8 Best Day Trips from Athens

Martina Rosado
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Map of day trips from Athens

A wonderful rocky beach in the southern Peloponnese. Protected by an old Venetian castle.

Vouliagmeni Lake

Beautiful lake in the mountains, west of Athens.

Atlantis

Super modern artificial island in the center of the Saronic Gulf, best of the day trips from Athens.

Gorgona

An island off the south coast of Phocaea, with an occupied and abandoned monastery.

Poros

Cliff-top oasis.

Naples

Ancient and captivating!

Meteora

Monastic complex of six Eastern Orthodox monasteries.

Ancient Corinth

Though Corinth is known as the “Ionian Cultural Capital” and was a big player during the days of the ancient empires of Greece, the city is also a growing destination for upscale tourism. The beautifully Victorian-era Horton Mansion and Village are favorites with travelers. Then there’s the Corinth Canal, the impressive Acropolis Museum, and the island of Salamis, the site of one of the fiercest and most important of all Greek naval battles.

Getting to Ancient Corinth

One of the most exciting things about traveling to Greece is the chance to rediscover the ancient sites of the Greek world that have stood the test of time. At the same time, Greek antiquities such as those found at the ancient city of Corinth are being unearthed on a regular basis.

It’s quite a treat to be able to see the sites of antiquity that even the Ancient Greeks knew about.

There are a lot of places to visit in Greece, and it may seem a bit overwhelming to plan your trip if you haven’t ever been here before. It’s a good thing, then, that you’ve come to the right place! Below are a few of the places that you really can’t miss out on.

Ancient Corinth

Corinth, as an official independent city-state, was one of the most important of all the inland Greek cities. It was the first naval power in the Mediterranean, spreading its influence all the way to the British Isles and the shores of the Black Sea.

Today, the ruins of the ancient city of Corinth are found in the northern part of modern Greece, near the port city of Patras. The site of Corinth spans an area of about 6 square miles and is located on the Sotira escarpment, overlooking the Gulf of Corinth.

Aegina

Aegina Island, which is located in the Aegean Sea, is a small island. While it is underlings and only measures 24 square kilometers in area, it is known throughout the world for its beautiful blue and white striped homes.

It is also the birthplace of the ancient Greek philosopher Anaximander. He is considered the father of such well-known philosophers as Heraclitus and Pythagoras, and he has been revered since his death in 546 BC.

Today, Aegina is one of the best tourist destinations in Greece. It is well known for its wonderful beaches and its nearness to Athens.

In addition to its rich and diverse historical past, Aegina has three main consumer attractions for tourists.

First is the ruins of the city of Aegina. They are located on the island’s largest hill.

It is believed that the first settlement that was built here was in the Middle Ages. Since then, the city has been destroyed and rebuilt about 15 times.

The main building that is still intact is the castle. It features some of the most famous mosaics in the region, which were added to the castle by the Byzantine emperor Justinianos I.

A second attraction is the Castle Museum, which displays many beautiful artifacts. Several acts of martyrdom have been depicted here that took place in the 19th century.

Getting to Aegina

Aegina and Athens are located only an hour from each other, but seeing either place without seeing the other is quite the road trip. Aegina, located in the west of Attica, has a very traditional Greek feel, even though it’s not located in an actual region.

Historic sites in Aegina include the Temple of Aphaia, the Gymnasium of Olympios, and the Theatre of Dionysos. Those who are interested in visiting city-sized ruins should check out the ancient city of Olynthos, which was discovered in 1979.

Worth Seeing

The Temple of Aphaia, located on the site of the ancient city and created by the architect Iktinos, is one of the earliest surviving doric temples. In the 5th century, a wall surrounded the temple, which is likely what was added on later, but was left alone, leading archaeologists to believe it is in its original state.

The Temple of Aphaia is the most impressive sight in the region, but you should also check out the remains of a Late Geometric building of Piraeus south of the highway from Athens to Aegina.

This is a feature in the National Archaeological Museum of Aegina that was discovered by archaeologists in 1910 and is believed to date to the 5th century B.C.

Mycenae

Getting to Mycenae

Mycenae is the only Greek settlement that can be reached by car from Athens. The entrance is at Mikro Kavos, a village about 25 km southeast of Athens with lovely views of the Corinth Gulf.

The place was home to the Mycenaean civilization, an imperial culture that flourished in the Bronze Age (2nd millennium – 4th century BCE).

Here you will find a small but well-preserved archaeological site, dating back to the 16th century BCE. Artefacts found on the site are among the most important treasures of Mycenae and the most important testimonies of the Greek Bronze Age.

Epidaurus

Getting to Epidaurus

Epidaurus was one of the most popular tourist attractions in ancient Greece. It was famous for being the place where the Greek people worshiped the god Asclepius, the God of Healing. While there are no specific ruins related to this legend, it is one that shaped the history of the ancient city.

Today, the modern city of Epidaurus has made great efforts to restore this historic site and ensure that it is a world-class tourist destination. One thing that you can expect when you visit Epidaurus are the exciting and unique facilities.

You can see that Epidaurus still has the ruins at the heart of the historical site. These ruins would have been magnificent in their day but still retain sufficient significance to make Epidaurus a major tourist attraction.

Epidaurus is especially popular for hikers and bikers. The beautiful view of the city that you get while you are riding on your bike is one of the best things to see. The traditional ruins are certainly worth the visit.

Epidaurus is known for its great hospitality. If you go to Epidaurus, do not miss the opportunity to try some of the local dishes. Shopping is also a popular activity, but do remember that you will be spending money on food to enjoy the beautiful atmosphere. Whether you want to rent a car or take a bus, Epidaurus has public transport that can take you there.

Nafplio

A beautiful seaside city with old castles, ruins, Venetian Fortress, and a monastery that’s a popular tourist attraction. It’s not too far from Athens and a perfect weekend trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

You can spend a day walking along the waterfront enjoying charming seaside towns, ancient buildings, and the ruins of the city’s forts. The beaches in Nafplio are lovely for swimming too.

Getting to Nafplio

“You don’t need a boat to see Greece…Take a bus or train. If the train trip takes over an hour, tell them to stop and let you off at the port at Mixolites. If the bus ride is shorter, tell them to wait for you at the port. A small boat will wait for you on the ship…This is the fastest way to get to Nafplio without driving!”

“If you want to see the best of Santorini, you’ll need to be off the beaten path and get away from the crowds. Take a bus to the Karterados beach area, walk down to the shore and get on the boat that’s waiting there…It’s a cool way to get to your destination without traveling through the more crowded areas.”

Cape Sounion

Getting to Cape Sounion

It’s easy to get to Cape Sounion from the center of Athens. We took three different options in order to arrive at this top recommendation.

Hydra

Lot's of things to see here from ancient ruins to sculptures.

Getting to Hydra

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is one of the largest museums in Greece and one of the most important worldwide. It is overflowing with Greek and Roman artifacts from the Classical and Hellenic periods. Not many of them are on display, but if you are lucky, you can visit the Athenian Agora, the famous Acropolis including the rock surfaces of the Acropolis, and the exhibition “History of the Acropolis.”

If you don’t want to visit the ancient ruins at a given time, you can always consider a day trip to the Isthmus of Corinth. The Corinth Canal is the best-known ancient monument of its kind and an absolutely invaluable feat of the Greek engineers who accomplished this engineering masterpiece.

For the best view, have a meal at the National Observatory of Athens. You’ll be able to see all the ancient areas from the Acropolis to Ilissos in the distance.

If you are interested in history and architecture, a short day trip to Argos will be worth the time. The city is surrounded by remains of the Argolid. Many of them are well preserved and others are still under excavation. You can also climb to the top of the Acropolis of Argos, even though it isn’t the original one.

Delphi

Delphi is an archaeological site, known for its temple to Apollo, and for the oracle that was said to give visitors responses to their questions. Visitors from the past would come to consult the Oracle at Delphi, and it was said that when the Oracle would give a response, the smoke of burnt laurel leaves would be seen rising from the temple’s mouth. The story from the Oracle’s origin says that Apollo stopped the plague, sparing the Pythia in the process. The Oracle stated that the plague was caused by a snake and gave the snake a fitting burial. Through all of these offerings made to the island of Delos, the Oracle resided. The well-preserved ruins of Delphi are open to the public.

Standing in the ruins of the Temple of Apollo is a spectacular sight. The columns ranged in height from seven and a half feet to twenty-seven feet in height, and once had a total weight of 213 tons!

Getting to Delphi

Delphi, in the northwest part of the country, has one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the region and lies in the middle of the National Forest of Parnitha. The location, impressive yet quiet, with few buildings, bodes well for the visitor whose eyes are fixed on the past, not the present.

Made on one of the most important sites of ancient Greece, Delphi is one of the most visited by archaeologist and visitors alike.

Delphi was the home to the most exclusive events and didn’t just serve as the ceremonial center for Greece. It was also a commercial site and a religious spot. It was also a site that was used for a different type of communication than today’s.

The two dominant deities of Delphi, Apollo and the Pythia, are still remembered and honored today.

Apollo is the god of light, sun, and truth. He is associated with the Sun, but it’s also a complex god that was venerated by both the Romans and the Greeks themselves.

With geometric perfection, Apollo was known for his power of prophecy and, as such, he was the god of doctors.

The oracles of Delphi were not supposed to be tampered with, which is why the cult that ran the oracle gave the people cryptic messages that were not explainable.