How to explore Agrigento Temples | Scala dei Turchi
Agrigento is known for the ruins of the ancient city of Akragas in the Valley of the Temples, a vast archaeological site with well-preserved Greek temples. On the modern city’s outskirts is the Museo Archeologico Regionale ‘Pietro Griffo’, with artifacts and a telamon (giant male figure). West lies Scala dei Turchi, a stepped white cliff overlooking sandy beaches.
See below for:
How did we get to Agrigento?
What you’ll find when you arrive at the Valley of the Temples site?
What there is to see?
What else, apart from Temples?
What’s next on our Sicilian Adventure?
How did we get to Agrigento?
Knowing we were hiring a car for this trip we packed our sat nav and having the European maps on there it was fairly easy to navigate our way across Sicily.
We took the most direct route from Syracuse on the A19 through the centre of Sicily and dropping down to Agrigento. Directions can be found here
The journey in total took about 2 1/2 hrs. I must admit the scenery on route was spectacular.
On our way back to Syracuse we opted for a more coastal route but before heading back we went a bit further up the coast to visit the Scala dei Turchi before heading back to Syracuse. Our homeward directions can be found here.
When you arrive at the Valley of the Temples site:
Parking is permitted in the official car parks of the Temple of Hera Lacinia (Juno), Gate V and the Pietro Griffo Regional Museum of Archaeology, located opposite the Entrance/Ticket Office – Hellenistic Theatre. Camper vans and vans are permitted only in the Gate V car park.
Open Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 14:00; from 15:00 to 19:00 Entrance to Juno’s ticket office
Valley of the Temples only – Full Price €10.00/Concession €5.00
Combined Ticket – Regional Museum of Archeology at Pietro Griffo and The Valley of The Temples (valid for 3 days) – Full Price €13.50/Concession €7.00
Combined Ticket 2 – Kolymbethra Gardens and The Valley of the Temples (one visit each on the same day) – Full Price €15.00/Concession €9.00
- There’s a cafe in the site where you can get a drink or a sandwich
- There are plenty toilets but make sure you have some tissues in your bag in case there is no toilet paper
- There is a bookshop at each of the entrances where you can buy gifts, books and the much desired fridge magnet.
- There are guided tours in many languages for around €10.00 if you don’t fancy wandering round yourself.
- There’s a valley of the temples official app which you can download to help guide you through the site. Download it here.
All tickets are subject to visitor numbers and booking is recommended, however we didn’t book on the day we visited but we did wait in a queue to get in so arrive early to get the best out of your visit.
What did we see at Agrigento?
Akragas and the valley of the temples was only re-discovered around the 18th century when the first European travellers arrived in Sicily. The natural landscape surrounded by fragrant trees and looking over the Ionian Sea provides a backdrop any ancient Sicilian would be proud of.
The site has loads of temples for you to see all built between 510 BC and 430 BC and most are still in pretty good shape.
Here are some to look out for:
- Hera Temple (or Juno Temple), – This temple was dedicated to Zeus’s wife and although previously destroyed as been reconstructed.
- Temple of Concordia, the best preserved temple in the valley. This excellent preservation state is due to the fact that it was consecrated as a Christian basilica in the 6th century AD. It has therefore been relatively protected.
- Temple of Heracles, the oldest temple on the site of which only 8 columns remain.
- Temple of Olympian Zeus: it was destroyed by the Carthaginians before being completed
- Temple of the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux) Regarded as the symbol of Agrigento a high platform mounted on 3 steps and sadly only 4 columns out of its original 34 still stand.
- Temple of Hephaestus It is thought to have been one of the most imposing constructions in the valley; it is now however one of the most eroded.
- Temple of Asclepius (God of Medicine) used to welcome the sick.
What else is there to see apart from the temples?
In addition to the temples, there are also Greek and Roman necropolises, residential areas, the tomb of Theron, and many other buildings and ancient relics.
You can drive into the main town of Agrigento
Typical Italian town with bars and cafes offering coffee, aperitivo, sandwiches, pizza and all the other traditional Italian delights you could want.
Why not visit the Archeological Museum at Pietro Griffo?
Tickets cost €8 unless you already have a combined ticket for access. Don’t miss the vases and other amazing artefacts from the site
You absolutely must visit the Scala dei Turchi
Just up the coast from the valley of the temples and a spectacular sight. The Scala is formed by marl, a sedimentary rock with a characteristic white color.
It lies between two sandy beaches, and is accessed through a limestone rock formation in the shape of a staircase, hence the name. A wonderful place to relax after a dusty day in the Valley of the Temples