In 2012 Jason and I were staying in the Plaka area in Athens with some friends and decided to take a bus out of town and explore the countryside. The Temple of Poseidon in Sounion seemed like the perfect place to go. After our obligatory trip to the insanely crowded Parthenon the previous day, the Poseidon temple looked comparatively peaceful and more isolated. Plus, there is so much history and mythology associated with the temple and the cliff on which it perches.
As the story goes, the famed ancient king of Athens, Aegeus, waited on the cliff for his son Theseus to return from battling the Minotaur. Before Theseus had left his father told him that if he should somehow slay the Minotaur and return safely, to raise a white sail on the incoming ship. Theseus did defeat the monster and return in one piece, but somehow forgot to hoist the white sail. Seeing the dark sailed ship, Aegeus threw himself off the cliff and into the ocean in grief. Now, the Aegean sea is named after him.
We recruited our friends Ken and Jen, had a street side lunch, and grabbed a bus schedule. It seemed simple to get there…just go to a bus stop about a mile from our hotel and wait for the bus with the right sign on the front. Our schedule indicated they would be by every 30 minutes or so. About 2 hours later and much back and forth over whether to just give up, the bus finally came around the bend and we loaded our sweaty, mentally exhausted selves on to the comfy seats. The drive out took about an hour and a half, and was lovely.
The temple itself was majestic and beautiful, with its tall, widely spaced stone columns and the backdrop of the sparkling sea below added to the grandeur. The lack of masses of sweaty tourists was a huge plus as well:)
We had some time before the return trip back, so we hiked down to a rocky beach with a few beers and had a swim in the inky blue Mediteranean waters. Definitely worth the 2 hour wait for the bus!
Paul (The Travelling Boomer) - The temple looks spectacular — wish I could have gone there on my brief visit to Athens. There’s a moral here, too: kids, don’t forget to put up the sail and kill your father …
Simone - Love your photos! I cannot wait to visit Greece 🙂
Simone x | The Aussie Flashpacker
karla - Greece is remarkable! I love the photos and I want to go back
hannah - sounds like a wonderful day!
Laura - It does look quite a bit less busy than the major sites. And the story – so tragic! What a beautiful location up on that cliff, right next to the sea.
christine - Yikes!! i was debating to do this but the bus system seems pretty crappy!! Good to know!
Erica - Lovely photos, as always! Greece just seems like it’s so picturesque everywhere you go.
Lucy - how come there aren’t tourists?) what time of the year and which day of the week?)
admin - It was summer, July. And the middle of the week!
Jocelyn - Countries might have different languages and food, but it seems that waiting for a bus is a universal concept. I hate them so, but they do provide a lot of amusement and take you to some magical places 🙂
Stacey Valle - Thank you for sharing a little history about this place! Such a tragic story that his father thought his son didn’t make it and jumped into the sea but his son actually forgot to put up the white sail :/ I can’t imagine when his son arrived home and find out about it! This place would be awesome to visit though – I personally think it’s fascinating to walk on historical sites where hundred of generation walked on.
Dawn Kealing - Oh my, I had never heard the story of Aegeua, how devastating and such a silly mistake. 🙁 I can’t wait to visit Greece, it’s most definitely on my list!! ^_^
Anne | Girl Chasing Sunshine - Can’t wait to make it to Greece but I think I’d pass for now until the economic turmoil is over.
Grietje from TravelGretl - Love places like this with not all too many tourists! Great exploring is to be done there 🙂 Looks good!
Nic from Roaming Renegades - Never heard of this place but I love how less busy it is to all the spots in Athens, definitely worth the trip to see some of ancient Greece like this.
Revati - I had no idea why the Aegean sea was named thus! SUch an interesting bit of trivia, thank you for that!
Sarah Twain - I like how dramatic the ruins look against the blue sky. Nice article- glad to have found your blog x