One of my all time favorite summer one-day excursions around Athens is a visit to Cape Sounio. Whenever I want to escape from city life, feel the energy of the earth and calm down, Sounio is the place to go. The best sunsets in Greece can be watched from here too. Cape Sounio is a must see for everyone visiting Greece and can be easily combined with a vacation on the Athens Riviera or a (weekend) stay in Athens.
Cape Sounio is located at the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula overlooking the Aegean Sea. There are several routes to reach Cape Sounio from Athens center (69 km from Athens) but the best way is to drive along the beautiful coastal road on the west side (from Glyfada to Sounio is about one hour). There is also a public bus from XTEL leaving Athens center going to Sounio in case you do not have a (rental) car. And there are several taxi- and tour companies offering day excursions. Sounio is also easy to reach from Athens airport.
Capes Sounio hosts the world renowned archeological site of the ancient temple of Poseidon, the God of the sea. The temple is surrounded on three sides by the sea. History and Mythology are deeply connected at this site and the finds here date from as early as 700 BC. The Temple of Poseidon is also part of the so called ‘Sacred Triangle’ together with the Parthenon and the Temple of Aphaia in Aegina.
If you decide to visit the archeological site in the middle of the summer, the best time would be the morning or the afternoon. Bring water, a sunhat and steady walking shoes.
Our excursion started on a May Sunday afternoon. After a sea side lunch in the Athens suburb Glyfada, we drove along the coast up to Sounio. We drove our car right outside of the archeological site and parked there. My little one had fallen asleep during our blissful ride overlooking the big blue so she stayed in the car with her dad. I took my 6 year old up to the entrance of the site. The walk was steep but exciting. We first visited the bathrooms at the café/ restaurant right next to the entrance of the site. From this restaurant you have a beautiful view over the sea and the temple. We bought some water from the kiosk too. We paid 8 and 4 Euro at the entrance and received a map. The temple is stroller and wheelchair accessible via a ramp but the walk around the archeological finds is unpaved so be careful where you walk.
The site is interesting for even the very youngest and the finds are very close making you step right back into the history.
As it was too early to have dinner and watch the sunset, we decided to have a swim. I found the beach at the Aegeon Beach Hotel, right underneath the Temple the most suitable. You can rent two beach chairs with an umbrella for only 10 Euro per day (this is very reasonable compared to most private beaches in Athens!) The beach is clean and the waters are shallow and calm. The hotel and its facilities are relatively new and well organized. There is a private parking at the hotel. Another very family friendly hotel with a private beach is Grecotel Cape Sounio. This hotel is located a bit further away from the temple but also offers an amazing view over the bay.
After our swim we sat down at one of the two taverns in the bay. It was called Akrogiali, right on the beach. We choose this one because it was the safest for the children. From this very traditional blue painted tavern we were able to see the sun setting whilst our children were playing on the beach right in front of us. They much enjoyed feeding the fish and throwing bread to the birds. The food was of good quality but expensive, however the location and view made up for this.
It was time to go home. The moon was out. We had such a relaxing and interesting day. We combined history and mythology with a swim, playtime at the beach and great food under an amazing full moon. Our trip to Cape Sounio had it all!
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Celeste Tat is an expat living in Greece for 20+ years of which 16 years in Athens. She is the mother of 2 young children and always searching for family friendly activities and vacation destinations. She is the creator of Family Experiences Blog and the exclusive Blogger and Community Manager for Family Goes Out in Greece.