A full-day private trip from Athens to Ancient Olympia will allow you to explore the birthplace of the Olympic Games and visit the Temples of Zeus and Hera.
Ancient Olympia: the Birthplace of the Olympic Games
Ancient Olympia is located in a valley in Elis, on the west side of the Peloponnese peninsula, 270 kilometers from Athens. It is here that the first and most important event in ancient Greece, the Olympic Games, was held in honor of Zeus, father of the gods and men.
It then became a tradition to host the games every four years from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD. The games continued for almost 12 centuries until they gradually lost importance and were suppressed by the Roman Emperor Theodosius in 393 AD. The Modern Olympic Games were re-established in 1896 and are now held every four years in different cities around the world.
Ancient Olympia was also important to writers, poets, and historians, as they recited their work in front of a large audience on its grounds. In less than four hours from Athens, visitors can experience history through the impressive ruins in the archaeological site of Olympia, where some of the structures stand to this day. What remains to be seen?
The Altis: Temples of Hera & Zeus
The sanctuary of the Ancient Olympia, known as the Altis, consists of various buildings. The most important temple is the Temple of Zeus, dedicated to the father of the gods. Built in the 5th century BC it once contained the 12-meter-high Statue of Zeus, which was considered one of the seven wonders of the world.
Part of the Temple’s sculptural decorations can be found in the Archaeological Museum of Olympia. On the northwest corner of the sacred precinct of the Altis stands the Temple of Hera, the wife of Zeus — the oldest monumental temple in Greece. The temple was constructed in Doric style with sixteen columns on each side of the structure.
Temples dedicated to the Olympian Gods are scattered all over mainland Greece, and we have made sure to include the most important ones in our tours, not only in Cape Sounion (internal link) but also in ancient Corinth (internal link), Delphi (internal link) and other locations.
The Ancient Stadium and Archaeological Museum of Olympia
The Ancient Stadium of Olympia can be entered through an archway and is located on the west side of the Altis. It could once seat approximately forty-five thousand people. The starting line is still visible to this day, in case you decide to participate in a run.
Our guests may also visit the Archaeological Museum of Olympia which houses wonderous artefacts from the times of Ancient Olympia. The most famous exhibit of the museum is the Nike of Paeonius, dedicated to the goddess of victory.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: All our routes are strictly carried out by professional licensed drivers. It is against the Law for drivers to be tour guides. However, if you wish to hire a professional tour guide we can make the necessary arrangements for a certified tour guide to accompany you and give you the full history of the sites.