Day trips and tours in Athens

athens-and-attica-mapThe perfect location of Athens in the Attica basin, plus the sea and land transport infrastructure, gives the possibility for day trips to many places around Athens and Attica. Many Historical places, monuments, Ancient sites, Byzantine monasteries and fortresses like the Palamidi Castle of Nafplion and the Castle of Corinth, are within a couple of hours driving from Athens.

Few foreigners make Athens their base for more than a night or two. The lure of the Greek islands is too strong when compared with the city’s polluted and impossibly congested streets. But if you have the time and inclination to spend a few days here you’ll find a wealth of fascinating places to visit.there’s much more to Athens than the mighty Acropolis and with the spanking new metro now in place, getting around town is no longer the nightmare it once was.

Of course the Acropolis will be your first port of call. It’s one of the great wonders of the world and no amount of tourists scrambling over its ancient surface can detract from the magnificence of these truly inspirational ruins.

Make your own way there (there’s a metro station at the base) or book one of the many tours available from local agents. Tour guides offer a range of itineraries taking in the main city sights – a good way to “do Athens ” if you’ve only got a few hours to spare.

temple of zeusPopular half-day tours usually take in a brief stop at the imposing ruins of the Temple of Zeus – a once magnificent sanctuary dedicated to the greatest god of antiquity. Work on the mighty structure started in the 6th century BC and took 800 years to complete.

Most tours also pass by the Panathenaic Stadium where the first international Olympic games were held in 1896.

The original stadium was built in the 4th century BC, in a huge natural hollow between the two hills of Agra and Ardettos, for the athletic competitions held in honour of the goddess Athena (after whom the city is named). It’s thought that the stadium had a seating capacity for 50,000 people.

national archaeological  museum athensA visit to the National Archaeological Museum should definitely be on your agenda. It’s one of the world’s finest museums housing a priceless collection of Greek antiquities. Be prepared to spend at least a few hours there and if you have the time consider making a return visit because there’s simply too much to take in at first bite. Highlights include the golden mask of Agamemnon (which actually belonged to a king who died three centuries before Agamemnon!), the bronze statue of Poseidon dating back to 450 BC and the impressive collection of Minoan frescoes excavated at Akrotiri on the island of Santorini.

The Benaki Museum and the Museum of Cycladic Art are also well worth a visit as they both offer outstanding collections of ancient Greek art. The Benaki museum has a stunning exhibition of gold jewellery from as far back as 3,000 BC. The National Gallery of Art has exhibits from Greek and European masters including Van Dyck, Cezanne, Rembrandt and Picasso.

Use the metro to pop along to Syntagma Square (Constitution Square) where you can enjoy the somewhat bizarre spectacle of soldiers sporting white skirts and pom-poms on their shoes changing the guard outside the parliament building. Escape the frantic activity of the city in the nearby National Gardens which are a delightful oasis of sub-tropical vegetation, shady walkways and ornamental duck ponds.

For shopping, the famous flea market at Monastiraki is the place to go for bargain leather goods, jewellery, embroidery and a huge range of other products from herbs and honey to tacky watches and tablecloths. The highly chic Kolonaki district offers more upmarket shops, boutiques and good quality restaurants.

Sounion Poseidon Temple

poseidon-templeAt the southernmost peak of the Attica peninsula about 60 km from Athens situated the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion. That particular day trip is one of the best ways to explore the beauties of the west coasts of Attica, its beautiful sea resorts and towns.

The journey starts from Athens and following the coastal road we pass through the Athenian Riviera suburbs of Glyfada, Voula, Kavouri, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza. Further to the south we pass from the sea resorts of Lagonisi (a popular holiday resort for the Athenians) , Saronida and Anavissos.

The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion is probably one of the most popular tourist destinations in Attica. Try to locate the name of Lord Byron that he curved on the marble 200 years ago. From Sounion you can enjoy the most breathtaking sunsets overlooking the Aegean sea. At the area the visitor will find hotels, restaurants and taverns.


anavysosAnavissos is a beautiful small town by the Saronic coast, a good place for a stop over. In Anavissos you will find a very organised beach ideal for all kind of water sports and fishing, there is also a special area for paragliding.

The small town of Anavysos spreads over the two sides of its main road with cafeterias, shops, restaurants and two open air cinemas.

Across the beach there are many fish taverns to enjoy fresh fish and sea food. Following the road towards Sounion there are countless beaches and small holiday resorts

Ancient site of Vravrona

vravronaAnother day trip from Athens is a visit to the west coasts of Attica combine with a visit to several sea resorts of the west coast of Attica using the shortcut of Attiki odos towards the Athens airport and turning to the junction towards Spata.

A few kilometres from Spata with its the famous vineyards located the sea resort of Loutsa and a little bit further to the south the .

Returning from Vravrona heading north towards Marathon you can visit the beautiful sea towns and resorts of Rafina and Nea Makri.

The road goes through smaller sea resorts with sandy beaches, pine trees, and idyllic landscapes through the villages of Voutzas, Kokkino Limanaki, Mati, Zoumberi, Agios Andreas. A small break for lunch to the numerous taverns along the coast is a perfect idea.


marathonMarathon located a few kilometres to the North of Nea Makri, there you can see the tomb where the Athenians buried their soldiers after the glorious battle of Marathon in 490 BC.

Near to the tomb is the start of the Olympic Marathon venue.

Not far from the Athenian’s tomb located the tomb of the Plataeans the allies of the Athenians during the battle of Marathon.

A visit to the lake and the Dam of Marathon is a very interesting part of the day trip. The lake until resent years was the main water supply of Athens.

From there you can return to Athens from the national highway E75.

Rafina and Nea Makri

rafina-athensRafina is after Piraeus the main port to the Cyclades islands, ferries departing from Rafina to Andros, Tinos, Mykonos and other islands of the Cyclades.

Nea Makri has been developed the last 20 years to a modern almost suburb of Athens equivalent with those of Glyfada, Voula and Vouliagmeni.

This is due to the fact that many Athenians slowly moving out of the centre of Athens in such areas as Nea Makri and other resorts especially in nowadays that the distances from Athens has been eliminated with new roads and highways.


parnithaA day trip to the mountain of Parnitha is a must if you stay longer in Athens.

Within 30 minutes you can drive up to the Hotel of Mont Parnes and enjoy the panoramic view of Athens from a height of 1200 ft about.

Parnitha mountain is the popular outing for the Athenians during the winter especially when Parnitha is covered from snow.

At the slopes of Parnitha in Thrakomakedones you will find numerous traditional Greek Hasapotavernes (Grill houses) famous for their grilled pork and lamb. Such taverns you will find as well in Vari and Aspropyrgos.

Epidaurus and Nafplio

epidaurusAnother good idea for a day trip is a visit to Epidaurus combine with a visit to Nafplion and Mycenae.

The Journey can be done as well from the island of Spetses returning back to Athens from Costa and visiting the resorts of Porto Heli and Ermioni.

Nafplion, Epidaurus and Mycenae are only a couple of hours of driving from Athens.

That route as well as day trips to the west-north west of Attica towards Elefsis, Megara, Corinth and Loutraki,plus day trips to the Saronic islands of Salamis.


Methana and Poros

Methana is is a nice small resort in the coast of Peloponnese. There are some nice beaches in the town and near by. From Methana you can visit the Ancient theater of Epidaurus and other Archaeological sites of Peloponnese.

In the promenade of Methana, decorated by palm trees, there are cafes, restaurants and some hotels. Like Aegina, Poros and Salamis, Methana is a popular weekend city break for many Athenians.

Poros is less than 15 minutes by hydrofoil, a wonderful island ideal for a weekend break or just a day trip. From Poros you can visit the Peloponnesian resort of Galatas by taxi boat. In poros you will find hotels and rooms to let in reasonable prices.