The ability of exogenous compatible solutes, such as proline, to counteract salt inhibitory effects was investigated in 2-year-old olive trees (Olea europaea L. cv. Chemlali) subjected to different saline water irrigation levels supplied or not with exogenous proline. Leaf water relations [relative water content (RWC), water potential], photosynthetic activity, leaf chlorophyll content, and starch contents were measured in young and old leaves. Salt ions (Na+, K+, and Ca2+), proline and soluble sugars contents were determined in leaf and root tissues. Supplementary proline significantly mitigated the adverse effects of salinity via the improvement of photosynthetic activity (Pn), RWC, chlorophyll and carotenoid, and starch contents. Pn of young leaves in the presence of 25 mM proline was at 1.18 and 1.38 times higher than the values recorded under moderate (SS1) and high salinity (SS2) treatments, respectively. Further, the proline supply seems to have a more important relaxing effect on the photosynthetic chain in young than in old leaves of salt-stressed olive plants. The differential pattern of proline content between young and old leaves suggests that there would be a difference between these tissues in distinguishing between the proline taken from the growing media and that produced as a result of salinity stress. Besides, the large reduction in Na+ accumulation in leaves and roots in the presence of proline could be due to its interference in osmotic adjustment process and/or its dilution by proline supply. Moreover, the lower accumulation of Na+ in proline-treated plants, compared to their corresponding salinity treatment, displayed the improved effect of proline on the ability of roots to exclude the salt ions from the xylem sap flowing to the shoot, and thus better growth rates.