Last Updated on: February 14, 2021
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Are there any day trips from Athens worth taking during my vacation? That’s one of the most common questions travelers have in mind before visiting the Greek capital. The answer is a resounding yes. The charms of Athens are not limited to the inner city’s borders.
There are numerous thrilling locations lying just beyond the city limits, as well as other famous destinations that are easily within reach and are waiting to be explored.
Tips and Frequently Asked Questions About Planning a Day Trip From Athens
From graceful tiny islands and majestic ancient ruins to beautiful seaside landscapes and grandiose monasteries, here are some tips and answers to frequently asked questions for planning the most exciting day trips from Athens on your next vacation.
What Is The Best Day Trip From Athens?
Athens is conveniently located in the center of Greece and there are countless locations in close proximity to the city that are great for city breaks and short excursions.
The most popular day trips from Athens are the following:
- Mycenae and Epidaurus
- Ancient Olympia
- Ancient Corinth
- The Saronic Gulf Islands of Hydra, Poros, Aegina, and Agistri
- Cape Sounion
This abundance of choices makes the question of what the best day trip from Athens is a very difficult one to answer.
It all comes down to what your interests are and how you would like to spend your time on your Athens vacation.
If you are a history buff looking for insight into the country’s culture, then you should choose one of the destinations that feature archaeological sites and museums like Delphi, Ancient Olympia, Ancient Corinth, and Mycenae.
If you’re longing to relax in a sunny place and enjoy a day sunbathing and swimming then head for one of the islands close to Athens like Agistri, Hydra, Aegina, and Poros or the charming little seaside town of Nafplio.
Finally, for those of you that want to combine sightseeing with natural beauty, Meteora and Cape Sounion are the safest bets.
Apart from your interests, your choice should also depend on how long you are planning to stay in Athens; which brings us to the next question.
How Many Days Do You Need in Athens?
Most visitors tend to spend an average of three to four days in Athens before considering going on a day trip or embarking on a trip to a different destination in Greece.
A span of three or four days in Athens is ideal if you want to get a taste of life in the Greek capital and visit the most famous attractions like the Acropolis Museum and the Parthenon.
Still, the city offers numerous attractions and unique experiences that can’t fit into such a short itinerary.
If you really want to explore Athens and all its charms then we recommend you plan for a visit of about a week. This way, you’ll also be able to go on a day trip from Athens without missing out on anything it has to offer.
Which Greek Islands Do Day Trips From Athens?
This is another topic that frequently comes up when planning a holiday to Athens. Who wouldn’t like to visit a Greek island while on holiday in Athens after all?
The vast majority of visitors ask if there are any islands close to Athens and what is the easiest way to get from Athens to the islands.
Luckily for you, we have all the answers. There are indeed several alluring islands that are close to Athens (within only two hours from the city center) which make perfect destinations for a day trip.
The most famous among them are:
- Kea (or Tzia)
All of the above islands are close to the city but the island closest to Athens is Aegina, a charming islet that features lovely architecture and picturesque harbors in the Saronic Gulf only 40 minutes away from the port of Piraeus.
In a small distance from Aegina, you’ll find the rest of the Saronic Gulf islands, namely Hydra, Spetses, Poros, and Agkistri. These are the closest and easiest islands to visit on a day trip from Athens.
As for the rest, the journey might take a little longer but they are definitely worth a visit if you have enough time.
As for what the best island is for a day trip from Athens, we recommend that you visit more than one with a cruise in the Saronic Gulf.
You can find our tips for planning a day trip to the Saronic Gulf islands below.
Day Trip from Athens to Delphi
A day trip from Athens to Delphi is beyond question one of the most popular tours in Greece.
In ancient times, Delphi was such a respected and important city that it was named the “center of the world” by ancient Greeks.
Its most prominent monument is the Temple of Apollo where citizens and oracles communicated with the Greek Gods and received messages and omens that defined the course of the region’s history.
Today, Delphi is a UNESCO-protected archaeological site that features an abundance of sights and attractions, making it perfect for a refreshing day trip from Athens.
Things to see and do in Delphi
While visiting Delphi, you’ll get the chance to marvel at the famous archaeological site and the Temple of Apollo as well as several other important monuments including the ancient treasury of the Athenians, the Polygonal Wall, the Athenian Stoa, and the monument of Platea.
In addition, do not omit to pay a visit to the Delphi museum to get a glimpse of what life in ancient times looked like through intriguing exhibits like the Sphinx of Naxos, the famous bronze Charioteer of Delphi, and the statue of Antinoos.
How far is Delphi from Athens?
The small town of Delphi is approximately 160 kilometers (around 100 miles) away from the Greek capital. Even though not one of the nearest destinations to Athens on this list, it’s just close enough for a day trip from Athens.
Traveling to Delphi from Athens by car would take around 2,5 hours.
How to get from Athens to Delphi
The cheapest way to get from Athens to Delphi is by public bus (known as “KTEL” in Greece) and the most convenient is with a private transfer or a taxi. If you like to know more about how to get around Athens, please read our detailed guide here.
The town of Delphi is not connected with the Greek capital via train or airplane but for those of you that wouldn’t mind, there are private helicopter tours that depart from Athens.
On the other hand, why waste your time planning? Check out some options for a guided tour from Athens to Delphi we found for you.
If you like to read more details about a day trip from Athens to Delphi please read the article below.
Day Trip From Athens To Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
When you travel to Athens, make sure to spend some time on a day trip to Cape Sounion.
Cape Sounion is one of the most fascinating locations you can find near the city center, offering a great opportunity for a short day trip from Athens. It is a beautiful peninsula on the southwestern coast of Athens that protrudes in the aquamarine waters of the Saronic Gulf.
Cape Sounion features the world-famous Poseidon Temple, astonishing sunset views, magnificent sandy beaches, and local taverns that serve mouthwatering fresh sea-to-table seafood.
Things to do and see in Cape Sounion
Start off your visit by walking all the way up to the famous Temple of Poseidon at the archaeological site of Sounion.
The temple is an ancient site of religious worship nestled on the top of a steep 65-meter (about 213 feet) tall cliff. Apart from its stunning architecture, the monument is also famous for the magical views it offers while the sun sets in the sea. Dubbed as one of the most instagrammable spots in Athens, Cape Sounion offers impeccable opportunities for some truly breathtaking photographs.
Moreover, Cape Sounion is an exceptional place to go swimming as there are several secluded sandy bays near the archaeological site.
To finish off the perfect day trip to Sounio, head for one of the traditional taverns for a taste of local Greek cuisine.
How far is Cape Sounion from Athens?
Cape Sounion lies on the famous Athenian Riviera, approximately 77 kilometers (around 48 miles) away from Athens. Its proximity to the city and especially to the southern suburbs makes it perfect for a day trip.
Traveling to Cape Sounion from Athens by car would take a little over one hour.
How to get from Athens to Cape Sounion
You can visit Cape Sounion via bus (KTEL) or tram from the city center but there is no train connection from Athens.
In any case, it is highly recommended that you visit Cape Sounion with a guided tour, not only because your guide will provide valuable insight into the site’s history but also because the beautiful scenic route from Athens to Cape Sounion will be much more enjoyable with a private transfer.
Check out some options for a guided tour from Athens to Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon.
If you like to read more details about a day trip from Athens to the Temple of Poseidon please read the article below.
Day Trip from Athens to Meteora
Located in central Greece, Meteora has rightfully gained the reputation of one of the most unique destinations in Europe, a site that blends stunning mountainous landscapes, natural beauty, Byzantine architecture, and a rich cultural and religious heritage.
As a cultural site, Meteora and its six main active monasteries have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
A day trip from Athens to Meteora is a must for your itinerary on your trip to the Greek capital.
Things to do and see in Meteora
Unquestionably, no day trip to Meteora could ever be complete without a climb up the steep rock where the monasteries are standing. There are six different Byzantine monasteries atop the rock, all of which are open to the public.
A stroll through the monasteries’ interior and their wide terraces that offer unprecedented views over the valley below will make for an unforgettable experience.
Meteora is also one of the most popular outdoor adventure destinations in Greece. It offers numerous opportunities for mountain biking, rock climbing, and hiking with several exciting trails running through the rough landscape winding around abandoned monasteries and decades-old hermit caves.
Lastly, when visiting Meteora make sure to spend some time in the town of Kalambaka to visit the Natural History Museum of Meteora and the Mushroom Museum.
How far is Meteora from Athens?
The distance from Athens to Meteora is approximately 360 kilometers (around 224 miles). Getting to Meteora from Athens by car would take about 4,5 hours.
How to get from Athens to Meteora
The nearest town to Meteora that is connected to Athens is Kalambaka.
There is a public bus (KTEL) departing from Athens city center and arriving in the nearby town of Trikala. From there, there is another bus route reaching Kalambaka. Alternatively, you can hop on a train from the central train station of Athens (Larissa Station) and reach Kalambaka directly.
Finally, if you value convenience over budget, you can always book a guided tour to Meteora including a private transfer. If you’re looking for a guided tour with a private transfer from Athens to Meteora, we highly recommend this one from GetYourGuide.com.
And it gets better: We have screened the best options for a guided tour to Meteora. See all 6 monasteries of the Meteora rock formations.
If you like to read more details about a day trip from Athens to Meteora please read the article below.
Day trip from Athens to Olympia
Located in western Peloponnese, Olympia is one of the most famous locations in Greece for day trips from Athens for locals and tourists alike.
What makes Olympia so special -besides its astonishing natural beauty that is representative of southern Greece- is that it was the birthplace of the Olympic Games.
In ancient times, Olympia was renowned as a place of profound religious and cultural importance.
Today, Olympia still attracts countless visitors looking for a glimpse of what life in ancient Greece was like during the event that would come to be a universal celebration of nobleness and sportsmanship.
Things to do and see in Olympia
The ancient stadium where the Olympic Games used to take place in ancient Greece should of course be on the very top of your bucket list when visiting Olympia. Still, there are many more attractions in this small charming town for you to explore.
Start off by strolling by the Temple of Zeus and the Temple of Hera, two of the oldest remaining monuments in Greece.
Then head over to the neoclassical building that houses the Museum of the Ancient Olympic Games and finish off your visit by marveling at the exhibits of the Archaeological Museum of Olympia and the fascinating, visual-rich Archimedes Museum.
On the way from Athens to Olympia, you’ll pass several popular spots of Isthmus of Corinth, ancient Corinth, and Mycenae. Make sure to make short pit stops if you have enough time to explore what these sites have to offer as well.
How far is Olympia from Athens?
The distance between Athens and Olympia is approximately 250 kilometers (around 155 miles). A one-way trip between Athens and Olympia by car lasts around 3,5 hours.
How to get from Athens to Olympia
You can reach Olympia from Athens by bus (KTEL).
There are daily departures from Athens to the town of Pyrgos. From there, you can hop on a local bus to get to Olympia. Alternatively, you can opt for a private transfer which will make the drive significantly shorter.
There is no train or plane connection between Athens and Olympia.
Looking for a guided tour to Ancient Olympia? Check some options we found for you!
If you like to read more details about a day trip from Athens to Ancient Olympia please read the article below.
Day trip from Athens to Saronic Gulf Islands
One of the most frequently asked questions that visitors of Athens have for locals can be summed up to this: How near is the closest island to Athens and how can I get there?
Most of them are delighted to hear that it’s indeed possible to visit several islands from the city center of Athens. And here is the best news; It can take less than a couple of hours to transport from the hustle and bustle of downtown Athens to a charming little island with crystal-clear azure waters and sandy shores.
The Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf that encompass the southern coasts of Attica are famous for their aquamarine waters and beautiful islands.
The most popular among them are Salamina, Aegina, Poros, Hydra, and Agistri.
Things to see and do in the Saronic Gulf Islands
Even though only a few minutes away from each other, each of the islands that are close to Athens has a very distinct character and hence they attract different types of visitors.
Stunning neoclassical architecture, boutique shops, and a strict car-free policy make glamorous Hydra look like it’s frozen in time.
Lush pine tree forests and golden-sand beaches make Poros ideal for nature lovers.
Featuring ancient temples, pristine beaches, and a vivid culinary scene, Aegina island is your best bet if you’re looking for a combination of history, gastronomy, and beauty.
Spetses is a favorite among locals for city breaks, featuring secluded beaches and vibrant nightlife during summertime.
Finally, the tiny island of Agistri is great for swimming in crystal-clear waters, watersports, and long hikes in the green surroundings.
If you want to visit more than one island in a single day, it is highly recommended that you book a Saronic Gulf cruise!
How far are the Saronic Gulf Islands from Athens?
The trip duration between Athens and the islands of the Saronic Gulf can range from 45 minutes to two hours depending on your destination.
The island closest to Athens is Aegina at 45 minutes away and the one farthest away from Athens is Spetses at approximately 2 hours away by ferry.
How to get from Athens to the Saronic Gulf Islands
Located very near the city center, all the islands of the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf present perfect opportunities for day trips from Athens.
None of the islands have an airport and all of them are accessible exclusively via boat.
The easiest way to get to the islands is by boarding a ferry at Piraeus port. You can reach the Piraeus port by train (green line) from the city center of Athens.
Apart from ferries, there are also hydrofoil boats departing from Piraeus to some of the islands.
Tickets for both the ferries and the hydrofoils can be booked in advance at ferryhopper.com.
Day Trip From Athens To Epidaurus, Mycenae, and Nafplio
For those among you who consider themselves to be history buffs and are looking for ancient sites to explore out of the ordinary, a day trip to Epidaurus, Mycenae and Nafplio is a must.
All of these exciting locations are located on the Argolis peninsula, one of the oldest inhabited regions in Greece that boast an abundance of archaeological sites and -of course- amazing ocean views.
The Argolis region is just a few hours away from Athens in the southern part of the country called the Peloponnese that is split from the mainland by the famous Corinth Canal.
Things to do in Epidaurus, Mycenae, and Nafplio
On this day trip, you’ll have the chance to visit two world-class UNESCO sites in a matter of just a few hours.
The first one is the Great Theater of Epidaurus, one of the best-preserved ancient sites in the country, an ancient theater that is known the world over for its incredible acoustics.
The second is the historical archaeological site of Mycenae where you will find numerous monuments including the Royal Tomb of King Agamemnon, the Treasury of Atreus, the Cyclopean Walls, and the Lion’s Gate.
On the way between the two sites, you can make a short stop at Nafplio which was the original capital city of the modern Greek state.
There, you can marvel at the astonishing views of the fortress-island of Bourtzi and the beautiful Venetian castle of Palamidi, or even rest for while for a refreshing lunch at a seafront restaurant.
To top it off, on your way back to Athens, you’ll pass over the Corinth Canal which is an incredible attraction in its own right.
How far are Epidaurus, Mycenae, and Nafplio from Athens?
The distance from Athens to Epidaurus is approximately 125 kilometers (or about 77 miles) and then you’ll need around 35 kilometers (or 21 miles) to reach Nafplio and a final 23 kilometers ( or 14 miles) to reach Mycenae.
A one-way trip to all of these destinations by car would last about 3,5 hours.
How to get from Athens to Epidaurus, Mycenae, and Nafplio
You can get to the wider Argolis region with a public bus (KTEL Argolidas) or a public train (OSE) from Athens downtown. Both run a few times every day year-round.
You can also rent a car from Rentalcars.com or hire a taxi service to depart from the city center of Athens or even get to the small town of Kiato with the suburban railway (Proastiakos) and then continue with a taxi.
If you’re looking for the best and fastest way to get to these sites and depart on an incredible day trip from Athens to Epidaurus, Mycenae, and Nafplio, we strongly recommend you take a look at this tour: Argolis – Full-Day Tour in Mycenae, Epidaurus & Nafplio.
To sum it up, whether you can afford to spend several days away from the city center or even just a few hours, one thing is for certain; by choosing one of these best day trips from Athens you are guaranteed to spruce up your holiday with an extraordinary experience.
Stay on the lookout for our extended guides on what to see and do in each destination and our tips for the best itineraries in and around Athens.
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