Most travelers don’t know that there are lots and lots of day trips from Athens. You can include that in your trip to Greece. For many who come from abroad, Athens is a 2 to 3-day destination.
However, there are tons of things to do in Athens, including Ancient sites and also explore the traditional Greek way of living along with Greek history.
So, before hopping on the next ferry to the fabulous Greek islands, give more time to explore Athens and whitewashed beaches of Mainland Greece.
Athens is a great base to experience vacations all over the Attica region.
That includes excellent beaches, mountains, ancient Greek monuments, archaeological museums, hundreds of outdoor activities, bars, great restaurants, and top street food.
So, there are things inside Athens, but there are much more close to Athens.
Experience the Best Day Trips from Athens
As in many European countries where English is their second language, and street signs follow along, renting a car is an option for your Athens day tour.
Both will serve you well, not to mention the time you will save trying to find out which of the things you want to taste/visit is available or not when you are in the city (that is a significant hint to know).
If you plan to get outside Athens (what this post is about), then we suggest renting a car. Car rentals are not that expensive in Athens.
They are cheaper than in other countries, and with a GPS you will find all the points of interest we mention below.
Better to avoid public transportation unless you are okay with wasting tons of time.
If you don’t want to drive at all, then choose one of the many options for a private tour.
Best Athens Day Trips
Please note that the hours mentioned in tours are one way. You need to plan accordingly for the time to get back.
Depending on the destination, you may meet lots of traffic, either on your way there or on your way back.
Day Trip From Athens, In 1 Hour from the Capital
Temple of Poseidon and Cape Sounion Popular Day Trips
There are lots of options for swimming (organized beaches) near the Temple of Poseidon, food (tons of taverns), and cafe’s to enjoy the sunset along the way to Cape Sounion, next to the Aegean sea.
Read this post too. Cape Sounion is related to the myth of Aegeus and Theseus. So, the Temple of Poseidon is not the only thing to learn about.
Athens Day Tour to Artemis (Loutsa)
Lots of taverns and cafes by the sea. We suggest to go to Old Artemis seaside town (there is New Artemis of course) and get a table or sun lounge at Albatros bar. This seaside town is popular for Swimming, Windsurfing, Kiteboard, and SUP.
Great music and windsurf, sup station to stay there all day long.
Full Day Trip Loutraki Seaside Town
Visit the Iraio Temple, near Ancient Corinth.
A great small town by the sea which also hosts superb thermal spa installations (both indoors and outdoors) along with massage therapies. Ιt has lots of options for food too.
Make sure to visit the Heraion temple (has a beach right next to ancient Greek ruins) and the lighthouse at the top.
To get there, you pass through the Corinth Canal (Isthmus). That is an opportunity also to visit the area of Ancient Corinth.
Fantastic for hiking and -believe it or not- has some pretty great food in 2 of the summits called Mpafi and Flabouri.
The Casino of Athens is also situated on the mountain Parnitha. You can take the public bus, and in less than 1 hour you will arrive at the funicular parking of the casino.
Hop on (free), and you will arrive at the top. From there you can hike from the dirt road towards the summits or take the asphalt road.
There are hiking paths (well signed) that start from the funicular parking too. The view from the summits is spectacular as all Athens is viewed from 1160mt. Also, read this post.
Ready to go a bit further for your local trips? Click this for an organized tour.
Half Day Trip from Athens
Half Day Trip to Nafplion
Visit the Nafplion castle and find out about its history. The small city of Nafplion is ideal for enjoying food and coffee.
It has a couple of beaches too so you can combine it with some swimming.
Half Day to Mycenae Archaeological Site
Do know that Mycenae and Epidaurus offer top landmarks, an archaeological museum, and tons of history to explore. The ancient city of Mycenae is the place of the tomb of Agamemnon. A must-see in Greece.
There are some “touristic” taverns near the site, but we advise you to take your eating business to another place.
Half Day Trip to The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus
The Ancient Theatre is world-famous for its acoustic properties.
Go and test it yourself how one can be at the very upper top rows while hearing a person whispering at the base. A true acoustics marvel from Ancient Greece.
Moreover the Sanctuary of Asclepios is another Unesco World Heritage Site you need to visit in this area.
Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus
This strange temple is in a valley in the Peloponnese. This place was the sanctuary of the god-physician Asklepios. The whole sanctuary is remarkable evidence for the practice of medicine in ancient Greece. It is home to some monumental buildings. These were used for worship and for secular reasons (the theatre, the Hestiatoreion, the baths, along with the palaestra).
The Temple of Apollo Epicurius, Bassae
Another temple isolated on a mountainside, in the Peloponnese. It was dedicated to Apollo Epicurius at Bassae. The reason it is unique is for its style combination. Built around 450 and 400 BC, the temple combines Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian elements. It was discovered, completely by chance, by the French architect Joachim Bocher.
Half Day Trip to Ancient Delphi
Welcome to the Navel of the World and the Delphi Archaeological Museum.
Delphi ancient site and Delphi Archaeological Museum are perhaps two of the most popular places in Greece.
Along with Acropolis and Acropolis museum, try to visit the temple of Apollo where Pythia, the Oracle, gave her prophecies.
It is not near the 3 locations above and is also a different trip to a different direction by itself, but the temple of Apollo worth’s it. After all, all this is part of Greek mythology.
Full Day Trips
We suggest taking these if you can plan to stay one night outside of Athens (at least).
For example, driving 4 hours to Meteora (either by car or an organized or private tour) is a bit too much when you have another 4 to return to Athens.
Full Day Trip to Meteora (approx. 4 hours)
One of the famous religious locations in Greece is the gigantic rock formations of Meteora and the cliff-hanging monasteries.
You can take the train from Athens to Kalambaka, which is the town at the feet of Meteora.
Full Day Trip to Mystras
One of the oldest castle cities in Greece. The castle on the top of the hill was founded in 1249 by the Frankish leader William II de Villeharduin.
It is also a Unesco World Heritage Centre.
Karpenisi Area Full Day Trip
One of the greenest places but not near the sea. The area has tons of routes for hikers, beautiful villages “drown” in trees and waterfalls.
There are many rivers & gorges. Here is the famous “Panta Vrehei” canyon.
Full Day Trip to Galaxidi village
You can combine this with your trip to the ancient site of Delphi and its Archaeological Museum, and maybe the town of Arachova (or going there on your way back).
Galaxidi is a small village on the road that goes to Nafpaktos and West Greece and is best if you do this as a full day trip.
It is ideal for a weekend. Do taste the food in the local fish taverns.
Day cruises from Athens
Day cruise from Athens
Cruise to Hydra, Poros, and the island of Aegina.
That is an excellent option. The ferry will take you to the island of Hydra in Saronic Gulf and to each of these villages/ports each where you will experience the local cuisine and culture.
The Saronic Gulf is spectacular and you will be amazed by the island of Aegina.
Aegina Island for a Day Trip
Bonus: You can take the ferry and be there in 1 hour and if you like cycling, you can do that on your bike. We did it as part of a two days bike tour. It’s a bit uphill to do it via a bike tour but it is worth it. Make sure to end up in some of the seaside villages, like Perdika for beverages, drinks, and an excellent view to the Saronic Gulf.
Note: It has some uphill when you want to visit the Temple of Afea. Try to go to Perdika village during sunset. It is extraordinary.
Don’t forget to buy pistachios. Aegina is well-known for its local produce and pistachio based sweets.
FAQs for Things to Do Outside Athens
How far is the trip to Delphi from Athens?
The trip to Delphi is around 1.5 hours’ driving time from Athens. That makes it a great day trip. You can combine it with a visit to the picturesque Galaxidi (around 45 minutes from Delphi). It is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
How many days should I spend in Athens?
We suggest spending 2 to 3 days but you can easily spend 4 days in and around Athens, or even more.
Where should I go near Athens?
You should visit Mount Parnitha for hiking and some great views of Athens. It is a 45 minutes drive from the Athens center. There are a couple of summits there with excellent food and views.
Which close by Greek islands are great for trips?
Hydra, Spetses, Poros, Aegina to name a few. Most people prefer to stay in Athens and visit these as part of such trips.
Is 1 day in Athens enough?
You can indeed see 1, maybe 2, different locations in one day, but it is definitely not enough.
Can you do a day trip from Athens to Santorini?
Better not do that. It takes a long time to get to the island, and you won’t have time to see almost anything in a few hours.
Can you tour Athens on your own?
Yes, you can. Simply, plan well ahead and book any tickets and ferries before your arrival.
What are the best day trips from Athens?
The list we presented shows the best ones. Many (depending on their vacation timeframe), do prefer the following destinations: Delphi, Mycenae, Corinth, Epidaurus, Nafplio.
Where to Stay in Athens?
There are plenty of options, including hotels and hostels.
Click to find the suitable for you and learn about the best places to stay during your day trip from Athens:
Did you like our day trips from Athens? Have you ever been on any such day trip from Athens Greece, before? We would be happy to know more about it.
If you like, do pin this for others to find and please never forget your travel insurance.