8 Best Things to Do in Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon is one of the most popular half-day tours from Athens. It is perched on the southern tip of the Attica peninsula, around a rugged coastline with endless sea views, and the ancient Temple of Poseidon right at its center. The Temple with its massive Doric marble columns is an architectural wonder dating back to the 5th century BCE.

The Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion, Athens in Greece at sunset with people visiting. The photo is taken from a drone.
The Temple of Poseidon, Sounion

There’s always something truly special about watching the sunset at Cape Sounion. As the sun starts to dip below the horizon over the Aegean waters, I feel like time slows down, and I’m completely captivated by the colors painting the sky – oranges, pinks, and purples blending in a stunning display. But even if you can’t make it during sunset, the endless sea views will amaze you.

Without further ado, let’s discover everything about how to visit Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon.

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

A typical visit to Cape Sounio can range from an hour to two, depending on how much time you choose to spend exploring the ancient ruins and enjoying the breathtaking views with a coffee at the site’s cafe and small gift shop.

Fast facts for Sounion

1. Explore Athens Riviera

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon, Athens Riviera beach in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
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.

2. 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.

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon Evgenia of Travel the Greek Way in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
The Temple

It was strategically built so that Athenians had control over the sea and most importantly over the silver mines next door to Lavrio Port.

Temple of Poseidon with Blue Sky and a lot of Green in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
Temple of Poseidon as seen from the cafe

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 BCE the temple of Poseidon was part of the sacred triangle, along with the temple of Aphaia in Aegina and the Parthenon in the Acropolis of Athens.

The temple of Hephaestus in Athens Ancient Agora is of similar architecture to the temple of Poseidon, from which many Doric columns and other parts are preserved.

3. Discover the Hidden Ruins

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.

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon South Side with Blue Sky Beside the Sea in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
The areas where the barracks and the rooms used to be

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.

The Archaeological Site of Sounion with Blue Sky in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
The Archaeological Site of Sounion

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)
The Archeological Site of Poseidon Sanctuary in Cape Sounion with Two People Walking in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
The Remains of the Settlement on the South of the Temple in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
The remains of the Settlement on the south of the Temple

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.

A View from Sounion Cape to the Sea and a Boat with Blue Sky in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
Views from Sounion Cape

Entrance Ticket:

  • April 1st – October 31st: €10 open 9.30am -sunset
  • November 1st to March 31st: €5 open 9.30am -sunset
  • Closed at Easter, 1st January, 25th March, 1st May, 25th and 26th December
  • Great Friday: open between 12.00-18.00
  • Great Saturday: open between 08.00-17.00

You may also enjoy: 30 Best Places to Go to Greece

4. Watch a Breathtaking Cape Sounion Sunset

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon Beautiful Sunset in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
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 beautiful Cape Sounion Sunset with a stop at Vouliagmeni Lake on a guided tour you need to leave Athens at a certain time in the late afternoon. The trip from central Athens to Sounion by car without stops is about an hour and 30 minutes.

5. Hike the National Park of Sounion

A Person Hiking at Sounion Park surrounded of Flowers  in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
Hiking at Sounion National Park

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 tourist 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.

Seaviews from the Hills Over the Site in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
Sounion Hiking views from the hills

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?

A Hiker Along Bushes Beside the Sea in Lavrio.

The trail passes by the Lavrio port and city and on your right, you can see the islands of Kea 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. 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
  • Thorikos Archaeological Site

  Looking for somewhere to stay in Sounion? Check rates and availability here!

6. Taste Fresh Fish across the Temple of Poseidon

A Sandy Beach surrounded of Mountains and Some Houses  in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
Sounion Beach

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 Mediterranean landscape… look so much like a Greek island.

Sounion Beach Tavern with people eating under the umbrellas.
© Elias Fish Restaurant

The best part is that the beach is lined with some fantastic taverns, like Akrogiali, Elias Fish Restaurant, and Syrtaki Tavern. Pick a table and enjoy your meal while looking at a 5th-century BC masterpiece.

7. Visit the Port Town of Lavrion

Lavrio Port with Many Boats and Yachts in Sounion Cape Athens Greece.
Lavrio Port

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.

An Old Damaged Mining Bridge in Lavrio Athens Greece.

Lavrion is also one of the three Athens ports with ferry boats going to the Cyclades islands such as Andros or Paros. Book your ferry transfer with FerryScanner.

8. Walk around the Ancient Theatre of Thorikos

Evgenia Sitting on the Ancient Theater of Thorikos.
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 century AD on the rocky slopes of the coastal Velatouri hill.

The Ancient Theatre of Thorikos is the oldest stone-built theatre in the Ancient World.

Two Hikers at Thorikos SIte.
Thorikos Hill and Mycenenan ruins

It has a free entrance and 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.

Sounion Cape & Temple of Poseidon: Top FAQs

Grecotel hotel in Sounion.

Where Best to Stay in Cape Sounion

  • Cape Sounion Grecotel Exclusive Resort (luxury, family-friendly): 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.
  • Helen’s Sounio Apartments (mid-range, self-catering, family-friendly). A very quiet, spotlessly clean nice apartment with extra hospitable hosts. Ideal accommodation, if you prefer the home-like atmosphere.

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, and it takes about 2 hours to get to Sounion. The most fun way to get to Cape Sounion however is to rent your car!

Is it best to visit during the day or for sunset?

Both offer unique experiences. Daytime allows for detailed exploration of the temple and stunning sea views. Sunsets paint the landscape in dramatic colors but expect larger crowds.

Can I swim near the Temple of Poseidon?

Swimming near the temple itself is prohibited due to archaeological protection. However, several beaches surround the area offering swimming opportunities.

What facilities are available at Sounion Cape?

There’s a cafe, restaurant, souvenir shop, and restrooms near the temple.

What should I wear and pack for my visit?

Comfortable shoes are essential for navigating the uneven terrain. Sun protection, water, and a hat are recommended, especially during hot summer days.

Are there any myths or legends associated with Sounion Cape?

Yes! The legendary King Aegeus and Theseus’ return journey are linked to the cape, adding a layer of cultural significance to your visit.

What’s the best time of year to visit Sounion Cape?

Spring and fall offer pleasant weather and smaller crowds.

Are there any other Temples of Poseidon in Greece?

The Erechteion

Yes, there are! If you are interested in visiting other significant temples of Poseidon in Greece, then you should go to:

Plan My Trip to Greece

Do you need a custom travel itinerary or a transfer within Greece? Are you traveling solo, with your family or friends and need a tailor-made multi-day tour or a transfer?

If yes, please visit my dedicated Plan My Trip Page for a free itinerary!

Athens Airport to Piraeus Port

Bus X96 Peiraias Port to Athens Airport
Airport Bus
  • Bus: If you are arriving at Athens International Airport you can travel straight to the port by taking the X96 express bus (€5.5, children <6 yo, free entrance), which departs every 40 minutes and the average trip lasts 1 hour – runs 24/7.
  • Metro: (€9) is easily found across airport arrivals (blue line – M3) going directly to Piraeus port. The average trip to Piraeus lasts 1 hour.
  • Taxis are available in front of the airport (around €40 to Athens, €55-60 to Piraeus (depending on the traffic in Kifisos), and take up to 3 or 4 people with small luggage)
  • Rent a car with Discover Cars for reliable, new cars at affordable prices
  • You don’t like driving but love hassle-free solutions? Book a Private transfer with an English-speaking driver from Athens International Airport to Piraeus Ferries, or anywhere else in Greece
  • Are you looking for domestic flights in Greece? Check out the official Aegean Airlines Website.

Did you visit Cape Sounion? Let me know what you think about Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon in the comments, I’d love to hear whether I managed to get it onto your bucket list! Till next time, Evgenia❤️

Essential Greek Travel Info

About the author
Evgenia Mataragka
Hi! I am an Athens-based Greek obsessed with exploring Greece and bringing you the best travel experience ever!

4 thoughts on “8 Best Things to Do in Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon”

  1. Evgenia and her team are amazing. Not many are able to deal with last minute changes and she managed it with a smile. She is authentic and genuine something we don’t find any longer. She is a wonderful guide. The whole group enjoyed the day hiking in the Cape Sounion Area. I am a travel agent over 25 years and I don’t encounter many like her. Thank you Evgenia for everything.

    • Thank you so much Antonella for your kind words, I was very happy to meet you and your wonderful group! I hope I see you soon again to Greece 🙂

  2. Your description of the hike from Temple of Poseidon to Lavrio looks amazing (-: I am thinking to do it the other way – starting in Thorikos and Lavrio. Is it easy to find the path if coming from that end? Many thanks for super inspirational posts☺️

    • Hi Susan 🙂

      Thanks for your emssage and I am glad oyu liked the article :D. I think hiking Thorikos and Lavrion is a great idea. Right across from the theater of Thorikos there is a nice small peninsula with a church that you can also explore. From there is not a trail or a signposted path you just follow the small bays and explore the area in Lavrion. I am sure you will have a good hike there 🙂 Cheers, Evgenia


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