The southernmost point of Attica, the mainland of Greece, has a remarkable ruin at Cape Sounio. Almost 3000 years ago, ancient bards like Homer sang ballads of the importance of Sounio as a trading port and refuge to which people would flee in times of war. You can still see remnants of the city center and the fortress at Sounio.
But the real centerpiece of the remnant of ancient Sounio is the majestic Temple of Poseidon. I’d guess that maybe second only to the Parthenon, Sounio’s Temple of Poseidon is the most iconic image of Greece. The massive white columns standing atop the cape, steeply sloping down to Aegean blue waters are everything that Americans think of when they think of Greece.
If you find yourself in Athens with a free day, we’d totally recommend renting a car and skipping over to Sounio. Everything (including car rental) is super-inexpensive these days and the trip to the cape is less than an hour and a half.
Even if you’re not an archaeology buff, it is a pleasant drive in the country and there are tons of places to go swimming or find a good meal. Check out this photo (I know it looks like a painting) that I took of some people frolicking in the azure/cerulean waters directly below the Temple of Poseidon!
Now that would be an epic beach to visit!