Guide to the Olympieion: Things to Do, Tickets & History

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The Olympieion 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 more.

Let's dive in!

Entrance, Tickets and Tours

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 store. As queues can form, especially in high season, it is recommended to buy a ticket without queuing.

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.


  • Skip the Line Ticket: To avoid waiting at the ticket counters on site, we recommend buying an online ticket in advance without queuing.
  • Combo Ticket: The Combo ticket offers access to some of the most important sites of antiquity, including the Olympic Stadium, the Ancient Agora of Athens and the Acropolis.
  • Guided Tour: Those interested can join the Mythological Guided Tour "Ancient Athens" with an official guide to visit three of the most important sites from antiquity: the Olympieion, the Ancient Agora and the Acropolis.

How to Get to the Olympieion?

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 cab.

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.

At a Glance

  • Public Transport: The closest metro stations are "Akropoli" (line 2) and "Syntagma" (line 2 and 3).
  • On foot: It is very easy to get to the Olympic Stadium on foot. From the Panathinaiko Stadium and the Parliament it is only a 9 minute walk. From the Acropolis Museum it is even only 5 minutes.
  • Hop-On-Hop-Off-Bus: The hop-on hop-off bus takes you to the A5 station "Temple of Zeus".
  • Taxi: Thanks to the central location of the Olympieion, a taxi ride from the city center or centrally located hotels is considered affordable.

Things to Do at 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 sights await you here.


  • Corinthian Columns: Today, 15 of the 104 columns can still be seen standing upright. Artistic decorations and engravings adorn the marble columns, which rise 17 meters into the sky.
  • Ancient Remains: The site holds ruins that have come to light during excavation work, including remnants of a Roman baths.
  • View of the Acropolis: From the temple complex you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Acropolis. You can take unique photos of the Olympic Stadium with the Acropolis in the background.

Sights Nearby

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.

Other Sights in the Area

  • Acropolis: A 15-minute walk from here takes you to one of the most important sites of antiquity, the Acropolis. Here you will find sights such as the Parthenon, the Temple of Nike, the Erechtheion, the Dionysos Theater, the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and more.
  • Syntagma Square: From the Olympieion you can take a leisurely walk to Syntagma Square, the center of Athens with a variety of shopping and entertainment options. It takes only 10 minutes to reach it.
  • Jewish Museum of Greece: Just a 7-minute walk away is the Jewish Museum of Greece. The museum deals with the Jewish heritage in Greece.

History & Facts about the Olympieion

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 Three Most Important Periods

  • Start of construction: Already in the 6th century BC the construction of the temple was started by the tyrants Hippias and Hipparchos. However, it was not finished. In the 2nd century BC, King Antiochos had a temple built on these foundations, which also remained unfinished.
  • Completion: In the years 124 to 132 AD, the temple was completed under the Roman emperor Hadrian.
  • Earthquake:  It is believed that the Olympian was destroyed by a severe earthquake during the Middle Ages.

Contact & Map

FAQ about the Olympieion

Where is the Olympieion in Athens?

The Olympieion is located in the center of Athens. It stands 500 meters east of the Acropolis. The address is: Vassilisis Olgas Av., Athens

What are the opening hours of the Olympieion?

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.

How do I get to the Olympieion?

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.

Where can I get tickets for 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.

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