I’ve always enjoyed watching the Olympics, particularly the summer games. So, I was excited when our family visited the town of Olympia in the Peloponnese Region of Greece. Why? Because modern day Olympia is near the Archaeological Site of Olympia, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the place where athletes once competed in the ancient Olympic Games!
Anyone who is fascinated by history, especially Greek history, will be captivated by this place because it gives them the chance to see in person what is left of the buildings that were prominent in this place centuries ago. Included are the remains of the Temple of Hera, Philippeion, Nymphaeum, Temple of Zeus, Palaestra, an early stadium, and other structures, some of which I photographed. My dad taught history for a long time, so he would probably find this archaeological site even more interesting than I did. However, he doesn’t like long airplane flights, so I’m not sure I could ever convince him to travel to Greece. Hopefully, this isn’t the case for anyone in your family.
The archaeological site will also be an intriguing place for the athletes in your family…especially if they envision themselves competing in the Olympics one day. It was very interesting to hear our tour guide share details about where–and how–many athletes back then would train and compete.
Speaking of competing, many individuals in our group participated in an impromptu race against one another in the same stadium area in which athletes competed centuries ago. It was a lot of fun watching my youngest daughter race against her sister and others in our group and end up being among the first to cross the finish line because, at 16, she was the youngest one racing! Make sure that you and your family set aside time to race against each other–or other willing tourists–so you all can tell your friends back home that you ran where some of the first Olympians once raced. What a great story and photo op that would be for all of you!
After touring the archaeological site, we headed to the nearby Archaeological Museum of Olympia. It contains all sorts of impressive collections that include such items as ancient Greek bronzes, metopes of the Temple of Zeus, terracottas, sculptures, tools, jewelry, and vases, among others, spread out between 12 different exhibition halls. There is also a collection of artifacts from the Olympic Games.
Another thing I remember about this museum is that it contained a lot of marble. Just take a look at my photos to get an idea of how much marble was used in the exhibit halls, as well as the outdoor spaces. Even the floor and bottom half of the wall in the ladies bathroom appeared to be made of marble!
Going to both of the above-mentioned places in the same day was a little tiring, but we may have had as much energy as we did thanks to the wonderful time we had at the Olympion Asty Hotel in Olympia the night before–and morning of–our time of exploration.
During our Greece trip, my husband, daughters and I stayed at several hotels as we visited places in the Macedonia and Central Greece regions and all of them were unique and memorable in some way. However, I think we all agreed that the family-owned Olympion Asty in the Peloponnese Region was our favorite one because of many reasons: The rooms were clean and attractive, the bathrooms looked and smelled clean, the staff was professional and friendly, the common areas were well decorated and cozy, and the food served at dinner and breakfast was absolutely delicious! The presence of the beautiful pool area, not to mention the beautiful view of the grounds from our room’s balconies, also contributed to this place being a family favorite.
So, if Greece is on your wish list of places to visit, consider including Olympia in your travel plans. Who knows? Perhaps the two cultural gems we visited, combined with a stay at that beautiful hotel, will make the city a favorite destination for your family, as well.