Cape Sounion, Athens
Just a common temple, but a beautiful trip along the peninsula through Glifada and Vougliameni until reaching the end, where the temple stands overlooking the ocean, in a high promontory.
It's easy to book locally a trip, and it must be great by sunset.
Poseidon or Neptune is the God of the Seas, a brother to Zeus who lived in an underwater palace. But the Greeks made him a wonderful "land" temple set by the sea --- at Cape Sounion, 70 km south od Athens on a rocky cliffside that plunges 65 m down into the sea. A dramatic setting indeed!
I chose to just get a scenic coastal bus tour to this Temple which was built in 444 BC since it was easy and convenient (leaves hourly from Athens, 1 1/2 hour at 4.5 Euros – from the Mavromateon bus terminal. The remaining 16 Doric columns are still impressive and can be probably viewed clearly from the sea. The Lord Byron also has a “grafitti” on this site because he liked it so much! His name is on one of the columns, and others unfortunately placed their names on the columns too…please don’t do this!
70 km south of Athens, at the southernmost tip of continental Europe at Cape Sounion, is the Temple of Poseidon. It stands on a craggy spur that plunges 65 meters down into the Aegean Sea. Built in 444 BC, it is constructed of local marble and its 16 remaining columns are Doric. The Temple of Poseidon is the only temple in Greece which opens till sunset. Therefore, the best time to visit the temple will be in the late afternoon so that you can view the glorious sunset. On a clear day, you can see the islands of Kea, Kythnos and Serifos.
If you look at a map of the area around Athens and look down to the southern end of the peninsula that Athens is on, you will find Sounio. It is an easy drive along the coast road, you could pick up a rental car at the airport. There are remains of an ancient temple on a point overlooking the water. On each side of the point are bays that are right out of your wildest dreams. There is a nice restaurant on the point near the entrance to the archeological site (the prices were a little high and the service was slow, but the views are worth it! ) I’ll post a couple of photos so you can see the temple and one of the two bays.
2500 years ago, girls approaching marriageable age (becoming teenagers) went to the temple at Vrauron to participate in ceremonies that marked the end of their childhood and the beginning of their life as adults. There are modest remains of the temple left today and an extensive museum containing items excavated from the site. The remains of the temple are not fenced off; you can walk on the foundations and touch the remains of the columns. The museum is on a separate site south of the archeological site (and charges a separate admission fee.) Vrauron is west of Athens on the main coast road south of Rafina (Vrauron is south of the modern village that is marked as Vravrona on my map and the museum is south of the archeological site.) The site is almost directly west of the new Athens airport. I would go to the airport and pick up a rental car, go north and west from the airport to the coast turning right down the coast road. Visit this site and then continue on south and visit Sounio making a pleasant day trip out of Athens.
Just an hour or so away from Athens at the southern tip of the Attican peninsula is the incomparable Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sunion (or Sunio to the locals). This monument is supposed to be very beautiful at sunset, though I could not wait that long. While there are public transporation buses to Cape Sunion, I took a tourist bus (34Euros).
Spend one day at Cape Sounio, it's an hour's drive south of Athens. Except for the ancient temple of Poseidon, you will have the chance to enjoy the view to the Saronic golf and Aegean sea, as well as one of the best sunsets in Greece.
Built around the same time as Parthenon, this temple was built to worship Poseidon, the god of sea. It is well situated in the cape Sounion overlooking the sea. If the statue was still there, it would be tremendous. Sadly, only a few doric columns remain. About 70km from Athens, it took us three hours to get there by bus. The bus leaves from Mavromateon bus terminal every hour at half-hour. When I visited, the terminal was dismantled for renovation If you go there now, you need to ask locals where the buses are. There are both inland and coastal bus. Pick one.
The view from Cape Sunion is indeed breathtaking.
As the sun went down into the sea in the distance and the sky changed into different hues of red and orange, I tried to take it all in - absorb as much as I could because I knew this would probably be the last time I would be there. The feeling can't be described, it can only be experienced.
This place should be on everybody's itinerary - a must see on a first visit to Athens. And if you can be there when the sun sets, consider yourself privileged.
This was my second visit to Athens and this time I decided to watch the sunset from Cape Sunion. Its only a 30 minutes ride from the Kavouri area to Sunion (from the city it had taken me around 90 minutes to get there during my last visit).
The drive itself was fantastic as its all along the coastline. The temple of Poseidon stands in all its majesty. The best way to get there is to hire a cab by the hour - works out quite nice if you are 4 people else book a tour through any of the tour companies.
I got to see this near the end of my trip, its a great and quiet place away from the city but is an easy day trip from Athens. Some great ancient ruins here on a seaside cliff, an excellent spot to relax and take in some history.
Cape Sounio on the southeastern of Attica (69km from Athens) is linked with one of the most beautiful classical monuments the temple of Poseidon. Temple of Poseidon is as the crown of the cape, surrounded by a double fortification wall with Doric propylaia and porticoes.
The Temple of Poseidon was built between 444 and 440 BC. It is believed that it is connected with Pericle's extensive construction program in Attica and was constructed by the same architect who designed the Temple of Hephaistos at the Ancient Agora in Athens.
To go there you can take an organized tour from the Tourist Office or, better, take a normal bus ... I can assure you that it is really more picturesque!
One of my favorite daily excursions is to cape Sounion. You probably know that it is located at the most southern spot of the Attica. Also, it hosts the temple of Poseidon, a magnificent sample of the ancient architecture. The view from the temple is amazing. Looking south, you see the big blue of the Aegean and the first of the Cyclades islands. Looking west you see the Saronic gulf coastline and a brilliant sunset.
The archaeological area is free and open at night when the moon is full... and the mood is right! Lots of Athenians visit it then for an unforgettable experience. There is an old hotel nearby right on the beach of Sounion but there are some more in the area, especially towards Lavrion.
A couple of kilometers before Sounion lies the large, sandy beach of Legrena. Sandy outside, more rocky but interesting inside though. If you park your car there, near the abandoned --today-- hotel and walk with the sea on your left side for 5 mins, you will be rewarded with some smaller but nicer beaches.
Sounion is one of the most important sanctuaries in Attica. There's the Temple of Poseidon, the God of the Sea. It's located on a 60-metre high hill by the sea and also used to be an important landmark for ships. Sunset here is amazing, so visit in the evening if possible :)
The site was inhabited already in the prehistoric period but there is no evidence of religious practice in such an early date. 'Sounion Hiron' (sanctuary of Sounion) is first mentioned in the Odyssey, as the place where Menelaos stopped during his return from Troy to bury his helmsman, Phrontes Onetorides.
Åêåß Ý÷åé Éåñü ôïõ Ðïóåéäþíïò êáé ôçò ÁèçíÜò.
There are temples of Poseidon and Athena.