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Cape Sounion

Cape Sounion

Off GR-91, 45 miles southeast of Athens
Cape Sounion, Greece

Perched on the edge of a cliff, this 444 B.C. temple with 15 still-standing Doric columns was dedicated to the god of the sea (a sort of consolation prize for not having the Parthenon named for him). The best time to go is at sunset, when you can also worship Helios, the sun god, as the sun falls into the Aegean below. (The Aegean itself was named for King Aegeas, who jumped to his death from this spot when he mistakenly thought his son, Theseus, had died.) Sounion is a favorite half-day trip from the city. One of the earliest tourists was Lord Byron, who carved his name into a column here in 1810, when views about defacing ancient ruins were more lax. Take the tram from Syntagma to Voula, then hire a taxi or rent a car to spend the morning at Legrena Beach and sunset at the temple. Make a weekend of it by staying at the luxurious Cape Sounio Grecotel Resort, in view of the temple.

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