General Information & Reviews

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Olympia Greece is one of those places that cannot lack any good organized Greek sightseeing. First of all, unlike other interesting parts of this country, Olympia has easy access with wide paths, as well as a highway in good conditions.

It can be reached in several ways: by the mountain road from Kalavrita, by train, or along the coast, via Patras and Pyrgos. On the other hand, it is also very common to travel from Athens to Olympia, which takes around 5 hours, and then to spend the night at this location.

One of the features that make Olympia such an attraction is the ancient constructions, which have the particularity of representing every stage of Greek development. For example, the temple dedicated to the goddess Hera, built in the 7th century BC has Doric columns with huge capitals dating from the archaic times. On the other hand, the monumental Temple of Zeus belongs to the Classical period, the main era that the remaining Greek buildings belong to.

In addition, Olympia has also some later structures that date from the Hellenistic times, as well as some Roman and Byzantine exponents that enjoy the best state of conservation. However, one of the most characteristic parts of Olympia is its legendary stadium, placed on the Southeast end of the Kronos hill. This environment has the historical legacy of being the origin of what we know around the world as the "Olympic Games".

The importance of the contests held in this stadium was not just related to sports, as they were also religious occasions, dedicated to Zeus. The games also implicated a period of truce throughout the Greek world, in order to ensure the freedom and safety of movement to and from the games without risk.

In our days, apart from the reminding traces of the past, we also count on an excellent Archaeological Museum that concentrates many of the objects related to the mentioned places, and a Museum of the Olympic Games on the modern part of the town. These are just some examples of the most characteristic sites Olympia has to offer. However, this town is also an interesting location when it comes to tourist facilities.

The modern town area counts on many options in terms of accommodation, restaurants and other places that complement the available historical sites and allow enjoying some convenience at the time of visiting them.

Reviews

4.9/5.0
9 Reviews
  • francisco 14 Feb 2010
    Touching moments
    Places like Epidaurus, Mycenae and Olympia are must to see, at least for people with humanistic education. All the three were beautiful, but of all I was most impressed by Olympia. Maybe because I also love sports, maybe because the site was much bigger and organized, but in any case I have Olympia in my mind as one of the best sites I have seen in Greece. With rental car from Athens, we toured Peloponnese and central Greece last spring. The hotel in Olympia was small, family run, but the balcony had a nice view to the forest. After all, we spent only one night, so why need theluxury?

    Ancient Olympia is open from morning till 7 in the evening. As you enter the site, first you see the museum. One of the best organized museums in Greece, good labels in Greek and English (some needed more explanation, but anyway), well guarded, interesting statues and armours. Hermes of Praxiteles, the statue of Victory, Roman generals and elegant women statues in the real size. The site itself was about an hour to make the tour of it. The stadium was the most moving moment. It is amazing if you think that people run in this stadium since the 7th century BC!!! I heard that new excavations are done to find the ancient hippodrome. Good luck, my friends! Hope everything goes well and you make this site even more interesting.
  • Aitor_A 30 Oct 2009
    Calm and green
    Olympiawas definitely worthy to visit. I would suggest you to stay at least one night there, to be able to see both the village of Olympia and the archaeological site. We first visited the village, relaxed there, had a walk at the square and a delicious lunch at one of the tavernas. The village of Modern Olympia is beautiful, with many places to eat and relax and some nice shops around. The second day we visited the archaeological site. The stadium of course was the center of our interest, the entrance of the stadium and the stadium itself were standing there so imposing and proud. The whole place is very nice and green, with valleys of olive oils and other trees. I would suggest you to wander around there for a bit, it is so relaxing and nice.
  • giacom39 06 Jun 2009
    Discover Peloponnese
    Most people believe that Olympia is only the archaeological site but this is not true. Yes, the site was much impressive and you should definitely visit, but around Olympia you will also find a marvelous green area to explore. We went by car to Olympia and luckily it was early in the morning when we arrived. We saw the site and then we drove around to see what will come up. We found a lovely theatre in a village, it was not an ancient theatre, but it was constructed like an ancient amphitheate.

    We took the road to Pyrgos, an easy straight road. Pyrgos is small but has nothing to see. It was midday and almost no one was walking in the streets, probably because it was almost 40 degrees. The sun was burning. We had a coffee in the square and then went to Katakolo. This is a lovely seaside village, typically with fish taverns at the waterfront. It was such a tiny village, you could go from one side to the other in 15 minutes. We spent the night there and the locals told us some nice villages and monasteries to see. Peloponnese is such a lovely area, I prefer it to the Greek islands because the landscape changes in a few minutes. You don't feel limited to a small island but you can go anywhere. Beaches are also as nice as in the islands, maybe nicer.
  • green33 27 Mar 2009
    Surrounding area is also nice
    The archaeological site of Olympia is certainly beautiful but I think the rest of the area is also worth to mention and to see. First of all, the village of Olympia is very beautiful and has many trees. Food in the taverns of the square is delicious, especially lamb on the spit with potatoes and red wine. Close to Olympia, there is a theatre built like an ancient amphitheatre, only it was built some decades ago, so it is modern. Unfortunately, there were no performances the day we went there. If you want to make some excursions in the area, go to Killini village, which has an incredible sandy beach (Killini is also the port from where ferries to Zakynthos and Kefalonia leave). The town of Pirgos is the capital of the prefecture but has not many things to see, only a nice paved square to drink a coffee.
  • ekate5658 20 Nov 2008
    Stay to explore the area
    The site of Olympia and the new museum are wonderful places to visit. It was a greta experience, as it was my first visit to an ancient archaeological place. The temple of Zeus and the stadium were the most impressive things to see. Apart from the site, equally beautiful is the modern village of Olympia. The town offers a lot of shopping and some real unique antique shops. There are many pensions to stay and Bachus is the place to eat. I would suggest you stay there for a day or two to explore the area.
  • vasilikiang 14 Sep 2008
    Just excellent
    A visit to Olympia is a must if you travel around Peloponnese. At first, I didn't expect such an impressive site. But we found an organized area with well preserved ancient structures. The museum was excellent. The exhibits were labelled and in good order. There were also some maquettes on how Olympia must have been some centuries ago. The full history of the area was explained in texts on the wall. The archaeological site itself was very big, you needed more than an hour to go all over it. There were ruins of ancient temples, the workshop of sculptor Phedias, even a pre-christian basilica. The highlight, of course, was the Stadium. Simple at construction, but still impressive. After so much walking in rough ground, have a coffee at the cafeterias around the site. Olympia is open to visitors till 7 o'clock in the evening.
  • susu47 19 May 2008
    Left with sadness
    We visited Olympia as part of a tour around Peloponnese. I remember it was a hot day in August and there was a lot of people. I particularly liked the Hermes of Praxitelis statue in the museum. The detail of the statue captured me!! As for the rest of the area, it was indeed impressive if you think that all these were built thousands of years ago but in the end, I left with a feeling of sadness and depression.
  • helen_p 27 Jan 2008
    Dont miss it
    I visited Olympia the summer of 2007 and I found it really nice. It was terribly hot during the day, but the area with the ancient monuments was so crowded. I arrived in Olympia with the bus from Athens and I spent the night there. The trip lasted about 5 hours, but it was worth the effort.
    I was so excited when I saw the huge temple of Zeus and I thought how they managed to build such big constructions! Also, I found beautiful the statue of Hermes of Praxiteles in the Archaeological Museum, because I had heard so much about it and never saw it.
    I liked the modern town as well, not very big but full of taverns and tourist-shops; I took a great walk in the streets in the night, it was full of people, most of them tourists.
  • Eduardo 30 Mar 2007
    Loved the ruins in Olympia
    I spent just a day visiting the sites in Olympia it was well worth the trouble to come here.

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