Temple of Poseidon - Cape Sounio
A tourist Mecca – A must see for travelers to Athens
The coastal road of Athenian Riviera continues through marvellous tourist resorts and ends at Cape Sounio, Attica’s south-eastern tip. There you will find the impressive Temple of Poseidon – the last piece of the ancient Athenians’ homeland every time they sailed into the Aegean. Watching the sunset filling the sky with every shade of mauve and pink and making the sea glowing like a sapphire is an unforgettable experience that will weave a powerful spell over you.
The ancient Greeks certainly knew how to choose a temple location, as Cape Sounion is a remarkable site. The dramatic coastal location of Sounio (Cape Sounion) in southern Attica was an ideal spot for a Temple of Poseidon, god of the sea. Standing atop sheer cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea, the marble temple has served as a landmark for sailors from ancient times to today.
The area tends to fill up come time to watch the incredible sunset over the Aegean Sea, but if you’re not into stunning clichés, plan your visit for the early morning.
Greeks have always watched the sea for news of war; for the return of loved ones – and Cape Sounion, 70km from Athens, offers the most rousing seascape imaginable.
Perched upon the Attica headland, nearly 60m above sea level, rest the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon.
Constructed around 440 BC atop a rocky cliff—battered for millennia by the crashing washes of the Aegean—ancient Greek mariners used the temple to make offerings to the Greek god of the sea, in hopes of safe passage over water and many safe returns to harbor. It is also the site where Aegeus, King of Athens, was said to have jumped to his death upon seeing the black sail of a returning ship and incorrectly assuming the death of his son Theseus (hence the name “Aegean” Sea). Today, the ruins of the temple are one of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations and one of its most exclusive locations in which to live…..
The sanctuary of Sounio, with its strong fortress, was directly connected with the metal-bearing region of Lavreotiki. In the mountain on Lavrion many ancient mining installations are preserved and there are marble quarries in the area of Agrileza which supplied the material of the Temple of Poseidon.
There are Santorini sunsets … and there are Cape Sounion sunsets. Discover the nightly symphony of nature that made English poet Lord Byron swoon…. his graffiti can still be read among the ancient Doric pillars (Lord Byron carved his name in the marble of one of the columns in 1810. He set an unfortunate precedent, as the temple is now covered in scrawled signatures and initials).
You can easily get to Sounion from Athens. Sounion, located at the southernmost tip of Attica, lies 70 kilometers south of Athens and is accessed by a coastal road.
How to get there:
You can take a suburban bus (KTEL) to Sounio from Plateia Aigyptou (Egyptou square) near Victoria metro station (green line, 2 stops from Monastiraki). Some buses stops also near Syntagma square (at Fillelinon street near Hard Rock cafe). So to be on the safe side and find a free seat take a trolley bus from Syntagma (2,4,5,11,15), all of them stop near Plateia Aigyptou. There are numerous buses that cover Attica region, check/ask for the one to Sounio and buy your ticket inside the bus. There are 2 different routes: The ride may take anywhere between 110-140’ depending on the traffic and the ticket costs about 6 euros. The last bus from Sounio back to Athens departs around 20.00.
You can drive there along the Attica coast passing by upscale coastal suburbs (Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, Voula, Varkiza) and then along other famous beaches (Saronida, Anavyssos, Legrena etc). The route is very scenic.
By tour bus
Sounio is a popular half-day trip from Athens. If you do this you may want to take the evening tour so to be there for the famous sunset.
|Port||Lavrio port 10 km|