Begin your approximately 40 minute journey to the birthplace of the Olympic Games with a drive through scenic villages. The Olympic Games, during classical times, were the most famous games in the known world at that time. They were held every four years from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.
Before the site of Olympia was built, a hidden Sanctuary of Zeus sat on this spot. The sanctuary was known as an Altis, and it is here where you begin your approximately 90 minute visit.
Perhaps the most impressive ruin is the Temple of Zeus, which still reveals some of its elegance and scale. It once housed an oversized gold-ivory statue of Zeus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The sculptor Phidias who made the statue had his workshop in Olympia. A Byzantine church was erected on top of the workshop and its remnants can be seen today.
The Altis also encompasses the Prytaneion, magistrates' residence, the Philippeion, an offering of Philip of Macedonia after his victory at Chaeronia and Hera's temple which served as a perfect setting for the famous statue of Praxiteles' Hermes perfectly preserved and now housed in the nearby museum.
Around the Altis, you will see the twelve Treasuries, small buildings erected as offerings by the city-states of Greece.
Just beyond the treasuries is the world famous Stadium, accessible through a vaulted entrance. It was the largest of its kind seating 20,000 people during the ancient games. More recently, it was used as the stadium for the hammer throwing event in the 2004 Olympics.
Continue on to the Gymnasium, the Vouleuterion and the Leonidaion which served as a kind of hostel for the visitors of the games.
After visiting the Site of Ancient Olympia, you will have the chance to reach the beautiful village of Olympia. You will have approximately 50 minutes to stroll around the village and admire the nature of this place.
From here, you will drive back through the Peloponnese countryside to reach the port of Katakolon.
Reviewer: Paul Guzowski
Easy to find guide on pier head, tour guide knowledgeable, and interesting.
Reviewer: Greg Levy
Tour was well organized and tour guide was very knowledgeable. Only issue was meeting the tour guide as we came off the boat. Directions were unclear and he held a small sign. Should be better directions or more accurate gathering point.
Reviewer: Ron Kocher
Great guide, very knowledgeable, fun and educational. Worth booking.
Reviewer: Sylvia Spasoff
We had a good guide, and despite the crowds, the site was large enough that one didn't feel overwhelmed. We liked their approach to the site. Not trying to totally restore it, but glorying in the ruins, really, and re-building a small amount so we could see what it would have looked like. Although it was hot, there were shady places to take refuge. Good washrooms, always a plus. Also the town of Olympus was charming. Wished we had had a bit more time to check it out.
Reviewer: Andria Henein
I was worried about this excursion because we were not able to find the bus. However, once that was sorted, it was a wonderful excursion. The tour guide was so engaging, entertaining and knowledgeable. Even the 30-40 minute bus ride to Ancient Olympia seemed to fly by as she shared stories. Once there we had a wonderful time exploring the site. Even our 6 and 8 year old children found the day very fun and interesting! When the tour guide asked our son what he thought of the tour he said, "That was WAY better than I expected!"