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Last Updated on April 14, 2021 by Mary Emmer
If you’re already going to be visiting Athens, it’s hard to imagine that you won’t have enough to see without wandering out of the city to the surrounding areas. But if you’re thinking of doing just that, then I’ve got 5 must-do day trips from Athens, Greece for you to consider.
Athens itself is certainly not short on famous archeological sites. To be honest, I never really considered myself as being all that interested in seeing archeological sites of any kind.
But I must admit that the first time I visited the Acropolis, or even saw it from a distance (especially at night) I was gobsmacked!
If you’re not sure exactly what to do in Athens, this Athens city guide will help you out.
But if you find yourself with an extra few days, you might want to consider some day trips.
5 Must-Do Day Trips From Athens, Greece
If you only have time for one day trip from Athens, this is the one to consider.
Delphi is a spectacular ancient site that makes a perfect day trip if you want a little break from the bustle of Athens.
Located 150 kilometers northwest of Athens, Delphi is probably the most popular site to see around Athens after the Acropolis. So yes, there are tourists and yes, Delphi will be busy at certain times.
But the funny thing is, that a lot of those tourists never actually learn anything about Delphi before visiting it, so they don’t actually know anything about the special meaning of the place.
In ancient times, Delphi was considered the center of the known world. The ancient Greeks felt that this was the one place in the world where man was closest to God, and Delphi is associated with worship for the God Apollo, son of Zeus.
This archeological site is one of the most important ones in Greece and the surrounding area provides stunning scenery.
Meteora is a rock formation located in central Greece located about 265 kilometers northwest of Athens.
But Meteora is so much more than just a rock formation. Meteora is famous for its six monasteries that are set on top of the rock formations making it seem as if they are literally “suspended in air”, which is the meaning of the word Meteora. These monasteries had no steps and almost no way to access them.
Today, Meteora has six active monasteries (that you can visit) left out of the original 24 monasteries that used to exist. Of the six monasteries that are still active today, 4 of them are male monasteries inhabited by monks, and 2 of them are convents inhabited by nuns. The total number of inhabitants of all the active monasteries is currently only about 60-65 people.
Meteora and the monasteries perched on top of the cliffs are on my personal travel bucket list.
Perhaps they belong on yours too?
Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon
Located about 70 kilometers southeast from Athens, the ancient Greeks referred to Cape Sounion as the “Sacred Cape.” The remains of the Temple of Poseidon (built between 444 and 440 BC) sit on a 60-meter high headland that is surrounded by the sea on three sides.
In Greek mythology, Poseidon (the brother of Zeus) was the God of the Sea.
With over 13,000 kilometers of coastline in Greece, Poseidon was highly revered by ancient Greek seamen, and it’s not surprising that they thought that he showed his wrath in the form of storms over the sea. It was for this reason that the ancient Greeks brought gifts to the Temple in the hopes of finding favor with Poseidon.
So the ancient Greeks were very concerned about the storms, hence the gifts they left for Poseidon.
But you should be aware that the sunsets from the ruins of the temple are considered one of the most beautiful sights in all of Greece.
I definitely recommend a sunset tour of Cape Sounion.
Ancient Corinth and Olympia
Ancient Corinth is located where the mainland of Greece connects with the Peloponnese peninsula and dates back to the 10th century BCE.
Because of the strategic location of Ancient Corinth, it allowed the tradesman and merchants of the time to master the art of trade, and the city prospered. As a result, Ancient Corinth became one of the wealthiest city-states in Ancient Greece.
Ancient Olympia was the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games which were held every 4 years by the ancient Greeks. These games were, of course, the forerunner to the modern-day Olympic Games that we enjoy today.
What would a Greek vacation be without a little Greek island cruising?
Some of the more popular and well known Greek Islands such as Rhodes, Santorini, and Crete are located far away from Athens, so it’s not really possible to visit those on a day trip unless you fly. But you can get a little taste of the Greek Isles without going so far away.
The Saronic Islands are only a short high-speed ferry ride away from the Peloponnese region of the Greek mainland. The ferry only takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hour so this makes day-tripping around this group of islands possible.
Should You Do A Day Trip From Athens, Greece?
So despite the fact that there are already so many important things to see right in Athens, in my opinion, you should try and get out for a day trip at least once if not more than that.
Not only will you have the opportunity to visit world-class archeological sites and museums, but you’ll also be able to experience the countryside of Greece which is something you truly won’t get a feel for while sitting in the middle of Athens.
And if you can cruise the islands? Even better! What better way to see Greece than like so many of the Ancient Greeks, along their 13,000 kilometers of coastline.