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5 best day trips from Athens
1. Day trip to Delphi
One of the most important locations of ancient Greece, history lovers cannot miss a trip to Delphi. On the slopes of Mount Parnassus, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a plethora of points of interest to explore. Likely Delphi’s best-known attraction, the 4th-century Temple of Apollo was once the seat of the legendary Oracle of Delphi, and the main source of the town’s wealth and influence. Other fascinating parts of the sanctuary include the theater, the Athenian Treasury, and the elegant columns of the Tholos. Make sure to check out the Archaeological Museum of Delphi to see the treasures unearthed here.
How far is Delphi from Athens?
Plan ahead as there are no trains covering the 162 kilometers (100 miles) from Athens to Delphi. The many available buses can get you there in around three hours. Driving yourself will generally take about two and a half hours, depending on traffic.
2. Day trip to Mycenae
Mycenae was a powerful civilization during the Bronze Age, and today is one of the most popular day trips from Athens. Legend has it that Perseus, son of Zeus, was the original founder of this ancient citadel. Travelers can tour this former stronghold and its structures like the Lion Gate, the palace ruins, and the Treasury of Atreus — believed to be the tomb of Agamemnon. Also, be sure to visit the incredible collection of tombs and grave circles.
How far is Mycenae from Athens?
Without train service to Mycenae, traveling the 120 kilometers (74 miles) has to be by road. In a private car, the journey is about two hours, while by bus takes only a bit longer than that.
3. Day trip to Corinth
One of the many cities with an ancient history, Mycenae is worth the short trip from Athens. The small Corinth Canal separates mainland Greece from the Peloponnese Peninsula and is a favorite stop for adrenaline junkies looking for bungee jumping opportunities. As the home to a number of different rulers and cultures through the years, the archaeological site of Ancient Corinth is a huge draw to the area. See landmarks like the Pirene fountain, legendary watering hole of the mythical Pegasus, the imposing Acrocorinth, and the Temple of Apollo.
How far is Corinth from Athens?
Located across the Isthmus of Corinth, the city is just 83 kilometers (51 miles) from Athens. The drive takes around an hour by car and 90 minutes by bus.
4. Day trip to Epidaurus
Head out of the big city to the intriguing UNESCO World Heritage Site of Epidaurus. As the home of the sanctuary of the healing god Asclepius, Epidaurus was once a major healing center in Greece. Visitors today can still see the ancient sanctuary, as well as the incredible Theatre of Epidaurus, which is still in use today. The Archaeological Museum of Epidaurus dates back to 1909 and is another worthy stop to examine the artifacts excavated from the area.
How far is Epidaurus from Athens?
Head 126 kilometers (78 miles) around the Saronic Gulf from Athens to get to Epidaurus. By car, the travel time is around 90 minutes, while buses take around two hours.
5. Day trip to Nafplio
For people looking to escape the bustle of Athens for a day, charming Nafplio is a breath of fresh air. From the Acronauplia (the oldest part of the city) atop the hill, the picturesque seaside town spills down into the blue waters below. Stroll the inviting streets in between visiting places like the Venetian fortress of Palamidi, Bourtzi Castle sitting atop an island in the harbor, or the ancient fort of Tiryns. For some relaxation, soak up the sun on Arvanitia Beach.
How far is Nafplio from Athens?
It will take a little over 90 minutes to drive the 136 kilometers (84 miles) from Athens. Allow more time if taking the bus, as the trip takes around two and a half hours.
Athens day trip FAQ
What transportation option is best for my day trip?
• Athens day trips by train
Greece’s train service is not extensive, and in some areas non-existent. For many day trips, the train is not a viable option. If you do venture somewhere by train, remember you need to have a reservation to board.
• Athens day trips by bus
Without a car, the bus is your only choice for many day trip destinations. Buses to more popular areas and attractions are frequent, and drive times aren’t much longer than by car.
• Athens day trips by car
A car is often the best choice for making day trips around Athens. You can set your own itinerary and go at your own pace.
Should I take a guided tour for my day trip?
With so much to learn and see all over Greece, a guided tour is a fantastic idea. With a guide, you don’t miss out on any of the fascinating histories of the ancient cities and towns. A tour also can help you avoid the need to figure out the bus or navigating the roads yourself.
What should I pack for my day trip?
The Mediterranean climate means it will never get too chilly, but an extra layer in winter months is still a good idea. While many guided tours will provide everything you need, carrying plenty of water is always advisable.
Other Sightseeing Options in Athens
Want to discover all there is to do in Athens? Click here for a full list.
What people are saying about Athens
It was such a lovely drive and on the way, we stopped at an ancient Acropolis dated back to 1600BC. It was surreal sitting on the same steps as theatre goes that many centuries ago. Once we arrived at Sounion, we could see the Temple of Poseidon and it was an amazing view. There is a lovely cafe there to grab refreshments and once you’re up on the hill at the temple, you see nothing but the most amazing views of the Aegean. Athina our host was amazingly knowledgeable. She shared the entire Greek mythology timeline with us the entire way. Very much recommended. The Sunset was gorgeous and unforgettable!
An incredible experience, the landscapes, the architecture, the peace. Some tips: - Make sure you dress appropriately both for the weather and for entertains the monasteries. - If you’re taking the train from Athens, it’s quite the long ride and there is no wifi onboard. Bring something to entertain yourself or sleep! - Also don’t forget that if you purchased a package with a train ticket, you will get it separately in your email! Have it ready to get on the train, GYG support is really helpful if you can’t find it.
Stavroula was a charming, engaging, knowledgeable guide with a great sense of humor. She made the 2-hour drive pass by quickly. The trip was just the right length, with a surprise stop at an amazing ancient theater. Cape Sounion and the temple were stunning, and we had plenty of time to enjoy the sunset. Well worth the time, and an incredible experience for a reasonable price. The driver of the very nice small van was also excellent.
The activity was very organized! We were picked up from our hotel and dropped off. Our tour guide Costas was fantastic! He studied archeology and was very knowledgeable. We did not purchase the optional lunch package but when you are with the group you are able to eat lunch at the same location à la carte. This is a definite must do!
Very comfortable and convenient. Bill, being an archeologist is a great guide and treasure trove of informarion.