were about, I had some dry food – as always when I visit places around Greece – and they had a snack. I was told that they are neutered and the guards feed them, which was a relief.
As you walk the short distance from the entrance, you see on your right-hand side the theatre and on the left the remains of various sites.
Right across from the theatre of Thorikos stands perhaps one of the oldest ore “washers” of the 6th century BC. The “washers” are special constructions of the ancient miners, to which the ores were transferred after mining, crushing, and sifting, for their enrichment.
In the plain south of the settlement, a large marble Doric building in the shape of a double stoa, of the 5th century BC, which has become known as the “Temple of Demeter and Daughter” from an inscription found in the area, is preserved.
The most famous Demeter Sanctuary is in Elefsina, one of the sacred ancient Greek cities where the Eleusinian Mysteries were taking place.
In the background, Makronisos rises its rocks, defining the Aegean Sea. A ship with its stern to the north slowly crosses the narrow passage between Lavrio and Makronisos island. It is a really lovely spot to sit and watch the beautiful serene nature around you and the boats back and forth in the Aegean.
The Mycenean Tombs in Thorikos
Traces of Mycenaean settlement have been discovered in the area, including five vaulted tombs belonging to the period 1600 – 1100 BC. On the eastern side of the hill of Thorikos is the largest vaulted tomb of the Mycenaean period and near the top of the hill are the ruins of the other tombs.
As mentioned, you park right across the industrial facilities and start walking uphill towards the Mycenean Tombs.
The hill has a couple of points that are very steep but if you take your time, you can make it. However, if it is a very warm day it may be difficult to get to the top, there is absolutely no shade.
After 15 minutes of hiking, we reached the first Tomb.
After another 10-15 minutes you get to a small settlement and the second Mycenean tomb that really needs immediate attention from the authorities.
There are 3 more tombs on the top of the hill but we didn’t make it as it started raining really heavily and had to rush back to the car. Next time I will go to the rest of the site, I promise!
As we were running downhill I could see the neighboring peninsula of Agios Nikolaos with the small bays of Fragolimano and Porto Mantri. This was the port of ancient Thorikos, which was fortified during the Peloponnesian War (see Google map). It will be a nice stroll of the church and see what remains of the port today.
Where Best to Stay in Lavrio
If you decide to stay overnight at Lavrion and explore the beautiful area, then you can stay at NJ Apartments-Deluxe Edition which is conveniently central to Lavrion and has great facilities.
Lavrio and Rafina are the two smaller ports of Athens, with Pireaus being the largest one. There are ferries leaving from Lavrion to islands such as Kea, Kythnos, Folegandros, Ios, Milos, and more. Check out FerryScanner or FerryHopper to see which timetable suits you best from Lavrion and book your seat.
Sailing and Hiking Kea, Kythnos, Syros, and Serifos
Sail to the most unknown corners of the stunning Cyclades Islands such as Kea, Kythnos, Syros, and Serifos. Walk in the footsteps of the ancients along beautiful trails and visit ancient sites, chapels, remote beaches, and stunning natural scenery.
Check out availability and prices on the GetYourGuide website.
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Some of my Favorite Travel Resources for Greece
- Ferries to the Greek Islands: Book your ferry transfer with FerryScanner or FerryHopper, and get the best prices in the market with no hidden fees
- Athens Metro Website (timetables and tickets info)
- Map of Athens Metro
- Trains (OSE)
- Public Buses KTEL
- Air flights: Cheap/Fast/Best Worldwide Flights from KAYAK or SkyScanner search engine sit
- Booking.com: I use Booking.com because I can get the best deals on both hotels and apartments, free cancellations, and great prices!
- Best car rental prices – Guaranteed. RentalCars.com
- Get Your Guide: For all your day or multi-day tours and city guide needs, I use Get Your Guide
- Emergency Numbers Anywhere in Greece: AMBULANCE 166 – FIRE 199 – POLICE 100– EMERGENCY NUMBER 112