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Temple of Zeus

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The Temple of Olympian Zeus (Naós tou Olympíou Diós, Ναός του Ολυμπίου Διός, or the Olympieion) is a ruined temple in the heart of Athens. It was built in the 6th century BCE but only finished under Roman rule in the 2nd century CE. With 104 colossal columns, it was the largest temple in Greece. Visit the site to see the handful of columns still standing, or buy a combo ticket to get access to the temple, the Acropolis, and several other archaeological sites in Athens.
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Tickets & Tours

Discover tickets and tours for the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens.
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Athens: Acropolis & 6 Sites Ticket Pass with 5 Audio Guides
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Athens Half Day Tour, Acropolis, Parthenon, Temple of Olympian Zeus & Hephaistus
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Athens: Temple of Olympian Zeus E-Ticket and Audio Tour
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Private Mythology Tour of the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum
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4 tips for visiting the Temple of Zeus

Overview of Temple of Zeus | Flickr: Titanas CC BY-SA 2.0
Take a Guided Tour to Discover the SiteWhile the Temple of Olympian Zeus is impressive, it’s not the best-preserved archaeological site in Athens. Visit with an expert guide who’ll be able to fill in the gaps and tell you the story that surrounds the temple.
Acropolis from the Temple of Zeus | Flickr: cgrand CC BY-SA 2.0
Get the Perfect Angle for the GramIf you walk to the far side of the temple, there’s a chance you can line up a great photo with the Acropolis in the background. Take your time and let other tourists pass you by - your ticket lets you spend as much time as you want in the grounds.
Get a Combo Ticket and See the Acropolis As WellA special package ticket is available that combines the archaeological sites of Acropolis, the North & South slopes of the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, Hadrian’s Library, the Roman Agora, Kerameikos, the Olympieion (where you’ll find the Temple of Olympian Zeus), and the Gymnasium of Lykeion. The combo ticket is the best value for money in summer as the entry fees to several of the sites are heavily discounted in winter.
Arrive Early to Avoid the Summer HeatTemperatures in Athens can soar in the summer months, and the site doesn’t contain much shade. Arrive early in the morning or come prepared with sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to make sure you don’t get sunstroke.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Temple of Zeus?

The Temple of Olympian Zeus stands at the foot of the Acropolis, its 14 surviving columns towering a huge 55.5 feet (17 meters) high. It was the largest temple in Ancient Greece, but its story is long and complicated. Building began around 550 BCE on the site of another ancient sanctuary dedicated to the Greek god Zeus but stopped when Hippias, son of the Athenian tyrant Peisistratos, was expelled in 510 BCE. The story goes that the Athenians decided not to complete the temple as a building of that scale was hubristic, an offense against the gods. That didn’t worry Antiochus IV, who believed he was an avatar of Zeus and ordered the work to restart. He changed the design so that it reached the scale of the ruins we can see today, but construction stopped again when the temple was only half-finished. After the rise of the Roman Empire, Emperor Hadrian visited Athens and authorized a building project that included the completion of the Temple of Zeus. It was completed and dedicated to the god by Hadrian in 132 CE, and contained a huge statue of Zeus made of gold and ivory. Unfortunately, the finished temple didn’t survive for long - it was badly damaged in 267 when the Herules sacked the city and in 425 the worship of Greek and Roman gods was banned by Theodosius II, a Christian emperor. Material was taken from the temple to be used in other buildings, including a Christian basilica, and by 1436 only 21 of the original columns were still standing. The temple was first properly excavated in 1889 by Francis Penrose and today it is protected by the Greek government. Read more.

Can we go inside the temple?

The temple doesn’t really have enough walls or columns left for there to be an ‘inside’! However, the archaeological sites in Athens are relatively fragile after years of weathering, so visitors are asked not to climb on or touch the ruins. Security staff can be very strict in enforcing this rule, so be sure to respect it. Read more.

How long does it take to visit the temple?

Not long! It takes less than half an hour to walk around the site unless you’re a photographer who wants to set up the perfect shot. A guided tour might take slightly longer, with guides filling you in on the history of Ancient Athens. If you’re combining your visit with a trip to the Acropolis or any of the other archaeological sites included in the combo ticket, then you should plan to spend at least half a day exploring. Read more.

What else is there to do nearby?

The Temple of Olympian Zeus is in the heart of Athens, surrounded by several of the most important archaeological sites in the city. The closest of these to look out for is Hadrian’s Arch, but it’s also just across the road from the path that leads up the slopes of the Acropolis (past the Theater of Dionysus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus) to the Parthenon and Erechtheion. On your way, you’ll also pass the Acropolis Museum, where you can visit several of the Parthenon marbles (the remainder being housed in the British Museum in London). If you’d rather walk away from the Acropolis, you’re sure to stumble on the Panathenaic Stadium and the National Garden. The National Garden is a particularly nice place to find some shade and take a break from exploring the city. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The archaeological site is open every day from 8 am to 3 pm. The site is closed on January 1, March 25, May 1, Easter Sunday, December 25, and December 26.


Temple of Olympian Zeus
Athens 105 57


Tickets cost €6 or a reduced price of €3 for students. Visitors under the age of 18 can enter free of charge. The Temple of Zeus can also be visited with the Acropolis combo ticket, which costs €30 and includes the Acropolis, the north and south slopes of the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, Kerameikos and its museum, Hadrian’s Library, the Roman Agora, and the archaeological site of Lykeion.

how to get there

It’s easy to reach the temple by public transport. You can take tram lines T4 or T5 to Zappeio, bus numbers 165, 227, 790, or 856 to Makrygiannē, or trolleybus numbers 2, 4, or 11 to ΑΓ.ΦΩΤΕΙΝΗ. The closest metro station is Acropoli, which is served by line 2 of the Athens metro.
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