Tourist’s guide to City of Olympia – the sanctuary of Ancient Greece

Olympia (Greece) is a city with a long history and culture, one of the oldest in the whole world. In this place, more than 2500 thousand years ago, the Olympic Games arose and were held. Today, the ruins of the city are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Olympia at the foot of Kronion Hill

At the foot of the Kronion Hill, in the northwest of the Peloponnesian Peninsula, lies a unique archaeological complex. The city of Olympia in Greece is one of the most visited places. Today, millions of tourists come to Elis to visit the places where Olympic champions trained in the first millennium BC.

Holidays in Olympia are best suited for lovers of the bright sun and walks in picturesque places.

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The city’s attractions

Today Olympia can be formally divided into two parts: ancient and modern. On the territory of the new city there are hotels, cafes and restaurants. Here in the warm evening you can relax after long excursions to historical places.

In the old city are the sights of Olympia, thanks to which thousands of tourists come to Greece. Among them it is worth highlighting:

Temple of Hera (wife of Zeus)
Temple of Hera

It was built in 600 BC. as a gift to the winners of the Games from the residents of Elis. Today, only the foundation with a massive orthostat and the lower part of the columns remained from the original construction. In ancient times, the temple was used as a sanctuary, in our time it is notable for the fact that the Olympic flame is lit here.

Temple of Zeus at Olympia
Temple of Zeus at Olympia

Located near the first attraction. Once there was a statue of Zeus – one of the 7 wonders of the world, today tourists can see only certain elements of the architectural complex. This is one of the most revered temples in all of Greece; you must visit it to get to know the culture and history of the inhabitants of the country.

Ancient stadium
Ancient stadium

Located on the east side of the temples described. The stadium, with an area of ​​7,000 square meters, accommodated more than 40 thousand spectators. Here, stone referee stands, running lanes and an arch through which judges and athletes entered the field were preserved. The height of the arch is equal to the growth of the most famous hero of ancient myths – Heracles.

It is interesting to know: the stadium was discovered only in the middle of the 20th century. As indicated in the archives, this happened during excavations organized by order of Hitler during the Second World War.

Ancient stadium arch

On the territory of Olympia to this day, restoration work and new excavations are ongoing. There are a huge number of historical attractions, including residential buildings and other buildings built before our era. The city attracts with its mystery and ancient atmosphere to learn more interesting information about it. After a walk through the sights, you can visit the modern museums of Olympia.

Must-see places

Excavation Museum
Olympia during the excavation

A small building with a lot of interesting information. Here are collected documentaries and photos of the process of archaeological work on the territory of Olympia, which stage-by-stage depicts the excavations of the Sanctuary of Zeus.

You will learn how the city looked during different periods of its existence, look at the exhibits found in this territory over the past few decades.

It is open every day in summer and spring.

Opening hours : from 8 am to 7 pm, and in winter and late autumn – from 8:30 to 15:00, Tuesday-Saturday.

Admission is free .

Museum of the History of the Ancient Olympic Games
Museum of the History of the Ancient Olympic Games

This place will appeal to both children and adults. Here you can find the most accurate information about everything related to the holding and results of the Olympic Games in the Ancient World. Dozens of sculptures of athletes, fantastic mosaics, myths and confirmed facts – the exposition will tell about the rich process of development of Greek sports and the Olympic Games.

The attraction operates year-round :

  • daily in the summer from 8 am to 7 pm,
  • in winter – from Monday to Friday in the same mode.
Archaeological Museum
Antique works

The historic pearl of Olympia, a place where several thousand world-famous exhibits are collected. The museum’s private hall is dedicated to the sanctuary of Zeus, in a permanent exhibition there are excavations from the Altis sacred grove, ancient Greek sculptures (for example, a statue of Hermes with the baby Dionysus), dozens of terracottas. In addition, one of the richest collections in the world is stored here – a collection of bronze products from the time of ancient Greece.

Open daily from 9 to 15.

Entrance fee – 12 euros.

Tip: Be sure to bring your gadgets or other equipment for shooting. Olympia is a very beautiful city in Greece and the photos taken here will decorate not only the travel album, but also the portfolio of professionals.

How to get to Olympia

Since the city is an ancient archaeological complex, there is practically no transport in it. Tourist buses with small sightseeing groups often come here. Also in Olympia there is no station and airport. But still you can get to Olympia on your own.

From the capital of Greece
Bus to Olympia

To get to Olympia from Athens, you can use the terminal A buses (Kifissou, 100), which go through Pyrgos (with a transfer). Transport leaves twice a day – at 9:30 a.m. and at 1 p.m. Travel time is five and a half hours.

From the city of Patras

Also through Patras (with a transfer in Pyrgos) to Olympia you can get on one of 10 bus routes. The trip from Patras to Pyrgos takes up to 1.5 hours, from the city to the archaeological complex – up to two.

By car

Getting to Olympia is easiest on your vehicle. On a rented car, the road along the route Athens – Corinth – Patras – Olympia takes up to 6 hours without stops. You can also take the Athens – Corinth – Tripoli – Olympia route.

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Entertainment in the city

Bus excursions
Bus excursions

Olympia guides offer more than 10 excursion options, including walking and bus tours. Your journey begins with the old city, where the guide tells about the history of the local temples and other attractions. Most often, tourists are offered to visit the temples of Zeus and Hera, the stadium and the famous sanctuaries. Some tours include visits to museums.

Hiking

An alternative to bus excursions will be a walk with the residents of the city. The Greeks will be happy to keep you company on your little trip, tell the story of Olympia and its features, show the most beautiful and picturesque places.

Wine tasting
Wine tasting

After cultural enrichment, you can go to a place to relax in body and soul. In Greece, and in Olympia, in particular, they make delicious wine. Many wineries offer city tourists short excursions in their territory with subsequent tasting. In addition, here you can buy a good drink as a keepsake, listen to stories about the history of wine and its production in the city, enjoy the green landscapes and enjoy the surrounding nature.

Visiting local farms
Farm Magna Grecia

Also interesting will be a trip to the famous local farm “Magna Grecia”, whose owners are always happy for foreign tourists. Here you can see how oil and wine are produced at home. In addition, this farm is a storehouse of Greek culture. Here you can try the most popular traditional dishes of Greece made from natural products, take part in national dances, see how local people spend their days in the modern world.

On the farm there is a small shop with handmade souvenirs, homemade olives, oils and wines are also sold here.

When to go to Olympia

The best time to visit the city is warm spring or autumn. The Mediterranean climate made Olympia a green and ever-blooming area, so you can enjoy the local scenery at any time of the year.

Weather in Olympia

In winter, Olympia is warm, there is little rainfall, the temperature never reaches zero degrees. In summer, the temperature can reach 30-40⁰, so it is better to refrain from traveling in late July-mid-August, especially if you plan to travel with children.

Walking through archaeological excavations is best in May or June, as museums begin to work longer, and the weather contributes to long walks. The influx of tourists in Olympia is observed from late spring to mid-autumn. During this period, housing and food prices rise here, but at the same time, the service sector comes to life and there are more opportunities for an interesting vacation.

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Olympia (Greece) is the historical past not only of this country, but also of many peoples. Known for its sporting achievements and events, the city remains popular today among guests from other countries. Holidays in Olympia are a colorful and cultural journey that will be remembered for many years. Replenish your memories and knowledge with your impressions of this ancient Greek city.



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