5 of the best day trips from Athens


Being in a capital city, surrounded by millions of people is most certainly fun and exciting as the options of “what to do” and “where to eat” are plentiful. However, that exciting attitude may change if you start to feel stressed out while being on the overcrowded subway or stuck in traffic or waiting for a table to empty in order to sit at your favorite restaurant. So, maybe a day trip is exactly what you need! Athens is a city located in an exceptional geographical location, as sea and mountains surround it so it can really capture the needs of anyone looking to connect with nature. The neighboring towns are small and tucked away in a beautiful landscape, many with important archaeological sites and others combining culture with marvelous outdoor adventures.

Hydra – the romantic getaway

Enjoy a full day excursion to Hydra, one of the most romantic destinations in Greece, just 2 hours away from Athens. Hydra is indeed a hidden gem, so close to Athens, just waiting to be revealed. This beautiful island offers unspoiled sceneries and a lot of room for exploration. The town of Hydra is built amphitheatrically and is adorned with historic stone mansions, cobblestone streets, Greek traditional taverns and secluded squares. It is the only island where all automobiles for transportation are banned relying solely on donkeys and water taxis. Once you are there, you may enjoy leisurely strolls along the waterfront and the heart of the town where you will admire a number of monuments, museums, old neighborhoods and picturesque winding alleys. You will also appreciate its stunning architecture but also enjoy the sensational views across the island to the sea. So board a water-taxi that will get you transferred to a remote beach to enjoy some swimming and then indulge in a delicious seafood meal.

Argolis – the mythical getaway

Grasp the glory of the Mycenaean civilization and discover the precious gems of Nafplio; one of the best-preserved historic towns of the country. You should start from Athens in the early morning and after 1,5 hour drive you will reach the archaeological site of Mycenae. There, you could enjoy a guided tour of the site, the museum and enjoy the monumental ruins that beautifully blend with the surrounding landscape. Your tour guide will offer interesting information about the history of the Mycenaeans and insights into their way of life. Then, you should head towards the picturesque town of Nafplio and take a leisurely stroll along the cobblestone alleys that will give you the chance to take in the beautiful architecture and to learn about this town’s illustrious past. As a bonus, stop at the spectacular site of Epidaurus to admire the ancient theater and the famous “Asklepieion”.

Delphi – the ancient getaway

A special excursion that will unfold Delphi’s treasures and let you hike its famous ancient and modern paths, including the imposing Corikion Andron Cave. Once you reach the pine-covered foothills of Mount Parnassus, the home of poetry, literature and learning, you will visit the cave of Corikion Andron. This cave was dedicated to Apollo and his nine muses who lived there and gave artist and thinkers creative inspiration. With your experiences mountain guide, you will hike down the ancient trail connecting the cave to Delphi admiring the imposing landscapes of Parnassus. You will enjoy a stop at the summer camp settlement of “Kroki” where you will quench your thirst at the traditional drinking-water fountain before moving n to hike down the cobbled trail “Skala”, which winds around the town of Delphi offering breathtaking views to the archaeological site Delphi, the Olive grove of Amfissa and the sea.

Nemea – the wine getaway

A fantastic tour for wine lovers! Cross over the impressive Corinth Canal and head south to the Peloponnese peninsula. You will reach Nemea, the most famous wine region of Greece, to start exploring the wines of the popular Grreek appellation, famous for its fleshy reds and characterful whites. You could have a wine expert guide who will accompany you to one of the top wine producers of the area for a winery tour, which includes a variety of wine tastings. The wine exploration of Nemea could continue with even more winery visits and wine tastings, if you’re up for it.

Sounio – the sunset getaway

Get ready for a day that will bring you closer to the blue waters of the Aegean Sea; watch the sunset from the Temple of Poseidon, and enjoy an utterly beautiful site close to Athens. You will start from Athens to enjoy the unique experience of watching the sunset from the Temple of Poseidon. The drive along the impressive coastline of Attica is a beautiful experience on its own. The winding road follows the contours of the countless successive little coves and bays, offering amazing views of this dramatic landscape which the ancients associated with Poseidon’s Kingdom.

Maria Nikolakaki is Managing Partner at Beyond Spaces Villas.

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Comments (6)

  1. Gerald says:

    I always say that one should take a holiday when you are on holiday. I agree that in a capital city it is often a good idea to escape from the urban environment and have a day out. You will return to Athens revived and reinvigorated and ready to explore the city again.

    • Kirsty says:

      I totally agree – urban environments can be so pressurised with trying to constantly do things, with so much going on around you. It’s nice to get a break from that, get some clean fresh air and give your brain a rest as well as the rest of you.

    • Jeff G says:

      Isn’t that the ultimate First World concept? Is there anything more decadent than taking a holiday from your holiday?

      If you have the time and money to do that then you are living a blessed life.

  2. Kirsty says:

    I quite like the idea of Hydra having no cars, busses or other automobiles. That must make for a much cleaner space, not to mention cleaner air. I bet seeing the Temple of Poseidon is an incredible experience, though I hadn’t actually realised that was in Sounio as I’d not even heard of that place before. It’s odd how some of the most fascinating gems of the world are in places we don’t know the names of. I had to Google Asklepieion, then learned that these healing temples were actually in dedication to Asclepius, a doctor that people believed could even raise people from the dead. I think we could do with some of those kinds of doctors today, even with the wonders of 21st century modern medicine and science!

  3. Moyà Finn says:

    Imagine a 10 day or two week holiday based in Athens. You could alternate days in Athens with these away days. At the end of your trip you would feel that you have really got to know Greece and it’s islands. Taking all five of these excursions would really put you in touch with Greek culture, it’s heritage and it’s people.

  4. Freya Taylor says:

    I actually feel quite ashamed because I’ve ticked off most European capital cities but Athens, one of the earliest great cities, still hasn’t been done. Until I read this piece I had been thinking of a long weekend but with all these fascinating day trips available, giving me the chance to see a bit more of Greece, I am now looking to put together a trip of a week or maybe even a bit longer.

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