Olympia (from Katakolon) cruises

Step back in time to almost 3,000 years ago, where ancient glory awaits at Olympia: the birthplace of the Olympic games. The marble starting blocks where 20,000 spectators once stood to watch the Olympians are still visible. The eternal flame of Attis casts its unwavering gaze over the site, and today sends off the torch on its journey.

Katakolon is a visually beautiful port, set against a backdrop of rolling mountains and giving way to the Ionian Sea, separating the sea from the Gulf of Kyparissia. Located in the municipality of Pyrgos, it is just seven miles from downtown Pyrgos. 

The gateway to Olympia 

Olympia is an unmissable site to witness on your Greek cruise. Atmospheric, eerie and fascinating, you can easily spend a day wandering these ancient ruins and soaking up every relic of the past that still remains.

Olympia was where the Ancient Greeks celebrated the Olympic Games, once every four years for a least 1,000 years! Situated in an Elis valley, Olympia was also a national shrine to the gods, and contained a number of temples, monuments, theatres and statues.

The Games were abolished in 393 AD by Emperor Theodosius I. The destruction of the site means that little remains of the architecture, but the rubble and ruins do manage to evoke a sense of a glorious past of sportsmanship and competition. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Olympic flame is still lit here for the modern games. Highlights include the Temple of Zeus, only one column of which remains, but it helps you to imagine the sheer size of this structure when it stood as a whole. Also look out for Phidias’ workshop, where the huge statue of Zeus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was sculpted. 

The epic stadium lies east of the Altis and, unusually for a stadium, is rectangular. A few areas of note still survive, such as the judges’ seats and the start and finish lines for the sprint track. Although in its time the stadium could seat a whopping 45,000 spectators, slaves and women still had to watch from outside, on the Hill of Kronos.

Katakolon town

There is plenty in this seaside town to keep you entertained on your Katakolon cruise. Kourouta Beach is a beautiful place to soak up the sun. Thatched umbrellas and beach beds ensure you can relax in style and enjoy the views out to sea. The water here is warm and calm so it is perfect for swimming.

There are two museums: the Katakolon Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, which is an easy walk from the port and features a collection of inventions dating from 2000 BC to 100 AD, and the Museum of Ancient Greek Musical Instruments, allowing you to become fully immersed in fascinating Greek history.

It is well worth making the time to explore the Katakolon Lighthouse. Built in 1865, it dominates part of the entrance to the port. It is 30 feet tall and offers a nautical scope of 18 to 19 nautical miles.

The history of Katakolon

Katakolon has been a port for a long time, and it was initially built to allow the transportation of goods to other major European ports. A rail link was completed between Katakolon and Pyrgos in 1881, and remnants of the old town can still be seen in the old warehouse buildings along the backstreets.

Excursions

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

  • Olympia & Kourouta Beach

    View one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and have some fun on one of the area's best beaches.

    Olympia & Kourouta Beach

    The first Olympic Games began in 776 B.C. and has continued for over 1,000 years. Every four years the Olympic flame is relit in this tranquil holy place and delivered to each new city that hosts the Games. Stroll the deserted sanctuary with its temples, altars and treasuries, all overlooked by masses of trees. If you are feeling fit you can even test out the marble starting blocks that are still intact and complete a lap of the Olympic track.

    Continue onto Kourouta Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the area. The sands stretch for over ten miles, all washed by the beautiful refreshing waters of the Ionian Sea. The sea front is lined with cafeterias and tavernas so you will be able to purchase refreshments and luncheon.



    BEACH/WATER RELATED EXCURSIONS
    For any excursion involving water, guests are reminded to exercise particular care. Alcohol and eating a full meal should be avoided before swimming. If buoyancy aids are provided for an activity they must be worn at all times. You should bear in mind that the sea is unpredictable. Lifeguards are unlikely to be present and there may not be a flag system to indicate whether or not it is safe to go in the water. In addition, beach activities may not be supervised or accompanied and so you should take care to satisfy yourself as to the safety of the beach and/or the sea at the time of your excursion. Please exercise caution when entering the sea as the seabed and aquatic environment is capable of springing surprises and we have not inspected the beach or seabed for its safety. Children must be supervised by you at all times near water. All activities on the beach, water and in the sea are undertaken at your own risk. You’ll need to take swimwear, a towel, sunscreen and flat shoes that can be worn in the water.

    LIABILITY
    Cunard will arrange for the excursions to be performed by the relevant excursion provider. Cunard does not provide or supply the excursion services. Cunard will exercise reasonable care and skill in the selection of the excursion provider, but will not in any circumstances have a greater liability than the excursion supplier and Cunard shall not be responsible for the negligent acts/omissions of the excursion supplier. Please note that in relation to all excursions Cunard is not responsible or liable for any loss, damage, or injury sustained by you unless such loss, damage or injury arises out of a breach of legal duty of Cunard.

    TRAVEL INSURANCE
    Before booking any activity excursions it is essential that you ensure your travel insurance extends to cover the specified activity. It is your responsibility to obtain adequate insurance.

    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Guests are reminded to wear swimwear, take a towel and sunscreen. There may be independent suppliers on the beach that may offer watersports. These are provided by parties unconnected to Cunard.

    There is over 2 hours of walking involved in the visit to the site of Olympia over some gravel pathways. Refreshments or luncheon are not included in the price of the tour. Please remember to bring local currency to purchase things from the many shops. Please be aware that the area is popular and can be quite crowded during the busier summer months. Please remember it is not advisable to have alcohol or luncheon before swimming.

    Tour code

    KAT_005

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    Duration

    7 hours

  • Kourouta Beach Break

    Visit Kourouta Beach and spend the morning relaxing by the sea.

    Kourouta Beach Break

    A short drive will transfer you to Kourouta Beach, one of the most famous beaches in the area. The sands stretch for over 10 miles, all washed by the beautiful refreshing waters of the Ionian Sea.

    Beach beds and umbrellas are included, to enhance your relaxation at this memorable location. During your stay you will be served a refreshment of a cooling soft drink or a bottle of mineral water.


    BEACH/WATER RELATED EXCURSIONS
    For any excursion involving water, guests are reminded to exercise particular care. Alcohol and eating a full meal should be avoided before swimming. If buoyancy aids are provided for an activity they must be worn at all times. You should bear in mind that the sea is unpredictable. Lifeguards are unlikely to be present and there may not be a flag system to indicate whether or not it is safe to go in the water. In addition, beach activities may not be supervised or accompanied and so you should take care to satisfy yourself as to the safety of the beach and/or the sea at the time of your excursion. Please exercise caution when entering the sea as the seabed and aquatic environment is capable of springing surprises and we have not inspected the beach or seabed for its safety. Children must be supervised by you at all times near water. All activities on the beach, water and in the sea are undertaken at your own risk. You’ll need to take swimwear, a towel, sunscreen and flat shoes that can be worn in the water.

    LIABILITY
    Cunard will arrange for the excursions to be performed by the relevant excursion provider. Cunard does not provide or supply the excursion services. Cunard will exercise reasonable care and skill in the selection of the excursion provider, but will not in any circumstances have a greater liability than the excursion supplier and Cunard shall not be responsible for the negligent acts/omissions of the excursion supplier. Please note that in relation to all excursions Cunard is not responsible or liable for any loss, damage, or injury sustained by you unless such loss, damage or injury arises out of a breach of legal duty of Cunard.

    TRAVEL INSURANCE
    Before booking any activity excursions it is essential that you ensure your travel insurance extends to cover the specified activity. It is your responsibility to obtain adequate insurance.

    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Guests are reminded to wear swimwear, take a towel and sunscreen. There may be independent suppliers on the beach that may offer watersports. These are provided by parties unconnected to Cunard. Luncheon is not included in the price of the tour. Please remember to bring local currency for purchases. Please be aware that the area is popular and can be quite crowded during the busier summer months. Please refrain from drinking alcohol prior to swimming activities.

    Tour code

    KAT_007

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    4½ hours

  • Flavours of Greece – Cookery Class

    Be inspired by the techniques and ingredients of Greek cuisine.

    Flavours of Greece – Cookery Class

    Greek cuisine is bursting with colour and flavours with the use of ingredients such as vegetables, honey, feta, olive oil, lemon, olives, Greek oregano and herbs and spices. The Greek diet is a perfect example of a traditional Mediterranean diet and is said to be one of the healthiest in the world.

    Your cooking demonstration and class will take place at a local venue in the village of Olympia. You’ll get to the heart of Greek cooking as you’re shown a variety of dishes and participate in the preparation. Afterwards, you’ll get to taste each of the delicious dishes.

    On the return drive, you can sit back and relax and reflect on your new found knowledge of Greek cooking.

    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. Guests will be required to stand during the cooking demonstration. This tour is not suitable for children. The drive to Olympia is around 45 minutes.

    Tour code

    KAT_011

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Meal included

      Meal Included

    Duration

    3½ hours

  • Simply Olympia

    A chance to visit the famous Olympia Archaeological site and see where the Olympic ideals were started.

    Simply Olympia

    Your scenic drive traverses inland through the small farming villages that toil the fertile soil of the plains of Elis. Your destination is the sacred precinct of Olympia, lying in a valley watered by the Alfios river. Steeped in fantastic myths and legends, it is the site which gave birth to one of man's most noble ideals.

    In 776 BC the Olympic games started and every four years the Olympic flame is relit in this tranquil holy place and delivered to each new city that hosts the games. As you walk through this serene paradise you cannot help but be impressed by its peaceful atmosphere and beauty of the setting.

    Stroll the deserted sanctuary with its temples, altars and treasuries, all overlooked by masses of trees, said to have been planted by Zeus' son, Hercules, to mark the boundaries of his father's domain. Walk, or if you are up to it, run the original course in the stadium with its marble starting blocks still intact.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The visit to the site involves over 1½ hours of walking with some gravel pathways that are rough in some places.

    Tour code

    KAT_008

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    Duration

    3¼ hours

  • Magna Grecia

    A wonderful opportunity to visit a traditional family-owned farm and sample the local produce.

    Magna Grecia

    Setting off from Katakolon, enjoy a scenic drive to Magna Grecia, a delightful family-owned farm that offers an Agriturismo experience. Situated nearby to the famous Olympia site, the farm grows a range of olives and produces aromatic olive oils, jams and wine.

    Upon arrival, enjoy a welcome aperitif and meet your hosts, who will provide an insight into day to day activities that take place on the farm. Enjoy a stroll through the olive trees and vineyard and see the vegetable garden and fruit trees. The farm is home to a variety of animals which you’ll also see, including sheep, chickens and ponies and the families’ pet dogs and cats.

    Afterwards, you’ll be offered a selection of delicious Greek snacks such as black Kalamata olives, cheese dip, feta cheese, tzatziki and home-made bread, accompanied by a sample of the local white wine.

    The family have great pleasure in welcoming visitors and you’ll leave as friends.

    The excursion will operate by coach. To derive full enjoyment of this tour, some walking is required over gravel and uneven surfaces. The drive to Magna Grecia is around 45 minutes.

    Tour code

    KAT_010

    Features

    • Activity low

      Activity Level: Low

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    3½ hours

  • Olympia Site & Folkloric Show

    Combine a visit to the birthplace of the Olympic Games, with a colourful folkloric show.

    Olympia Site & Folkloric Show

    Embark on a scenic drive to the sacred precinct of Olympia. Lying in a fertile valley watered by the Alfios River, steeped in myth and legend is the site which gave birth to one of man's most noble ideals. In 776 BC and for over 1,000 years following, began the first Olympic Games. Every four years the Olympic flame is relit in this tranquil holy place and delivered to each new city that hosts the Games. As you walk through this serene paradise you cannot help but be impressed by its tranquil atmosphere and stunning setting. Stroll the sanctuary with its temples, altars and treasuries, all overlooked by masses of trees, which are said to have been planted by Zeus' son Hercules, to mark the boundaries of his father's domain. Walk, or if you are up to it, run the original course in the stadium with its marble starting blocks still intact.

    Greece is one of the few countries in the world where folk dances are as alive today as they were in ancient times. This is a great opportunity to see a troupe of dancers performing Greek and local dances, in traditional costume. Almost every dance has a story to tell and they continue to be passed on from one generation to another, keeping the national identity well and truly alive.

    Refreshments of a glass of wine, Ouzo or a soft drink, accompanied by some traditional Greek snacks, will be served at a leading venue in Olympia village.

    There is approximately one and a half hours of walking on this tour over some gravel and rocky pathways and steps. The folkloric show venue has 15 steps at the entrance.

    Tour code

    KAT_004

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    4 hours

  • The Olympic Spirit

    Capture the true spirit of Olympia, site of the birthplace to the Olympic Games and the Olympic Ideal.

    The Olympic Spirit

    Discover ‘sacred’ Olympia, steeped in ancient myth and legend. The Olympic Games are believed to have originated here in 776 BC. Every four years, the Olympic flame is relit and delivered to the Games’ ‘host’ city. Stroll the deserted sanctuary with its temples, altars and treasuries, all overlooked by masses of trees, said to have been planted by Hercules to mark the boundaries of his father's domain. Walk, or for the more active, run the original course in the stadium with its marble starting blocks still intact.

    Thought to be one of the most important Museums in Greece, the Archaeological Museum of Olympia is host to a collection of priceless treasures unearthed during archaeological excavations. The Museum offers many awe-inspiring exhibits including the remains of the pediments to the Temple of Zeus, which housed one of the seven wonders of the world, the gold and ivory statue of the God. The marble statue of Hermes, thought to date back to 330 BC will also leave you spellbound with its perfection.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is over two and a half hours of walking on this tour over some gravel and rocky pathways and steps. Flash photography is not permitted inside the Museum. To reach the Museum of Olympia, there is a walk of 400 yards on a slight incline, and over a bridge with 30 steps.

    Tour code

    KAT_001

    Features

    • Activity high

      Activity Level: High

    Duration

    4 hours

  • Vintage Greece - Olives & Wine

    Discover the age-old art of making fine wines and olive oil, before sampling the local produce.

    Vintage Greece - Olives & Wine

    Head inland through some of the small agricultural villages, which farm the fertile soils of the plains of Elis.

    Discover one of Katakolon’s oldest established wineries, Domain Mercouri, which has a rich history in producing both wine and olive oil.

    You will be taken on a tour of the family-run estate with its intriguing mix of old and new equipment, including the wine cellar and the olive presses. The family museum hosts a collection of various old agricultural tools, used on the estate over the years.

    Continuing your journey of the winemaking process, you will head for the nearby vineyards, which border the crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea.

    On your return to the main buildings, let your taste buds be tantalised by a tasting of local produce, including the estate’s wine, olive oil and a small selection of traditional snacks, including fresh bread and feta cheese.


    This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The visit to the winery involves a certain amount of walking, over mainly flat ground, with some steps and gravel. There are around 13 steps to negotiate to visit the winery’s museum and a steep slope heading to the cellar. In the winery, no working machinery will be seen. Participants in the wine tasting must be 18 years and over.

    Tour code

    KAT_003

    Features

    • Activity medium

      Activity Level: Medium

    • Refreshments included

      Refreshments included

    Duration

    2½ hours