Cape Sounion Is The Ultimate Soul Tonic
Athens is littered with ruins. The entire Athens basin is a vast archaeological space, and even though a lot of it remains underground the resulting yield is still more than impressive. Just ask the boys down at Athens metro. It took them a long, long time to get the job done due to the amount of artefacts they were running into while digging. Most of what was unearthed is placed in situ in what can only be described as an underground network of free museums at each station. The end result is a spectacular smorgasbord of incredible pieces that can leave the unsuspecting tourist in a state of slack jawed awe. Enter the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion. At just over an hour drive from the city center along the scenic Poseidonos avenue, it is a magical daytrip that will recharge your chakras (or something). Its 70 kilometres but the drive makes it feel alot less.
Cape Sounion and the Temple itself are steeped in legend and lore. The temple is thought to be the work of master craftsman Ictinus, also responsible for a few other Athenian landmarks such as the temple of Hephaestus. It was erected in 440 BC, after just 4 years of working on the Agrilesian marble quarried from the adjacent valley. It is a peculiar spot, perched as it is on the edge of the cliff. But then, this is the spot where Aegeus, the mythical Athenian king dove to his death, thus lending his name eternally to the sea.
More recently, one Lord Byron graffitied the base of one of the Doric columns (Brits on tour, am I right?) back in the 19th century. We’ll give him a pass this time.
It is said that Cape Sounio is one of the most scenic spots in Attica. The romance is strong in this one. If you happen upon it during sunset you’re in luck. This place gives Santorini a serious run for its money and it’s not hyperbole nor sacrilege. And because this place is so awesome it goes without saying that you’ll find the obligatory tavern just around it. Which goes nicely with a spot of winter swimming (Its currently 17 degrees Celsius as I write this). The Temple of Poseidon is hands down one of the most spectacular and awe inspiring archaeological sites in Greece. The energy is palpable, the views are killer and you can go for a quick dip after lunch. Where do I sign?