Updated December 6th, 2022 by TraveltheGreekWay
Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon is one of the most popular half-day tours from Athens. It is very easy to get to Cape Sounion, through the Athens Riviera, 65 km by the beautiful Attika seaside.
As you are driving the last few km before you reach the Cape Sounion, the Temple of Poseidon starts being visible from afar. Its prominent position above the sea at the southeastern tip of Attica was a sign for the ancient sailors that they were reaching Piraeus, Athens’ main port.
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Up next I am going to tell you about the best things to do at Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon!
Cape Sounion Quick Reference
Athens Quick Reference
- Where to stay in Athens: Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel in Vouliagmeni, Ancient Agora Apartments in Athens Center
- Heading to the Greek Islands from Athens? Book your ferry tickets in advance with no-hidden-fees FerryScanner or FerryHopper
- Essential Things to Have for Athens Metro: An anti-theft design Backpack, a World Travel Adapter Kit & Microfiber Quick Drying Beach Towel that looks like the Greek Flag!
- Private transfer with an English-speaking driver from Athens International Airport to Piraeus Ferries. Check availability and prices on Viator here
Best Things to Do in Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
Travel to Cape Sounion through Athens Riviera
If you are staying centrally in Athens, the best way to visit Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon is by car through the stunning Athens Riviera. You will love the drive by the Athens Riviera all the stunning miles and miles of the blue Aegean Sea, the affluent southern suburbs, and the picturesque seaside resorts with endless opportunities for fresh seafood or a coffee by the sea.
Wander Cape Sounion and The Temple of Poseidon
The Temple of Poseidon, a masterpiece of classic Greece, is one of the most important sites in Greece.
It was strategically built so that Athenians have control over the sea and most importantly over the silver mines next door to Lavrion town.
The Doric Temple of Poseidon is one of the major monuments of the Golden Age of Athens, set on a cape touched by the Aegean sea on three sides.
Built between 444-440 BC. the temple of Poseidon was part of the sacred triangle, along with the temple of Aphaia in Aegina and the Parthenon in Athens.
The temple of Hephaestus in Athens is of similar architecture to the temple of Poseidon, from which many Doric columns and other parts are preserved.
Explore the Rest of Cape Sounion Archaeological Site
Most visitors walk up and around the Temple of Poseidon, take in the stunning vistas, and head back to the exit or have a snack at the cafe, contemplating the sea view.
But there is more to the site than just the temple although much less impressive as only a few remnants of the massive site are still there. The whole archaeological site was a Sanctuary dedicated to the god of the sea, Poseidon.
Take the paths that begin from the Temple toward the sea and see traces of:
- Remnants of the ancient town, the fortress of the archaeological site, a wide street, and a few house foundations that can be deciphered
- The Port and the Ship Sheds
- The few remains of the Temple of Athena Souniada (500 m northeast of the Temple of Poseidon)
If you are interested in visiting other significant temples of Poseidon in Greece, then you can visit Poros island, the Isthmia archaeological site, the Tainaron Cape in the Peloponnese, or Tinos Island in the Cyclades.
Right across the site entrance, there is a cafe/restaurant, a small souvenir shop, and a small Museum shop next to the bathrooms on the other side of the site towards the Sounion beach.
- April 1st – October 31st: 10 euro , open 9.30-sunset
- November 1st to March 31st: 5 euro, open 9.30-sunset
- Closed at Easter, 1st January, 25 March, 1st May, Christmas, 26th December
- Great Friday: open between 12.00-18.00
- Great Saturday: open between 08.00-17.00
Watch a Breathtaking Cape Sounion Sunset
If you need an excuse to feel romantic, watching the famous Cape Sounion Sunset is one of the best things to do and my personal favorite. Cape Sounion Sunset is (almost) as famous as Santorini sunset.
If you would like to experience the awe-inspiring Cape Sounion Sunset, you need to leave Athens at a certain time. The trip from central Athens to Sounion by car without stops is about an hour and 30 minutes.
Hike the National Park of Sounion
Hiking the National Park of Sounion is one of the best things you can do in the area. The trails are off the well-trodden touristic area and you will be rewarded by the stunning sea views.
Around the Temple of Poseidon stretches an expanse of beautiful barren and rocky beaches and on the north part, there are forested hills that make up the Sounion National Park.
The trail through the National Park of Sounion: The trail starts at the Temple of Poseidon, at a small dirt road left of the main road that connects the Temple with the Sounion village, and ends in Agios Konstantinos village some 12,5 km. You can visit:
- Ancient Quarries of Agrileza
- Quaint Church of Agia Varvara
- Ancient Silver Mines, Processing Workshops, and Washeries
- Chaos, the heart-shaped Crater
- Agios Konstantinos village and Mineralogical Museum. Download here a leaflet with useful info on the exhibitions and time of the Museum operation by the Society for Lavrion Region Studies.
The second popular hiking – and my favorite! – is to hike by the seaside starting again from the Cape Sounion, 12.6 km, an easy one. You hike and you swim and then you hike a bit more and then you swim…How much fun is that?
The trail passes by the Lavrio port and city and on your right, you can see the islands of Kea(Tzia) and Makronisos. As this trail is not signposted, you just walk the dirt rods having the sea on your right and the Leoforo Souniou on your left (Sounion Avenue. Don’t get too intimidated by the “avenue” title, it is just a narrow two-lane road for the cars). You can visit:
- Many unorganized beaches like Kavatza Beach, 1.9 km from the Temple of Poseidon, Kato Sounio Beach, Vamvakousi Beach
- The Lavrio Port and town
- Thoriko Archaeological Site
Swim and Taste Fresh Fish across the Temple of Poseidon
Right across from the Temple of Poseidon, you can swim on an organized, sandy beach with umbrellas, sunbeds, a beach bar, and a shower. The sand, the sea, and the absolutely Mediterranean landscape… look so much like a Greek island.
And the best part is that the beach is lined with some fantastic taverns, like Akrogiali, Elias Fish Restaurant, and Syrtaki Tavern. Pick up a table and enjoy your meal while looking at a 5th-century BC masterpiece.
Visit the Port Town of Lavrion
10 km from Sounion you can visit Lavrion, a popular seaside town with a variety of fish tavernas, mezedopolia (taverns that sell small portions of variable food with plenty of ouzo!), and cafes by the sea.
Lavrion is one of the most important mining areas in the world and the Temple of Poseidon had barracks protecting the Lavrion silver mines.
Walk around the Ancient Theatre of Thorikos
The ancient theatre of Thorikos and the archaeological site, lie 2.5 km north of the town of Lavrion, in the ancient mining town of Thorikos. It was built before the mid-5th c—BC on the rocky slopes of the coastal Velatouri hill.
The Ancient Theatre of Thorikos is the oldest stone-built theatre in the Ancient World.
It has a free entrance and it is a wonderful spot to relax and enjoy the Aegean sea views and the Makronisos island just across from the theatre. A 3-minute drive gets you to a hill where you can hike to two domed Mycenean Tombs.
Where Best to Stay in Cape Sounion
- Cape Sounion Grecotel Exclusive Resort (luxury): One of the best resorts in Greece, with a stunning location right across the Temple of Poseidon and in front of the Sounion beach. Top-notch service, rooms, and facilities at their best. Check availability and prices on Booking.com here
- Helen’s Sounio Apartments. A very quiet, spotlessly clean nice apartment with extra hospitable hosts. Ideal accommodation, if you prefer the home-like atmosphere. Check availability and prices on Booking.com here
How to get to Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
Intercity Bus (KTEL): they leave from Athens center in Park of Pedio Areos, ktelattikis.gr, the cost is around 3-5 euro and it takes about 2 hours to get to Sounion.
Or you can book a guided tour:
These are some of my Favorite Greek Travel Resources
- ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank You’ in Greek: “Ya sou” and “Efharisto”
- FerryScanner or FerryHopper to book ferries to the Greek Islands
- Rent an Affordable Car in Greece
- Athens Metro Website (timetables and tickets info)
- Map of Athens Metro
- Trains (Hellenic Train)
- Public Buses KTEL
- Booking.com: I use Booking.com because I can get the best deals on both hotels and apartments, free cancellations, and great prices!
- Get Your Guide: For all your day or multi-day tours and city guide needs, I use Get Your Guide
- COVID Info for Greece: Ministry of Tourism Official Website
- Emergency Numbers Anywhere in Greece: AMBULANCE 166 – FIRE 199 – POLICE 100– EMERGENCY NUMBER 112