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As a tourist destination, Athens is a city full of cool attractions. From archaeological sites, museums, shops, traditional restaurants and trendy bars to white sand beaches with clear waters. Athens has something for everyone. If you are staying in Athens for a couple of days, it’s worth making a day trip and discover a different part of Greece.
12 Amazing Day Trips From Athens
Here is a list of the most popular day trips from Athens:
- A day trip to Delphi
- Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
- Hydra, Poros and Aegina day cruise from Athens
- Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Nafplio
- Ancient Olympia
- Sailing Cruise along the coast
- Ancient Corinth
- Hiking trip to Parnitha
- Agistri Island
- Aegina Island
- Mykonos Island
1. A day trip to Delphi
Delphi is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece and home to the famous oracle. Delphi was declared as a World Heritage Center from UNESCO. On your day excursion to Delphi, you will have the chance to visit the Temple of Apollo, the ancient theatre and the archaeological museum among other places of interest.
At the archaeological museum, one of the most popular museums in Greece, you’ll be able to view many artifacts that were uncovered in Delphi like carvings, dishes, and statues. On your way to Delphi, you can also stop at the nearby village of Arachova, a very popular winter resort. This picturesque resort is situated beneath Mount Parnassós and has plenty of activities you can partake in.
2. Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
Sounio is located only 69 km away from Athens making it the perfect half-day or full-day trip from Athens. At Sounio, you will have the chance to visit the Temple of Poseidon that dates back from 44 BC and admire the incredible view of the Aegean Sea. While at the Temple of Poseidon, you’ll also be able to explore this ancient ruin that was created by the Greeks and dedicated to the Greek god Poseidon.
During the summer months, you can swim in the crystal clear waters of a nearby beach and have some fresh seafood in a seafront taverna. Don’t forget to admire one of the magnificent sunsets that disappears behind the Greek landscape after displaying a beautiful collage of colors.
If you are looking for the best-guided tour to Sounio I suggest the following:
The half-day sunset tour to Sounio that lasts approx 4 hours.
3. Hydra, Poros and Aegina day cruise from Athens
On this day cruise, you will visit 3 Saronic islands in one day. Starting from the picturesque island of Hydra, then going to the green island of Poros and lastly the island of Aegina where you can visit the Temple of Aphaea which is located near the Saronic Gulf and displays a beautiful example of classical Greek architecture.
While here, you’ll also be able to taste the world-famous pistachios which are known for their crunchy texture and sweet yet nutty flavor. Lunch is served on board with this tour, and live entertainment with Greek music and traditional dances is also included. With this day cruise, you will have the chance to visit these three different Greek islands in a day while slowly floating down the tranquil waters of the Saronic Gulf.
4. Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Nafplio
On this day trip to Peloponnese, you will visit some of the most important archaeological sites of Greece, Mycenae, and Epidaurus. Mycenae was the city of mythical Agamemnon, the hero of the Trojan War. There you will have the chance to visit the archaeological site and the beautiful museum which houses numerous archeological artifacts you can view and learn about.
Nearby is the archaeological site of Asklipieion at Epidaurus which was declared as a World Heritage Center from UNESCO and was one of the most important healing places in ancient times. Dedicated to the Greek god of medicine, Asklepios, ancient Greeks would flock here to receive medical treatment for their ailments. You’ll be able to view the baths, sanctuary, and hospital where these treatments once took place.
Apart from the area of Asklipieion, you will visit the ancient theatre of Epidaurus and the museum. Lastly, you can visit one of Greece’s most picturesque towns Nafplio. In Nafplio you can visit the Palamidi castle or wander through the cobbled alleys and admire the architecture.
If you have just one day and you want to visit all three places I totally recommend this tour:
Meteora is a place of unique beauty, famous around the world for its gigantic rock pillars and monasteries that are built on their summits. One of the most popular monasteries to visit here is the Monastery of Great Meteoron which is scattered around one of the top rock pillars and is known for its stunning red roof.
There’s also the Monastery of Rousanou which is built into the side of a rock and was created around the 16th century. It’s considered to be the easiest one to visit in Meteora thanks to it being built lower into the rock formations making it easier for guests to access.
Meteora is not only one of the biggest monastic centers in Greece but a place with incredible nature. You’ll be able to see various types of native trees, shrubs, and plants that grow through the valley and even up the magnificent rock structures which are also dazzling as well with their beautiful shades of brown, gray, and black.
It is not very close to Athens but you can still visit it as a day trip. The excursion to this beautiful spot will help you to better experience this area more and you’ll be able to trek across these massive rocks to explore the ancient monasteries and view incredible panoramic views of the valley below you.
Suggested tours to Meteora from Athens:
By rail (please note that the train is not always punctual in Greece) – More info about the tour
If you have more time you can easily combine Delphi and Meteora on this 2-day tour – More info about the tour
6. Ancient Olympia day trip
Another great tour to partake in while venturing to Athens is the Ancient Olympia Tour. This tour will take you around the various spots in Olympia that are not only historic, but feature beautiful landscapes. This private tour lasts around 10 hours and you will be taken around to places like the Corinth Canal, Ancient Olympia, and the Temple of Zeus by your guide. When you’re done, you can stop by a local restaurant for lunch or dinner before heading back.
The Corinth Canal is situated in the city of Peloponnese and works to connect the Saronic Sea with the Corinthian Gulf. This canal is built between towering rocky hills and is considered to be an important transportation route to get around southern Greece. You can visit this site to get pictures of this remarkable landscape or even book a short boat tour that will take you through the canal so you can get a unique perspective of it.
After exploring the Corinth Canal, the next stop on this tour is to ancient Olympia, which is where the Olympics first took place. When in Olympia, you’ll be able to see some of the archeological sites where these games were once played and some interesting artifacts they found here in the Archeological Museum of Olympia.
In this museum, you’ll find artifacts saved from the Temple of Zeus as well as a rare bronze battering-ram piece that is considered to be one of the only one of its kind in the world. There’s also the Museum of the Olympic Games which dives more into the history of this popular sporting event and why the ancient Greeks created it.
In addition to seeing Olympic artifacts and browsing through museums, you’ll also be able to see other ancient archaeological marvels, like the Temple of Zeus itself which towers over the site. This structure is an important part of the area due not only to its historical meanings but because it is considered to be one of the best examples of Doric architecture, a style made popular during ancient Greece.
You’ll be able to view the massive columns, fading bright colors and golden accents, as well as statues of Zeus while exploring this beautiful structure. You might also meet an archeological restoration crew working to save this temple and see them quickly at work restoring this important piece of Greek history.
You’ll also find the Pelopion which is believed to be the tomb of Pelops, a major figure in Greek mythology. Olympia is filled with ancient structures and on this tour, you’ll be able to see them for yourself and learn more about their intricate history.
Experience Greek Cuisine
Once you’re done exploring the ancient wonders of Greece, you can close the day with a mouthwatering Greek meal. You’ll find many traditional restaurants and taverns you can dine at which serve classic meals likeBriam and fresh seafood caught in the nearby sea.
This tour includes car and driver costs as well as any tolls and fees that are needed to get into certain places. However, tickets are needed to be bought on their own and lunch is not provided for this tour.
7. Sailing Cruise along the Coast
If you love spending time on the ocean then a Sailing Cruise along the coast could be a great option for you to get away from the hustle and bustle of Athens city center while taking in the stunning sights out at sea. This half-day sailing experience allows you to make the most of the spectacular Greek weather aboard a modern yacht, stopping off throughout the day to swim and snorkel in the azure waters. While onboard you’ll also have the chance to enjoy some local Greek delicacies in the form of snacks and drinks on your way to and from Vouliagmeni Bay.
8. Ancient Corinth
Many people think they need to book a completely separate trip to visit some of mainland Greece’s major sites when in fact, the Corinth Canal and the ancient city lie just a few hours away. This half-day trip allows you to witness the breath-taking canal and to visit the ancient site of Corinth where St. Paul lived and preached and where the remains of Apollo’s 6th Century Temple still stand to this day. This tour gives you a brief history of Greece and Greek mythology as well as allowing you to take in wonderful sights and architecture along the way. Plus, you’ll be back in Athens in time for lunch so there’s no excuse not to visit!
9. Hiking Trip in Parnitha National Park
If you’re craving green spaces and nature while in Athens, why not take a day trip to the National Park of Mount Parnitha which lies just outside the city center. This day trip from Athens takes you on a 6km hike through the national park, through lush, dense fir trees and past the springs of Koromilia and Mesiano Nero. The trip will incorporate hiking, viewpoints, wildlife watching and a Mediterranean lunch in the forest before heading back to Athens in the early afternoon.
10. The Island of Agistri
Another day trip option from Athens is a visit to the nearby island of Agistri, a small natural landscape located in the Saronic group of islands. Agistri is a wonderful place to get away from it all, with stunning coves, turquoise waters, quaint churches and a handful of hotels and tavernas serving up traditional Greek dishes and drinks. With a ferry taking just 1-2 hours from the port of Pireaus, you can easily soak up the island atmosphere on a day trip or weekend getaway from the city.
11. Discover the island of Aegina
The pretty island of Aegina is the closest island to Athens (27 km). Its main town has some beautiful 19th century neoclassical mansions, dating from when the island was temporarily the capital of Greece and there are quaint villages and attractive beaches to enjoy. The most famous monument is the temple of Alphaia that forms the Scared Triangle with the Parthenon and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion.
There are two ferries that leave Piraeus daily. The first is a large car ferry. The single ticket is 8 euros and the journey time is 1 hour 20 minutes. The smaller passenger ferry, the ‘Flying Dolphin’ is more expensive (€14) but the journey time is just 40 minutes.
12. Fun in iconic Mykonos
You have probably heard all about the great beaches, food and night scene in Mykonos and are keen to discover it for yourself! This delightful Cycladic island with its 16th century windmills has been attracting the international crowd since the 1960s. Mykonos is the most famous island in the Aegean with luxury hotels, glamorous yachts, stunning beaches and the world’s top DJs to get you dancing.
The best way to travel from Athens to Mykonos, if you want to enjoy a day trip, is to fly. The flight time is 35 minutes and in July and August, there are up to 18 flights every day. There are several daily ferries from Piraeus, but the journey time is five hours unless you take the fast ferry with a journey time less than 3 hours. Several companies offer a two day trip by ferry, with an overnight stay in Mykonos.
Have you ever been to Athens?
Did you make any day trips outside of Athens?
What was your favorite?