There is something magical about Olympia, an aura that manages to enchant even the most cynical visitor. The ancient games took place here for over 1,000 years; in fact, for the Greeks, history began with the first Olympic games—everything before is considered the age of myth. You can still enter the stadium by the old arched entrance and even test yourself on the track. Run barefoot for a more authentic re-creation of the experience (but perhaps not naked as the ancients did!).
This is one of the great small museums of the world, and it is fitting to see these works of art so near their original setting. The standout exhibits include the pediments from the Temple of Zeus, the Hermes of Praxiteles and a famous statue of Nike, the goddess of victory. Most of these artifacts date from the heyday of Olympia, but the museum offers a chronological overview of the entire history of the site.