Athens is great on its own, but it can also serve as a jumping-off point for some of Greece’s must-see sights. You may be surprised by how varied Greece’s landscape is, and you’ll never get to see it if you only stick to the city. Within a few hours of Athens, you can experience monasteries, mountains, beaches with deep blue water, and more ruins than you can count. Here’s my list of the 7 best day trips from Athens.
Cape Sounion is located about 40 miles southeast of Athens. It is best known for the Temple of Poseidon, built from 444-440 BC. A day trip to Cape Sounion from Athens can easily be completed in half a day, leaving plenty of time to get back to the city.
This is one of the most popular day trips from Athens. Delphi, located on Mount Parnassos about two and a half hours from Athens, is one of the most visited archeological sites in Greece. Ever heard of the oracle of Delphi? This is where the high priestess herself once sat. There are plenty of things to see in Delphi, but the highlight is the Temple of Apollo. Interested in a day trip to Delphi from Athens? Get all the details here.
Meteora is one of Greece’s most unique sights. Monasteries suspended on cliffsides, what more could you ask for? If you are planning a Meteora day trip from Athens, you will want to start your day early. You can take the train to and from Kalambaka on a 14-hour tour from Athens. These tours leave enough time to visit two of the monasteries. While a visit to Meteroa from Athens is doable in a day, you might consider spending the night. Click here for more details on visiting Meteora from Athens.
Corinth is one of the best day trips from Athens as you can make a few stops in the same area. The first stop is the magnificent Corinth Canal separating the Peloponnese from mainland Greece. Once in Corinth, you can visit the ruins of Ancient Corinth and take a hike up to the acropolis, Acrocorinth. Click here to read more about taking a day trip to Corinth from Athens.
4. Mycenae and Epidaurus
I’m putting Mycenae and Epidaurus as a day trip together since they are located 45 minutes apart on the Peloponnese. Despite their close location, they could not be more different. The ruins at Mycenae date back to the Bronze Age, while the amphitheater and ruins of Epidaurus represent Classical Greece. You can read more about visiting Mycenae and Epidaurus here.
Nafplio is about an hour and a half from Athens by car. While there are few sights like the Palamidi Fortress and the Bourtzi Fortress, the main town and waterfront in Nafplio are worth a visit alone. You can certainly see the Venetian influence. Take a stroll along the water, grab a bite to eat at one of the many sidewalk eateries, or go for a swim at a local beach. You can learn more about what to do in Nafplio here.
Mystras is a little bit farther than some of the other day trips from Athens. It will take about two and a half hours and you will need a car. While Mystras is another site with ruins, the well-preserved churches and buildings are from the height of the Byzantine Empire. A day trip to Mystras from Athens makes for a nice change from the ruins of Classical Greece. Click here for more details on visiting Mystras.
7. Hydra, Poros, and Aegina
You don’t have to fly to Santorini to get in some island time. There are several islands close to Athens, accessible by ferry from the port city of Piraeus. You can visit the islands of Hydra, Poros, and Aegina alone or all on the same day with the Athens Three Day cruise which I wrote about in detail here. If I had to pick just one island as a day trip from Athens, my recommendation is Hydra. The car-free island has a unique feel. They use donkeys instead of taxis…need I say more?
There are enough must-do day trips from Athens that you could spend a whole week knocking them off your list. Whether you do one or all seven, you can’t go wrong with these 7 best day trips from Athens.