Athens – Sounio Day Tour

Highlights

Athens Corinth Private Tour – Duration 8 Hours

 

Top Visits

  • Acropolis Hill – Parthenon – Erechtheion – Dionysus Theatre – Herodion Odeon
  • Temple of Zeus – Arch of Hadrian
  • Old Olympic Stadium
  • Parliament – Changing of the Guards
  • Academy of science – Athens University –
  • National Library
  • Lycabettus Hill
  • Athenian Riviera
  • Glyfada
  • Voula
  • Vouliagmeni
  • Varkiza
  • Anavissos
  • Cape Sounion
  • Poseidon’s Temple

Itinerary

This more relaxing tour consists of sightseeing in Athens, a scenic seaside drive, and the magical Cape Sounio. Your day will begin with Acropolis Hill, the highlight of the tour. On the historical hill, you will have the experience of seeing the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the Temple of the Athena Nike, the monumental gateway (Propylaea), the Erechtheum and of course the Parthenon the main temple for the virgin goddess Athena. Leaving the Acropolis we will steer towards the Temple Of Zeus passing by Hadrians Arch and following we will visit Panathenaic Stadium where the first modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. Trailing on and driving aside from the national garden we will see the char-us-poseidonchanging of the guard (Euzones) in front of the old palace, which is today Parliament House, high above the central square of Athens. Then traveling into the historical center of the city we will drive up to the highest hill of Athens, the hill of Lycabettus. On Lycabettus Hill, you’ll have the best panoramic view of the city, the hill of Acropolis and the Aegean Sea. Moving on and feeling hungry by now, a traditional Greek tavern with authentic Greek cooked dishes or fresh fish – seafood by the sea.

After a satisfying lunch, we will have a pleasant drive along the coastline known as the Athenian Riviera and the southern suburbs. Passing through the uptown suburbs of Athens (Glyfada, Voula, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza) and making a first stop at the famous Vouliagmeni Lake, mineral – therapeutic – natural lake. Continuing our drive we will come across more isolated but charismatic areas with a breathtaking view of the Saronic Gulf which will take us to the archaeological site of Cape Sounio, the southeastern edge of the Attica Peninsula. On entering the site you will see the dominating Temple Of Poseidon, the ancient Greek god of the sea, surrounded by the remains of fornications, the gateway (porticos) and houses. Close by are also see the remains of the temple Athena Souniada. Besides its unique location and its archeological interest, Cape Sounio is also famous for its breathtaking sunset and view of the Greek Islands. It is rightly considered one of the most romantic places in Greece. And finally a relaxing drive back to Athens.

History

Acropolis:

The Acropolis hill (acro – edge, polis – city), so-called the “Sacred Rock” of Athens, is the most important site of the city and constitutes one of the most recognizable monuments of the world. It is the most significant reference point of ancient Greek culture, as well as the symbol of the city of Athens itself as it represents the apogee of artistic development in the 5th century BC. During Perikles’ Golden Age, ancient Greek civilization was represented in an ideal way on the hill and some of the architectural masterpieces of the period were erected on its ground.

Propylaea:

The Propylaea is the monumental entrances to the sacred area dedicated to Athena, the patron goddess of the city. Built by the architect Mnesicles with Pentelic marble, their design was avant-garde. To the south-west of the Propylaea, on a rampart protecting the main entrance to the Acropolis, is the Ionian temple of Apteros Nike, which is now being restored.

Parthenon:

The Parthenon. It is the most important and characteristic monument of the ancient Greek civilization and still remains its international symbol. It was dedicated to Athena Parthenos (the Virgin), the patron goddess of Athens. It was built between 447 and 438 B.C. and its sculptural decoration was completed in 432 B.C. The construction of the monument was initiated by Perikles, the supervisorparthenon of the whole work was Pheidias, the famous Athenian sculptor, while Iktinos (or Ictinus) and Kallikrates (Callicrates) were the architects of the building. The temple is built in the Doric order and almost exclusively of Pentelic marble. It is peripheral, with eight columns on each of the narrow sides and seventeen columns on each of the long ones. The central part of the temple, called the cella, sheltered the famous chryselephantine cult statue of Athena, made by Pheidias. The rest of sculptural decoration, also by Phidias, was completed by 432 BC. The sculptural decoration of the Parthenon is a unique combination of the Doric metopes and triglyphs on the entablature, and the Ionic frieze on the walls of the cella. The metopes depict the Gigantomachy on the east side, the Amazonomachy on the west, the Centauromachy on the south, and scenes from the Trojan War on the north. The Parthenon, the Doric temple, the pinnacle of Pericles’ building programme, is beyond question the building most closely associated with the city of Athens, a true symbol of ancient Greek culture and its universal values.

The New Acropolis Museum:

As you enter the museum grounds, look through the plexiglass floor to see the ruins of an ancient Athenian neighborhood, which were artfully incorporated into the museum design after being uncovered during excavations.This dazzling modernist museum at the foot of the Acropolis’ southern slope showcases its surviving treasures still in Greek possession. While the collection covers the Archaic and Roman periods, the emphasis is on the Acropolis of the 5th century BC, considered the apotheosis of Greece’s artistic achievement. The museum cleverly reveals layers of history, floating over ruins with the Acropolis visible above, showing the masterpieces in context. The surprisingly good-value restaurant has superb views (and reviews); there’s also a fine gift shop.

The Temple of Zeus:

This marvel is right in the center of Athens. It is the largest temple in Greece. Building began in the 6th century BC by Peisistratos, (but it was abandoned for lack of funds). Various other leaders attempted to finish it, but it was left to Hadrian to complete the work in AD 131 – taking more than 700 years in total to build.The temple is impressive for the sheer size of it. Originally it had 104 Corinthian columns (17m high and with a base diameter of 1.7m).Unfortunately, only 15 remains (the fallen one was blown down in a gale in 1852). Hadrian also put up a colossal statue of Zeus (in the cella) and because he was such a modest fellow he placed an equally large one of himself next to it.picture13612849184103

Hadrian’s Arch:

The Roman emperor Hadrian had a great affection for Athens. Although he did his fair share of spiriting its classical artwork to Rome, he also embellished the city with many monuments influenced by classical architecture. His arch is a lofty monument of Pentelic marble that stands where busy Leoforos Vasilissis Olgas and Leoforos Vasilissis Amalias meet. Hadrian erected it in AD 132, probably to commemorate the consecration of the Temple of Olympian Zeus.The inscriptions show that it was also intended as a dividing point between the ancient and Roman city. The northwest frieze reads, ‘This is Athens, the Ancient city of Theseus’, while the southeast frieze states, ‘This is the city of Hadrian, and not of Theseus’.

The Old Olympic Stadium/ Panathenaic Stadium:

The grand Panathenaic Stadium lies between two pine-covered hills(between the neighborhoods of Mets and Pangrati). It was originally built in the 4th century BC as a venue for the Panathenaic athletic contests. It’s said that at Hadrian’s inauguration in AD 120, 1000 wild animals were sacrificed in the arena. Later, the seats were rebuilt in Pentelic marble by Herodes Atticus. There are seats for 70,000 spectators, a running track and a central area for field events.After hundreds of years of disuse, the stadium was completely restored in 1895 (by a wealthy Greek benefactor Georgios Averof) to host the first modern Olympic Games the following year. It’s a faithful replica of the original Panathenaic Stadium. There are seats for 70,000 people, a running track and a central area for field events. It made a stunning backdrop to the archery competition and the marathon finish during the 2004 Olympics. It’s occasionally used for concerts and public events, and the annual Athens marathon finishes here.

The Changing of the Guards:

Although the guards change hourly, there is a big ceremony once a week. Tsarouxia-600x600These guards, the Evzones, stand motionless at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Getting into this unit is an honor, and they have to be over 6 ft. tall. They wear white tights, a white skirt, a white blouse with full sleeves, an embroidered vest, red cap, and shoes with big pom-poms. but don’t let the outfit fool you, these guys are the best of the best. The uniform is based on the clothing of the Klephts, mountain fighters who fought the Turks from the 15th Century until Greek independence in the 19th Century.

The Acadamy of Science:

The Acadamy Building constitutes one of three parts in an “architectural trilogy”. It was founded with the Constitutional Decree of March 18th, 1926, as an Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Fine Arts. The same Decree appointed its first members, who were all eminent representatives of the scientific, intellectual and artistic circles of that era. Designed in 1859, by the Danish architect Theophil Hansen (1813-1891, the younger brother of the University’s architect, Christian Hansen). It is considered the most important work of Hansen and is regarded by some experts as the most beautiful neoclassic building worldwide. The architect’s source of inspiration was the classical architecture of fifth century B.C.E. Athens, as portrayed in the monuments of the Acropolis. In particular, Hansen imitated the Ionian rhythm that dominates the building of the Academy, from the Erechtheion monument. The essence of all ancient Greek tradition can be found in the building’s sculptural and pictorial decoration; simultaneously the character of that era’s Hellenism and its visions for the future are also expressed.

The University of Athens:

The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is the largest state institution of higher learning in Greece, and among the largest universities in Europe. The splendid Athens University was designed by the Danish architect Christian Hansen and completed in 1864. It was the first of the Architectural Trilogy to be built. It still serves as the university’s administrative headquarters. To its left is the Athens Academy, designed by Hansen’s brother Theophile. Unfortunately, neither is open to the public.

deity_Athena_illusThe National Library:

The National Library of Greece was built at the end of the nineteenth century, as the last of the Architectural of Athens, a group of three neoclassical buildings which also includes the Academy and the University. The building was designed by Theophil Hansen, a Danish architect who had studied classical architecture in Vienna and Athens. (He had also previously worked on the University – together with his older brother Christian, as well as on the Zappeion and the Academy of Athens.) Construction of the National Library started in 1887 and was completed fifteen years later. Theophil Hansen died in 1891 and would never see his building completed.The National Library was designed as a Doric temple flanked by two wings and built almost entirely with Pentelic marble. The design of the Doric building was based on that of the Propylaea on the Acropolis. (It is devoid of any sculptural ornamentation; even the tympanum is left undecorated.) Two wide winding staircases lead to the entrance of the “temple”. The statue standing between the staircases shows one of the benefactors of the library, the merchant Panaghis Athanassiou Vallianos. The building houses a large collection of books, maps, newspapers, and manuscripts in Greek and other languages. Most interesting is the collection of Greek manuscripts, some of which are more than 1400 years old.

Sounio(Temple of Poseidon):

The Ancient Greeks certainly knew how to choose a site for a temple. Nowhere is this more evident than at Cape Sounion, 70km south of Athens, where the Temple of Poseidon stands on a cliff that plunges 65m down to the sea. Built-in 444 BCE– at the same time as the Parthenon – it is constructed of local marble from Agrilesa, its slender columns, of which 16 remain, are Doric. It is Poseidonthought that the temple was built by Iktinos, the architect of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens’ Ancient Agora.

It looks gleaming white when viewed from the sea, which gave great comfort to sailors in ancient times: they knew they were nearly home when they saw the first glimpse of white, far off in the distance. The views from the temple are equally impressive: on a clear day, you can see Kea, Kythnos, and Serifos to the southeast, and Aegina and the Peloponnese to the west. The site also contains scant remains of a propylaeum, a fortified tower and, to the northeast, a 6th-century temple to Athena.Visit early in the morning before the tourist buses arrive, or head there for sunset to enact Byron’s lines from Don Juan:

‘Place me on Sunium’s marbled steep

Where nothing save the waves and me

May hear our mutual murmurs sweep.’

Byron was so impressed by Sounion that he carved his name on one of the columns.

There are a couple of tavernas just below the site – perfect for lunch and a swim.

Entrance Fees

Admission Fees for Sites:

SUMMER PERIOD: 1 April – 31 October

WINTER PERIOD: 1 November – 31 March


Combined Ticket valid for 5 days:

  • Acropolis of Athens
  • Ancient Agora of Athensticket
  • Kerameikos Museum
  • Roman Agora of Athens
  • Temple of Zeus
  • Archaeological Site of Lykeion
  • Hadrian’s Library

(Valid for all sites) Full : €30,00 – Reduced: € 15,00

Winter : 08:30 – 15:00

Summer: 08:00 – 20:00

Acropolis:

Full : €20,00 – Reduced: € 10,00

Winter : 08:30 – 17:00

Summer: 08:00 – 20:00

Temple Of Poseidon:

Full : €8,00 – Reduced: € 4,00

Winter:  09:30 – Sunset

Summer:  09:00 – Sunset


Holidays :

  • 1 January: closed
  • 6 January: 08:00 – 15:00
  • Shrove Monday: 08:00 – 15:00
  • 25 March: closed
  • Good Friday: until 12:00 – 17:00
  • Holy Saturday: 08:00 – 15:00
  • Easter Sunday: closed
  • Easter Monday: 08:00 – 20:00
  • 1 May: closed
  • Holy Spirit Day: 08:00 – 20:00
  • 15 August: 08:00 – 20:00
  • 28 October: 08:00 – 15:00
  • 25 December: closed
  • 26 December: closed

Free admission:

  • Escorting teachers during the visits of schools and institutions of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education and of military schools.
  • Members of Societies and Associations of Friends of Museums and Archaeological Sites throughout Greece with the demonstration of certified membership card
  • Members of the ICOM-ICOMOS
  • Persons possessing a free admission card
  • The employees of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Archaeological Receipts Fund, upon presentation of their service ID card.
  • The official guests of the Greek government, with the approval of the General Director of Antiquities.
  • Young people, under the age of 18, after demonstrating the Identity Card or passport to confirm the age.

Free admission days:free-admission

  • 6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri)
  • 18 April (International Monuments Day)
  • 18 May (International Museums Day)
  • The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days)
  • Every first Sunday from November 1st to March 31st
  • 28 October

Reduced admission for:

  • Greek citizens and citizens of other Member – States of the European Union who are over 65 years old, upon presentation of their ID card or passport for verification of their age and country of origin.
  • Holders of a solidarity card
  • Holders of a valid unemployment card.
  • Large families’ parents of children up to 23 yrs old, or up to 25 yrs old (on military service/studying), or child with disabilities regardless the age, having a certified pass of large families, certification from the Large Family Association or a family status certificate issued by the Municipality
  • Persons with disabilities (67 % or over) and one escort, upon presentation of the certification of disability issued by the Ministry of Health or a medical certification from a public hospital, where the disability and the percentage of disability are clearly stated.
  • Single parent families with minors, upon presentation of a family status certificate issued by the Municipality. In the case of divorced parents, only the parent holding custody of the children
  • The police officers of the Department of Antiquity Smuggling of the Directorate of Security
  • Tourist guides upon presentation of their professional ID card.
  • University students and students at Technological Educational Institutes or equivalent schools from countries outside the EU by showing their student ID.

Amenities for the physically challenged:

  • Acropolis: Elevator available for wheelchairs, people with diminished abilities and any parent attending two or more infants on her/his ownwfac-life-disabled-icon-community. The elevator is located about 350m. far from the main entrance of the archaeological site.
    Users of the elevator should contact in advance for details and terms (+30 210 3214172). The facility is not available during extreme weather conditions and strong winds.

Additional Info

Please take time to read carefully our terms and conditions.

Private Tours are personal and flexible just for you and your party.

Prices Inclusion

  • local taxes
  • VAT
  • Tolls
  • Baggage chargesInfo_Simple_bw.svg

Prices Exclusion

  • Entrance Fees
  • Personal expenses (drinks, meals etc.)
  • Tips
  • Visa costs
  • Sightseeing and services other than those mentioned in our itineraries. If in doubt whether something is included in the price of the tour, please inquire.

Drivers

  • Drivers must work under strict legal and time restrictions. Therefore you will be dropped back at convenient stops, depending on the traffic conditions. Our drivers will do their best to drop-offs at your hotel or as near as possible unless stated otherwise. Drivers will be happy to assist and advise you.
  • The drivers are not a licensed to accompany you on your walk to the top of the Acropolis or inside any other site or museum. If you require a licensed guide to tour the sites with you, you need to hire one additionally.

Guides

  • All the guides, on the various tours, lecture in English. A previous arrangement must be made to lecture in another language.
  • A special offer is on for our guests to have a certified tour guide. They will show you on the site and /or museum and happily share their knowledge with you. The tour guides we cooperate with are authorized and have experience in the museums, archaeological, historical and religious sites of Greece. They are ready to meet your expectations, to answer your questions and to guide you thoroughly through Greece.

Useful Tips

Tips

  • Suitable clothing and athletic walking shoes are recommended for your comfort
  • Hats, sunglasses and suntan lotion are highly recommended.helpful-tips_1
  • Photography is permitted throughout the tour, excluding some museums.
  • Clothing: When visiting Churches and Monasteries entrance will be allowed only to those with proper outfits i.e. Gentlemen (long trousers) and ladies (skirts, not short ones). These are places of worship and we pay them the respect they deserve.

Cancellation Policy

  1. Firstly and most importantly. ALL CANCELLATIONS MUST BE CONFIRMED BY  Olivesea.gr
  2. In respect to Day Tours cancellations. There is NO cancellation fee (deposit or full amount) WILL be refunded. That’s right you will be fully refunded 100% the amount you have paid whether it is a deposit or the full amount, just so long as you cancel your reservation at least 48 hours cancellation-policy-imagebefore your service date.
  3. Apart from the above cancellation limits, NO refunds will be made. If though, you fail to make your appointment for reasons that are out of your hands, that would be, in connection with the operation of your airline or cruise ship or strikes, extreme weather conditions or mechanical failure. You WILL be refunded 100% of the paid amount.
  4. Let it be noted that, if your cancellation date is over TWO (2) months away from your reservation date, It has been known for third-party providers such as credit card companies, PayPal, etc. to charge a levy fee usually somewhere between 2-4%.
  5. Olive sea.gr reserves the right to cancel your booking at any time, when reasons beyond our control arise, such as strikes, prevailing weather conditions, mechanical failures, etc. occur. In this unfortunate case, you shall be immediately notified via the email address you used when making your reservation and your payment WILL be refunded 100%.
  6. Please take the time to carefully go through the individual terms and conditions for your information and protection. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you have read and understood the various terms associated with your contract in advance to placing any bookings.