The Greeks chose their temple sites with great care, taking into consideration the natural beauty of the location and its appropriateness to the god in question. Nowhere is this more apparent than the Temple of Poseidon at windswept Cape Sounion.
After meeting with your driver, begin your journey to the Cape with a leisurely drive down the Saronic coast (the Attica Riviera), past the beaches of Glyfada, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza. As you approach Cape Sounion, it rises like a sheer cliff out of the sea. The headland is shaped like an axe-head with cliffs on three sides. Homer knew it as the “sacred cape” when he described it in his poem the Odyssey in the 8th century B.C., and when Nestor describes the journey home from Troy, he mentions “Sounion, the sacred promontory of Athens”.
The current Temple of Poseidon, built upon an earlier temple, dates from around 440 B.C. and stands majestically on a jagged spur atop the Cape. Gleaming white when viewed from the sea, it gave great comfort to sailors in ancient times who knew they were nearly home. The view from the temple is equally spectacular. Land masses to the west stand out in sharp profile: the bulk of Aegina backed by the mountains of the Peloponnese. Your private guide will tell you more of this sites prominent place in Greek history and mythology and how it played a part in the Aegean Sea getting its name.
Built in the time of Pericles, the architecture and dimensions of the building are identical to those of the Hephaisteion in the Agora of Athens. The beauty of the surviving Doric columns has inspired many poets, including Lord Byron who carved his name on one of the columns. Even great poets can’t resist a bit of graffiti!
After your visit to Sounion, you will return to Athens or your intended destination along the same coastal road.