Visiting Greece with a history buff will take you to places you’ve never thought to see. Thermopylae (alternative spelling Thermopyles, Thermopilai) in northern Greece is one of these famous places.

How To Visit Thermopylae

My top recommendation is to join a full-day tour to Ancient Greece from Athens like this one.

You’ll visit Thermopylae, Delphi and Arachova. This tour includes pick-up from your hotel in Athens. Click here to see if your hotel is on the list and to book your spot.

Here are several other organized tours from Athens that include a stop to Thermopylae:

1. Delphi & Meteora 2-Day Guided Tour from Athens

2. Delphi & Thermopylae Full Day Tour from Athens or Piraeus

3. Marathon & Thermopylae Full Day Tour from Athens

The ancient battle site is cool to visit, but it’s best to make this visit part of a bigger tour of mainland Greece.

What Is Thermopylae?

Thermopylae is the mountain pass where King Leonidas and the 300 Spartans stood against Persians in the ancient battle of the Kolonos Hill.

The Battlefield of Thermopylae is the surface area where the famous battle took place back in in 480 BC. That’s where the Spartans made their last stand with the body of their King Leonidas against the Persian army led by Xerxes.

Leonidas chose to die in battle rather than allow Persians to destroy his city. All of the 300 Spartans were also killed in battle. In fact, the point of this sacrifice was to buy time for Greek people in the city to retreat, in order to prevent being slaughtered by the Persians.

kolonos fortified hill thermopylae

The Fortified Hill of Kolonos is located on the opposite side of the highway to the Lewonidas and 300 Spartans Memorial monument. The commemorative stone on the Kolonas hill is a short walk uphill.

Located at 136 km northwest of Athens, in the municipality of Lamia, the narrow pass of Thermopylae (Hot Gates) derives its name from the hot sulfur springs in the area. Thermopylae pass today isn’t what it used to be in ancient times.

Here’s the exact location of Thermopylae today.

If you’re interested in the many invasions that involved Thermopylae, click here to find out some interesting facts.

Can You Visit Hot Gates of Thermopylae?

Click here to book a private Delphi and Thermopylae tour from Athens at the price of today, [todaysdate].

You can visit Hot Gates of Thermophylae, but you need to be aware of the fact that the actual pass where Spartans defeated Persians doesn’t exist any longer.

The configuration of the and in this area has changed over years, so the sea is now at 10km distance.

thermopylae pass actual landscape

This is how the ancient Thermopylae Pass looks today. The sea has receded a few kilometers, making it difficult to imagine the ancient battle site

The entrance is free, as the site is in the open and very close to the main road.

You’ll need to use your imagination to recreate the fierce battle from the past.I imagine how cool this could be for history buffs.

On site you’ll find the Memorial of Leonidas and 300 Spartans. That’s a huge bronze statue of King Leonidas standing on a massive stone wall featuring two marble statues of men representing the river Eurotas and Mount Taygetos, the most important landmarks of Sparta.

thermopylae king leonidas bronze

The personification of Evrotas, the river crossing Laconia

The personification of Taigetyos, the highest mountain in the Peloponese

How To Visit Thermopylae? Do the Hot Gates Still Exist Today?

Thermopylae is on the E75 highway that connects Athens to Thessaloniki, very close to Lamia.

The whole visit shouldn’t take you more than 30 minutes, as there’s not much to see apart from the Leonidas Memorial and the commemorative stone on Kolonas Hill. There’s also a small museum in the area, called The Information center for the battle of the Thermophylae. We skipped it, as we were on a 10 day road trip across Greece and we couldn’t afford more time for this small detour from our next destination.

Anyway, if you’re in Athens and you fancy a day trip to Delphi and Thermopylae, click here to see more details and to book it.

If you want to see other options, check out my Greece tours page for inspiration.

Are There Other Things To Do in Thermopylae? Is It Worth Visiting?

There’s nothing to do on the site other than taking photos of the monuments and visiting the small museum.

The Hot Gates don’t exist anymore in their ancient configuration. Visiting the site of the battle and seeing the giant statue of King Leonidas are worth it, but only as part of a bigger tour.

Follow this link to see all tours that include a stop by the Hot Gates of Thermopylae.