Akragas and the Valley of the Temples

1128 Reviews

Star Travel Rating


Review type

Things to do


Date of travel

October, 2017

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Reasons for trip

The Valley of the Temples is deservedly a World Heritage Site and is on everyone’s list when they visit Sicily. It occupies a long ridge below the modern city of “Agrigento”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/sicily/day_two/two_four/index.html and the silhouette of the temples dominates the rest of the landscape. They are particularly impressive when floodlit at night.

The site is split into eastern and western areas, separated by a road. The best preserved temples are in the eastern section. There are two entrances, which have a security check, and most people begin at the ticket office for the eastern zone where the main car park is. The temples are connected by an unpaved road and there is a shuttle bus service for those not wanting to walk. It can be hot, so make sure you have taken water with you.

There are information boards in Italian and English, but it was useful having a guide with us.

Over 21 “temples”:http://wasleys.org.uk/eleanor/otherholidays/sicily/day_two/two_two/index.html were built between 500-450BC, each dedicated to a different god or goddess. The Temple of Concordia is one of the best preserved Doric temples outside Greece. It was used as a Christian Basillica from the C6th to the C18th when it was restored to its original form. It is one of the most impressive Greek temples anywhere in the world. Unfortunately visitors are restricted to viewing from the outside.

The other two main temples as far as visitors are concerned are the Temple of Juno and the Temple of Hercules where the pillars have been restored and visitors can access both.

The rest of the temples are just piles of stones. The Temple of Zeus would have been one of the largest temples in Greek Antiquity, but it was never completed. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the C15th and in the C18th it was used as a source of building stone It is now a rubble of stones although the remains of the huge statues (telemons) which would have decorated the main facade can still be seen lying broken on the ground.

The temples were built from massive sandstone blocks which were covered with white marble stucco to protect them from weathering. This can still be seen in places on the Temple of Juno. They were all built to the same “basic plan”:https://i.pinimg.com/originals/62/88/b8/6288b885c24f7829ac621baad6d554f1.jpg with a colonnade around the perimeter surrounding central shrine area. The entrance always faced south. This shrine area is made up of three parts, The first room was where the votive offerings were left. The main room or cella had a statue of the deity and priests and initiates held secret rites here. Beyond was the treasury.

The upper parts of the temples were painted with stories from the Greek myths.

At the front was a large stone platform used for public sacrifice when a sheep or goat was offered up to the deity. This is best seen in front of the Temple of Juno.

The temples were linked by the Sacred Way and part of this can be seen between the Temple of Hercules and the Temple of Zeus. Near it is part of the aqueduct which brought water to the city.

Work began in the C18th work on restoring the temples. In 1921, Sir Alexander Hardcastle, a captain in the British Army came to Akragas and built a house here which is still used as offices for the Parks Authority. He financed excavations of the site and was responsible for re-erecting eight of the pillars of the Temple of Hercules.

It is an amazing place and well worth visiting. The site is so huge that you are not aware of the crowds. We spent a morning there, but it would be quite easy to spend the whole day – but do go prepared with water and food. There can also be a LOT of walking!


Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.