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.
Start with a pickup from your Athens hotel, and then travel onward with your private guide along the Greek National Road, through the plains of Boeotia and past Mt Parnassos, to the UNESCO-listed sanctuary of Delphi where your walk begins.
First, pass by Castalia Spring and spend your time viewing its many monuments. With your guide, admire the monument of the Argive kings, the treasury of the Athenians, Athenian Stoa, Polygonal Wall, the monument of Platea and the Temple of Apollo. Enjoy stunning views from the site, once considered by Ancient Greeks as the center of the world. Although your itinerary is planned, the commentary on your private tour can be customized to your interests. Just let your guide know if you have any specific questions!
Continue onward to the Delphi museum and view fascinating exhibits including a frieze of the Treasury of the Sifnians, the Naxian Sphinx, statue of Antinoos and the famous bronze sculpture of a charioteer. The exhibits, coupled with information provided by your guide, complete the picture from the monuments seen earlier on your tour, and give further insight into the role Delphi played in bygone days.
Travel to your next stop: the picturesque and high-altitude village of Arachova. Enjoy a relaxed and unhurried lunch here, at an altitude of roughly 3,117 feet (950 meters) above sea level, tasting products specific to the region and enjoying some original Greek cuisine. Dishes often change, but check out the Itinerary to see a sample menu. Finish the meal with a cup of traditional strong Greek coffee, and then relax in comfort as you travel back to your Athens hotel.
- 8-hour private tour of Ancient Delphi with lunch in the village of Arachova
- Explore the UNESCO-listed archeological site and view the famous Temple of Apollo
- See top Delphi landmarks such as the Athenian Stoa and Polygonal Wall
- Enjoy the views from this wondrous and historical Ancient Greek site
- Visit the Delphi museum and learn about its artifacts from a knowledgeable guide
- Relax over lunch in the picturesque village of Arachova