Athens is more than the city of the goddess Athena. Several other Olympian gods have temples in the city. You can find one of those temples at the Olympieion. What is today left of the Temple of Olympian Zeus is an impressive sight. Considering the size of the part that remains today, it is hard to imagine how big it once was.
Good to Know
The main attraction in the Olympieion is the Temple of Olympian Zeus or, as they are also known, the Columns of the Olympian Zeus. The Athenians began the construction of the temple began in the sixth century BC. It was, however, not finished until the second century AD by the Roman emperor Hadrian.
The site has been a place of worship of gods and ancient heroes for a very long time. It has also been an important part of Athens during the Roman era. The site of Olympieion includes buildings such as the temple of Olympian Zeus, Roman baths, Classical residences, a basilica of the fifth century AD, and part of the city’s fortification wall.
Once upon a time, there were as many as 104 columns for the Temple of the Olympian Zeus. Nowadays, only 15 of them are still standing and one lies scattered on the ground.
You can find more information about the site and its history at the site of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports.
Visiting Olympieion (As of May 2018)
The entrance to Olympieion is just a short walk southwest of the Zappion and the National Garden. The entrance fee is 6 euros, this site is also included in a special package for 30 euros that gives access to a few other sites in Athens – for example, Acropolis.
When visiting Olympieion, don’t forget to also enjoy the view of Acropolis. You will have a great and mostly unobstructed view of the eastern side of the hill.
Viewing Olympieion from a Distance
For those who do not want to pay the entrance fee for Olympieion, there are great places to view it from a distance. One of the best places is probably the Arch of Hadrian, where it is possible to view most of the site through the fence.
Take the chance to admire the Olympieion if you are visiting Acropolis. From there it is possible to view the site from above. This, however, comes with the cost for Acropolis and you will be quite far away from the Olympieion.
Visiting Olympieion with a Toddler
Visiting Olympieion with a toddler is much easier than other archeological sites in Athens. The ground is flat with very few steps and obstacles to navigate through. It is possible to bring the stroller, but it might be a bumpy ride over the small rocks if you plan to walk around the whole temple.
There is also a well-shaded area close to the entrance, otherwise, there is very little protection from the sun in the vicinity of the temple.