Olympia Travel Guide: What to Do and See in Olympia Greece
General Information about Olympia
Olympia is located at the foot of Mount Cronio, named after Cronos (father of Zeus) and on the right side of the river Alfeo, so the constructions that still prevail from the imposing temple to Zeus, and the parts that are in ruins, are intermingled with a beautiful landscape full of nature, which makes Olimpia a spectacular destination where the past and the present coexist, the construction of the hand of man and nature and their own works.
In addition, in Olympia you will find an impressive collection of ancient pieces, among which incredible sculptures stand out, such as those that were previously located on the eastern and western pediments of the temple of Zeus or the statue of "Victory" that commemorated the triumph over the Spartans, and also the oldest collection of bronze objects from the archaic era.
In turn, this city was the cradle of the Olympic Games, which were held every four years in honor of the gods Zeus and Apollo, and today you can still see the remains of the facilities where these events were held. , starring men who performed, naked, great feats.
One of the elements that stands out the most among the rubble is the "Palestra", a kind of school where wrestling was practiced.
Although the Olympics are no longer held here today, the flame that used to start the opening ceremony of the Olympic games is still lit here as a way to continue this millennial tradition.
On the other hand, due to its proximity to Athens, Mykonos, Delphi, Meteora and Santorini, many tourists choose to combine their visit to Olympia with these incredible destinations.
The History of Olympia
The site where Olympia was built was inhabited since Greek prehistory and was considered "The Valley of the Gods", which is why from the archaic period they began to build what would be the most important sports and religious center of all time.
The archaeological pieces found in Olympia correspond to the classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, which shows that this site was a work in permanent construction and its relevance has endured over the years.
Even the figure of Zeus, to whom the temple was dedicated, reached 12 meters in height and had parts of gold, which is why it is considered one of the wonders of the ancient world, although it is no longer there today.
The destruction of a large part of Olympia is mainly due to natural phenomena, mainly earthquakes, dating from 522 and 551 AD, and floods that occurred in the area.
In 1776 Olympia was rediscovered and in 1989 this impressive archaeological site was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
Today the tradition of the Olympic Games started on this site and also its periodicity is maintained, but this is no longer the case. However, the fire that started the competitions still starts here.
Location of Olympia
Below, we show you the geographical location of Olympia, a city in Greece.
Geographical Location of Olympia on Google Maps
Main Attractions of the City of Olympia
Olympia is, without a doubt, one of the most famous destinations in Greece and not in vain, since this imposing archaeological site is one of the best preserved traces of antiquity.
Every corner of this temple and sports center accounts for the ways of living of the ancient Greeks, their customs and ways of organizing the world around their beliefs, their architectural, mathematical and artistic knowledge and their main values and ideals.
Here we mention some of the main tourist attractions that you will find in Olympia.
It is about the ruins and constructions that still prevail in the open air. This property is incredibly large and in it you can see the columns of the Palestra, an ancient Greek wrestling school, and other important buildings, such as those corresponding to the entrance to the temple of Zeus.
This beautiful property is also located at the foot of Mount Cronos, so nature mixes with the old columns creating an idyllic postcard. A curious fact is that in Greek mythology Cronos, Zeus's father, tries to eat his children, but Zeus devises a plan through which he manages to kill his father and save himself and his brothers.
This fact is ironic if you walk through the archaeological site of Olympia, since the temple of Zeus is largely in ruins and the nature that descends from the mount of Cronus seems to be gaining ground and taking over the space to a great extent, almost as if history will take a 360 degree turn, don't you think so?
Olympia Archaeological Museum
This museum is one of the most impressive museums in the world, as it has one of the best-preserved collections of ancient Greek statues that used to be in the temple of Zeus, both on its façade and in different places inside.
Something that is surprising is that to make most of these statues of Gods and great characters from Greek mythology, the ancient sculptors used to use athletes as models, since they considered that their bodies had the ability to show the characteristics that they sought to emulate from the Gods, such as vigor, perfect symmetry and the possibility of immortality.
In this way we can know what were the ideas of the ancient Greeks about beauty, health and social status.
Also, this museum has a vast presentation of bronze objects from the archaic age, which is the oldest found in the world. Definitely if you are interested in history and archeology you should visit this museum, because it will leave you stunned.
Olympic Games Museum
This museum is dedicated entirely to the Olympic Games and has very good explanations about how this ritual began, what its objective was, how the different sports and skills were practiced.
Likewise, you can see inside different found objects that were used during the games.
If you are a sports fan or curious about the opening rituals of the Olympic games and their importance in the Greek worldview, you cannot miss this small but up-and-coming museum.
Wineries and Beekeeping
In addition to walking through the different parts of this archaeological site, some very fun activities that you can do in Olympia are visiting a winery or getting to know the "honey farm" that you will find near the temple.
Well, if something comes to mind when thinking about the ancient Greeks, it is their magnificent banquets, full of fruit, honey and wine, to honor Dionysus, God whose privileged sphere of action was wine and parties, or, in other words way, any space where the domain of the mind was diluted to enter the pleasures of the body.
So now you know, indulge in an adventure to enjoy with all your senses, after all you don't want to offend the Gods.
These beautiful waterfalls are quite a hidden treasure of Olympia that will leave you speechless. These slopes of water are surrounded by a lush forest and as you ascend the slopes of the mountain you can not only observe this paradise from different angles but you also come across small streams that come from the Erymanthos river.
If you want a moment of relaxation and full connection with nature, this is definitely one of the proposals that we most recommend.
Swimming or Rafting in the Alfios River
If you like nature, Olimpia will enchant you. It was not for nothing that they called this place the Valley of the Gods and it is that the natural paradise that you enter when you arrive at Olympia immediately connects you with a feeling of harmony and plenitude. In fact, it is very possible that you will observe several people doing yoga.
And if your way of feeling full requires a little more adrenaline, don't worry, because thanks to the presence of the Alfios River you will find several offers for activities in the water. We recommend you go rafting on the Alfios river as it will be an activity you will not forget. Of course, try to carry out this activity with an instructor, since it is important to know the area so that the adventure does not entail excessive risks.
Festivals of Olympia
Some interesting proposals are the festivals that are organized in Olympia: the International Festival of Ancient Olympia and the Ecological Festival of the Alfiós River that allows you to discover its magnificent natural environment.
Both festivals are ideal for getting to know the most relevant aspects of Olympia from a general overview, and then stopping and exploring more of what arouses the most interest.
Eating in Olympia
Olympia has a great gastronomic offer, which adapts to different budgets and surprises its visitors with the best of Greek food.
Some of the dishes that you cannot miss if you visit this beautiful city are: Fasolada, a soup made from beans and vegetables with olive oil and sea salt, or Gyros, a recipe in which lamb or pork is marinated for 12 hours with lemon juice, spices and vegetables and then roasted over low heat to later place it in a pita tortilla along with a salad.
We also recommend you try the Oktapodi sta Karvuna, a recipe in which the main ingredient is roasted octopus and is accompanied with vegetables.
As for drinks, wine cannot be missing from any Greek banquet, and this beautiful city has its own vineyards, so its offer will surely dazzle you.
And for dessert you cannot stop trying the Greek yogurt with honey and fruits, you will love this dream combination.
If you wonder how to travel to Olympia, you can take a train, a bus or a car from Athens, You can also take a car or a bus from Kalamata.
Olympia is 206 km from Athens International Airport, for that reason you need some transportation to reach this archaeological site from there.
If you plan to travel to Olympia, we recommend that you consider moving around the city on foot, bicycle, public transport or car. In the case of the bike or car, you can rent either of these two at multiple points in the city. Keep in mind that if you want to visit nearby places, such as the nearby beaches, the distances will no longer be enough to walk.
Greek gastronomy stands out internationally for its mix of Mediterranean flavors, where the famous Greek olive oil is used. From the Greek breakfast to local products, such as its fantastic pure honey, these are some of the specialties that you will try on your trip.
Some of the most outstanding cafes and restaurants in the city are:
- The Garden Tavern
- Pheidias Grill House
- Ambrosia Garden
All of them stand out for their service and delicious dishes.
Best time to travel to Olympia
The best months to visit Olympia are March, April, May, June, September, October and November. That is to say, almost the whole year because this site enjoys a pleasant climate almost always.
Olympia is one of the most visited destinations in Greece for being such an outstanding archaeological site with so many preserved ancient pieces. For this reason we recommend you book your accommodation as far in advance as possible, since it is not such a big city.
The city of Olympia can be visited during a weekend, so we recommend you spend 2-3 days to enjoy its attractions. Of course, if you are only interested in learning about open-air constructions and its museum, one day will suffice, but if you have more time, we recommend spending time interacting with nature.
Olympia is a safe destination to travel.
The official change in Olympia is, as in the rest of Greece and Europe, the euro.
To find out the costs of excursions in the city of Olympia, you can contact one of the representatives of Greca.
The money you need for Olympia (Greece) will depend on what type of trip you decide to take, as costs vary greatly. We recommend that you think about spending around €50 per adult, per day.
This will depend on the date you visit the city. If you go in summer, we recommend you always take a cap or hat with you, sunglasses, light and light clothing.
Absolutely! The city of Olympia will transport you to ancient Greece and you will feel like a character from mythology touring its wonderful landscape and its archaeological ruins.
To book a trip to Olympia, you can contact one of Greca's sales representatives or contact us through our official page, completing the form for your site and date of interest.