Port Guide: Katakolon, Greece (Olympia)
A cruise visit to the seaside town of Katakolon places you in the footsteps of history. Most visitors race off to see the nearby site of the ancient Olympic Games.
Katakolon is located on the Ionian Sea, and larger cruise ships tender into the pretty harbor to reach the small seaside village. Smaller cruise ships are able to dock at a pier.
The archaeological site of Olympia is a 45-minute bus ride from the port (most cruisers secure a bus trip via their cruise ship shore excursions). You also can easily take a roundtrip train ride to see Olympia for about 10 euros if you would rather go it alone. (Make sure to check the train schedules, though, to be sure you can get back in time for your ship's departure.)
Archaeological Museum. The Archaeological Museum of Olympia features amazing discoveries from on-site excavations of ancient ruins and artifacts. The work continues, and it's amazing to see all that is featured within the museum and then wander the ground outside to explore the huge number of well-preserved marble statues and other relics on display.
Ancient Olympia. Visitors are free to explore acres of ruins at the historic site of the first Olympic Games. This still-active archaeological dig site features columns, pillars, partial structures and statues -- in an open-air setting. You can visit the Olympic torch pit, which marks the spot at which the Olympic torch gets ignited every two years. The torch then is carried on its long relay journey to host location of the Winter and Summer Games.
First Olympic Stadium. Sports and history fans will love being transported back to another era as they walk through the arched entryway to the Olympic grounds. This is the exact spot where many events from the very first Games took place. The ancient Olympic Games took place at Olympia between 776 BC and 393 AD as part of a religious festival to honor Zeus. Young men arrived from various city states throughout the Greek world to compete in running, discus, jumping, wrestling, boxing and equestrian events.
The competition area sits below sloped hillsides. Visitors enjoy testing their speed and stamina in a spring along the original Olympic track.
Why Cruise to Katakolon
A Must for History Buffs. Ancient Greece and its societies, arts, politics and educational systems influence so much of what we see today. This destination puts you right at the heart of an important sanctuary and festival site at Olympia.
The idyllic port area is easy to navigate, and you can enjoy the nearby beach, too.