Excursions from Athens: the best day trips around Athens

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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It is enough to mention Athens to evoke centuries of history and suggestive images: temples, archaeological ruins, ancient cities thousands of years away from our modern civilization. Athens, the capital of Greece, is certainly a very interesting journey to discover Greek history, but don't miss the day excursions in its surroundings! I archaeological sites most famous and mysterious ei more picturesque landscapes they are located just outside the city, surrounded by nature. Let's find out together the best day trips around Athens!


  1. Delphi
  2. Saronic Islands
  3. Mycenae and Epidaurus
  4. Cape Sounion and Temple of Poseidon and Athena Sunia
  5. Ancient Corinth and Daphni Monastery
  6. Olympia
  7. Meteora monasteries
  8. User questions and comments

1 - Delphi

A trip to Delphi is truly an experience not to be missed during your trip to Athens. Located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, north of Athens, surrounded by wild nature, the ancient city of Delphi it houses the ruins of the temple of Apollo from the th century BC., where the famous oracle was located.

The archaeological site is actually much larger, develops along the slope of the mountain and also hosts the sanctuaries of Apollo and Athena Pronaia, an ancient theater, as well as a museum in which numerous artifacts found during excavations are preserved and exhibited.

Inside the site numerous ruins can be admired belonging to various periods of the era of ancient Greece, which were forgotten for centuries before being rediscovered in 1400 by Ciriaco d'Ancona. This beautiful site is really worth a full day.

  • Range: 146 km
  • Delphi is 149 km from Athens, about 2 and a half hours by car. KTEL buses reach Delphi with 5 trips a day, approximately every 3 hours, except Saturdays. Buses depart from Terminal B of the Athens bus station at a cost of € 15,00 each way. The journey takes 3 hours, so we recommend the first ride at 07:30. Or you can reach Delphi with organized tours, numerous from Athens. Get directions
  • open every day from 08: 00 to 20: 00
  • € 12,00 to visit the archaeological site and museum
  • From Athens: full-day tour to Delphi

2 - Saronic Islands

The Saronic Islands make up a splendid archipelago within the homonymous gulf, off the coast of Athens and around the Argolis peninsula. The main islands are Salamis, Aegis, Hydra, Poros, Spetses, but there are many smaller ones. Numerous ferries depart from Athens to the islands, especially in summer, but also real ones organized cruises to visit the greatest number of islands in one day, and thus see the most interesting points and the most beautiful beaches.

The islands in fact have splendid rocky coasts that slope down towards the crystalline waters, it will be wonderful to take a bath in these waters and experience for a day the dreamy atmosphere of these characteristic and peaceful islands.

  • Range: 21,5 km
  • Aegis Island is 21,5 km from the port of Piraeus (the Anes company offers trips for € 16,00 round trip, duration 1 hour and 15 minutes). Reaching Salamis from Perama, north of Athens, takes 10 minutes and there are ferries every 15 minutes, you need to check prices on site. Perama can be reached by bus 18 from the center of Athens, a ticket costs € 1,40 each way. Get directions
  • always accessible
  • free
  • From Athens: Day Cruise to Saronic Islands Aegina, Poros and Hydra: Day Cruise from Athens Agistri, Moni and Aegina: Day Tour and Cruise from Athens

3 - Mycenae and Epidaurus

The archaeological site of Mycenae, declared heritage of humanity by UNESCO, is located in the Argolis peninsula, in an exceptional position because it is very close to the splendid beaches. According to legend, it was Perseus who founded the city, but there are many other legends woven around this site, as it was of great importance in the Bronze Age. Its history spans the centuries and sees numerous lineages alternate under its command, until its decline.

The archaeological site was only discovered starting in 1841, when excavations began. The first detail found was the spectacular door of the Lions, which you can appreciate inside the acropolis. Later the excavations resumed at the hands of Heinrich Schliemann who, thanks to the description of Homer, looked for the city indicated as the ancient Troy. Thus they were discovered numerous tombs of the kings of Mycenae and, in particular, the iconic golden mask of Agamemnon, discovered inside the funeral kit and present on all school books. There are several organized tours that combine the visit with the theater of Epidaurus, a few kilometers from Mycenae, another archaeological jewel.

  • Range: 113 km
  • Mycenae is 113 km from Athens, 1 hour 40 by car. From terminal A on Kiffissou Street of the bus station you can find a bus every hour, starting from 09:30 until 20:00 in the evening, which makes journeys to Mycenae for € 10,80 each way, taking 2 hours. leave early, there is also a run at 30:08, last return at 00:20 from Mycenae. Get directions
  • open every day from 08: 00 to 19: 00
  • € 12,00 site and museum, even to enter the theater of Epidaurus the ticket costs € 12,00
  • Mycenae and Epidaurus: day tour from Athens

4 - Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon and Athena Sunia

South of Athens, to separate the Saronic Gulf from that of Petalioi there is Cape Sounion, a truly suggestive place overlooking the Greek coast. Certainly because of the privileged position and the fabulous landscape on the sea, here they were built in antiquity magnificent temples, that of Poseidon and that of Athena Sunia.

The steep cliffs of Cape Sounio plunge into the crystal clear waters of the sea, here you can admire the islands of the Saronic Gulf in the distance. It is not surprising to think that in front of this idyllic landscape a temple dedicated to the god of the sea was built, whose ruins, naturally open to visitors, stand out against the deep blue. Here you can have a beautiful day at sea and excursions to discover the ancient temples. We also advise you to extend your visit to Cape Sounion to see the beautiful sunset over the sea.

  • Range: 57,5 km
  • it is about 57,5 km from Athens, just over 1 hour by car. From Aigyptou square, next to the Archaeological Museum of Athens, buses of the KTEL line leave for Cape Sounion every day, every hour from 08:00 to 17:00, last return to Athens at 20:00. Tickets cost € 6,90 each way and the journey takes a couple of hours. Get directions
  • by 08: 00 20 to: 00
  • € 8,00 for adults, free under 18 years
  • From Athens: Temple of Poseidon and Cape Sounion tour

5 - Ancient Corinth and Daphni Monastery

The ancient city of Corinth is located on the canal of the same name that connects the Aegean and Ionian seas. In this magical place lived and preached for two years the apostle Paul, therefore, if you are interested in religious events, this trip will be for you.

During the outward journey, if you are by car or with organized tours for the layover, it is possible also visit the Daphni monastery, a beautiful Byzantine example of the eleventh century inserted in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Inside you can admire splendid mosaics.

Then, in Corinth, you can visit the ancient city, the st century workshop, the remains of the agora within which the trial of Paul was held and the ruins of the places where the apostle carried out his preaching activity. In this important archaeological site you can also see the Temple of Apollo and the Pyrenees Fountain.

  • Range: 78,1 km
  • Corinth is 78,1 km north of Athens, 1 hour and a little more by car. From terminal A on Kiffissou Street of the bus station you can find a bus every hour, starting from 06:10 until 22:10 in the evening, the ticket costs € 8,00 each way and takes just over an hour. Get directions
  • 08:00 to 15:00 at both sites
  • € 8,00 for Ancient Corinth, free Daphni Monastery
  • Ancient Corinth and Daphni Monastery: Tour from Athens From Athens: Half Day Ancient Corinth Tour

6 - Olympia

This archaeological site, in the Peloponnese peninsula, is a little further from Athens, but, given the importance of its function for the entire history of humanity, it is worth a visit, perhaps combining it with that of Corinth. usable for the most part in the morning. Here in Olympia, in fact, the very first Olympic Games were organized and held which take their name from here and which still today engage teams from all over the world in a traditional challenge to represent healthy and peaceful values.

Here you will therefore visit the archaeological site where the games were held from 800 BC to the fourth century. A.D. every 4 years, and then the Archaeological Museum of the Olympic Games. You can visit the Temple of Zeus, the stadium, the Temple of Hera and many other important monuments that tell the importance of the health of body, soul and mind for the ancient Greeks.

  • Range: 253 km
  • the site is about 253 km from Athens, 3 hours and 30 minutes by car. The buses depart from Terminal A at 09:30 and 12:30 to Olympia at a cost of € 29,80 each way but, given the travel time, 5 hours, we do not recommend them. It is preferable to go there with an organized tour. Get directions
  • open from 08: 00 to 20: 00
  • € 12,00
  • From Athens: Olympia Full Day Private Tour Ancient Olympia Tour

7 - Meteora monasteries

This place is also not very close to Athens but, once you have seen the breathtaking landscape, you will be rewarded for the long journey. In fact, in this green valley in the north of Greece, near the town of Kalambaka, a group of ascetics settled in ancient times who, starting from the fourteenth century, he built with enormous sacrifices 24 monasteries on imposing cliff rocks which rise vertically from the ground, in order to protect themselves from attacks by the Turks. These monasteries were, on closer inspection, impregnable.

Today, the remaining monasteries are unfortunately only 6, the most important of which is called the Great Meteor, but this is still a very important center for the Greek Orthodox Church. For this reason, we recommend appropriate clothing to enter the monasteries.

  • Range: 318 km
  • Kalambaka is 318 km from Athens, 4 hours by car. From the central station you can take the 07:20 train to Kalambaka every day which takes 4 hours, the ticket costs € 25,60 each way. There are other trains during the day, but it is necessary to change at Palaeofarsalos, the journey has a higher cost and takes much longer. From the center of Kalambaka there are frequent buses that take you to the monasteries in 20 minutes. Get directions
  • opening hours vary for each monastery, in summer they generally open from 09:00 to 16:00. You can check the timetables on their website.
  • € 3,00 for each monastery
  • From Athens: Meteora Full-Day Trip by Train Meteora: Private Day Trip from Athens or Piraeus Meteora Rocks Sunset Tour from Kalampaka

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