Dive into the 5 best one day trips from Athens in 2024. Beyond the usual, explore destinations like Meteora, Agistri island, and Delphi.
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, then look no further.
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 to these places and tips to ensure you’re well-prepared and avoid any unforeseen surprises.
But before diving in, ensure your Athens itinerary is in top shape.
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 more days.
Where should I go on a day trip from Athens?
Meteora, Delphi, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Nafplio, Marathon, and nearby islands like Agistri and Aegina are all destinations I’d gladly revisit.
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?
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?
Contrary to the trains, Greece’s road network is quite reliable.
As a result, all the following 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.
If you’d rather not travel by road at all, an excellent alternative is a boat tour to Greek islands such as Agistri and Aegina.
There, you can dive into the clear waters of the Aegean, explore the islands, and enjoy a delightful meal onboard.
What are the best day trips from Athens by public transport?
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. Meteora Day Trip from Athens
Meteora might not be as famous as Santorini or Athens, but it stands out as one of the most unique destinations in mainland 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.
If I had to choose just one day tour in Greece, Meteora would be it.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Firstly, Meteora is roughly four hours away from Athens.
Given this distance, the best mode of transport from Athens to Meteora is by train.
The “Athens: Meteora Day Trip by Train” package is a decent choice, receiving positive feedback for its organization.
However, if you’re considering this trip, ensure it’s not scheduled on a day you’re catching a flight, as minor train delays are not uncommon in Greece.
Conversely, I’d advise against a bus tour.
The journey can be quite exhausting and might detract from the overall experience.
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, offering a more comfortable 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 head back the following day.
2. Island Day Trip from Athens (Agistri, Aegina, Moni)
If your Greek adventure is centered around staying solely in Athens, then 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.
So, the best island 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.
For an entire day, our only tasks were to dive in the 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.
3. Delphi Day Trip from Athens
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
Thinking about diving deep into Greek culture and history?
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.
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
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.
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.
Make Your Trip Easier
I always book my accommodation with a reliable service like Booking.com. Besides their price guarantee, you can rest assured that you will have 24/7 support in the event of any problems with your hotel. Always make sure you read reviews from other guests before booking.
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 they are totally worth it. They use local English-speaking drivers, wait for you at the arranged meeting point, even if your arrival is delayed, and introduce you to the city along the way.
Don’t forget to use Skyscanner before booking your flights as it compares different airlines to provide the cheapest and fastest solutions. Moreover, you can save a lot of money if you are flexible with your dates.
Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on a trip. However, these things can happen, so do not miss taking out travel insurance: SafetyWing is the one I use, as its plans are affordable and can save you a lot of trouble.
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