Guide to the Olympieion (Temple of Zeus): Things to Do, Tickets, History
The Olympieion, also known as Temple of Zeus, was built over 2,600 years ago in honor of Zeus, the father of the gods. It is one of the most imposing and important temples of Ancient Greece. The impressive temple ruins near the Acropolis are now one of the top 10 things to do in Athens.
In this complete guide, read everything you need to know before your visit, including the history, the sights, admission, tickets and tours, and more.
Let's dive in!
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Admission to the Olympieion is free for children under 5, EU citizens under 25 and visitors with a disability. Tickets are available at the ticket counters on site and online in our ticket shop. As queues can form, especially in high season, it is recommended to buy a skip-the-line-ticket online in advance.
During a guided tour, you can learn more about the history of the important temple complex. A more flexible way to explore the site is with an Olympieion audio guide on your own smartphone.
The Olympieion is very centrally located, only 500 meters from the Acropolis. It can therefore be reached on foot from many sights.
It is also very easy to get there by public transport, hop-on hop-off bus or taxi.
Visitors arriving from the cruise port in Piraeus can go to the nearby metro station "Piraeus" and get on the M1 line. A one-way ticket is sufficient for the approximately 18-minute ride to the "Omonia" station. There change to metro line M2 and ride another 4 minutes to "Akropoli". From there it is only a 4-minute walk to the Olympieion.
The Olympieion is one of the most important temples of the ancient world. At the time of its completion, it was the largest temple complex in ancient Athens. Today, not much is left of its former glory. You can move freely around the site and discover the many ancient remains and excavations.
The main attraction are the detailed decorated Corinthian columns, which give an impression of the former size and splendor of the Olympieion.
The following attractions await you here:
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In the immediate vicinity, at the entrance to the Olympieion, is the 18-meter-high Hadrian's Gate, built in honor of the Roman emperor Hadrian. Those who prefer to take a breather in the greenery after the sightseeing can visit the idyllic National Garden north of the Olympieion. It is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Athens.
An alternative is the Panathinaiko Stadium, which served as the venue for the first Olympic Games in modern times. It is located to the east of the Olympic Stadium and affords a wonderful view of the Acropolis. To the east, on the other hand, you can visit the Acropolis Museum. It stands at the foot of the Acropolis and presents precious findings from the area of the Acropolis.
The Olympieion is also known as the Temple of Olympian Zeus. Construction of the temple began in the 2nd century B.C. However, it was not completed until the 2nd century A.D. under the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
Measuring 108 meters long and 43 meters wide, the temple dedicated to Zeus was the largest temple in ancient Athens. It housed a statue of Zeus made of gold and ivory, as well as a statue of the emperor. A total of 104 columns made of Pentelic marble lined the complex.
During an earthquake in the Middle Ages, the Olympieion was destroyed. In the following centuries, the ruins were used as building material for other structures.
The Olympieion is located in the center of Athens. It stands 500 meters east of the Acropolis. The address is: Vassilisis Olgas Av., Athens
The opening hours of the Olympieion vary depending on the summer and winter season. In winter (November-March), the Olympieion is open daily from 8 am to 3:30 pm. In the summer months (April-October) daily from 8 am to 7 pm. The current opening hours can be found on the Olympieion website.
The Olympieion is easily accessible by public transport. The closest metro stations are Syntagma (line 2 and 3) and Akropoli (line 2). It is even easier to take the Hop on Hop off bus, which has its own station at the site (A5 "Temple of Zeus"). However, thanks to the Olympieion's central location, it is possible to get to the Olympieion on foot or by cab from many of the sights and the city center
Visitors arriving from the cruise port in Piraeus can walk to the nearby Piraeus metro station and board the M1 line. A one-way ticket is sufficient for the approximately 18-minute ride to the "Omonia" station. There change to metro line M2 and ride another 4 minutes to Akropoli. From there it is only a 4 minute walk to the Olympieion.
Tickets for the Olympieion are available at the ticket counters on site and online in our store. There are online tickets without queuing as well as a combination ticket with access to the Olympieion, Agora and Acropolis.