What Best to Do in Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon

posted in: Ancient Greece, Athens | 0

Updated January 20th, 2022 by TraveltheGreekWay

The Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon trip is one of the most popular short trips from Athens, crossing Athens Riviera, all 65 km by the seaside and the beautiful summer resorts.

What are the Best Things to do in Cape Sounion

  • A magical 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
  • You can stop and have a dive at numerous sandy, pebbled or rocky Athenian beaches
  • You can visit Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon, a masterpiece of classic Greece, at the southernmost part of Athens and enjoy one of the best sunsets in Greece
  • You can stroll Lavrio port and town, a strategically positioned centre of the silver-and lead-rich area with the open-air mining museum and fishing taverns just 10 km from Cape Sounion
  • You can explore the Ancient Theatre of Thorikos, a remarkable sight, the oldest saved stone theatre in Greece
  • You can hike from Sounion to Lavrio, through the National Park of Sounion or by the seaside (more beaches – more swimming!) My favorite months to hike in Greece is October (warm but not too much) and April (everything has blossomed).

Athens Riviera

If you are staying centrally in Athens, then the best way to visit Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon is by car through the stunning Athens Riviera. This way, you will save a lot of time and have the chance to make as many stops as you want during your trip from the Athens center.

In any case, you can find information on buses going to Sounion at the end of the post.

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Sounion Quick Reference

Where to stay in Sounion: Cape Sounion Grecotel Exclusive Resort

Heading to the Greek Islands from Athens? Book your ferry tickets in advance with no-hidden-fees FerryHopper

Essential Things to Pack for Greece: Pacsafe Vibe 20 Liter Anti Theft Travel Daypack, a beautiful Outdoor UV Protection Sun and Super Comfy Soft Pants for any traveling (links lead to Amazon.com)

FAQ on Cape Sounion and The Temple of Poseidon

  • Is the Temple of Poseidon Greek or Roman? The Temple of Poseidon and the gods are Greek and one of the major monuments of the Golden Age of Athens. Chronologically, the Greek civilization comes first and the Roman was developed centuries later.
  • Who built the temple of Poseidon? Ancient Athenian Ruler Pericles rebuilt the Temple around the time the Acropolis of Athens was built
  • Are there any taverns in Sounion Cape? Yes, the seaside and small port across the Temple are lined with some fantastic taverns, like Akrogiali, Elias Fish Restaurant and Syrtaki Tavern.

Cape Sounion and The Temple of Poseidon

If you are a history and strategy buff this is a great place for you. Lord Byron was so impressed by Sounion that he carved his name on one of the columns (sadly, many other not-so-famous travelers followed suit in the past).

The Temple of Poseidon archaeological site 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.

What you will see when you visit the Temple of Poseidon (built 444–440 BC) archaeological site are:

  • The Fortress of the archaeological site
  • The Port and the Ship Sheds
  • The Temple (sanctuary) of Poseidon
  • The few remains of the Temple of Athena Souniada (500 m northeast from Temple of Poseidon)

Right across the entrance of the site, there is a cafe/restaurant and a small souvenir shop.

Cape Sounion Sunset

If you need an excuse to feel romantic, the Cape Sounion Sunset is one of the top activities to do in the area. 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.

Hiking 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 unorganised 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

What are the top attractions to visit in Lavrion?

Lavrion Mining monuments

10 km from Cape Sounion lies the port of Lavrion (or ​​Lavrio or Laurium or Lavreotiki), one of the most important mining areas in the world.

In Lavrion mines, hundreds of different types of rocks, have been mined, some of them uniquely found in Lavrio. Ancient Athens economic peak, the second half of 5th c. BC was fully supported by Lavrio mined silver.

Today 39 old buildings still stand in good condition, remnants of the rich mining history, which you can explore by hiking the area. There are no mining activities today.

Chaos, the heart-shaped Crater

55-meter deep with a 120-meter diameter crater can be found in Agios Konstantinos, a small community, belonging to Lavrion municipality and 4 km far from Lavrion. The crater is said that it was created by a meteorite in the 1800s or that a spaceship had landed there (!!) but most probably it was formed after the collapse of the mining stoas.

There are people climbing it but is considered to be extra super difficult like 7a+.

Modern Lavrion Town

Besides its mining history, Lavrion is 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 port is also the third more important ferry boat port of Athens with routes to the Cyclades island the islands of North Aegean.

Find all about Lavrio Ferry Hopping from the Ferry Hopper website.

Other places of interest in Lavrio town include:

  • Archeological Museum of Lavrion
  • French Skala, an iron construction used to load the mined rocks onto the ships
  • Beautiful Church of Profitis Ilias

Ancient Theatre of Thorikos

The ancient theatre of Thorikos lies 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 of 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.

More in-depth readings for Thorikos mining and archaeological history from a great Belgian website here

Where to Stay in Sounion & Lavrion

  • 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 in 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 in Booking.com here

How to get to Sounion Cape and the Temple of Poseidon

Vouliagmeni Beach in Athens Riviera
Athens Riviera Vouliagmeni

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.

Taxis are probably very expensive to get you back and forth (probably around 40-60 euro in each direction).

OR, you can rent a car, it is dead easy to drive to Sounion from Athens as you follow the Athens Riviera and you never turn until you get to Sounion.

Or you can book a guided tour with the best places to go and see with the professionalism of Viator local agents. Check below the best-guided tours to Sounion:

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  • World Nomads Insurance: I feel insecure traveling to another country without having even the most basic of insurances. Insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations
  • 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
  • iVisa: For any questions, you may have about your documents, passport if you need a visa, a new photo, or any visa-related matter, iVisa is your man (or woman!)
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