Meeting Elena turned out to be incredibly enlightening and entertaining at the same time. As a certified tour guide and archaeologist, no one knows more about Olympia than her. She tells thought-provoking stories and is most passionate about her job.
Hi, I’m Elena Aggeli. I was born in Athens, the capital of Greece, and moved to the area about 12 years ago. After finishing my studies in Greek Archaeology at the University of Giannina, I enrolled in the Public School of Tourist Guides. I speak fluent English, Spanish and Greek and or more than a decade, I have spent my time on archaeological research and tourism.
What is your job?
I work as a certified tour guide here in the Olympia region all year round and have the pleasure of presenting this incredible place to foreigners and locals alike. I provide visitors with all the necessary guidelines and help them plan their travel itinerary according to their needs and preferences.
How would you describe Olympia?
In Greece, we have a saying, “Up on Mount Olympus, the Gods used to live. And down here in Olympia, the Gods used to play”. So, welcome to the playground of the Gods, welcome to Olympia – the birthplace of the Olympics!
Where do you live?
I live in Pyrgos, a small town about 18 kilometers from Olympia. Pyrgos is also 13 kilometers from Katakolon Port where major cruise ships dock in order to visit the Archaeological Site and Museum in Olympia, and not only.
What do you love most about your work?
That I have the good fortune to live and work in place of unique natural beauty. A place that, although in ruins, still remains alive through its Olympic spirit which unites the peoples and urges us to come together in world peace.
Where do you go on your day off?
The ultimate locations for me are the local beaches, the unknown side of the area. When we think of Olympia, we tend to think about ancient sites and museums. However, the region offers a combination of both ruins and a spectacular endless coastline of sandy and rocky beaches and isolated coves.
What is the difference between a certified guide and a guide who is not certified?
Here in Greece, you need to be a university degree holder in History/Archaeology/Arts and then attend a 2-month seminar for tour guides in order to become certified. Only certified tour guides, or tourist guides, by the Greek Ministry of Tourism may conduct tours within archaeological sites and museums. We, as licensed guides, can be recognized by the badge we have to wear when on duty.
Can you name a few reasons why someone should book a certified guide?
Travelers have access to things that they would not be aware of otherwise. They learn about culture in-depth from an insider. They also have the flexibility to change their travel plans and to set up priorities. They can cover more places, especially when the have very little time, as is the case for cruisers. Tour guides know the ins-and-outs away from crowded places. And these are just to name a few!
So, put on your comfy shoes and come along on a trip back in time. See where the Olympic torch is lit, run the Olympic track, stand on the grounds of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the statue of Zeus. Elena will accompany you on a memorable journey to the myths and mysteries of Ancient Olympia, and beyond…Uncover the past and present with a local. Discover the world of Olympia with Elena, the Olympia insider!