The capital of Greece, Athens is not just a national capital; it’s also the cultural and spiritual center.
Athens is a hub of tourist activity and world-class Greek cuisine, as well as the birthplace of many myths and legends. It’s a city jam-packed with cool attractions.
From archaeological sites to museums, shops to traditional restaurants to trendy bars to white sand beaches with clear water, Athens has something for everyone.
If you’re staying in Athens for a few days and would like to unwind from the city, we suggest going to the ancient temples, archaeological sites, beautiful islands, and picturesque countryside outside the city.
Let’s have a look at the most popular day trips from Athens.
1. Delphi – An excursion to the crux of ancient Greek history
There are many who regard the Oracle of Delphi as the crux of Ancient Greek history, and one of the most popular sites to visit in Greece as an archaeological site and one of the most important in Greece.
Delphi, nicknamed ‘the navel of the world’ is a UNESCO World Heritage marvel. The Oracle at Delphi, one of the most important worship sites and sanctuaries in ancient Greece, resided in Delphi. It was the cultural and religious center of ancient Greece, as well as the location of the Temple of Apollo, a significant worship site and sanctuary.
Every four years, the Pythian Games were held in Delphi stadium, and in addition to the stadium, theatre, and archaeological museum spread over the slopes of Mount Parnassus northwest of Athens.
At the archaeological museum, one of the most popular museums in Greece, you can view numerous artefacts that have been discovered in Delphi, including dishes, carvings, and statues.
You can also stop at the nearby village of Arachova, a very popular winter resort on your way to Delphi. This scenic resort is located beneath Mount Parnassós and has plenty of activities you can participate in.
Athens terminal station to Delphi takes around two and a half hours by bus. If you are interested in knowing more about Delphi’s glorious past, a guided tour might be the thing for you.
2. Hydra Island – A picturesque escape from the capital
Explore a gorgeously rural island just two hours from Piraeus Port in Athens for a truly picturesque getaway from the city.
Day-trippers can enjoy a relaxing respite from Athens’ busy lifestyle on the island of Hydra. Hydra is a motor vehicle-free island, making it the ideal place to unwind and experience peace and tranquillity.
Walking is the primary form of transit on the island, with the occasional donkey ride. It, therefore, provides for an utterly delightful day wandering the urban alleys of rustic buildings carved into the several hillsides.
Get ready for a lovely day of exploring Hydra Island to find your ideal pastime. It has everything on offer from deserted churches and lonely beaches.
To get to Hydra by public transport simply board the metro in the city’s centre to the port of Piraeus; the trip takes around twenty-five minutes. Four ferries every day leave from Piraeus for Hydra, and the trip takes less than two hours as you glide across the Saronic Gulf’s sparkling waters.
A guided trip is another way to see Hydra and the other charming Greek islands of Poros and Egina, each of which has a distinctive feel all its own.
3. Mycenae – A trip to the ‘City of Agamemnon’
Situated in a hilly region of the Peloponnese, Mycenae was the city of the mythical Agamemnon, one of the heroes of the Trojan War.
According to the legend, the archaeological objects dating back to seven thousand BC in the ancient Mycenaean civilization as written about by Homer and other distinguished Greek authors. If you’re prepared to undertake the hundred-and twenty-kilometer journey from Athens to get there, you won’t be disappointed with what you witness.
It’s a nest of near-prehistoric sites and artefacts including the remains of palaces, forts, and fortress walls and in particular, the Tomb of Agamemnon.
If you are keen on learning about Ancient Greece’s fascinating history as much as possible, you can’t beat taking a guided tour. With the help of a professional guide accompanying you, you’ll get to know all about Mycenae and its stunning monuments, like the Lion’s Gate and Tomb of Agamemnon.
4. Aegina Island – Visit to a popular getaway from Athens
The little island of Aegina, which is in the Saronic Gulf, is a popular escape from Athens.
The island’s beautiful beaches, historic ruins, ouzeries (traditional Greek taverns), seafood restaurants, world-famous Aegina pistachios, and gorgeous Aegina town may all be explored. You can also take a stroll through the peaceful fishing village of Perdika.
Visit the beautifully preserved Doric-style Temple of Aphaia, which was constructed approximately five hundred B.C. on a hilltop overlooking the harbour and the coast.
Take the metro from Athens to Piraeus harbour. Numerous companies are offering ferry services from here to Aegina. Depending on the option you select, the crossing might take as little as 40 minutes or as much as an hour and a half.
Taking a private day tour from Athens on a ferry to the lovely island of Aegina is another way to explore it.
5. Corinth – Explore the remains of Greek antiquity
An interesting day excursion from Athens to Corinth, one of the most important city-states in ancient Greece, is recommended for history buffs.
This half-day excursion gives you the chance to see the magnificent canal as well as the historic city of Corinth, where St. Paul lived and preached and where the ruins of Apollo’s temple from the sixth century still stand.
On this tour, you’ll learn a little about Greek mythology and history while also getting to see some beautiful scenery and buildings. There’s no reason not to go since you’ll be back in Athens in time for lunch as well!
Buses leave from Kifissos Bus Terminal frequently, and the journey by bus from the center of Athens to Corinth takes around 90 minutes. The ancient Corinth archaeological site is then only a short bus or taxi ride away from Corinth.
It just takes an hour to get there, so taking a guided tour or going alone are the two most convenient ways to see Ancient Corinth. You may get there using the A8 highway.
6. Cape Sounion – Home to the iconic Temple of Poseidon
One of the most well-known day trips from Athens is to Cape Sounion. It is the home of the famous Temple of Poseidon, which honours the historic Greek God of the Sea.
Before you even reach your destination, get some fantastic photo opportunities while taking in the stunning vistas of the Athens Riviera.
The monument honouring one of the most beloved figures in Greek mythology may be explored after you get to the ancient worship site, and you can also take in the breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and the Saronic Gulf.
Swim in the Aegean’s emerald waters throughout the summer, then eat some fresh seafood in a taverna by the water. Don’t miss taking in one of the stunning sunsets that emerge from behind the Greek countryside after showing a stunning array of colours.
Buses leave from Pedion Areos every hour or so, and the journey to Cape Sounion from the center of Athens takes around an hour and a half.
Many people who travel to Cape Sounion from Athens choose to go on a guided tour since it is an easy way to view one of the most famous landmarks in the nation and learn about its fascinating history.
7. Coast of Apollo – Venture to the sun-kissed Riviera
The Coast of Apollo, also known as the Athenian Riviera, is a breathtakingly beautiful stretch of coastline between Athens and Cape Sounion that has many attractions to offer other than the typical ancient sites. If you’re looking for something a little different than temples and archaeological ruins, head there.
As you go along the coast, you will come across a wide variety of golf courses, stunning beaches, and marinas brimming with high-end yachts and sailing clubs.
Explore the Riviera’s sun-kissed stretches and savour some of life’s finer pleasures.
If you take the time to swim, relax at cafes and restaurants, enjoy your favourite water sports, shop in contemporary malls, or dance the night away in one of the lively clubs along the seaside boulevard, you’ll understand why the Greeks lead such a leisurely life by the Saronic Gulf.
Apollo Coast may be reached by either using the express bus number E22 from Akadimia-Saronida or the B3 route from Akadimia-Glyfáda through Vouliagménis avenue.
8. Epidaurus – Witness the ancient healing centres and amphitheater
Epidaurus is popular for the magnificent 14,000-seat amphitheatre built in the fourth century B.C.
The theatre’s acoustics are so excellent that even today it is still counted a prime venue for dramatic productions.
Epidaurus is also well-known for the Temple of Asklepios, located north of the theatre. One of the most famous healing locations in ancient times was the archaeological site of Asklipieion in Epidaurus, where patients would spend the night in the spacious sleeping hall in hopes that the healing deity would come to them in their dreams. Also, it was declared a World Heritage Center by UNESCO.
The sanctuary includes physician rooms, remnants of Greek baths, and an expansive gymnasium. The Archaeological Museum of Epidaurus displays statues and ancient relics found in the area.
From Athens’ Kifissos Bus Terminal, take a bus to the Epidaurus village. The journey takes over two hours, and you get to take in some gorgeous coastline scenery.
An ideal way to see as much of this beautiful part of Greece as possible in a day trip is to join a guided tour that takes you to Epidaurus, Mycenae, and Nafplio.
9. Meteora – Explore the ancient monasteries and beautiful sights
The mountains and boulders of Meteora provide some genuinely astonishing and breathtaking landscapes, like a magical dreamscape.
Meteora is a popular destination for hikers, rock climbers, and photographers because of its magnificent landscape. One of the most popular tourist destinations in the country are the magnificent Byzantine monasteries perched on enormous rock formations.
The Monastery of Great Meteoron, which is placed around one of the tallest rock pillars and is renowned for its gorgeous red roof, is one of the most well-known monasteries to visit in this area. The Holy Trinity Monastery, which was depicted in the James Bond movie ‘For Your Eyes Only’ includes a church, a museum, and a sacristy filled with the human skulls of former inmates.
After touring the monasteries, stroll through the picturesque village of Kastraki and sample some classic savoury pie called batzina in the town of Kalampaka.
Rent a car or travel to Kalampaka by early-morning train from the Athens train station. Even if it is not particularly close to Athens, you may still travel there for a day excursion that lasts four to five hours.
10. Hiking trip to Parnitha – A great escape to nature
If you’re craving greenery and nature while visiting Athens, take a day excursion to Mount Parnitha National Park, located just outside the city centre.
A six-kilometre hike through the national park, through green, dense fir trees, and past the springs of Koromilia and Mesiano Nero is part of the day trip from Athens to Parnitha.
A Mediterranean lunch will be served in the forest along with hiking, vistas, and wildlife viewing during the guided excursion.
Before departing for Athens in the early afternoon, savour a mouth-watering handmade Greek meal and take in the breathtaking scenery.
11. Nemea – A trip to the wine lover’s paradise
For those who enjoy wine, Nemea is Athens’ very own wine region. It uses age-old techniques to produce wine that has a unique flavour.
The largest wine-producing region in the country is Nemea, which is renowned for producing outstanding red and rosé wines from the Agioritiko grape.
The region has lovely and exquisitely Mediterranean scenery, as one could anticipate from wine country. Wine enthusiasts will appreciate touring and tasting their way through Nemea’s wineries.
There are additional archaeological sites available for those who aren’t wine enthusiasts, such as the ruins of the Nemeios Zeus temple, the old stadium where the Nemean athletic competitions were held in the sixth century B.C., and the Nemea Archaeological Museum.
You may tour Nemea’s wine lanes by renting a car. From Athens’ Kifissou station, you can also take the KTEL bus to the archaeological site, Archaea Nemea. It takes about one and a half hours to complete around a hundred-kilometre journey.
You can visit some of the most beautiful vineyards and all the other archaeological sites in the area with ease if you take a guided wine tour in Nafplio.
With almost three thousand years’ history of continuous human habitation, Athens is undoubtedly a marvel.
The city alone does not contain all of its tremendous history. Beautiful historical and archaeological sites can be found all around the city.
We have mentioned above the most essential day trips to take from Athens. If you find yourself in the Greek capital with some additional time, we recommend taking a day trip to one of these locations to experience more of the splendour of the ancient world.