Best day trips from Athens

The magnificent Athens, a city showing traces of its mighty history on every corner, is a place where people come if they want to see a bit (actually a lot) of ancient architecture, hear about roots of mythology and philosophy, taste the famous Greek cuisine, and enjoy what’s left of the antique in this urban world. However, if you ever think you saw everything there is to see of Athens and you’ve had enough of Acropolis (if that’s ever possible), check out our suggestions for the best day trips from the Greek capital!

1) Hydra, Poros, and Aegina

These three spectacular islands are a perfect one day tour from Athens. The tour usually starts by visiting Hydra, a former safe haven for Pirates. Narrow stone-paved streets and the island’s traditional ‘means of transport’, the saddled donkey, along the charming promenade have been attracting tourists for years. Next stop is Poros, with mesmerizing groves of pine and lemon trees and streets offering the best view of the town’s clock tower. And finally, last but not least, the largest of the Saronic Islands, Aegina has bloomed through its wonderful pistachio groves and colorful markets. Admire the classic Byzantine architecture through the charming Church of Saint Nectarios or the wonderfully preserved 5th-century-B.C. temple of Afaia providing a fantastic view of the Argosaronic Gulf.

How to get there:

  • Boat: Daily departures from Marina Flisvos — Palaio Faliro at 08:00 and return at 19:30.
  • Price: The tour costs 109€ for adults and 65€ for children (5-12 years old)

Aegina

2) Delphi

Situated on the slopes of Mount Parnassus above the Gulf of Corinth, Delphi is one of the most famous historic sites in Greece. Once regarded the center of the world, Delphi is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and along with the sanctuary of Apollo and the Acropolis one of the most important sites of ancient Greece. Delphi lies 180 km northwest of Greek capital, so if you’re planning to spend the night, you can do so in the little town of Delphi or the mountain village of Arachova, only few km away from the ancient site. According to the legend, the oracle at Delphi originally belonged to Gaea, the Earth goddess, and was guarded by her son Python, the serpent. Finally, Apollo is believed to have slain Python and founded his own oracle there.

How to get there:

  • Bus: There are daily lines to Delphi. The journey takes 3 hours. You can see the driving schedule.
  • Price: The ride costs 15€ per direction.

3) Meteora

High above the Meteora landscape you can find  on the edge of sandstone peaks. Today, their homes in solitude, the Orthodox monasteries, are one of the most popular destinations in the entire country. Nestled at the fringe of the Thessaly Plain, only a few hours away from Athens, the small town of Kalambaka is home to Meteora’s breathtaking attractions. The views from here have been the inspiration for many films and TV shows, including the Game of Thrones (the Eyrie kingdom). A trip to the Meteora phenomenon is a unique experience combining nature’s grandeur with architecture and history. Spiritual, magical, serene, immense, inspiring… these are only some of the words people use when describing this unique place, so go and see it yourself and you will know why.

How to get there:

  • Train: This is the easiest way to reach Meteora. Go to Athens central station, the Larissa Station, and take the train to Kalampaka. The journey takes 5 hours.
  • Bus: Take the bus from the Liossion Station (not the central bus station) to Trikala, the big city next to Kalampaka, from where you can catch another bus to Kalampaka. The journey takes 5 hours.
  • Price: The train ride costs 18.20€, while bus ride costs 29€.

4) Nafplio

Nafplio is one of the most romantic cities across the country. The first capital of the newly born Greece from the first half of the 18th century was, according to mythology, founded by Napflios, the son of god Poseidon. The town dates back to the prehistoric era when soldiers participated in the Argonautic expedition and the Trojan War. Nafplio flourished during the Byzantine times and thanks to Frankish, Venetian and Turkish conquerors, today has various influences in its culture, architecture and customs. You will be mesmerized by ancient buildings, medieval castles, statues and monuments, Ottoman fountains and Venetian architecture present on every corner of the city.

How to get there:

  • Bus: There are hourly buses from Athens Kiffisou street bus station. Please check the driving schedule. The trip takes about 2 hours, depending on the traffic.
  • Price: The journey costs about 15€ per direction.

5) Mycenae and Epidaurus

Discover the remains of the ancient city of Mycenae, a former major center of Greek civilization (1100 BC) and the small nearby village of Epidaurus known in ancient era for being a place of healing. After a scenic ride along the coastal road of the Saronic Gulf, you’ll arrive to Mycenae, known as home to kingdom of the mythical Agamemnon. Visit the tomb of Agamemnon, the Lionesses Gate and the Palace. However, before continuing to Epidaurus, stop off at the picturesque town of Nauplia, claimed to be the birthplace of Apollo’s son Asklepios, the most celebrated healer of the classical world. Once in Epidaurus, check its famous theatre, used for performances due to its amazing acoustics ever since the ancient times.

How to get there:

  • Bus: There are daily buses from Athens to Mycenae. The bus trip is about 1h 30min long. Buses from Athens to Mycenae depart from Kifissos KTEL Bus Station.
  • Price: One way price costs 14.40€.

Epidaurus

6) Hydra Island

Hydra is one of Greek’s most picturesque islands. The charming place mesmerizes visitors at first sight with the grey stone buildings constructed on the hill slopes. The island got under the spotlight in 1956 as the location for A Girl in Black movie. What’s so special about Hydra island is that motor vehicles are not allowed and the only kind of transport you can use are your feet or a boat. This piece of heaven is great for hiking and relaxation in general, so hop on the first ferry and escape from Athens’ hustle and bustle and make sure to go hiking there as the paths lead to old mansions and monasteries in the countryside.

How to get there:

  • Ferry: There are daily ferries to Hydra from Piraeus, the largest port of Athens. The ferry trip takes about 2 hours.
  • Price: The ferry ride costs 28€.

NOTE: The Hydra port offers connections to the opposite mainland coast of Peloponnese and close islands by water taxis.

7) Athenian Riviera

Situated on the southern side of the Greek capital lies the charming Apollo Coast, also known as the Athenian Riviera. The palm tree-lined esplanades and idyllic beaches dominate this unique sight of Mediterranean coastline. Whether you’re up for beaches and nightclubs or some historical education and sailing to nearby island, the Apollo Coast has something for everyone’s taste. Take the opportunity to swim, relax at cafes and dine at restaurants, practise your favourite water sports, shop in modern shopping centers or dance the night away in one of the coastal avenue’s vibrant clubs, and you’ll see why the Greek live such a relaxing life along the Saronic Gulf.

How to get there:

  • Tram: Take the T1 line from Syntagma towards Néo Fáliro or T2 line towards Voúla (Asklipiío Voúlas station). You can also board T3 line departing from Voúla to Néo Fáliro.
  • Bus: You can take the B3 route (Akadimia-Glyfáda, through Vouliagménis avenue) or the express bus number E22 (Akadimia-Saronida).
  • Price: Varies depending on the place on Riviera you wish to visit. We recommend you to ask about the prices at Athens’ central bus station.

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