Modern Olympia is a village that has grown up simply to serve the excavations and tourist trade. It's essentially one long main avenue, Praxiteles Kondhyli, lined with gold shops, and with a few short side-streets. However, Olympia is quite a pleasant place to stay, and is probably preferable to Pyrgos, with the prospect of good countryside walks along the Alfios River and around the hill of Kronos.
Most people arrive at Olympia via Pyrgos , which is on the main Peloponnesus rail line and has frequent bus connections with Patra and four daily with Kyparissia. The train link from Pyrgos to Olympia is currently closed for refurbishment; previous timetabling had five daily services. If you have time to kill between buses or trains in Pyrgos, the city square Platia Karayiorga, two blocks north of the bus station, is tolerable in an otherwise unexciting town. Buses leave hourly between Pyrgos and Olympia, some signed to "Vasilaki" beyond Olympia; the last service is at 9 pm. The only other direct buses to Olympia are from Tripoli, via Langadhia. These run twice daily in either direction. If you are approaching from Andhritsena , either take the bus to Pyrgos and change, or stop at Krestena and hitch or take a taxi the final 12km on from there.
There is a tourist office (May-Oct Mon-Sat 9am-3pm; Nov-April Mon-Sat 11am-5pm; tel 06240/23 100), on the right of Praxiteles Kondhyli as you head towards the site. Olympia has three banks on the main avenue, and a post office just uphill. English-language books are to be found in a couple of shops near the tourist office.