Dramatically situated on the coastal cliffs of Cape Sounion, overlooking the Aegean Sea, the Temple of Poseidon is one of the most evocative sites of ancient Greece and a top visitor attraction. The magnificent monument dates back to 444 BC, but today, all that remains is a series of gleaming white marble columns, standing proudly atop the cape.
Whether taking a sunset cruise around Cape Sounion, driving the scenic coastal road along the Attica peninsula, or enjoying the panoramic views from the cliff tops, there are numerous options for visiting the ancient temple. One of the most popular ways to visit is on a half-day tour from Athens, and many tours also stop at the idyllic beaches along the Attica Riviera, or include a romantic dinner in Vouliagmeni Bay. For the best value, combine a Cape Sounion tour with an Athens city tour, a walking tour of the Athens Acropolis, or a day trip to Mycenae and Epidaurus.
Things to Know Before You Go
Wear comfortable shoes as the ruins are situated on uneven ground and require some walking.
Bring your swimsuit. There is a swimming beach at the foot of the cape.
Parts of the temple are accessible to those with limited mobility, and wheelchair accessible tours are available.
How to Get There
The Temple of Poseidon is located at the southern tip of the Attica peninsula, about 43 miles (70 kilometers) southeast of Athens. Public buses run from Athens to Sounion, but visiting on a group or private tour means you can enjoy the wonderful drive and stop at towns such as Vouliagmeni, Varkiza, or Lagonisi along the way.
When to Get There
The most popular time to visit the Temple of Poseidon is during summer, but the site can get crowded. Visiting in the early morning is the best way to avoid the crowds and the midday heat, while the most atmospheric time for photos is at sunset. Alternatively, an out-of-season visit, in still balmy May or September, might mean you get the ruins to yourself.
What to See at the Temple of Poseidon
Thought to have been built by Iktinos, the architect who designed Athens' ancient Agora, the Temple of Poseidon is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Greece. Today, only 16 of the original 34 Doric columns remain, one of which is famously inscribed with the name Lord Byron, who visited the temple in the early 19th century. Additional highlights include the remains of a propylaeum and the Temple of Athena, while the real star of the show is the splendid view, which stretches as far as the Cyclades and Peloponnese islands.