Marathon and Thermopylae Day Tour

Marathon and Thermopylae Day TourOur tour will start driving through Athens towards Attica highway and Marathon Avenue. As you will see by the signs that count each kilometer is the course of the original Marathon race.

As we reaching the plains of Marathon our first stop will be at the Tumulus of the Athenians the resting place of 192 Athenians who died in the famous battle of Marathon at 490 B.C.

We continue our tour visiting the Marathon museum and a prehistoric cemetery that produces proof of the first civilized presence in this location.

Moving on we will see the Marathon Battlefield where the famous battle of Marathon took place in 490 B.C. where the outnumbered Athenians (9.000 soldiers) defeated the Persian (500.000 soldiers) changing the history not only for Greece but all of Europe.

After passing through the modern city of Marathon we climb on the slopes of Mt. Penteli and we will arrive at Marathon Lake a beautiful spot created by nature and human. It’s an artificial lake operating as the main water reservoir for Athens. There you can see something unique the Marathon Dam the only one in the world made of marble at the bottom of the dam you will see the treasury of the Athenians which was located in the sanctuary of Delphi.

We continue our tour towards the national road to Thermopylae there we will visit the statue of king Leonidas and the Thermopylae historical information center were you can watch a short 3D movie about the battle between 300 Spartans and the Persian empire known from the movie 300.Also we are going to visit the hot sulfur springs of Thermopylae. At ancients times the supposed to be the entrance for Hades.

On our way back to Athens we can have some traditional Greek lunch by the sea the best way to refill our batteries.

Top Visits

  • Driving on the original Marathon route
  • The tumulus of the Athenians
  • The archeological museum
  • Battlefield of Marathon
  • Marathon lake
  • Thermopylae

TUMULUS OF THE ATHENIANS

Tumulus was raised over the graves of the 192 Athenians who died in the battle and whose remains were buried here after cremation of the dead.

ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

The Museum was founded in 1975 in an idyllic rural location within close distance to the renowned tumulus (grave mound) of Marathon. The exhibits cover a time span from the Prehistoric to the Late Roman era and derive from the excavated sites – mainly cemeteries – of the region.

The Museum Collections include:

  • Pottery of the Neolithic Period from the Cave of Pan, Early Cycladic pottery from the cemetery at Tsepi and Middle Helladic pottery from the cemetery at Vrana
  • Pottery from the area of Marathon datable from Geometric to Classical periods
  • The finds from the tumulus of Marathon.
  • Grave reliefs, statues, dedicatory inscriptions and boundary stones from the area of Marathon.
  • Statues and architectural parts from the Egyptian sanctuary at Brexila (2nd century A.D.).

Among the most important exhibits of the Museum are:

  • The Ionic capital, part of the trophy that was erected after the battle of Marathon (490 B.C.) in memory of the deceased Plataieis.
  • Marble stele with inscriptions on both sides. On one side the text refers probably to the reforms of Kleisthenes, the father of the Athenian Democracy, and on the other the ordinance for the completing of the Herakleion of Marathon.
  • Funerary Panathenaic Amphora from the area of Vrana. Dated in the 4th century B.C.
  • Statue of of a lying deity from the Pytheion at Oinoe. Dated in the 2nd century A.C.
  • Egyptianising statue from the gate of the Egyptian sanctuary at Brexila. It is dated in the 2nd century A.C.
  • Head of Herodes Atticus from the Tumulus. Dated in the 2nd century B.C.

BATTLE OF MARATHON

The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC, during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force commanded by Datis and Artaphernes. The battle was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate Greece. The Greek army decisively defeated the more numerous Persians, marking a turning point in the Greco-Persian Wars.

The first Persian invasion was a response to Greek involvement in the Ionian Revolt, when Athens and Eretria had sent a force to support the cities of Ionia in their attempt to overthrow Persian rule. The Athenians and Eretrians had succeeded in capturing and burning Sardis, but they were then forced to retreat with heavy losses. In response to this raid, Darius swore to burn down Athens and Eretria. According to Herodotus, Darius asked for his bow, he placed an arrow upon the string and he discharged it upwards towards heaven, and as he shot into the air he said: “Zeus, grant me to take vengeance upon the Athenians!”. Also he charged one of his servants, to say “Master, remember the Athenians.” three times before dinner each day.

At the time of the battle, Sparta and Athens were the two largest city states. Once the Ionian revolt was finally crushed by the Persian victory at the Battle of Lade in 494 BC, Darius began plans to subjugate Greece. In 490 BC, he sent a naval task force under Datis and Artaphernes across the Aegean, to subjugate the Cyclades, and then to make punitive attacks on Athens and Eretria. Reaching Euboea in mid-summer after a successful campaign in the Aegean, the Persians proceeded to besiege and capture Eretria. The Persian force then sailed for Attica, landing in the bay near the town of Marathon. The Athenians, joined by a small force from Plataea, marched to Marathon, and succeeded in blocking the two exits from the plain of Marathon. The Athenians also sent a message asking for support to the Spartans. When the messenger arrived in Sparta, the Spartans were involved in a religious festival and gave this as a reason for not coming to aid of the Athenians.

The Athenians and their allies chose a location for the battle, with marshes and mountainous terrain, that prevented the Persian cavalry from joining the main Persian army. Miltiades, the Athenian general, ordered a general attack against the Persians. He reinforced his flanks, luring the Persians’ best fighters into his center. The inward wheeling flanks enveloped the Persians, routing them. The Persian army broke in panic towards their ships, and large numbers were slaughtered. The defeat at Marathon marked the end of the first Persian invasion of Greece, and the Persian force retreated to Asia. Darius then began raising a huge new army with which he meant to completely subjugate Greece; however, in 486 BC, his Egyptian subjects revolted, indefinitely postponing any Greek expedition. After Darius died, his son Xerxes I restarted the preparations for a second invasion of Greece, which finally began in 480 BC.

The Battle of Marathon was a watershed in the Greco-Persian wars, showing the Greeks that the Persians could be beaten; the eventual Greek triumph in these wars can be seen to begin at Marathon. The battle also showed the Greeks that they were able to win battles without the Spartans, as they had heavily relied on Sparta previously. This win was largely due to the Athenians, and Marathon raised Greek esteem of them. Since the following two hundred years saw the rise of the Classical Greek civilization, which has been enduringly influential in western society, the Battle of Marathon is often seen as a pivotal moment in Mediterranean and European history.

MARATHON LAKE

Lake Marathon or the Marathon Reservoir is a water supply reservoir formed from the construction of Marathon Dam at the junction of Charadros and Varnavas Torrents near the town of Marathon, Greece. It was the primary water supply for Athens from 1931, when it became operational, until 1959. In 1959 water from Lake Yliki became available, and water from Mornos Reservoir became available in 1981. The area of the lake at the height of the spillway of the dam is 2.45 square kilometers, the maximum depth is 54 m, the lake concentrates water from a drainage basin of 118 square kilometers with an average runoff of 14,400,000 m³ per year in an average rainfall of 580 mm per year, the average inbound volume is 12,000,000 m³ per year and the maximum reservoir capacity is 41,000,000 m³ (effective volume 34,000,000 m³).

The dam has a maximum height (from foundation to crest) of 54 m, a maximum width of 28 m at the base and 4.5 m at the crest. Its length is 285 m. The crest is 227 m above sea level, the toe is 173 m above sea level, and the spillway is 223 m above sea level. The spillway disgorges 520 m³/s. The dam is constructed from concrete and is a gravity dam. It is unique worldwide because its external cladding of white pentelikon marble is the same marble used in construction of the Parthenon and the other buildings in the Acropolis. The dam was constructed by the American firm ULEN (which had, in a BOT type contract, the ownership of the water supply company of Athens until 1974). It was constructed to meet the increased water demand caused by the rapid population increase in the Athens area following the huge influx of refugees from Asia Minor during and after the end of Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922). The construction lasted from 1926 to 1929.

THERMOPYLAE

Thermopylae (hot gates) is a place in Greece where a narrow coastal passage existed in antiquity. It derives its name from its hot sulphur springs.The Hot Gates is “the place of hot springs” and in Greek mythology it is the cavernous entrances to Hades.

Thermopylae is world-famous for the battle that took place there between the Greek forces (notably the Spartans) and the invading Persian forces.Thermopylae is the only land route large enough to bear any significant traffic between Lokris and Thessaly. This passage from north to south along the east coast of the Balkan peninsula requires use of the pass and for this reason Thermopylae has been the site of several battles.

The land surface on which the famous Battle of Thermopylae was fought in 480 BC is now buried under 20 meters (66 ft) of soil. The shoreline has also advanced over the centuries because of the sedimentary deposition. The level of the Malian Gulf was also significantly higher during prehistoric times and the Spercheios River was significantly shorter. Its shoreline advanced by up to 2 kilometers between 2500 BC and 480 BC but still has left several extremely narrow passages between the sea and the mountains. The narrowest point on the plain, where the Battle of Thermopylae was probably fought, would have been less than 100 metres (330 ft) wide. Between 480 BC and the 21st century, the shoreline advanced by as much as 9 km (5.6 mi) in places, eliminating the narrowest points of the pass and considerably increasing the size of the plain around the outlet of the Spercheios.

A main highway now splits the pass, with a modern-day monument to King Leonidas I of Sparta on the east side of the highway. It is directly across the road from the hill where Simonides of Ceos’s epitaph to the fallen is engraved in stone at the top.

The hot springs from which the pass derives its name still exist close to the foot of the hill.

  • SUMMER PERIOD: 1 April – 31 October
  • WINTER PERIOD: 1 November – 31 March

MARATHON TOMP AND MUSEUM

Full: €6,00 Reduced: €3,00
(Valid for: Archaeological Museum of Marathon, Tomb at Marathon)

Winter: Tuesday – Sunday 08:00 – 15:00
Summer: Tuesday – Sunday 08:00 – 15:00

THERMOPYLAES HISTORICAL INFORMATION CENTER

Full: €3,00 Reduced: €1,00

Winter: (Mon-Fri): 08:00 – 17:00 and weekends: 9:00 – 17:00
Summer: (Mon-Fri): 08:00 – 19:00 and weekends: 10:00 – 18:00

Free admission:

  • Escorting teachers during the visits of schools and institutions of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education and of military schools.
  • Members of Societies and Associations of Friends of Museums and Archaeological Sites throughout Greece with the demonstration of certified membership card
  • Members of the ICOM-ICOMOS
  • Persons possessing a free admission card
  • The employees of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Archaeological Receipts Fund, upon presentation of their service ID card.
  • The official guests of the Greek government, with the approval of the General Director of Antiquities.
  • Young people, under the age of 18, after demonstrating the Identity Card or passport to confirm the age..

Free admission days:

  • 6 March (in memory of Melina Mercouri)
  • 18 April (International Monuments Day)
  • 18 May (International Museums Day)
  • The last weekend of September annually (European Heritage Days)
  • Every first Sunday from November 1st to March 31st
  • 28 October

Reduced admission for:

  • Greek citizens and citizens of other Member – States of the European Union who are over 65 years old, upon presentation of their ID card or passport for verification of their age and country of origin.
  • Holders of a solidarity card
  • Holders of a valid unemployment card.
  • Large families’ parents of children up to 23 yrs old,or up to 25 yrs old (on military service/studying), or child with disabilities regardless the age, having a certified pass of large families, certification from the Large Family Association or a family status certificate issued by the Municipality
  • Persons with disabilities (67 % or over) and one escort, upon presentation of the certification of disability issued by the Ministry of Health or a medical certification from a public hospital, where the disability and the percentage of disability are clearly stated.
  • Single parent families with minors, upon presentation of a family status certificate issued by the Municipality. In the case of divorsed parents, only the parent holding custody of the children
  • The police officers of the Department of Antiquity Smuggling of the Directorate of Security
  • Tourist guides upon presentation of their professional ID card.
  • University students and students at Technological Educational Institutes or equivalent schools from countries outside the EU by showing their student ID.

IMPORTANT

All our tours are flexible it’s up to you to make changes according to your wishes

Admission fees and lunch are not included in the price of the tour.

Confirmations

You may receive multiple e-mails until you receive an e-mail starting confirmation your booking will NOT have been confirmed.

FLEET

Our company fleet consist of non-smoking luxury sedan taxis Mercedes Benz full air conditioned. All vehicles covered by a fully comprehensive insurance policy and licensed by Hellenic Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

All prices are quoted per car / not per person

Prices include:

  • local taxes
  • VAT
  • Tolls
  • Baggage charges

Prices exclude:

  • Entrance fees
  • Personal expenses (drink,meals etc.)

DRIVERS

  • The drivers are not a licensed to accompany you on your walk to the top of the Acropolis or inside any other site or museum.
  • If you require a licensed guide to tour the sites with you, you need to hire one additionally.