Best day trips from Athens: a traditional white and blue Greek chapel by the sea, framed by tall palm trees and vibrant pink flowers.

5 Best Day Trips From Athens Compared

Dive into the 5 best one day trips from Athens in 2024. Beyond the usual, explore destinations like Meteora, Agistri island, and Delphi.

Last updated: 05 Jun 2024

Greece is so much more than its famous destinations like Athens, Mykonos, and Santorini.

Beyond these well-known spots, the country has a plethora of unique destinations, many of which remain undiscovered by the average visitor.

If you’re searching for the best day trips from Athens, you’re in the right place.

In the guide that follows, I’m sharing five destinations that I’ve not only been to but have visited multiple times and highly recommend.

I’ll provide detailed insights on the best ways to get there and tips to ensure you’re well-prepared and avoid any unforeseen surprises.

But before diving in, make sure your Athens itinerary is complete.

If you need assistance, my comprehensive Athens guides are here to help.

They come complete with top spots and their corresponding pins on Google Maps, so you won’t miss out on anything: Athens in 1 day, Athens in 2 days, Athens in 3 days, Athens in 4 days, or hidden gems of Athens if you plan to stay even longer.

Where Should I Go on a Day Trip from Athens?

The archaeological site of Delphi

Meteora, Delphi, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Nafplio, Marathon, and nearby islands like Agistri and Aegina are all destinations I’d gladly revisit anytime.

Most of them are a mere 2 to 2.5 hours away from Athens.

However, Meteora is a notable exception.

While it’s a bit further away, its unparalleled beauty makes the extended journey absolutely worth it.

What Are the Best Day Trips from Athens by Train?

Best day trips from Athens: A monastery situated on top of a towering rock formation at the breathtaking Meteora.

Regrettably, Greece’s railway system isn’t in the best condition.

It’s not comparable to the train systems you might find in countries like France, Belgium, or Japan.

Delays are common, and many Greek cities aren’t directly connected to Athens by train.

As such, the only real day trip option from Athens by train is to Meteora.

You can find all the necessary information in the sections that follow.

What Are the Best Day Trips from Athens Without a Car?

Best day trips from Athens: a sailboat cruising on a vast blue sea.

Unlike the railways, Greece’s road network is quite reliable.

As a result, all mainland destinations can be reached either by driving yourself or through a guided tour, which typically provides transportation, often by bus.

Two of the best day trips from Athens without a car include Delphi and Nafplio, both roughly two hours away.

However, from mid-April to mid-October, the best option is not to travel by road at all, but to take a boat tour to Greek islands such as Agistri and Aegina.

There, you can dive into the crystal-clear waters of the Aegean, explore the islands, and have an amazing time onboard.

What Are the Best Day Trips from Athens by Public Transport?

A historic building at Lake Marathon nestled among dense trees, and distant hills on the horizon.
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In addition to the train trip to Meteora, Marathon is another destination near Athens that’s accessible by public transportation.

Specifically, it’s conveniently reachable for a day trip by bus.

The bus even departs from outside the city center, which helps avoid heavy traffic.

All the necessary details are provided in the “Marathon Day Trip from Athens” section below.

However, I’d advise against using public transport for other trips on this list, like Delphi.

The main reason is the lack of direct connections to Athens, which could potentially make your excursion less enjoyable.

1. Island Day Trip from Athens (Agistri, Aegina, Moni)

Best day trips from Athens: two girls sitting on the deck of a sailboat.

If your Greek adventure is centered around Athens, a day trip from Athens to the Greek islands is highly recommended.

It’s essential to remember that popular islands such as Santorini, Mykonos, and Milos are a considerable distance from Athens, making them unsuitable for a day trip.

However, there are literally thousands of islands in the Aegean, so you have numerous possibilities.

Therefore, the best option for a day trip from Athens is a boat tour to multiple islands like Agistri and Aegina.

While I’ve always called Greece home, I must confess, my first sailboat journey was only a few years ago.

Yet, that experience ranks among the most memorable I’ve had in recent times, and since then, I try to repeat it once every few years.

For an entire day, our only tasks are to dive in pristine waters, soak up the sun, drink cold beers, and enjoy onboard meals.

The “Boat Tour to Agistri, Aegina with Moni Swimming Stop” comes highly recommended, promising a similar experience.

It might cost a bit more than other best day trips from Athens, but trust me, if you can, it’s totally worth spending a little extra for such an experience.

2. Meteora Day Trip from Athens

Best day trips from Athens: a monastery perched on a massive rock pillar at Meteora, Greece.

Meteora might not be as famous as Santorini or Athens, but it stands out as one of the most unique destinations in Greece.

What sets this location apart is its distinctive landscape: towering monolithic rocks that seem to emerge from the ground, crowned by ancient monasteries with centuries of history.

Personally, I regard it as the most awe-inspiring day trip one can take from Athens in mainland Greece.

However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Firstly, Meteora is roughly four hours away from Athens.

Given this distance, the route from Athens to Meteora can be tiring.

But if you don’t mind spending several hours on a bus, the result is totally worth it.

The “Athens: Meteora Monasteries & Caves Day Trip” and “Athens: Meteora Day Trip in English/Spanish” activities are great choices, receiving positive feedback for their organization.

However, if you’re considering this trip, ensure it’s not scheduled on a day you’re catching a flight, as minor delays can always happen on the road.

Another viable option is renting a car and going on a road trip from Athens to Meteora.

The highways are in good condition and safe, and a car offers a more independent experience than bus travel.

But do remember, the distance is significant.

If you have some flexibility in your itinerary, consider extending your stay with an overnight in the nearby town of Kalambaka and heading back the following day.

For accommodations, Hotel Doupiani House and Ananti City Resort are highly recommended in the region.

3. Delphi Day Trip from Athens

A panoramic view of ancient stone ruins at Delphi, set against a backdrop of rugged mountains and valleys.

Looking for an excellent day trip not too far from Athens?

Delphi, a top pick for day trips, is just about 2.5 hours or 185 kilometers (115 miles) from Athens.

You’ll find the ruins of the Temple of Apollo, where the famous oracle once resided, and the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia.

There’s also an ancient stadium, theater, and an Archaeological Museum to explore.

If you’re a history lover and want to check out a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this guided day trip to Delphi from Athens can be perfect for you.

I recommend it because it starts from a metro station outside downtown Athens, saving you from the city’s hectic morning rush.

Believe me, you don’t want to get caught in that!

If you’re thinking about driving, renting a car is a good option, and the drive is pretty straightforward.

If you go this route, consider stopping at the nearby town of Itea for a seaside lunch.

Now, there’s also the bus option. But honestly? I wouldn’t suggest it.

Getting to the intercity bus station in Athens can be a hassle, and the services are just okay.

A little heads-up: the walk from the archaeological site’s entrance up to the temples is uphill. So, make sure to wear comfy shoes.

4. Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Nafplio Day Trip from Athens

A boat sails towards the stone castle of Mpourtzi at Nafplio.

Thinking about emphasizing Greek culture and history in your travel?

Then, the Mycenae, Epidaurus, and Nafplio tour might be just what you’re looking for.

First up is Mycenae, the legendary city of King Agamemnon.

This city thrived in the 2nd millennium BC, and today, its archaeological park is among Greece’s most significant.

Next, you’ll head to Epidaurus, known for the most renowned healing center of the Classical world, dedicated to the god Asclepius.

But that’s not all. The ancient theater of Epidaurus is here, too, and it’s still hosting shows.

What’s impressive to this day is its acoustics.

Whether you’re in the front row or way in the back, you can hear unamplified speech clearly, even though it seats 14,000 people.

In between these historic sites, you’ll drop by Nafplio, hands down one of the prettiest coastal cities in Greece.

Once the capital during the early days of the Greek Revolution, the town has some pretty impressive castles.

For this trip, you’ve got two main options: rent a car or hop on the Bus Trip to Mycenae, Epidaurus & Nafplio.

If you ask me, I’d go with the bus trip: it comes with an archaeologist guide who’ll give you all the details of the places you’re visiting.

Plus, just like the Delphi tour, it starts from a metro station outside downtown Athens, which means no lost hours in traffic.

5. Marathon Day Trip from Athens

Crystal-clear waters border a sandy beach, leading to a dense grove of tall pine trees at Schinias Beach, next to Marathon.
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The easiest day trip you’ll find on this list is Marathon.

Located just an hour from central Athens, it’s an excellent choice if you’re not keen on spending too much time on the road.

Of course, it might not have the distinct appeal of Meteora or an island boat tour, but if history or running resonates with you (or both), Marathon is a worthwhile visit.

In Marathon, you can explore the Lake Marathon dam and the Marathon Tomb, the final resting place for those who fell during the renowned Battle of Marathon.

Legend has it that after this battle, a messenger ran roughly 40 km to Athens to proclaim the Persians’ defeat.

Sadly, he succumbed to exhaustion shortly after delivering his message.

This brave act became the inspiration for the marathon race.

For those intrigued by the origins of the iconic race, the Marathon Run Museum offers insights into the history of Olympic Marathons.

And to wrap up your day, consider a visit to the nearby Schinias Beach, one of Athens’ top beaches.

You have three options for visiting Marathon:
a) Rent a car
b) Take a bus
c) Book a private car tour.

Though the latter is the most expensive, it offers added convenience: a professional English-speaking driver will pick you up directly from your accommodation at a time that suits you.

However, given the short distance to Marathon, both renting a car and taking the bus are still practical choices.

If opting for the bus, it departs from the Nomismatokopio metro station.

You can check out the schedules on Ktel Attikis official website.

Before You Go

I hope this article helped you find the best day trips from Athens in 2024.

If you have a specific question, you can also reach out using the comments below.

You may also want to see what’s going on with Uber in Athens, the best neighborhoods to stay in Athens, and an honest review on Athens guided tours.

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Make Your Trip Easier

Airport Transfer
If you want to get to and from Athens Airport with peace of mind, I recommend pre-booking your taxi with Welcome Pickups. Their flat rate is a few euros more expensive than random taxis, but it is totally worth it. They use local, English-speaking drivers, who will wait for you even if your flight is delayed and introduce you to the city during your ride.

I always book my accommodation with a reliable service like They offer a price guarantee and 24/7 support in case of any problems with your hotel. Always make sure you read reviews from other guests before booking.

From day trips to Greek islands to Acropolis Guided Tours, GetYourGuide will help you find some unique ideas for your trip.

Car Rental
If you decide to rent a car while in Athens, check Rentalcars. It compares the most reliable companies and returns the best prices with free cancellation.

Free Athens Tours
If you have limited time or want a local guide to introduce you to the city, check GuruWalk. They offer free tours, and at the end, you give them the amount you think is fair.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you if you get sick or injured while abroad, or if you lose your luggage or your flight is delayed. On my trips, I use SafetyWing as it’s affordable and has a simple claims process.

Sunny Athens is reader-supported. Some of the links above may be affiliate links for which I may receive compensation if you click, at no cost to you. This does not influence my evaluations. Learn more in Advertise Disclosure.

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