The Temple of Poseidon is a unique ancient marvel located on Cape Sounion. This majestic temple is dedicated to the god of the sea, Poseidon. The temple offers a spectacular view of the Aegean Sea and an enchanting sunset every day. 

The temple was built entirely of marble from the Agrilesa Valley, a place just 4 kilometers north of Cape Sounio. Archeologists believe that the temple was constructed between 444 and 440 BC.

The ruins of the temple suggest that it was a landmark that served as a beacon for sailors passing through the Aegean. The architectural style of the temple shows what such important buildings looked like in the Golden Age of Athens.

Without further ado, let’s explore the unique and magnificent history of the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio.

The Historical Significance of the Temple of Poseidon

Ancient Greece and the Sea God Poseidon

Temple of Poseiodon Sounion by onlyfabrizio

Temple of Poseidon, Sounion - Credits: onlyfabrizio / Canva

The historical significance of the Temple and the important connection with the god of the sea depend on two factors. The first and most important is the location. The temple was erected between 444 and 440 BC, during the Golden Age of Athens and Perikles. The location was perfect for both strategic and worship reasons.

Greek history shows the importance of the god Poseidon, brother of Zeus and god of the Seas. Poseidon was worshipped as the protector of sailors and the most powerful deity associated with the power of water and the sea.

The location of the temple at Cape Sounion, a strategic point overlooking the Aegean Sea, symbolizes the importance of ancient Greece's connection with the sea. It is believed that this is the place where the Athenian king Aegeus, after whom the Aegean Sea is named, tragically killed himself by jumping off the cliff.

Architectural Features of the Temple

Roman Mosaic Of Theseus And the Minotaur Paphos Cyprus by TonyBaggett

Roman Mosaic Of Theseus And the Minotaur Paphos, Cyprus - Credits: TonyBaggett /Canva

In addition to the breathtaking landscape, the Temple of Poseidon was also an architectural marvel. It was built mainly of marble and had 34 beautiful Doric columns, but only 13 remain standing today. Each column is 20 feet high and more than 3 feet thick at each base.

Architecturally, the key elements of the building are the six-column portico at the entrances and the sculptural work such as the friezes and the metopes. These elements were common for a Doric temple. The friezes and metopes depicted various mythological scenes celebrating the power of the god Poseidon. One of the most important scenes in the metopes of the temple, includes the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.

The Temple of Poseidon was part of a larger, ambitious building project initiated by Perikles. This project also included other well-known temples such as the Parthenon and the Temple of Hephaestus and serves as a testament to the architectural mastery and cultural achievements of ancient Greece.

Today, this magnificent example of ancient architecture and cultural heritage of Greece stands as a historical ruin, a testament to the craft, engineering, and mythology of the ancient times. 

The Temple of Poseidon: A Cultural Beacon in Ancient Times

Festivals and Rituals at Cape Sounion

Cape Sounion was not just a magnificent landscape, but an important place for the worship of the ancient Greek god Poseidon as well. Poseidon was known as the god who controlled the sea and earthquakes. 

The temple was built in a prime location overlooking the Saronic Gulf and symbolized the connection between Poseidon and Athenian naval power. During this time, various rituals and festivals were held at Cape Sounion in honor of Poseidon. The Greeks, as maritime people, worshipped and feared the god at the same time.

Mythological Significance and Worship Practices

How mythology is connected to the worship practices in ancient Greece? The legend of Theseus is closely linked to the Temple and the god Poseidon. King Aegeus, who was his father, tragically committed suicide by jumping from the cliffs of Sounion when he saw the black sails of Theseus' ship. The legend says that he mistakenly believed that his son had died during his quest to kill the Minotaur. In honor of Aegeus, the sea around Sounion was named the Aegean Sea.

In ancient Greece, people paid homage and prayed to Poseidon and other gods through offerings, and sacrifice. Devotees offered sacrifices to Poseidon, usually in the form of animals, to appease him and to ask for his protection during sea voyages and against earthquakes. The temple of Poseidon was deeply related to the Greek cultural heritage and played a significant role in the daily lives of the ancient Greeks.

Exploring the Ruins: What Remains Today

The Temple of Poseidon, dedicated to Poseidon, the god of the sea, earthquakes and horses, is an archeological site that attracts visitors who want to discover the remains of ancient Greek wonders. 

What remains today are the magnificent marble columns. Visitors can explore the grounds and view the white columns that have withstood the test of time. Each column is intricately crafted, with detailed capitals that reflect the Doric order of architecture.

The temple's importance also extends to its strategic location at the southernmost tip of Attica. As a border post and lookout for approaching ships, the Temple of Poseidon not only had a religious function in ancient Greece, but also played an important role in maritime navigation.

Apart from the main temple area, tourists can also visit the site's various sanctuaries and other related monuments around the Sounio area. These include sanctuaries dedicated to Poseidon and Athena, reflecting the importance of these gods in ancient Greek religion and the city of Athens.

The Temple of Poseidon and Its Natural Surroundings

The natural surroundings of the majestic Temple of Poseidon offer visitors unique views not only of the Aegean Sea that surrounds it, but also of the lush Mediterranean vegetation. The Temple is located on a rocky cliff and overseas at Cape Sounion.

Pine and olive trees frame the temple and contribute to its timeless beauty. This is one of the reasons why this monument is so popular not only with tourists but also with the locals.

You can also take a dip while gazing at the ruins of the temple on the magnificent coastline.

From Athens: Percy Jackson Temple of Poseidon Tour
4 hours
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Visitors can view the ruins of the Temple from different points and get a different perspective. But no visit to this unique site is complete without admiring the sunset. 

Santorini offers perhaps the most famous sunset in Greece in the area of Oia, but Cape Sounion is also famous for it. This spectacle is a unique experience that amazes and invites countless visitors all year round.

Visiting the Temple of Poseidon Sounion: A Traveler's Guide

Practical Information for Visitors

The ancient site of the Temple of Poseidon is easily accessible by car or bus. The distance from Athens city center is around 70 kilometers (43.5 miles).

The temple is open every day of the year from 9:30 am until sunset (the exact time differs throughout the year), with the last entry allowed 20 minutes before sunset time. Depending on the public holiday, the site may be closed. The full admission fee is 10 euros per person, while reduced admission is 5 euros. It is better to explore this unique site with a guided tour. Consider joining Greek Mythology tours, which offer fascinating insights into the history and mythology of the temple and experienced knowledgeable guides.

If you're planning a visit by car, note that parking is available near the site. Alternatively, Athenians and tourists can make use of the bus service that runs between the city center of Athens and Sounion, providing an affordable option for reaching the temple.

The Enchanting Sunsets at the Temple of Poseidon

Poseidon Temple Ruins on Cape Sounio on Sunset Greece by Dmitry Rukhlenko

Poseidon Temple Ruins on Cape Sounio on Sunse - Credits: Dmitry Rukhlenko / Canva

One of the most captivating experiences when visiting the Temple of Poseidon is the famous enchanting sunset. The temple offers breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and the surrounding islands and provides an idyllic backdrop for sunset watchers all year round.

Sunset tours to the Temple of Poseidon are available and highly recommended for travelers who wish to witness the magical transition of colors. Make sure that you will enjoy an intimate experience while exploring the historical site and capture spectacular sunset views at the southernmost point of the Attica peninsula.

Percy Jackson Athens Tour ; Acropolis, Acropolis Museum & Temple of Poseidon
9 hours
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Visitors can also catch a glimpse of the historical graffiti of the English poet Lord Byron. During his visit in 1810, Byron engraved his name on one of the columns that still stand today.


The Temple of Poseidon is a significant monument in Greek history. Constructed in the mid-5th century BC, it bears testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Golden Age of Athens, when architecture flourished in this land. 

Visiting the Temple of Poseidon offers the opportunity to explore Greek mythology and history. Situated at the edge of a cliff, the temple's picturesque setting at Cape Sounion provides breathtaking views of the sea.

In addition to its architectural significance, the temple has long played a role in Greek society. Cape Sounion was an invaluable landmark for sailors approaching the region. The temple also presents Greek history and legends, like the story of Athenian King Aegeus who leaped off the cliff.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of the Temple of Poseidon in Greek history?

The Temple of Poseidon, built in the 5th century BC, is dedicated to the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon. It represents a major monument from the Golden Age of Athens, showcasing the architectural and cultural achievements of Ancient Greece. Today, the ruins of the temple attract people from all over the world and offer a breathtaking view of the Aegean Sea.

Where can I purchase tickets to visit the Temple of Poseidon?

Tickets can be purchased upon arrival at the Temple of Poseidon. Keep in mind that hours and ticket prices may change, so it is recommended to consult current information before planning your visit.

What are the Temple of Poseidon's operating hours for visitors?

The opening hours of the Temple of Poseidon are generally from 9:30 am to sunset in the winter and summer seasons. Please note that these times may vary due to public holidays. To ensure a smooth visit, we recommend that you visit the official website or contact the website directly for the most up-to-date information.

Can you provide information on the architectural style of the Temple of Poseidon?

The Temple of Poseidon features Doric-style architecture. Its original design consisted of 34 Doric columns, each about 20 feet high. This architectural style was prevalent during the Golden Age of Athens, and the ruins of the temple still show some of these original columns today.

What tours are available for the Temple of Poseidon and how can they be booked?

You can book your guided tour with Greek Mythology Tours to have a comprehensive experience and learn all about this magnificent sight. Experienced and knowledgeable guides will bring you closer to the history and mythology of this place. The sunset tours are the best.

How long does it typically take to walk to the Temple of Poseidon from the nearest access point?

The walk to the Temple of Poseidon from the nearest access point, e.g. the parking lot, can take around 10 to 15 minutes depending on your pace. The path can be uphill and over uneven terrain, so wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for some physical exertion.