ATHENS — Excursions From Athens

If you staying for a few days in Athens you may like to day a trip to some interesting places found not too far away and are easy to travel to.

The sights found here are:
Piraeus
Glyfada and the Coast
Temple of Poseidon

Piraeus

Piraeus
Piraeus is the largest and most important port in Greece. It is also the main exit point for ferries and boats to the Greek Islands as well as other places in the Mediterranean area. There are a few things to see in the city itself including taking a walk around the harbour area to see the amazing array of boats. There is also an Archaeologiacal Museum found at number 31 Trikoupi Street where you will find a small but interesting museum about the city of Piraeus. There are also lots of fish restaurants to sample the delights of the sea that this area offers. You can reach Piraeus by metro, bus or taxi from Athens.
For information about what to see in Piraeus visit the following website at: http://www.piraeus-greece.org

Glyfada and the Coast

Glyfada and the Coast
Glyfada is found on the coast and is reasonably close to Athens. It is a popular spot for locals and tourists especially during the hot summer months. There are some lovely beaches here as well as lots of restaurants, bars and clubs. There are other nearby coastal towns close to Athens as well including Kavouri which is quieter than Glyfada and more upmarket and Vouliagmeni which is also quite chic and a place to be seen. Limanakia Beach which is found between Vouliagmeni and Varkisa is a great beach to snorkel from. You can get to Glyfada by the coastal tram which starts from the top of Syntagama Square and runs to Voula. The trip to Glyfada takes around an hour and you can buy a ticket at the stop. To get to Vouliagmeni and Limanakia Beach you take the express bus line E22 which goes every 15 minutes from Syntagma Square.

Temple of Poseidon

Temple of Poseidon
This temple is found at Cape Sounion and is a good half day excursion out of Athens. Sounion has been a sacred site since ancient times and was first mentioned in the Odyssey as the place where Menelaus stopped during his return from Troy to bury his helmsman, Phrontes Onetorides. Construction of a temple to Poseidon began around 500 BC but this was never finished and it was destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC. The temple you see today was built in 444 BC on the ruins of the previous temple. Local marble was used for the Doric columns of the temple and 15 of the original 34 can be seen today. The columns were only cut with 16 instead of the usual 20 flutings so this reduced erosion. On the east side of the main path is a marble Ionic frieze that depicted the battle of Lapiths and the adventures of Theseus who some say was the son of Poseidon. Most of these scenes have eroded away. On the eastern pediment there is only a seated female figure left on the frieze that was here. The statue of Poseidon that was once found in the temple has been moved to the National Archeological Museum in Athens. The temple has been visited by many people over the years and one of these was Lord Byron who carved his name on one of the columns. His example unfortunately has been copied by many others. The temple occupies a hill position and from here you get an incredible view as far as the Greek islands of Kea, Kythnos and over to the Peloponessos. There are buses that go to the coast that leave every hour on the half hour. They leave from the bottom of Pedion Areos (Green Park) at the intersection of Pattision Street and Alexandras Ave just beyond the National Archaeological Museum. You can also pick it up on Fileninon Street a block or so from Syntagma Square. The bus will say Sounion or Temple of Sounion and the journey takes about 1.5 hours one way and you can buy a ticket on board as there will be a conductor. There is only one stop at Sounion and buses arrive and leave every hour. You can clearly see the temple from the bus stop as it is very close.
For information about the Temple of Poseidon visit the following website at: http://odysseus.culture.gr/h/3/eh355.jsp?obj_id=2390

Traveller's Tip

For a very special treat visit this site around sunset. The view is incredible. The temple is open to sunset but the last entry is 20 minutes before closing.