The last stop for our trip in Greece, I stayed two days in Olympia but our second day my brother was working remotely and I was interviewing for jobs. Making the most of it before I head off to Albania and he heads back to work.
I was a bit surprised that we initially decided to skip this and as you’ve read in previous posts we extended are trip a few days to hit this exact location.
Located in the western part of the Peloponnese peninsula, Olympia is one of Greece’s most important historical and archaeological sites. Home to the original Olympic Games and the sanctuary of Zeus, this ancient city boasts a wealth of fascinating ruins and landmarks that transport visitors back in time. In this post, I’ll take you on a tour of Olympia and share some of the must-see places you should visit during your trip.
The first stop for us was to go to the original Olympic stadium. The stadium is far from the entrance and you’ll pass the Gymnasium, the Philippeion, and the Nymphaíon,
Built in the 8th century BC, this impressive stadium was the site of the ancient Olympic Games, which were held every four years from 776 BC until 393 AD. Here, you can walk in the footsteps of ancient athletes and imagine the roar of the crowds as they cheered on their favorite competitors. Be sure to take in the stadium’s beautiful surroundings, including the hills and olive groves that surround it.
I was even able to take a nice run down and back to the end of the stadium. Not sure how easy this is to do in the post-covid era but there was not a person in site when I ran back and forth on the ancient Olympic track.
For us that was really was all we wanted to see so on the way back we walked towards the Gymansium and stopped at The Temple of Zeus. This temple was built around 470 BC and was dedicated to Zeus, the king of the gods. Although much of the temple has been destroyed, the ruins that remain are still a sight to behold. Be sure to check out the giant statue of Zeus that once stood in the temple – it was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World! Which I did not know until writing this post.
The last stop on our self-guided tour of Olympia was the Gymnasium, which was used by ancient athletes to train for the Olympic Games. The Gymnasium was built in the 3rd century BC and features a large central courtyard surrounded by columns. Although much of the Gymnasium has been destroyed, you can still get a sense of the athletes’ dedication to their craft as you explore the ruins. Naturally I had to do at least one push-up in the Gym.
After exploring the outdoor ruins, if you have time, head indoors to the Archaeological Museum of Olympia. Here, you’ll find an impressive collection of artifacts from the ancient city, including sculptures, pottery, and other objects that tell the story of Olympia’s rich history. Highlights of the museum include the famous Hermes of Praxiteles statue, which dates back to the 4th century BC, and the Pediments of the Temple of Zeus, which depict scenes from Greek mythology. The entrance fee for the museum is included with the price of the tickets.All of this was found online, as the museum was getting ready to close and we were pretty tired after a long day.
Ticket Costs: The entrance fee for the archaeological site of Olympia is €12 for adults, which includes access to the outdoor ruins and the Archaeological Museum. Tickets can be purchased online through the official website of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, or in person at the site.
A trip to Olympia is a must for anyone interested in ancient Greek history and culture. Do not hesitate to skip this on any road trip, I almost did that and it would have been a huge mistake! With its impressive ruins, beautiful landscapes, and rich history, Olympia is a destination that will leave a lasting impression on any visitor. So why not plan your own trip to this ancient wonder and experience the magic of Olympia for yourself?
Thanks for reading, cheers!