Athens, the capital city of Greece is one of the highly visited tourist destinations in the world.
Athens city, with its mind-boggling historical monuments and ancient temples dedicated to various Greek Gods, alone demand a full week tour. This includes a walking tour of Athens, and a street food tour.
In addition, you can visit a few islands also, floating in the Aegean Sea, from Athens as day trips.
Aegean Sea islands those are close to Athens which you can visit as day trips:
As a matter of fact, the title image of this blog post points to Skiathos Island.
Several ferries ply daily to Skiathos. Round trip involves 6 hrs only. You will have ample time to see around Skiathos Island and get back to Athens on the same day.
10 Day Trips from Athens
- Visit three islands on a single day from Athens.
The three islands that an organized tour operator from Athens can take you are known as Saronic Islands because they are located in the Saronic Gulf.
Poros Island will be your first stop from Athens. One hour is the sea passage from Athens.
Surprisingly, Poros’s greenscape will stand out because, generally, the majority of Greek Islands will welcome you with blinding white washed buildings with little greenery.
There is a clock tower which is rated as the top tourist landmark. You can climb the tower to get a superb view of the island and the Aegean Sea.
The beaches will astonish you with their beauty. In addition, several water sports are available in Poros Island.
Hydra Island’s harbour is strikingly beautiful because of very clear water. You will be amazed at the number of movements of ferries, and large cruise ships.
From Athens, a ferry will deposit you in Hydros’s port in only 90 minutes.
Sunset from Hydra is supposed to be breathtaking. A few ancient buildings and churches will attract your attention with their striking architecture.
Aegina is the farthest of the Sardonic islands from Athens. The voyage in a ferry takes about 3 hours.
Aegina Island is famous for its historic sites, and Greek mythological temples. As the largest of the Saronic Islands group, it was once the capital of Greece.
Interesting news, isn’t it?
Major landmarks in Aegina:
- Temple of Aphaia
It is similar to the world-famous Parthenon. It was included in the list of ancient wonders.
- Church of Agios Nektarios
Wow! It’s truly awesome! Greek architecture impresses everyone. Both the Doric and Ionic styles are simply stupendous.
In addition, the statues of Greek Gods that you see in several places are imposing.
As a bonus, you can wet your feet off the shores of a tiny island called Agistri.
Since you are going up to Aegina, you are also taken to this island by the tour operator. It is only 10 minute boat-ride away from Aegina.
So, how do you view this first and most-recommended day trip from Athens?
It is a small city in Greece’s Argolia peninsula. It is one of ancient settlements in the region of Peloponnese.
There is an open theatre here that is rated as one of the incredible architecture in ancient Greece. It belongs to the 4th century BC.
That’s why it was awarded the status of World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Surprisingly, it had withstood the vagaries of 2400 years and still in use.
Epidaurus is located roughly 80 km from Athens, an ideal distance for a day trip from Athens.
Another top sight in Epidaurus is the statue of Asclepion.
He is the God of Healing in Greek mythology. Another interesting fact about Asclepion is, he was the son of Apollo, the most revered God of Son.
Since ancient times, Epidairus was regarded as the center of healing.
This is a water castle known as Bourtzi.
Obviously, Nafplio was once an important sea trade center because of its natural harbour.
Nafplio city is also part of Argolis, and Peloponnese, on Greece’s east coast.
Located at 137 km away from Athens, you can include this destination in your list of day trips from Athens.
Though you can hire a taxi in Athens to go to Nafplio, an alternative and exciting way to reach Nafplio is by a ferry from Athens. The voyage will be of two hours.
Interestingly, Nafplio was also a Greek capital from 1827 until 1834!
As you saw the route map above, Nafplio sits firmly in the Gulf of Argolis.
In ancient times, (is there anything worthwhile to see in modern time Greece), Nafplio was regarded as a romantic city fir its beautiful port and terrific views of Aegean Sea.
The city’s beaches attract tourists from various parts of Europe. Being close to the historic site of Peloponnese, Nafplio still attracts good crowd.
Top antique sites to see in Nafplio.
- Castle of Palamidi-it was built as a fortress on a small hill.
- Syntagmatos Square
- An abandoned railway station
- Statue of Theodoros Kolokotronis
This is another ancient site that was excavated near Peloponnese. You are touring Athens and that means, you are interested in seeing all the ancient glories of Greece.
As the excavated site is located at 900 feet height, you get a terrific view of the Saronic Gulf (Gulf of Aegina). This is an extension of the Aegean Sea.
Mycenae City played an important role in the development of Greek civilization during 1600 BC to 1100 BC. As a matter of fact, this period in the second millennium BC was known as Mycenaean civilization.
UNESCO recognized the site’s cultural and historic value and declared it as a World Heritage Site in 1999.
Imagine how you would feel when you roam the streets of Mycenae. It was a city of importance for trade and defence.
Sites to see in Mycenae:
- Tomb of Agamennon (Treasury of Atreus)
- Cyclopean Walls
- Lion Gate
For this day trip from Athens, you better take a local guide along with you.
Temple of Poseidon
The Temple of Poseidon is another ancient Greek temple ruins that is located at day trip from Athens distance (77 km).
It is sitting right on the Cape Sunion, at the tip of Attica Peninsula.
Poseidon was one of the top 12 Greek Gods who was responsible for the safety of seafarers, and the God of Sea, Storms, and Earthquakes.
Atticaa Riviera (Dolce Athens)
Atticaa Riviera is located within the Athens City. Don’t imagine a series of towns or villages on Athens’s coastline.
The Riviera invites tourists with beach hotels that offer extraordinary Greek fare, luxury spa, boat tours, and a tour of caves. In addition, if beach resorts are beyond your budget, you can sit in one of the many taverns on the beach and have a drink.
This is an example of “Stalacites”. They are naturally formed rock crystals only on the roofs of caves. Stalacites have always sharp, pointed tips. It invites you to break the tip but when you try, you will realize it it’s not possible.
As one of the day trips from Athens, you can go to the stalactite caves called the Kapsia Cave.
The distance between the two destinations is 155 km. Car is the best mode of transport.
There are several caves to explore with the help of a Greek guide.
Here is a video of Kapsia Caves
Ferry leaves from the docks of Piraeus harbour, Athens. Within three hours, you can be in Skiathos Island. It is floating in the north-west Aegean Sea.
On this island, you can go in a boat to some distance in the sea to see the iconic “rock hole”.
The boat trip is from Lalaria Beach. The landmark is called Paralia Lalaria.
Here is the image of the ‘rock hole’.
These naturally formed liimestone cliffs are worth your trip to Skiathos Island.
I am sure you might have seen them in movies, and magazine pictures.
Other beaches of fresh beauty in Skiathos Island:
- Koukounaries Beach
This destination offers numerous water sports that include banana boat ride, peddle boats (pedalos), high-speed boat ride, and surfing.
In addition, somehow the marine creatures came to know tourists arrive in large numbers from other countries and started living off the shores of Skiathos to impress them.
This in turn attracted snorkelers and scuba divers.
Consequently, the familiar Greek taverns started showing up, making the Koukounaries Beach, a very popular hot spot in Greece.
- Agia Eleni Beach
- Mikros Aselinos Beach
As you have noticed in the video above, the beach of Lalaria has crystalline white sand. In fact, all the beaches of Skiathos Island are draped in white sand.
Other places of tourist interests:
- Skiathos Old Town
- Evengelistria Monastery
I guess, you would be recommended to take the first of several day trips from Athens, on your first day itself because, Delphi is the most important place to see in Greece.
Located about 165 km from Athens, Delphi is a huge temple complex dedicated to various Greek Gods. You can also see the seat of Pythia, who was a priestess for the Apollo temple in Delphi.
The historical and architectural brilliance of Delphi warranted a status of World Heritage Site from UNESCO>
Moreover, Delphi site is now a part of the Parnassos National Park, holding several Hellenic monuments in its encompassed area.
Bearing the scorching heat, you may be roaming the Delphi complex for more than 4 hours.
Meteora known for its high-perched monasteries is one of the ultimate attractions in Greece. When you stand below the tall cliff or when you look down from the monastery, you will forever remember your mouth and eyes were wide open in utter disbelief of the preposterous buildings on a cliff that seemed to provide no access at all at the first glance.
With this, I am winding off the list of 10 memorable day trips from Athens you should attempt.