ATHENS – Day Trips

While Athens can fill a complete itinerary with exciting venues and activities by itself, there are several trips worth taking around the capital. Around Attica you will find plenty of little towns and seaside resorts for day-trips, and of course a host of archaeological sites to keep you busy.

Day Trips by Car

From Athens you can make day trips to many interesting places like Sounio, Delphi, Mycenae, Corinth, and Epidaurus.

Sounio and the Temple of Poseidon

Sounio is about one hour drive from the center of Athens through the coastal road and can be done in one afternoon or morning.

It would take about 45 minutes to get there, and many visitors prefer to go in the afternoon to watch the sunset from the ancient ruins. There is a cafeteria where you can have a light meal or a drink with the moon over temple of Poseidon in your view. Click here to visit our Sounio travel guide.

Tip: Keep the Sounio visit for you last night in Athens, and plan to watch the sunset from the Temple of Poseidon. It would be the perfect exclamation mark to your holiday!

Other major archaeological sites near Athens, such as Delphi, Mycenae, and Epidaurus would require an entire, and really long day for a visit.

These are extensive archaeological sites which require at least one hour for each visit, so our advice would be to only opt for a day trip if you have no other option. Otherwise, we would advise at least an overnight stay in Delphi and a three-day trip in the Argolis.


Going to Delphi for a day-trip from Athens would make for a really long day, mainly because the road to Delphi is only partially highway, and the longest part alternates between rural and mountain roads.

We would therefore recommend that you make Delphi a destination in itself for at least one overnight.

But if you don’t have the time and you want to visit Delphi badly, your best options would be either with a hired ride, a dedicated bus tour, or a rental car. Public transportation would not be a good option unless you stay in Arachova or Delphi overnight, and there is no train connection with Athens.

If you only have time to visit one archaeological site outside of Athens, the site at Delphi would be the best choice  because it is historically important, the ruins are extensive, and the landscape beautiful. The Museum of Delphi houses some of the most important artifacts from ancient Greece.


This would be another long day-trip, but if you want to see the ancient sites around Corinth, you can use the “Proastiakos”–the same metro line that connects the center of Athens to the Airport. Once you reach Corinth, you can get around with taxis.

The biggest attractions of Corinth are the archaeological site and the spectacular Corinth canal that separates the Peloponnese from the rest of the Greek mainland.

Mycenae and Epidaurus

Mycenae and Epidaurus could be visited together during a long day trip if you are pressed for time. However, as we mentioned before a three -day visit would allow you to enjoy the multitude of sites and landscapes of the Argolis much more comfortably.

If you opt for a day-trip, having your own wheels, and leaving Athens early in the morning would be best to visit both Mycenae first, and Epidaurus second.

The road to Mycenae from Athens is mostly highway, and the archeological site has exactly zero shelter from the sun, the walking is mostly uphill, and it gets very crowded after 10:00 AM. So visiting and departing by mid-morning is a worthy goal.

Click here to visit our Mycenae travel guide

Epidaurus on the other hand has lots of tree coverage, it’s mostly on level ground, and more expansive, so the crowds would be an issue only on the theatre orchestra.

The road back to Athens after visiting Epidaurus would take you through  some rural landscape at first, and a scenic winding coastal road before you reach the highway near Corinth.

Click here to visit our Epidaurus travel guide

For a more ambitious tour of the area, you could also visit Tyrins, Argos, and Nafplio which is a beautiful town with nice beaches near Tolo. If you do go to Nafplio, the Archaeological Museum of Nafplio is worth a visit.

Day Trips by Boat

You can take a daily trip from Piraeus to the islands of Aegina (don’t miss the temple of Aphaia), Poros, Hydra, and Spetses.

You can take a slow ferry there, but a “flying dolphin” (catamaran) will make the trip in a fraction of the time, so you can be back to Athens for dinner.

All of these islands are excellent day-long destinations, but if you have the time you might want to schedule a day or two at Hydra island.

One-Day Cruises from Athens

There are several companies that offer daily cruises to the Saronic gulf islands. They usually leave around 7:00 AM from Faliro and sail to Aegina, Poros, Hydra, and then they return to Athens early in the evening.

Some of these small cruise boats make a stop at Spetses after Hydra.

The service varies from boat to boat, but it is usually a far cry from the cruises that sail the Aegean islands for three to seven days. You can expect to be packed among many, many passengers with nothing to do besides drinking.

These day-cruise boats are a lot slower than the regular ferries and catamarans, but they offer you the choice of seeing several islands without the hustle of changing boats, and chasing ferry schedules.

ATHENS – Intercity Busses and Trains

The cheapest way to travel from one city to the next in Greece is via intercity bus or train. Train lines are sparse in the mountainous country, so busses handle the majority of travelers.

Traveling from Athens by Intercity Bus

If you arrive to Athens by bus you will get off at the main station, most likely the one at Kiffisos. From there, the best way to get to your final destination without getting lost in the labyrinthine public bus schedule, is to hire a taxi.

There is a long line of taxis waiting for passengers in the station. Wait in line and take the first taxi at that station (it’s illegal to flag a taxi that’s not in that line).

If you are leaving for a destination via bus from Athens, you will still use the same station, and the best way to get to it from your hotel is also via taxi. Once at the station, you need to find your bus line.

It’s a small bus station but if you have luggage it would be best for one person to wait at a spot with all the luggage while another walks around to find the bus. Allow some time to get to the station because bus departure is punctual and Athens traffic might prevent you from reaching the station in a timely manner.

The bus station itself is not built to cater to tourists. The intercity buses are the main mode of transportation for ordinary Greeks and you will actually get a taste of “real” Greece just by hanging out at the station.

It’s a safe place with ample police presence who perform random ID checks (mostly looking for illegal immigrants) and very rarely luggage checks.

There are many kiosks that sell drinks and snacks all around the station, and a main ticket and eating building at the far end. The restrooms are located at the basement of that building, and are to be used only in dire emergency.

It is possible to buy tickets on the spot (at the ticket counter) but in July and August you should book your bus trip ahead of time because seats are sold out more often than not.

Tickets are usually a bargain compared to other modes of transportation, so bus hopping around Greece could keep your entire vacation under-budget.

You will have to check you luggage. Right next to the parked bus that you plan to travel with you will find a scale and someone who can weigh it, tag it, and put it in the bus stowaway area.

Stay with your luggage at all times and note which side of the bus it has been stowed so you can easily get it when you get off at your destination. You can take a small backpack in the bus cabin, but storage there is limited.

Be aware that most employees of the bus station won’t be speaking much English (or any other language), and that’s especially true for the bus drivers and the luggage handlers around you bus.

Athens Train Station

The main train station that connects Athens to the rest of Greece  is much closer to the center of Athens than the bus station. It is well connected with the Attiko Metro (the Athens subway).

As you exit the train station you will find plenty of taxis waiting in line for arriving passengers. Always wait your turn and take the first taxi in line.

Trains in Greece are notoriously inefficient so not many tourists prefer to travel that way. To get to the northern Peloponnese from Athens you should use the Proastiakos train.

For all other destinations, service is limited, so unless you travel to another major city like Thessaloníki, you’d be better off taking a bus as well.


The vast majority of tourists arrive to Greece via the Athens airport. But rarely passengers will arrive at Athens via boat or cruise ship. In that case, your boat will dock either at the ports of Piraeus, Rafina, or (rarely) Faliro.

Pireas Port

Map of piraeus port with the ferry gates
Map of Piraeus port and the ferry gates.

From Pireas, you can catch the HSAP train at the Pireas station that connects with all the Metro lines, so you can easily reach the center of Athens. Depending on the location of your ferry, you might have to walk a long way to get to the station.

The boats that connect with the Dodekanesse islands and Crete dock far away from the station, and you might want to take a five minute taxi ride instead of a twenty minute walk in the heat.

Other boats dock much closer to the station so walking to it should not be an issue.

If you arrive to Greece via ferry from Italy, your best bet would be to disembark in the town of Patra. From there you can take a bus to Athens.

The ferry companies offer their own bus service and you can buy tickets at the ferry reception area during your trip.

If you prefer the public bus lines, you would have to take a taxi from the port of Patra to the bus station and wait for the bus to depart. Click here to see the Piraeus port on the map

Rafina Port

If you arrive to the port of Rafina you would need to hire a taxi to take you into Athens.

It’s a half-hour drive but it can take double and triple that time if you encounter traffic.