Serving as the gateway to Ancient Olympia where the Olympic Games originated, Katakolon is a small seaside town lined with waterfront cafes and souvenir stalls. While most opt to tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Olympia, Katakolon also makes a good base for visiting the temple of Apollo Epicurius, the medieval fortress of Chlemoutsi and the golden beaches of the Gulf of Kyparissia.
Cruise ships dock at the port of Katakolon, which is just a short stroll from the waterfront shops and restaurants of the town. If you want a quick swim before heading to Ancient Olympia, the pebbly sands of Plakes Beach are found to your left as you exit the port.
Wander in the footsteps of ancient Greek and Roman athletes as you explore Ancient Olympia, which is situated around 40 minutesâ€™ drive from Katakolon. Chariot drivers, wrestlers and discus throwers all competed for the favor of the gods amidst its immense columns and glorious temples, watched on by the likes of Aristotle and Plato.
The area was first established as a sacred grove, then evolved into a sanctuary dedicated to the father of Zeus, Kronos. It was in 776 BC that the first Olympic Games were held here and continued until 393 AD when they were banned by the Christian emperor Theodosius.
Listen to your guide recount tales of the Olympics while exploring the Palaestra where the athletes trained and the Temples of Hera and Zeus. Then walk through the remains of the vaulted passage that leads into the 20,000-seat oval stadium where the games themselves were staged.
Be sure to visit the Archaeological Museum of Olympia where illustrious sculptures and statues such as the Nike of Paionios are on display, together with bronze helmets and breastplates. Then discover the ancient origins of the modern games at the Museum of the History of the Ancient Olympic Games.
Our Katakolon shore excursions are led by expert guides who are eager to share their fascinating Olympic tales with you. If you canâ€™t find the Katakolon shore excursion you are looking for here, please contact us directly so we can customize an itinerary for you.