Most travelers don’t know that there are lots and lots of day trips from Athens. For many who come from abroad Athens is a 2 to 3 day destination for them. However there are tons of things to do in Athens.
Check at least 40 top things to do in Athens. Don’t forget to read why Greece is a really affordable country. Even for students! It is one of the cheapest (but with high quality) destinations in Europe.
So, before hoping on the next ferry to the amazing Greek islands, give more time to explore Athens and whitewashed beaches of Mainland Greece. Yes, you read it right!
Athens is a great base to experience vacations all over Attica region.
This includes great beaches, mountains, ancient Greek monuments, museums, hundreds of outdoor activities, bars, great restaurants and top street food.
So, there are things to inside Athens but there are much more close to Athens.
How to receive the best from your Day Trips from Athens
As in many European countries where English is their second language and street signs follow along, renting a car is an option. If you have time only for Athens then simply book a tour either via GetYourGuide or Urban Adventures.
Both will serve you really well, not to mention the time you will save trying to find out which of the things you want to taste/visit is available or not when you are in the city (that is a major hint to know).
If you plan getting outside Athens (what this post is about) then we suggest to rent a car. Car rentals are not that expensive in Athens. In fact they are cheaper than in other countries and with a GPS you will find all the points of interest we mention below. Better to avoid public transportation unless you are fine with wasting tons of time.
If you don’t want to drive at all (being in a foreign country and all that) then there are many organized tours for almost all of these places.
Please note that the hours mentioned in tours are one way. You need to plan accordingly for the time to get back. Depending on the location some times there is lots of traffic either on your way there or/and your way back.
In 1 Hour from Athens
Temple of Poseidon and Cape Sounion for culture and swimming
There are lots of options for swimming (organized beaches), food (tons of taverns) and cafe’s to enjoy the sunset along the way to Cape Sounion. Read this post too. Cape Sounion is related to the myth of Aegeus and Thesseus.
Artemis (Loutsa) for swimming, windsurfing, kiteboard, SUP
Lots of taverns and cafe’s by the sea. We suggest to go to Old Artemis city (there is New Artemis of course) and get a table or sun lounge at Albatros bar. Great music and windsurf, sup station to stay there all day long.
Loutraki & Iraio Temple, near Corinth
Great small town by the sea which also hosts superb thermal spa installations (both indoors and outdoors) along with massage therapies. Has lots of options for food too. Make sure to visit the Heraion temple (has a beach right next to ancient Greek ruins) and the lighthouse at the top.
Fantastic for hiking and -believe it or not- has some pretty great food in 2 of the summits called Mpafi and Flabouri. The Casino of Athens is also situated on mountain Parnitha. You can take public bus and in less than 1 hour you will arrive at the funicular parking of the casino. Hop on (free) and you will arrive to the top. From there you can hike from the dirt road towards to the summits or take the asphalt road. There are hiking paths (well signed) that start from the funicular parking too. Teh view from the summits is spectacular as all Athens is seen from 1160mt. Also read this post.
Ready to go a bit further for your day trips from Athens?
In 2 Hours from Athens
Visit the Nafplion castle and find out about its history. The small city of Nafplion is ideal for enjoying food and coffee. It has a couple of beaches too so you can combine it with some swimming.
Mycenae Archaeological site
This is the place of King Agamemnon. A must see in Greece. There are some “touristic” taverns near the site, but we advise to take your eating business to another place.
Ancient theater of Epidaurus
The world famous for its acoustic properties theater is there. Go and test yourself how one can be at the very upper top rows, while hearing a person whispering at the base. A true acoustics marvel from Ancient Greece.
Delphi archaeological site and museum
Perhaps one of the most popular places in Greece. Along with Acropolis and Acropolis museum do try to visit the temple of Apollo and where Pythia, the Oracle, gave her prophecies. It is not near the 3 locations above, and is also a different trip to a different direction by itself, but the temple of Apollo worth’s it. After all, all this is part of Greek mythology.
Full Day Trips
We suggest to take these if you can plan to stay 1 night outside of Athens (at least). For example, driving 4 hours to Meteora (either by car or organized tour) is a bit too much when you have another 4 to return to Athens.
Day Trips from Athens to Meteora (apprx. 4 hours)
One of the famous religious locations in Greece are the gigantic rocks of Meteora and the cliff-hanging monasteries. Check these posts here about Meteora. In case you’ve been to Montserrat in Spain you will find great similarities. It is a Unesco World Heritage Centre.
Mystras (apprx. 3 hours)
One of the oldest castle cities of Greece. The castle on the top of the hill was founded in 1249 by the Frankish leader William II de Villeharduin. It is also a Unesco World Heritage Centre.
Karpenisi area (apprx. 4 hours)
One of the most green places but not near the sea. The area has tons of routes for hikers, beautiful villages “drown” in trees and waterfalls. There are many rivers & gorges. Here is the famous “Panta Vrehei” canyon.
Galaxidi village (apprx 3 hours)
You can combine this with your visit to Delphi Archaeological Museum and site, and maybe the village of Arachova (or going there on on your way back). Galaxidi is a small village on the road that goes to Nafpaktos and West Greece.
Day cruises from Athens
Day cruise from Athens to: Hydra, Poros, Aegina
That is an excellent option. The ferry will take you to the island of Hydra in Saronic Gulf and to each of these villages/ports of each where you will experience the local cuisine and culture. Saronic gulf is spectacular.
Aegina is great for a day trip by itself
Bonus: You can take the ferry and be there in 1 hour. If you like cycling do it with your bike. We did it as part of a 2 days bike tour. Note: It has some uphill, when you want to visit the Temple of Afea. Try to go to Perdika village during sunset. It is really special. Don’t forget to buy pistachio.
Did you like our day trips from Athens? Have you ever been to any day trips from Athens or in Greece, before? We would be happy to know more about it.
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