Welcome to Athens, the historic capital of Greece! This city has a lot to offer to every kind of traveler: from its ancient landmarks and fascinating museums to its vibrant nightlife and delicious cuisine. But what about those who want to venture out of the city for a day trip?
Luckily, Athens is surrounded by numerous islands, ancient sites, and natural wonders, offering an abundance of day trip options to choose from. Whether you’re interested in exploring Greek mythology at the Temple of Poseidon or relaxing on a pristine beach, there’s a day trip for you.
However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. That’s where The Travel Bunny comes in! In this article, I’ll guide you through the best day trips from Athens, taking into account your interests and travel preferences.
I’ll cover everything from short day trips from Athens to the nearby islands of Hydra and Aegina to longer excursions to the breathtaking monasteries of Meteora or the ancient city of Mycenae. I’ll also provide information on how to get there, what to see, and what to do, ensuring that you make the most out of your vacation.
This article is relevant for anyone looking to enhance their experience in Athens by exploring the surrounding areas. We understand that planning a trip can be stressful, and we want to alleviate some of that stress by providing you with a comprehensive guide to the best day trips from Athens.
So, whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a beach enthusiast, join me on this journey as we explore the gems that surround Athens. Let’s make your trip to Greece unforgettable!
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, The Travel Bunny will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you!
Day trips from Athens to islands in the Aegean Sea
Athens, the capital city of Greece, is known for its ancient history, rich culture, and picturesque landscapes. But did you know that Athens is also the perfect base for island day trips? Yes, you read it right. You can experience island life while staying in Athens, thanks to the numerous day trips available. In this article, we will highlight the popularity of island day trips from Athens, list the top island day trips, and provide an overview of each island and the activities available.
Island day trips from Athens are popular among travelers for many reasons. Firstly, they offer a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and allow travelers to unwind in a serene and tranquil environment. Secondly, the islands near Athens are easily accessible by ferry, making them perfect for a day trip. Finally, each island has its unique charm and beauty, making it a must-visit destination for any traveler.
The great advantage is that you get to see three Greek islands in only one Athens to islands day trip. There are many cruises to choose from that can take you to Hydra, Poros, and Aegina, the gorgeous islands of the Saronic Gulf on a one day trip from Athens to Islands. The Saronic islands are full of history, but they also have a certain cosmopolitan vibe.
Hydra is one of the most popular island day trips from Athens. This Greek island is known for its stunning architecture, crystal-clear waters, and charming harbor. The island is accessible by ferry from Athens and the trip takes around 1.5 hours. Once on the island, visitors can enjoy a range of activities, including beach day trips from Athens, hiking, and sightseeing. The must-see attractions on the island include the Historical Archives Museum, the Hydra Cathedral, and the Sunset at the Kastro.
Hydra is a very small island, and when you get there you feel as if you’ve stepped into a living museum. Its traditional buildings remain yet untainted by any modern interventions. During your Hydra day trip from Athens, you can wander on paved streets and discover the important mansions which once served as fortresses to the locals. They were used as havens against the pirates, but also during the liberation struggles in 1821.
Poros is yet another small island located in the Saronic Gulf, just an hour away from Athens by ferry. This Greek island is known for its lush greenery, crystal-clear waters, and picturesque villages. When you visit, you can enjoy a wide range of activities on the island, including water sports, beach hopping, and sightseeing. The must-see attractions on the island include the Temple of Poseidon, the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, and the Love Bay.
During your Athens to Poros day trip, you can also climb the hilltop with the historic clock tower on top. Built in the year 1927, the clock tower is actually the city’s most prized landmark. And, from the top of the hill, you will get a pretty awesome view of the harbor and the coastline, which will give you a chance to discover why Poros has been called the island of romance.
In all honesty, Poros is probably my favorite Saronic Island to plan day trips from Athens!
Aegina is the largest of the Saronic Islands and it takes its name after a nymph who is said to have fallen in love with Zeus. Going from myth to history, in 1826 Aegina became the first capital of Modern Greece. The island is well-known for its culture, religious sites, antiquities, and… pistachios!
When you’re on a day trip to Aegina from Athens, make sure you visit the Temple of Aphaia, referred to as the first Parthenon of Greece. Considered an inspiration for the iconic building on the Acropolis of Athens, the Temple of Aphaia is thought to be one of the wonders of ancient architecture. Together with the Temple of Poseidon on Sounion Cape and the Acropolis, it forms the Sacred Triangle in antiquity.
You can also visit the Byzantine church of Saint Nectarios, one of the most famous Greek monasteries, or take a walk through the local pistachio groves.
An alternative to the one-day cruise in the Saronic Gulf from above is to travel to Aegina and two other islands: Agistri and Moni. This option for day trips from Athens is more relaxed than the one above. Since you have the Aegina information above, I’ll focus on Agistri and Moni next.
A small island only 10 minutes away by boat from Aegina, Agistri only has three settlements: Megalochori, Skala, and Limenaria. With a total population of around 1,500 inhabitants, it’s a great place to relax away from the crowded city of Athens. The best place to do it in the long golden beach between Megalochori and Skala.
On Moni, you can go swimming and even do some snorkeling. While the waters are of an enchanting blue, the beaches are mostly rocky, which may seem like a minus for some. For those, I mention that there is also a small sandy beach available!
And for hikers and World War II enthusiasts, I recommend going up to the highest point. It’s an easy hike, and besides a great view at the end, you’ll also find two stone sheds built and used by the Germans during the Second World War.
Culture and history day trips from Athens
With so much to see and do in Athens, it’s easy to forget that there are plenty of fantastic day trips available in the surrounding area. If you’re looking to explore more of Greece’s history and culture, then these culture and history day trips from Athens are perfect for you.
Mycenae is a must-see destination for anyone interested in Greek mythology and history. This ancient city was once the center of the Mycenaean civilization and is home to the famous Lion Gate, the Cyclopean Walls, and the Tomb of Agamemnon. It’s a place of myths and legends, and there is something magical about exploring this ancient city on a Mycenae day trip from Athens. To get to Mycenae from Athens, you can take a bus from the KTEL station or rent a car to cover the 120 kilometers in between.
As mentioned in Homer’s epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, this is the place where you can visit the ruins of one of the most important settlements of the Mycenaean civilization.
Nafplio is another fantastic destination for history lovers. This picturesque seaport town located in the Argolic Gulf was the first capital of Greece after the country gained its independence in the early 19th century. Today, Nafplio is only the capital of the region of Argolis.
Argolis is an area in northeastern Peloponnese, rich in archaeological sites. On your way to Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Nafplio, you will also come by the Corinth Canal. This narrow canal connects the Aegean Sea to the Ionian Sea. It is worth a short stop to watch the boats passing through during your day trips from Athens.
Its Old Town is full of stunning neoclassical buildings and narrow streets, while its waterfront is perfect for a leisurely stroll. Must-see attractions include the Palamidi Fortress, the Bourtzi Castle, and Acronauplia, the oldest region of the town. You can travel by bus or car on your Athens to Nafplio day trip.
In Epidaurus, you must visit the 4th-century BC theater. It s one of the most important monuments of ancient Greece, and very well-known for its incredible acoustics. The theater is still used to this day for various performances, including ancient dramas, operas, modern dance performances, and symphonies.
Epidaurus is also the home of the Asclepion. Asclepion was the son of Apollo, and he had very strong healing powers. The Epidaurus Asclepion was a healing center used in the Greek and Roman world. Starting with the 6th century BC, people would come to the Asclepion to go to sleep on one of the many prepared beds. It was said that the god himself would whisper in their dreams what actions to take in order to heal themselves.
Included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, the Meteora is a rock formation located a bit further from Athens, in the center of Greece. It is home to six stunning monasteries that sit atop towering rock formations. The history of Meteora dates back to the 11th century, and it’s a place of both natural beauty and spiritual significance. To get to Meteora from Athens, you can take a train or rent a car.
Queen Mary of Romania (you may remember her from the article about Balchik, in Bulgaria) was the first woman to be allowed inside the Great Meteor Monastery. This is also the most important monastery complex you’ll visit on your Meteora day trip from Athens.
If you’re looking for a unique day trip from Athens, then the Kapsia Cave is definitely worth a visit. Kapsia Cave is one of Greece’s most impressive caves, a true wonder of nature. This underground cave system is full of stunning stalactites and stalagmites, and it’s a fascinating glimpse into the geological history of the area. You can get to Kapsia Cave by car.
Besides visiting Kapsia Cave, this day trip from Athens is a great opportunity to discover Mantinia, one of the famous wine regions in the Peloponnese. Here, you can wander through the vineyards and visit some wineries. If you prefer white wine to red, you should definitely taste the Mantinia wines on one of your day trips from Athens, produced from the aromatic varieties Asproudes and Moschofilero. The latter is a type that is very acidic and can also produce sparkling wines.
Temple of Poseidon
No trip to Athens would be complete without a visit to the Temple of Poseidon. This ancient temple sits atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the Aegean Sea, and it’s a stunning example of ancient Greek architecture. To get to the Temple of Poseidon from Athens, you can take a bus or rent a car.
This Cape Sounion day trip from Athens takes you only 70 kilometers away from the Greek Capital, to the southernmost point of the Attica region. Here, you can visit the Temple of Poseidon, sunbathe, or swim in the sea.
Standing at 60 meters above sea level, the Temple of Poseidon is surrounded by the sea on three of its sides. Raised between 444 and 440 BC, the temple was built around the same time as the famous Parthenon. Today, only a part of its columns still stand, but in the past, it may have resembled a lot the Temple of Hephaestus on the Acropolis.
Other things to visit in the area are the Temple of Athena and the Sounion Fortress. Oh, and try searching for Lord Byron’s name inscribed on one of the columns of the Temple of Poseidon during one of his visits.
At the end of the day, make sure you are by the temple, ready to watch the beautiful sunset from Sounion Cape.
You can make this day trip from Athens a bit longer and more intense by arriving at Sounion Cape for the sunset after visiting Vravron and Thorikos, too. At Vravros, you can visit an open-air archaeological site, while in Thorikos you can explore the Mycenaean ruins of the settlement established in the 5th century BC.
Nature and adventure day trips from Athens
When visiting Athens, travelers often think of exploring the ancient city and learning about its history and culture. However, Athens also offers a range of exciting nature and adventure day trips that are perfect for thrill-seekers and nature enthusiasts. In this section, we’ll explore some of the top day trips available for those looking to get out of the city and into the great outdoors.
Off-road safari to Ancient Olympia and/or the Corinth Canal
Once you get to the Corinth Canal, you can follow the route above or do something entirely different on your day trip from Athens. You can spend more time in the area of the Corinth Canal and go on an off-road safari on the Kineta route.
This will give you the chance to visit the Osios Patapios Monastery, from where you’ll get a stunning view of the Gulf of Corinth. Afterward, you can explore the archaeological site Heraion of Perachora, passing through many picturesque traditional Greek villages on your way. You can finish the day with a walk to Vouliagmeni Lagoon, followed by a well-deserved swim.
You can, of course, spend less time in the Corinth Canal area, and head towards Ancient Olympia. This is where the ancient Olympic Games were born in Classical Greece. Besides the archaeological site, you can also visit the Archaeological Museum of Olympia and the Museum of the Olympic Games.
Make sure you don’t skip the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Hera, the Pelopion, the Philipeion, and the Phidias workshop. And the stadium, of course!
Snorkeling and cliff diving at Marathon
You can also opt for a day trip to learn about the battle of the Marathon and to visit the Marathon Tomb. And in case you were wondering, marathons got their name from a legend about a soldier who ran from Marathon to Athens… and died. But that shouldn’t discourage anyone from running a marathon!
While you’re here, you should also head to Lake Marathon to see its pure marble damn. Another option is to head to the bays of Marathon Cape. The latter makes a great destination for those who love to go snorkeling or cliff-diving. With the help of a boat, one can also explore the fantastic waters of the isolated island of Dipsa.
Hiking in the National Park of Mount Parnitha
If you’re into hiking, you probably already went up Lycabettus Hill and Philopappos Hill, in Athens, and want to get a taste of something outside the city. My suggestion is an easy hike of about three hours, on which you can even take the kids if you have any.
The route takes you from the Bafi Refuge to the Mola plateau and back. On your way, you will pass the Koromilia and Mesiano Nero springs, and several points from where you can snap some gorgeous photos. If you’re lucky, you might even get to spot a fox or a red deer on one of your day trips from Athens!
Relaxing day trips from Athens
Athens, the capital of Greece, is a city full of ancient history and culture. But sometimes, a break from the hustle and bustle of the city is needed. Fortunately, there are several relaxing day trips from Athens that are easily accessible and offer a chance to unwind in beautiful natural surroundings. From stunning islands to peaceful coastal towns and ancient ruins, there are plenty of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a day trip to the beach, a visit to a historical site, or a chance to explore the Greek countryside, Athens has something for everyone. Join me as I explore some of the best and most relaxing day trips from Athens.
Loutraki Thermal Spa
About 85 kilometers away from Athens, there is the ancient town of Thermae, now known as Loutraki. You can start your day trip from Athens with a soothing spa treatment, followed by some sightseeing, as Loutraki is a wonderful seaside town.
Not far, you will find the archaeological site Heraion of Perachora and the Vouliagmeni Lagoon. If you haven’t visited them during a day trip from Athens to Ancient Olympia, you should really go this time! And, as you can see above, catching the sunset is also a good idea on these day trips from Athens.
Wine spa treatments on Evia Island
Speaking of spa treatments, maybe thermal baths aren’t your thing. Not sure you’ve tried it yet, but maybe a wine spa treatment is for you! It is supposed to help with skin renewal and make you feel more energetic.
You can try this on a visit to Evia, an island bridged to the Greek mainland. The wines in the region have earned medals in both national and international competitions. While you can enjoy wines that you can find almost anywhere in the world, I suggest you try the local varieties: Malagousia and the rare red Mavrokoundoura of Evia. Pair them with some local savory treats, too, while on one of your day trips from Athens.
Scenic train journey through Vouraikos Canyon
The day starts in the historic city of Kalavryta, about an hour and a half away from Athens. An interesting visit here is the Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust.
Like the day trip to Meteora, you’ll find here a route which is really interesting to do by train. Starting in Kalavryta, a small train will take you through the stunning Vouraikos Canyon.
This day trip from Athens is also great for wine lovers, as it gives you the opportunity to visit the monastery of Mega Spileon. This magnificent eight-story monastery complex is a century-old wine production site.
You can walk through the vineyards, admire the canyon, and, of course, taste the wonderful wine on one of your day trips from Athens!
Logistics and tips for day trips from Athens
If you’re visiting Athens and want to explore beyond the city, there are plenty of day trips to choose from. Whether you’re looking to relax on a beach, explore historic sites, or soak up the island vibes, there’s something for everyone. Here are some tips to help you plan your day trips from Athens:
Depending on where you’re headed, there are several transportation options to consider. If you’re traveling to an island, you can take a ferry or a hydrofoil. Some of the popular islands to visit on a day trip from Athens include Aegina, Hydra, and Poros. If you prefer to stay on the mainland, you can take a bus or a train to your destination. For example, Nafplio, which is known for its charming Old Town and seaside fortress, can be reached by bus in about two hours.
Recommended tour providers
If you prefer to have a guide and a pre-planned itinerary, there are many tour providers that offer day trips from Athens. Viator and GetYourGuide are two popular options that offer a wide range of tours to different destinations. You can also consider taking a private tour for a more personalized experience.
Here are some tours I recommend for you to enjoy some of the best day trips from Athens:
Planning and booking in advance
To avoid last-minute stress and ensure availability, it’s best to plan and book your day trips in advance. During peak season, popular tours and transportation options can sell out quickly, so it’s best to book as soon as possible. Additionally, by planning ahead, you can ensure that you have enough time to explore your destination and make the most of your day trip.
Packing essentials and proper attire
When planning your day trip, it’s important to consider what you’ll need to bring with you. For beach trips, don’t forget your swimsuit, sunscreen, and a beach towel. For visits to historic sites or religious sites, it’s important to dress modestly and wear appropriate attire, such as long pants and a top that covers your shoulders. Additionally, comfortable shoes are a must for any day trip, as you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking and exploring.
With a little planning and preparation, day trips from Athens can be a fantastic way to see more of Greece and experience its beauty and history. Consider your transportation options, book in advance, and pack appropriately, and you’ll be sure to have a memorable day trip from Athens.
Beyond the Greek capital: Top day trips from Athens
Are you planning a trip to Athens and wondering how to make the most of your vacation? Look no further than the city’s incredible day trip options. Athens is not only a fascinating city full of ancient history and culture but also an excellent base for exploring some of Greece’s most beautiful destinations.
Choosing the right day trips around Athens and planning ahead can make all the difference in maximizing your travel experience. Each of the day trips from Athens mentioned in this article offers a unique experience that is worth every cent. Whether you are looking for a beach getaway, a cultural excursion, or a scenic adventure, Athens has something for everyone.
No matter which day trip from Athens you choose, remember to plan ahead and do your research to make the most out of your experience. Each destination has its unique charm and is worth exploring beyond the city limits of Athens.
Athens is a fantastic destination, but don’t limit your vacation to just the city. Take advantage of the amazing day trip options available and explore the best of what Greece has to offer. From history and culture to stunning natural landscapes and beaches, these day trips from Athens are not to be missed. So pack your bags, plan ahead, and get ready to make unforgettable memories!
Meet Mirela Letailleur, the go-to person on the internet for travelers seeking the best day trips from Athens, Greece. Originally from Romania, Mirela now resides in the beautiful South of France, where she continues to feed her passion for affordable travel in Europe. She is the creative mind behind The Travel Bunny travel blog, where she shares her vast knowledge of local travel and provides unique, free travel guides for budget-conscious travelers.
Mirela is an expert in planning and problem-solving, making her an invaluable resource for anyone looking to maximize their vacation experience in Greece. Her passion for travel and exploration is only surpassed by her love for coffee, which has led her to become a wannabe coffee guru.
If you’re planning a trip to Athens, Greece, then Mirela Letailleur is the person you need to turn to for expert advice on the best day trips from the city. Her extensive knowledge of the area and her commitment to affordable travel make her the perfect guide to help you plan your next adventure in Greece.
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