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The Best Day-Trips From Athens

Melina Thalassinou
Table of Content
Table of Content
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Key Takeaways:

  • Athens is a great starting point for exploring ancient history and world-renowned culture, but loads of amazing day trips from Athens will upgrade your experience.
  • Delphi is home to the famous Oracle of Delphi, and visitors can explore the ancient ruins of the Temple of Apollo and the theater.
  • Cape Sounion is a great destination for history lovers and nature enthusiasts. It is home to the Temple of Poseidon, which offers stunning views of the Aegean Sea.
  • The city of Corinth is a fascinating destination that showcases the ancient and modern history of Greece. Visitors can explore the ancient ruins of Corinth and the modern city, which offers shopping, dining, and other attractions.

Athens - credits: Pixabay.com

Although an Athens travel guide will prove that Athens is one of the most significant destinations in Greece with world-renowned archaeological sites, it is not the end-all-be-all. 

Even if you only have issues with your timeline and only a few days to spare, there is plenty of time to indulge in a day trip from Athens, getting to know the Greek countryside and its beauty.

Greece is not only its capital but also the Cyclades Islands, Santorini, Mykonos, and Naxos.

Here, we suggest the best day trips from Athens we can think of for you to enjoy. 

Sounio

Cape sounio Aerial motion shutterstock copyCape Sounio - credits: Aerial-motion/Shutterstock.com

The destination with the closest proximity to Athens, Sounio (also called Cape Sounion), lies 70 km southeast of Athens in the eastern Attica region.

Apart from the unmatched landscape and the views of the Aegean Sea Sounio, it is known for its archaeological site, which includes the majestic Temple of Poseidon.

The coastal route through Athens’ Riviera adds to the allure of the Sounio day trip, providing the perfect opportunity for you to marvel at the natural beauty of the country.

It is also a great opportunity to stay at some of the best luxury hotels in Athens and beach hotels in Athens

The Temple of Poseidon is perched on the edge of Cape Sounio’s cliff, looking out towards the Saronic Gulf

Athens view - credits: Pixabay.com

Ancient Greeks knew how to pick their spots! It was constructed between 444 and 440 BC on the ruins of an archaic temple and was considered a holy place, especially for sailors.

Unfortunately, nowadays, only the two eastern porches and several of the columns of the eastern part of the temple are preserved.

Following your visit to the archaeological site, you can enjoy traditional Greek flavors in one of the seaside taverns of the region; fresh fish and local delicacies enhance the charm of the idyllic setting.

We would highly suggest staying in Cape Sounio long enough to experience one of its striking sunsets, where an explosion of warm colors takes place.  

If you fancy a swim, don’t hesitate to stop on your way to Sounio in Vouliagmeni Lake, one of the 20 recognized thermal springs in Greece, to upgrade your Athens day trip even more!

Nafplio

Streets of Nafplion solllya.bigmir.net depositphotos The streets of Nafplion - credits: solllya.bigmir.net/Depositphotos.com

Admittedly, one of the most picturesque regions of Greece, Nafplio constitutes the ideal day trip from Athens due to its proximity to the city and, most importantly, its versatile nature and dazzling setting.

Rich in things to do, experience, and see, there won't be a dull moment during your trip to Nafplio (also called Nauplia).

Its main attractions with historical value are the Castle of Plamidi and the Castle of Bourtzi. Climb the  999 steps that lead to the top of Palamidi Castle and discover the history hidden behind the fortress that was built between 1711 and 1771 while basking in the spectacular panoramic view of Nafplio and the sea.

The fortress was built in record time, between 1711 and 1714. Bourtzi, or Nafplio’s ‘sea tower’ as some call it, is located on the islet of St. Theodoros, accessed from Nafplio by boat.

It was built in 1473, and it used to house the executioners of Palamidi prisoners. Nowadays, it is used as a cultural center.

After learning about the rich heritage of the city, you can walk through its scenic cobbled streets, have a drink at Avissinia Square, the most emblematic meeting point of Nafplio, and enjoy a meal in one of the many local taverns.

The souvenir shops scattered throughout Nafplio are there to ensure you don’t leave this romantic city and its magical vibe with some memorabilia.  

It is no coincidence that Nafplio is one of the most loved cities among locals. If you want to, you can even combine a trip to the Peloponnese region; Mycenae and Epidaurus are excellent destinations for those interested in ancient history!

A day trip to Nafplio with a visit to Epidaurus and Mycenae for the ultimate Greek experience.

This way, you'll be able to admire the lion's gate at Mycenae, the surviving piece of Mycenaean sculpture, and witness the remnants of a civilization that produced among the first cultures in the world.

With a private or group tour in Epidaurus, you will also have the opportunity to visit the world's best-preserved ancient theater, whose acoustics are world-famous and can fit a modest 13,000-14,000 spectators!

Delphi

delphi athena sanctuary peterlazzarino shutterstockThe Sanctuary of Athena in Delphi - credits: peterlazzarino/Shutterstock.com

Delphi is an obvious must-see for visitors of Greece who appreciate history, culture, and flourishing nature, and an extremely popular day trip, whether you choose to experience it as a small group tour or a private one.

The impressive archaeological site in the region houses the famous oracle of Delphi. Delphi’s oracle is one of the oldest and most significant oracles of antiquity.

It is famous for providing people with prophecies regarding the most critical moments of history, such as the Trojan War and the quest of the Argonauts.

The archaeological site of Delphi as a whole played a catalytic part in the religious and political life of the country for hundreds of years, from the 8th century BC to 394 AD, when it got shut down following the domination of Christianity, only to be rediscovered during the 19th century.

Once you’ve taken your history fix, you can wander around the nearby cosmopolitan village of Arachova at the foothill of Mount Parnassos.  

There, you can stroll its cobbled pathways and enjoy a Greek meal in one of its many traditional taverns that offer not only mouthwatering food but also an unmatched atmosphere.

A Delphi day trip is only about a 2-hour drive from the heart of Athens, and it will allow you to experience the relaxed vibe of central Greece, admire its one-of-a-kind scenery, and explore the rich history of the region.

Nemea

grapevines nemea ollirg shutterstockGrapevines in Nemea - credits: ollirg/Shutterstock.com

If you’re a fan of wine, I don’t think there’s much to debate here. The broader area of Nemea is the largest wine-growing region in Greece, where well-known wines of the Highest Quality Designation of Origin are being produced, including the variety of ‘Agiorgitiko.’

Nemea has been famous for its wine since antiquity, but if you haven't heard of it for that reason, you’ve probably heard it in the context of one of the most famous tales of Greek Mythology, the tale about Hercules and the Nemean lion.

Located one and a half hours from Athens, half an hour from Corinth, Loutraki, and Nafplio, Nemea is a small town in the prefecture of Corinth, built at an altitude of 370 m amphitheatrically on the slopes of Mount Profitis Ilias.

Its name comes from the homonymous Nymph, daughter of the Asopos River, which crosses the region up to this day.

Apart from its delicious wine, Nemea is also known for producing olive oil and raisins. In the summer and early autumn of every year, various cultural events and festivals make the region an attractive destination.  

Don’t miss the opportunity for a day trip to Nemea from Athens, where you’ll get to taste incredible local wines, discover the fascinating tales of Greek Mythology, and let your eyes wander through the breathtaking scenery -you can even indulge in a 5-course dinner at the end of your Nemean adventure!

Ancient Corinth

corinth canal tetiana u shutterstock copyThe Corinth Canal - credits: tetiana u/Shutterstock.com

Corinth is a town and the most essential part of the Peloponnese. It is the capital of the prefecture of Corinthia and the third-largest city in the region of the Peloponnese.

In 1858, the old town of Corinth, now known as Ancient Corinth, was flattened by an earthquake.

This led to the construction of the modern city near the ancient harbor of Lechaio on the shores of the Corinthian Gulf.

On your way to Corinth, you’ll witness the Corinth Canal, which consists of a narrow strip of land that connects Central Greece with the Peloponnese, while the canal brings together the Saronic Gulf with the Corinthian Gulf.

After taking in the imposing view the canal offers, take a trip down history by visiting the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth. Remnants from the Temple of Apollo and the ancient Agora, among others, will leave you stunned.  

Additionally, visit Acrocorinth, the Acropolis of Corinth, to discover its secret water spring and the myth behind it! On the Acrocorinth, you will also find what’s left of Goddess Aphrodite’s sanctuary, where you’ll get an insight into how gods were worshiped in ancient times.

A day trip to Ancient Corinth from Athens is always a good idea; it will leave you rich in knowledge and awed by the beauty of Greece!

Olympia

olympia Wondervisuals shutterstockThe archaeological site of Ancient Olympia - credits: Wondervisuals/Shutterstock.com

Home to the ancient Olympic Games, Olympia is the place where fair play was nurtured and another great destination for a day tour from Athens.

It is located at the meeting point of the two sacred rivers, Alfeios and Kladeos, in the Elis region in the Peloponnese.

The Panhellenic sanctuary of Olympia is considered one of the most important sites of the ancient Greek world. Used as a sanctuary for most of its existence, it later became the motherland of the Olympic games, gathering people from around Greece every four years.

The Olympic games, before becoming the most popular sports event in the world, were first established as a festival dedicated to the worship of Zeus.

The importance of the games is highlighted by the fact that during them, all wars and feuds were seized, only to be revisited once the competition was over.

In the 5th century, the glamor of Olympia reached such a point that political, philosophical, and artistic groups gathered there due to the large audience they could find to disseminate their ideas. 

Nowadays, the site of Ancient Olympia remains impressive, reflecting the golden times of the past. You can join a guided tour to Olympia and witness Greece's glorious heritage in a way that no one who hasn't visited Olympia can!

It is one of the trips from Athens, Greece, that will stay with you forever!

Aegina 

island cruise on getyourguideThe island of Aegina - credits: leoks Shutterstock.com

Last but not least, you should consider visiting an enthusiastically reviewed Saronic island for a day trip away from the bustling city center.

Our favorite is Aegina due to its vibrant atmosphere, lovely beaches, and archaeological significance.

Reaching Aigina may require you to take a ferry; however, it will only set you back 40 minutes and around 9-14 euros, making a day trip there the optimum choice!

Local tavernas along the seaside and souvenir shops will lure you in, while the Temple of Aphaia will satisfy your curiosity about the country’s intriguing past.

It is located 15 km from the capital of Aegina and was built in 500-490 BC on top of a pre-existing structure ruined by a fire around 510 BC.  

The new temple took its final form in 500 BC., and it is an excellent example of archaic architecture.

Apart from its archaeological site, Aegina will offer you the opportunity to experience the life and vibe of a Greek island without the hassle of traveling hours away from Athens. It’s a win-win situation!

If you want to combine your visit to Aegina with more Saronic islands, you can let us know, and we will book a highly-reviewed Saronic island cruise to enjoy your trip to Greece.

Chalkida

Chalkida - credits: photo stella/Shutterstock.com

Just one hour from Athens, and therefore ideal if you can produce an international drivers license and you're renting a car in Greece, Chalkida is situated where the island of Euboea meets the Greek mainland at the Euripus Strait.

Of course, you can visit Chalkida with an organized tour that includes transportation from and to your hotel, which is a lot less chaotic than driving in Greece!

Once you reach 'Negroponte' – as Venetians used to call Chalkida - get to the famous 'Sliding Bridge' and watch the sea currents shifting every six hours!

Walk along the city’s promenade and enjoy the magnificent sea view while passing by fishermen and itinerant traders.

The city’s waterfront is also famous for its unique restaurants and taverns, so make sure you taste the fresh seafood they offer.  

Walk around the city and admire historical buildings like the town hall and the Red House. Do not forget to visit the Karababas Fort at the top of Fourna Hill and lose yourself in the spectacular view of the gulf.

Lastly, if you are visiting Chalkida during the summer, don’t miss the opportunity to lie on the beach of Lefkanti, just a 15-minute drive from the city.

Marathon

Aerial Drone of Marathon Lake - credits: Aerial- motion/Shutterstock.com

As an important historical area and the birthplace of the long-distance endurance race, the Marathon is a beautiful getaway near Athens, ideal for a day trip or a weekend stay.

Just an hour's drive from the Athenian city, the area offers a range of activities.

You can enjoy a walk around the beautiful and peaceful artificial Marathon Lake, completed in 1931, and visit the area's museums: the Marathon Run Museum and the Archaeological Museum of Marathon.

Make sure you find time to spend in Rhamnus, where impressive archaeological remnants of a sanctuary dedicated to goddesses Nemesis and Themis are located.

If you admire religious temples and churches, St. Ephraim Monastery in Nea Makri - an evocative and picturesque place of worship in the area – is also worth visiting.

Explore the rare ecosystem of Schinias National Park and discover its pine forest and Makaria Springs, where many bird and fish species find their home.

The Schinias National Park meets the sea in a beautiful sandy bay - Schinias Beach – where you can swim and enjoy the sun.

Final Thoughts on The Best Day Trips From Athens

Guided tour (small group vs large group) in Plaka neighborhood Athens, - credits: Pixabay.com

Whether you want to experience its culinary traditions, archaeological sites, or local culture, you can do so without leaving Greece’s capital for too long. 

While we recommend spending at least a couple of days in the capital and you can enjoy countless locations on Athens, day or night, a day trip or tour from Athens would expand your horizons and give you a complete picture of what Greece is all about.

Indulge in exciting day trips from Athens, reach these locations, and discover that Greece is much less predictable than you thought!

Our Tailor-Made Trip Planning
01
Hop on a quick call with a local expert from our team
02
Receive a tailor-made itinerary for your journey
03
Fine-tune the details and you're ready to go

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