Ancient Olympia was one of the most sacred and glorious sanctuaries of the ancient world
EXPERIENCE

Feel the spirit of Ancient Olympia

One of the most glorious sanctuaries of the ancient world, the birthplace of the Olympic Games is a cultural rite of passage in the Peloponnese.
Thrace region-id="pin-13";Macedonia Macedonia Epirus Thessaly Sporades Ionian Islands Western Greece Central Greece Attica Peloponnese Crete Cyclades North Aegean Islands Dodecanese Dodecanese Karpathos Astypalea Tilos Sitia Faistos - Matala Patmos Kastelorizo Kasos Kos Leros Halki Rhodes Symi Sfakia - Loutro Rethymno Elounda - Agios Nikolaos Agia Galini Plakias Hersonissos - Malia Ierapetra Heraklion Chania Nisyros Ikaria Lipsi Tzia - Kea Thasos Samos Lesvos Samothrace Limnos Chios Kalymnos Paros Naxos Zante - Zakynthos Lefkada Corfu Santorini Milos Kythnos Kimolos Serifos Syros Sifnos Koufonisia Ios Kefalonia Mykonos Paxi Ithaca Arta Ioannina Tinos Parga - Sivota Metsovo Anafi Sikinos Folegandros Donousa - Iraklia - Schinoussa Antiparos Zagori Mountainous Arkadia Porto Heli - Ermioni Preveza Amorgos Andros Delos Messolongi Ancient Olympia Aegina Kythira Archea Epidavros Patra Nafplio Kardamyli Kalamata Ilia Corinth Western Messinia Kalavryta Elafonissos Nafpaktos Spetses Poros Hydra Alexandroupolis Pylos Mycenae Monemvasia Loutraki Piraeus Athens Arahova Xanthi Galaxidi Mystra - Sparta Mani Edipsos Delphi Chalkida Karystos Evia Skyros Vergina Alonissos Volos Karditsa Skopelos Skiathos Kastoria Thessaloniki Prespes Agios Athanasios Edessa Serres Veria Larissa - Tempi Elati - Pertouli Trikala Pelion Meteora Drama Ammouliani Mount Athos - Ouranopolis Nymfeo Mount Olympos Katerini Halkidiki Grevena Lake Kerkini Naoussa Kozani Kilkis Kavala Pella Lake Plastira
Duration
5 hrs
Season
All year round

OVERVIEW

There aren’t many cultural landmarks that you have a feeling for without having visited. The archaeological site of Ancient Olympia is one of them. Capturing all the spirit of the Olympic Games, it’s also the place where the Olympic flame is lit in commemoration of the Games that originated and were held here every four years for a staggering 1,000 years.

Located in the western Peloponnese, Ancient Olympia was one of the most sacred and glorious sanctuaries of the ancient world. And, though only foundations of many of its structures remain, it is still one of the most evocative of Greece’s archaeological sites. 

Ancient Olympia strikes that magical balance of appealing to both children and adults in equal measure. You can still feel the spirit of the athletes and the adulation of crowds chanting their names (women and slaves from a nearby hill, of course). And, next to that, the veneration of worshippers in the remains of temples dedicated to Zeus and Hera. 
 

Read More Read Less

DON'T MISS

The Philippeion

The remains of the only circular building on the site once contained gold-and-ivory-covered statues of Philip of Macedon and his family, including his son Alexander the Great. It was built by Philip to commemorate a victory against a combined army of Athenians and Thebans.

The Ancient Stadium and Archway

Passing through a stone archway, you enter the remains of the Ancient Stadium, once housing more than 45,000 spectators. The mind boggles at being able to line up on the track (measuring 192.27m), just as the finest athletes in the land did thousands of years ago. Nearby are the judge’s seats. On your marks, get set…

The Palaestra

Built in the 3rd century BC, the partly restored Palaestra was where contestants prepared for boxing, wrestling and jumping events.

Pheidias’ Workshop

This is where the legendary sculptor Pheidias created one of his most famous pieces of work – the gargantuan ivory-and-gold statue of Zeus, which became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The Temple of Zeus

The most important building of the Altis (or Sacred Precinct of Zeus) was the immense 5th-century-BC Doric temple dedicated to the king of the gods. It housed Pheidias’ statue of Zeus for more than 800 years. One column of the temple has been restored, allowing us to appreciate its size.

The Temple of Hera

Older still are the remains of the late 7th-century-BC Doric Temple of Hera, in front of which burnt a fire during the Games as a symbol of the fire stolen from the gods by Prometheus. This is where the Olympic flame is lit today.

The Archaeological Museum

Containing artefacts and statues (the most famous of which is Praxiteles’ Hermes), the Archaeological Museum more than does justice to the challenge of putting this extraordinary site’s history and mythology into context. 

Archimedes Museum

A wonderful bonus is the Archimedes Museum, dedicated to the greatest mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer and inventor of his time.

Read More Read Less

From Athens

  • By car: 304km (3hrs40mins)

From Araxos Airport

  • By car: 100km (1hr20mins)

From Katakolo Port (for cruise ships)

  • By car: 45km (45mins)
  • By bus: There are numerous options of companies offering tours of the archaeological site.
  • By train - More info
     
  • The archaeological site is open all year round (except national holidays).         
  • The peak summer months (July-August) are busy and hot so visit early or in the afternoon. 
  • Opening hours - Archaeological Site:
    Seasonal Opening Hours apply. April-October: Daily from 8:00-19:30. 
    November-March: Daily from 8:30-15:30
  • Opening hours - Archimedes Museum

The best experience is in spring when the olive groves and flowers are in bloom and there’s a wonderful light, adding to the magical aura. 

  • Autumn
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Winter
  • Around 5 hours are needed for the full experience.
  • Tickets: €12 (€6 reduced) - Ticket includes entry to the Archaeological Museum

More info 

  • There’s little shade and the archaeological site is expansive so don’t forget your hat, sunglasses and sunscreen and bring a water bottle.
  • Wear comfortable footwear.
  • A new canteen is currently being constructed so bring snacks and water.
  • There are plenty of hotels and restaurants in the town of Ancient Olympia.
  • You can book a guided tour on site.
  • The archaeological site is suitable for visitors with disabilities, as is the ground floor of the Archimedes Museum.

Plan your trip

 

TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY

Please help us preserve the magic of our heritage for future generations by following all the basic rules of visiting cultural sites.

Refrain from touching any remains or monuments. The fingers’ natural oils can be extremely damaging to artefacts.
Stay on the marked paths and respect your fellow visitors.
Use the bins provided or keep your rubbish with you until you find one.
If there’s a “No flash photography” sign, please respect it. It’s to protect the monuments.
Use a refillable water bottle to try to minimise your use of plastic.
Smoking is prohibited.
No pets (other than guide dogs) are allowed in cultural sites.
YOU NEED TO KNOW ·

See also

You might be interested in
View of Acropolis and Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The cultural wealth of Athens revealed in a stroll

You can appreciate the museum’s stature even before you enter, with its imposing 19th-century neoclassical facade

Journey through time at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens

The Museum of Cycladic Art presents us with artwork so elegant that it still influences fashion trends today

A tour of the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens

Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum

A tour of the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki

View of traditional tavern in Pythagoreio

Village-hopping in Samos, from mountain to coast

The crown jewels of the main town are the Byzantine Kastro and even older monastery

A walking tour of Skyros’ main town