Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece

  • 01 of 08

    Cape Sounion Temple of Poseidon near Athens, Greece

    Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece
    Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion (c) Linda Garrison

    Cape Sounion (also spelled Sounio) is about 45 miles south of Athens, and the drive is quite scenic as it follows the coastline. Travelers can take a bus or half-day tour from Athens to see the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, visit from a small sailboat like I did on a "Sailing Greece" itinerary with G Adventures, or visit before or after a Celestyal Crystal or Celestyal Odyssey cruise that embarks/disembarks at nearby Lavrion, Greece..

    The Cape Sounion area is naturally beautiful, and the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon occupy the highest point of the Cape. The area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, and Homer was the first to describe the site as sacred in his famous poem, the "Odyssey". The Temple of Poseidon is made of marble and was built in the 5th century BC, about the same time as the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens. Although the structures are similar, the atmosphere is much different. The Acropolis is amazing and a "must see", but the site is always packed with visitors. I've been to the Temple of Poseidon three times on different visits to Greece and never saw a huge crowd. The views of the Aegean are magnificent. and it's not difficult to understand why the ancient Greeks chose the site to honor Poseidon, the god of the seas.

    When driving or sailing to Cape Sounion, the Temple of Poseidon is always easy to spot, with its white marble gleaming in the sun.

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  • 02 of 08

    Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece

    Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece
    Cape Sounion, Greece (c) Linda Garrison

    The Temple of Poseidon sits on the top of the Cape Sounion prometory, which is more than 200 feet above the sea. Its brilliant white columns can be seen from miles away, and sailors returning home were always happy to see this structure. The views of the Aegean Sea from the Temple are quite spectacular.

    This photo was taken from our sailboat on the G Adventures "Sailing Greece" itinerary.

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  • 03 of 08

    View of the Aegean Sea from Cape Sounion, Greece

    Cape Sounion near Athens, Greece
    Cape Sounion, Greece (c) Linda Garrison

    Visitors to the Temple of Poseidon and Cape Sounion often watch the sun set from this spot, and it's a memorable event almost every night in sunny Greece.

    A Greek legend says that King Aegeus waited on this spot for the return of his son Theseus, who had gone off to fight the Minotaur on the island of Crete. Aegeus made his son promise to use a white sail on his ship if his battle was successful and he killed the Minotaur. When King Aegeus saw a black sail on Theseus' ship, he leap to his death from the Cape. However, Theseus had killed the Minotaur, but forgot to change his sail. So, Aegeus' death was in vain. Sad story, but the Greeks named the sea Aegean in honor of this dead king.

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  • 04 of 08

    Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece

    Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece
    Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion (c) Linda Garrison

    I love the lone tree in this photo! It's hard to believe that this Temple has been standing at the apex of the Cape for over 2000 years.

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  • 05 of 08

    Chukar Partridge at Cape Sounion, Greece

    Chukar partridge at Cape Sounion
    Cape Sounion, Greece (c) Linda Garrison

    The first two times I visited Cape Sounion were via a taxi tour from Athens. My third visit was with G Adventures on one of their "Sailing Greece" itineraries, and my fourth visit was from nearby Lavrion while disembarking from the Celestyal Odyssey and embarking on the Celestyal Crystal. Some of my shipmates on the 8-passenger Baltra sailboat hiked the 200+ feet up with me from the harbor to see the Temple of Poseidon. The trail leads from the beach through some thick brush up to the summit.

    As we neared the summit, we saw a group of chukar partridges who were also admiring the view from the Temple. This one even posed for me. On the next page, you can see the view we and the birds enjoyed.

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  • 06 of 08

    Chukar Partridges at Cape Sounion, Greece

    Chukar partridges at Cape Sounion, Greece
    Cape Sounion, Greece (c) Linda Garrison

    It's probably my imagination, but don't these chukars look a little like tourists gawking at the spectacular view?

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  • 07 of 08

    Harbor at Cape Sounion, Greece

    Cape Sounion, Greece
    Cape Sounion, Greece (c) Linda Garrison

    Our Captain took us ashore in the dinghy from the Baltra sailboat that was anchored in this harbor. Four of us decided to hike to the top of Cape Sounion to check out the view and to see the Temple of Poseidon. This photo shows the narrow harbor to summit trail that was lined with mostly thorn bushes (or so it seemed).

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  • 08 of 08

    Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece

    Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, Greece
    Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion (c) Linda Garrison

    One last photo of this magnificent Temple of Poseidon, one of Greece's finest.