Are you on the lookout for the best day trips from Athens? Love the city but keen to explore beyond its perimeters? We’ve got your back!
There are plenty of exciting and affordable things to do in Athens. Still, sometimes you just need to escape the city and get some fresh air.
Greece is one of the most inspiring and fascinating countries in the world. With a history that dates back to ancient times, Greece was the cradle of civilization. Whether you love history, beaches, or just great food, Greece should be on your travel bucket list. As should Athens, which is consistently ranked as one of the top travel destinations in Europe.
Greece’s capital, Athens, is chaotic, lively, and sometimes overwhelming. City life is great, but even most Athenians prefer to escape the stifling city heat during the weekends. From ancient archaeological sites to stunning clifftop monasteries to white-sand beaches, there’s something for everyone on our list of the best day trips from Athens.
We’ve got plenty to explore, so let’s dive (or climb) into number one on our list of the best day trips from Athens.
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The Best Day Trips from Athens
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Marvel at the Monasteries of Meteora
Meteora is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the most jaw-droppingly incredible places on the planet. It’s one of Greece’s most popular attractions all year round, and it’s easy to see why. If you only have time to choose just one of these best day trips from Athens, make it this one.
We’ve already written a guide to visiting Meteora, Greece that reflects just how much we love this astonishing place.
The site comprises six Byzantine monasteries perched precariously atop soaring sandstone mounds. The dramatic imagery is a sight to behold, and one that you’ll never forget. From the town of Kalambaka, you can hike by yourself, or opt for a tour with guides who know all the best spots.
We suggest Visit Meteora for informative and well-run tours.
Hop on a train to Kalambaka from Athens’ central station Larissa. Ticket prices vary, but you can expect to pay around €90 for the return journey. The travel time is just under 5 hours, so it’s worth considering staying for an entire weekend. You can purchase train tickets here.
Tour From Athens: Full-Day Meteora Trip by Train with a Tour Guide for a few Euros more!
Visit the Ancient Wonder Delphi
Delphi is one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece. So, it’s a given that you simply have to see it before you leave Athens!
The well-preserved temple sits on the hillside, surrounded by idyllic scenery. Back in ancient times, people used to visit the Temple of Apollo to communicate with the Gods. It was here that the Oracle of Delphi (Pythia) made her famous prophecies. Nowadays, there’s not so much of that going on, but it’s still pretty spectacular.
From Athens, you can easily hop on a bus to Delphi. The journey takes just over 3 hours; we recommend leaving early in the morning to make the most of the day. Tickets cost around €16 each way, and you can check the timetable and buy tickets here.
If you prefer to avoid stuffy buses packed with tourists, you can rent a car in Athens and drive the scenic route to Delphi.
Tour From Athens: Day Tour to Delphi With Tour Guide
Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
One of the best day trips from Athens involves packing your swimsuit, renting a scooter, and cruising along the coastal roads to Cape Sounion. Stop off at various beach spots to cool off along the way. Eventually, you’ll spot the majestic Temple of Poseidon perched on a cliff overlooking the Saronic Gulf. Time the journey so that you arrive to watch as the sun slowly dips below the horizon, and be sure to pack your camera! Stop off and enjoy a fresh seafood dinner in one of the seaside taverns before returning to the city.
Note that entrance to the temple costs a whopping €10. We recommend climbing the hillside around the temple instead. This way, you can still enjoy the astonishing views without cashing up just to get a closer look.
As we mentioned earlier, the best way to make this day trip is on a scooter, or by car. Choosing to travel by motorbike gives you more freedom to stop wherever you fancy for a quick dip in the crystal clear sea. Check out Dirt Motos Athens for cheap scooter rentals from the city.
Tour From Athens: Temple of Poseidon and Cape Sounion Tour With Guide
Hop on the Ferry to Aegina
Aegina is our favorite Saronic island destination and one of the best day trips from Athens for travelers on a budget.
Aegina is a popular weekend destination for Athenians keen to escape the chaos of the city and unwind on sandy shores. It feels more authentic and less touristic than other islands like Poros and Hydra. Rent a scooter at Aegina port for around €25 per day, and enjoy the freedom to explore.
Spend the day scooting around the island, and discover everything that Aegina has to offer. Along the way, you can find the magnificent Temple of Aphaia, explore the ancient Aegean capital of Paleochora, and admire stunning views of Aegina’s mountainous landscape.
Visit traditional fishing villages, stop for some fresh fish at a seaside tavern, and bathe in the crystal clear waters at one of the many beaches. Aegina is famous for its pistachios that grow all over the island. Be sure to pick up a bag as a souvenir, or go crazy and try some pistachio liquor! It might not be one of Greece’s most well-known islands, but that’s precisely what makes it so much better.
The journey to Aegina by ferry takes 1 hour from Piraeus port. Check out FerryHopper for tickets.
Tour From Athens: Guided Day Trip to Aegina and Agistri Islands
Relax on Picturesque Poros
Poros is another of the Saronic islands worth visiting. Smaller in size than Aegina, Poros offers plenty of fantastic beaches, lively nightlife, and traditional Greek food. When your ferry pulls into Poros port, you’ll be greeted by a photogenic town with whitewashed buildings cascading down the hillside. Totally Instagram material.
As always, the best way to explore the island is to rent a scooter in Poros town. Visit some of the beaches like Love Bay, Russian Bay, Monastiri Beach. Our favorite spot is Vagionia beach tucked away on the other side of the island, where some friendly goats might even pop down the cliff sides to say hello.
Be sure to visit Poros’ famous clock tower, the Temple of Poseidon ruins, and the historical Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pege. In the Poros town area, there are plenty of traditional restaurants serving fresh and tasty dishes. At the end of the port, there are also some unexpected nightlife spots.
Poros is just an hour away from Athens by ferry. You can check timetables and book tickets on FerryHopper.
Tour From Athens: Full-Day Island Hopping with an Archaeologist
Enjoy the Quiet Life in Hydra
The last Saronic island that we’re going to suggest in this guide to the best day trips from Athens is Hydra. Scenic, charming, and filled with irresistible beaches; Hydra is a beautiful escape from city life.
Hydra port is the only town on the island which is home to around 1900 people. Shops and artisan galleries surround its crescent-shaped harbor. One of the best things about Hydra is that you won’t find any cars or motor vehicles! The only way to get around the island is by boat, on foot, or donkey. Yes, donkey. For this reason, visiting Hydra is like taking a step back in time.
There’s plenty to do on Hydra. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a beach bum, or a water-sports fan – there’s something for you. You’ll also find traditional restaurants and quiet bars perfect for grabbing a cold beer and admiring the sunset.
From Athens, take the ferry from Piraeus port. The journey takes 1 hour.
Tour From Athens: Full-Day Island Hopping with an Archaeologist
Beach Hop on the Apollo Coast
Beginning from the suburb of Glyfada, the Coast of Apollo stretches 48km to Cape Sounion. As always, the further out of town you go, the better the beaches become. The same goes for Athens. The Apollo Coast is where the beaches start going from acceptable to excellent.
Along the Aegean Apollo Coast, you won’t just find beaches. There are bars, clubs, and restaurants to keep you fed and watered. Visit the pristine beaches of Glyfada, Voula, Kavouri, and popular Vouliagmeni. Spend the day sunbathing and swimming in the crystal clear Aegean water, but remember your sun cream!
Take the tram from the city center and hop off at Glyfada. The bus number A2 also runs along the coast.
Explore Archaeological Site of Mycenae
Located in north-eastern Peloponnese and once the most powerful kingdom in the ancient world, Mycenae is still a sight to behold today.
It was from here that King Agamemnon launched his war against Troy, and is home to the Tomb of Agamemnon. Another notable feature is the spectacular Lion’s Gate. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best day trips from Athens for history buffs.
Take the bus from Kifissos KTEL Bus Station; the journey takes 1.5 hours.
Tour From Athens: Full-Day Mycenae & Epidaurus Trip from Athens
There you have it; the best day trips from Athens! We hope you feel inspired to explore all that Greece has to offer. Be sure to let us know if you think we missed any essential day trips off this list. Happy travels!