12 Hours in Greece: Katakolo & Olympia
Katakolo is a friendly seaside town in Greece that’s full of ancient wonders. The town is also perfectly positioned for a trip to Olympia, the site of the first Olympic Games. Our team at Cruiseabout have prepared a 12-hour guide to give you ideas on how to explore these historically rich places in under a day.
8am – Walk through Katakolo
Start the day off with an invigorating walk into Katakolo’s centre. Even with a population of under 1,000 people, the streets are full of busy locals and likeminded tourists. Find a café of your choice along the waterfront and treat yourself to a delicious coffee and cake.
9am – Museum of Ancient Greek Technology
The Ancient Greeks were pioneers of discovery and their inventions will leave you in awe and bewilderment. In the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, some of the most fascinating exhibits include:
The Alarm Clock of Plato
This clock works as water intricately passes through ceramic vessels, until the air in the last vessel whistles out of a tube. It may not fit in your hand, but this invention is truly spectacular.
Water is boiled to produce steam that enters two tubes into a hollow sphere. The steam exits curved tubes and spins the sphere. This invention could have bridged the gap between the Hellenistic Era and the Industrial Revolution.
The catapult Palindonos
This catapult was the first ever siege machine created that changed the course of future battles.
10:55am – Train to Olympia
Get onto a train to Olympia! The trip is only 45 minutes long and will take you through the municipality of Pyrgos. This is the perfect time to read up on the monuments to come and the history of the Olympics.
11:40pm – Feast with the Olympian Locals
The ancient Olympic Games were a time of great celebration, so start your trip with a feast. Right outside the train station are numerous restaurants and cafés that serve famous Greek cuisine. In fact, the modern town of Olympia grew from catering to tourists and archaeologists, so immerse yourself in what it offers.
1pm – Uncover Ancient Olympia
Olympia hosted the first Olympics in 776BC and continued to do so until the 4th Century AD – it was later revived in Athens in 1896. Beginning as a way to worship Zeus, the Olympic Games tested the true measure of a person in various sporting events. These games were at the forefront of panhellenism, as they embraced and brought together all Greeks.
These ruins are founded on an important history and are exciting to see. Some of the most famous historical sites you can visit in the Altis (sanctuary to the gods) of Olympia are listed below.
Temple of Zeus
Although in ruins, the uncovered stones show the foundation of a grand site.
Temple of Hera
Once holding the wonders of Greece, it now holds the treasure of the eternal Olympic flame. This is one of the most intact ruins in Olympia.
Walk through a stone archway into the massive stadium. You can stand where ancient Greek feet once trampled the dirt in running races – the wind will take on the voice of the long-forgotten crowd of 45,000 spectators.
A circular memorial dedicated to Philip II of Macedon and his family. Although the ivory and gold statues no longer stand here, it’s still a wonderful site.
Archaeological Museum of Olympia
They couldn’t leave famous Olympian artefacts in the open, so they’re safely displayed in this museum for you to enjoy.
3:45pm – Train back to Katakolo
Sit back in your seat and watch the Greek surroundings pass you by as you let the sights of the day sink in.
5pm – Beer, Bike and Banter
Join a group of likeminded travellers and ride the beer-bike around the streets of Katakolo. This is a great way to have fun while still seeing the town.
6pm – Dinner Date
Find a new local restaurant and discover the rich and filling cuisine of Greece. Many restaurants offer home-cooked meals that use family modified recipes that welcome you into the culture and its tastes.
8pm – Return to your ship
Tap your feet; there’s no place like home. Head back to your cruise ship and unwind from the day. We recommend you write down your experiences, so you can always remember the friendly restaurant owner or how the ancient ruins felt as you brushed your hand over them.
Looking for a cruise line that stops over in Katakolo? Contact our friendly cruise consultants on 1300 769 228 or visit in-store today.