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

posted in: Ancient Greece, Athens | 0

Updated June 21st, 2022 by TraveltheGreekWay

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon Evgenia of Travel the Greek Way
Me at Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon in March

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.

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon, Athens Riviera
Athens Riviera and Cape Sounion

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

The Temple of Poseidon

Athens Quick Reference

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

Travel to Cape Sounion through Athens Riviera

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

Entering the area of the Temple

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

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidonas , as it was in ancient times
Cape Sounion, the fortress and the barracks in the 5th c BC.

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
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 path to the lower part of 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)

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.

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.

Museum Shop

Entrance Ticket:

  • 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

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon beautiful sunset
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 with Sounion Temple views

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.

Sounion Hiking

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

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon , Sounion beach with sunbeds and umbrells, yachts and temple of poseidon
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 absolutely Mediterranean landscape… look so much like a Greek island.

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon, sounion beach tavern
© Elias Fish Restaurant

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

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon , Lavrio port with small fishing boats and Lavrio in the back

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.

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon , A large rusty old mining construction to load the rocks onto ships in Lavrio Sounion
Mining Monuments all around Lavrion

Lavrion is one of the most important mining areas in the world and the Temple of Poseidon had barracks protecting the Lavrion silver mines.

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 or FerryHopper.

Walk around the Ancient Theatre of Thorikos

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon , Thoriko Theatre in Lavrio Greece and sea view
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.

Mycenenan Tomb in Thoriko Athens

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 and the Temple of Poseidon, Grcotel hotel
Grecotel
  • 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

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.

Or you can book a guided tour:

A Message from Evgenia

If you need local help with organizing your visit, please leave a comment below or join my informative and entertaining group on Facebook. Thanks!
Evgenia 
Travel the Greek Way

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