Best Day Tours from Athens | Islands & Mainland

Craving a taste of Greek history and culture, but also yearning for island escapes? Then you should go on the best day tours from Athens, Greece’s captivating capital city! You can combine exploring the world-renowned archaeological wonders like the Acropolis Hill and the Ancient Agora with embarking on exciting day tours from Athens.

Athens sits in a sweet spot in Greece, making it super easy to reach tons of cool islands nearby such as historical Aegina, car-free Hydra, the lesser-known island of Salamina, or laid-back Agistri.

Acropolis Hill

If you prefer to explore the mainland then amazing day tours from Athens are the archaeological wonders of Corinth, Epidaurus and Mycenae, the natural beauty of Cape Sounion, wine-tasting Nemea, and the stunning Nafplion town.

Do you always try to discover as many off-the-beaten-path sites as possible? Then I have the perfect list for you: Ramnous, Eleusis, and Daphni Monastery near Athens. I have traveled several times to all those places I am suggesting and I believe they are the best day tours from Athens!

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My Latest Video on Athens

Best Day Tours from Athens

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon is one of the most time-efficient day trips from Athens! It is the southernmost point of the Attika region, 65 km from Athens. You get there by traveling the most beautiful seaside road in Athens, the Athens Riviera, passing by suburbs, numerous coves, and coastal settlements.

At the Cape Sounion, a very strategic spot for ancient Greeks as the silver mines of Lavrion are nearby, the Sanctuary of Poseidon is located. When you get to the imposing area of Cape Sounion you will see the remains of a beautiful Doric Temple dedicated to Poseidon.

Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon, sounion beach tavern
Sounion Cape tavern

Cape Sounion is one of the most popular half-day tours from Athens, especially during the summer when you can admire a striking sunset. Right across from the cape, at the coast, you will find a few taverns where you can have a romantic dinner.

The best way to get to Cape Sounion is by driving a rental car or booking a private tour with stops along the way on the Athens Riviera. One of the best stops is the impressive Vouliagmeni Lake.

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Apostle Paul’s Footsteps (Athens, Corinth)

Ancient Agora in Athens

During Apostle Paul’s second missionary trip between 51 and 53 CE, he visited Greece, and specifically, he went to Philippi, Thessaloniki, Veria, and finally Athens.

Areopagus Hill

In Athens, he preached in Ancient Agora to anyone interested in listening. The followers of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophies took him to the Areopagus Hill in Acropolis, where Apostle Paul spoke about the new ‘Uknown God’.

Day Trips from Athens: Apostle Paul Bema in Ancient Corinth
Apostle Paul’s Bema in Ancient Corinth

Later, he went to Ancient Corinth, where he met Priscilla and Aquila. Apostle Paul preached the Gospel using the large platform (Bema) in the center of the Roman Agora of Ancient Corinth, where officials addressed the citizens.

Kechries ancient port
Kechries ancient port

After spending a year and a half in Corinth, Apostle Paul decided it was time to move on to his next destination. He went to Kechries, ancient Corinth’s one of the 2 ports, where he had his head shaved to end a vow he had taken. From there, he boarded a ship to Ephesus.  

The Footsteps of the Apostle Paul tour includes Athens, Ancient Corinth, and Kechries Port. While you are in Ancient Corinth you can also visit the nearby large Castle, Acrocorinth.

You can drive to all those places from Athens but I highly recommend this full-day Apostle Paul Steps private tour, especially if you do not like driving abroad. This is a fantastic day tour from Athens as it combines a lot of different places.

Related Articles: The Ancient Port of Kechries in Corinth

Mycenae, Nafplion, Epidaurus

Nafplion town

The Mycenae – Nafplion – Epidaurus tour is one of the most popular day tours from Athens. It is also called the ‘Argolis tour’ and it includes two UNESCO ancient Greek sites and the most romantic town in the country, medieval Nafplion.

The archaeological sites of Mycenae and Tiryns are the imposing ruins of the two greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilization (1650-1060 BC).

According to Homer’s epic poems of the Iliad and Odyssey, this was the palace of Agamemnon, the king who led the Greek army against Troy. The impressive Bronze Age site includes ruins of the palace and tombs, a breathtaking domed tomb, and an in-house museum.

Tiryns cyclopean walls are close to Nafplion, a gorgeous seafront town that is characterized by its three castles and its picturesque alleys.

Nafplion alleys

Nafplion is a great base if you want to explore the Peloponnese as it offers high-quality tourist services, especially regarding food tasting. One of the best places to stay in Nafplion with castle views is the Family Superior Apartment.

The magnificent theater of Epidaurus

At the large Sanctuary of Asklepios in Epidaurus (36 km from Nafplion), dedicated to the god of medicine, you will witness some of the masterpieces of Greek architecture dating from the 4th century BCE. However, the most striking monument is the Theatre of Epidaurus renowned for its perfect architectural proportions and exemplary acoustics.

How to tour Argolis? You can rent a car as the roads are excellent to get to the three destinations. Alternatively, this private tour of the 3 sites plus a great Greek lunch is highly recommended.

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Nemea Wine-Tasting

wine tasting in Greece, Nemea from the hill

Nemea Greece is a beautiful, fertile area in the Peloponnese, famous for the largest vineyards in the Balkans. It is 123 km southwest of Athens one of the most popular areas in Greece to have high-quality wine tasting.

Nemea also houses the important archaeological site of the Sanctuary of Zeus and an ancient Greek Stadium that you can visit.

And if you also love history, you can visit the rock-built monastery, the ancient quarry of Kleones, and the Mycenean necropolis, and taste the local traditional cuisine.

If you would like to have a wine-tasting experience in Nemea, I highly recommend the Wine Trails Private Tour. Or the Ancient Corinth & Nemea Wine Tasting if you prefer to combine it with another famous ancient site.


Tholos in Delphi Archaeological site

Delphi archaeological site, a UNESCO monument, is located on the enchanting slopes of Parnassos Mount, 185 km northwest of Athens. Delphi was the most important Pan-Hellenic sanctuary and the most famous oracle of ancient Greece.

Delphi Oracle ancient theater
Ancient Theater

The Delphi Oracle operated for more than 1000 years but a lot of the still-standing monuments were erected during its peak (6th and 4th centuries BCE). The godly prophecy was delivered by Pythia, the priestess, and interpreted by the priests of Apollo. After the 4th century, its popularity started to diminish until it was completely silenced by the emperor Theodosius in 392 CE.

Nearby you can also visit the Delphi Museum with some of the masterpieces found in the excavation at the Delphi site.

Arachova in winter

Itinerary for Delphi

If you are traveling from Athens to Delphi you can also visit:

  • Livadia town and stop for a coffee at Krya Nera
  • UNESCO Monastery of Osios Loukas
  • Arachova village
  • Galaxidi seaside town with the best boutique hotel in the area: Ganimede Hotel.

The best way to explore the area is by driving a rental car or booking one of the best private tours for Delphi.

Boat Trips from Athens


Aegina island is the quickest way to get yourself to a Greek island as it is only 40 minutes if you take the hydrofoil or 76 minutes by ferry far from Piraeus, Athens’ main port. It belongs to the Argo Saronic islands, named after the Saronic gulf between Athens and Argolis.

Aegina is famous for its impressive archaeological site of Aphaia, the large monasteries, the medieval Paleochora, and the traditional seaside villages. It is an ideal island for a day trip from Athens!

Related Article: The Best Things to Do on Aegina Island

My Latest Video on Aegina


Day Trips from Athens: Hydra island port

Hydra island is around 2 hours from Athens, the most beautiful and cosmopolitan island of the Argo Saronic islands. It is a completely car-free island with a rich naval history, built on a hill with spectacular stone mansions and numerous small museums.

Hydra Kanakia

A favorite yacht destination and with 5-star restaurants at the most impressive sunset spots, Hydra is a must-visit island from Athens. If you decide to stay overnight, Estia Hydra has a fantastic port view, but you have to book fast as it normally gets fully booked during summer.

Related Article: 10 Best Things to Do in Hydra Greece

Kea Island

Kea island alley with bougainvillea

Kea Island is only 1 hour by ferry from Athens’ smaller port Lavrion. It is a beautiful, unspoiled, and low-key Cycladic island full of lovely small coves populated with yachts and fishing boats.

The archaeological site of Karthea on Kea island
Ancient Karthea

Kea Island is low in the mass tourism radars, which is great if you love authenticity and want to explore a Cycladic island without the crowds. One of the best things to do in Kea is to hike or drive to the spectacular Karthea archaeological site.

With buses running the island, you can get to the gorgeous main town and the sandy beaches easily. Book your ferry seat from Lavrio Port here

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Agistri | One of the best Day Tours from Athens

Aponisos in Agistri

Agistri Island is a hidden paradise just a stone’s throw away from Athens. It’s perfect for a day tour from Athens only 1 hour from Piraeus port. Picture this: crystal-clear waters, soft sandy beaches, and lush greenery all around in a very peaceful environment.

You can spend your day lazing on Skala Beach, wandering through cute little villages like Megalochori, or hiking in the pine forests. I’ve explored Agistri by hiking and biking on numerous day tours from Athens, and I have to admit that my favorite beach is the exotic-looking Aponisos.


Hikers resting in a kiosk over Salamina Kanakia beach
Kanakia beach in Salamina

Salamina is the closest island to Athens, a 15-minute ferry from Perama port in Piraeus and one of the most popular day tours from Athens for…the Athenians. It is also one of the most historical islands in Greece. On September 22nd 480 BCE, the united Greek city-states, under the command of brilliant Themistocles, fought the invading Persians and defeated a Persian fleet four times larger.

Evgenia resting on a ledge over a Greek forest
Salamina is very green

If you are not a history buff you can explore the interesting main town, take it easy and stroll through cute little villages, enjoy seafront meals, and soak up the sun on the beaches. Salamina’s your go-to for a chilled-out island escape, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Athens.

Off-the-Beaten-Path Day Tours from Athens

Marathon and Ramnous

Marathon Timuli tomb of Plataea
Marathon Tumulus

When you hear the word ‘Marathon’ your mind jumps immediately to the 40 km run, right? But do you know that Marathon is another legacy of Greece to the world? Marathon town, which is 40 km northeast of Athens, is the archaeological site of the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC against the vast Persian army, one of the greatest battles in history.

Day Trips from Athens: Marathon Lake and Dam from a drone
Marathon Lake Dam

It is also the starting location of the Authentic Classic Athens Marathon Race with a great Run Museum in its center. Marathon is Athens’ main water supplier with an impressive lake and dam (a great area for hiking). Finally, it is a place with a gorgeous natural environment, the pine-forested Schinias Beach famous for its windsurfing, and great food by the sea.

ramnous archaeological site main road on city with two women walking
Ramnous archaeological site

10 km far from Marathon sits the Ramnous site which offers a unique opportunity for visitors to see how ancient Greek cities around 500 BC used to be. Most of the other famous Greek archaeological sites you visit, like the Acropolis of Athens or Epidaurus, were mostly sanctuaries dedicated to gods.

Ramnous was a real town, with everyday chambers, soldiers to guard it, and fortifications as it was built at a strategic point, just like Sounion.

You can combine a day trip from Athens visiting both Marathon and Ramnous with swimming and having a meal by the sea. Would you like us to organize a customized day trip from Athens? Please send me your request in my email here.

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UNESCO-listed Monastery of Daphni and Eleusis

Daphni Monastery

11 km from Athens center and towards Peloponnese, sits the Byzantine masterpiece of Daphni Monastery, a UNESCO-listed monument. The Monastery was built in the 11th century CE and presents architectural perfection and unique mosaics on a gold background.

Eleusis Archaeological site

10 km from Daphni Monastery you can visit Eleusis. In ancient Greece, Eleusis (or Elefsina) was one of the most important sanctuaries of the ancient world. It was the location of one of the most famous and unexplained ancient rituals: The Eleusinian Mysteries. The Eleusinian Mysteries were celebrated during the ancient Greek month Voidromionas (September – October) and lasted for nine days.

Entrance to the Eleusis Museum

The modern Eleusis has been declared a European Cultural City for 2023 so there are numerous feasts, exhibitions, and performances. There is also a fantastic new archaeological museum which contains some exceptional findings of the rituals.

How to get to Daphni Monastery and Eleusis: This is a very easy drive from Athens or even with public buses. Alternatively, this private full-day tour to all Athens essential sites will take you as well to Daphni and Eleusis.

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Weekend Trips from Athens

2-Day Trip to Delphi and Meteora

Meteora Monastery

Meteora is a breathtaking landscape of gigantic sandstone rocks on top of which are perched 6 Greek Orthodox monasteries (UNESCO monuments) originating since the 11th century CE. The Meteora Monasteries are the second most important monastic complex in Greece after the Mount Athos Monasteries in Chalkidiki.

Meteora and Kastraki

Meteora rocks are 347 km from Athens making this a long trip for a day trip. If you have just one day, you can travel to Meteora as a full-day tour from Athens but if you have the time do make it a 2-day trip to Meteora.

Ideally, you can combine it with a visit to Delphi with an overnight stay at one of the most impressive hotels in the nearby town of Kalabaka such as Zosimas House.

Related Article: Meteora Monasteries Travel Guide.

Where to stay in Athens

If this is your first trip to Athens, figuring out where to stay in the city can be a bit intimidating. Find below a list of hotels and apartment choices ranging from spectacular Acropolis view, in Plaka, Athens’ old city, or cheaper choices and good value for your money:

Athens Airport to Piraeus Port

Bus X96 Peiraias Port to Athens Airport
Airport Bus
  • Bus: If you are arriving at Athens International Airport you can travel straight to the port by taking the X96 express bus (€5.5, children <6 yo, free entrance), which departs every 40 minutes and the average trip lasts 1 hour – runs 24/7.
  • Metro: (€9) is easily found across airport arrivals (blue line – M3) going directly to Piraeus port. The average trip to Piraeus lasts 1 hour.
  • Taxis are available in front of the airport (around €40 to Athens, €55-60 to Piraeus (depending on the traffic in Kifisos), and take up to 3 or 4 people with small luggage)
  • Rent a car with Discover Cars for reliable, new cars at affordable prices
  • You don’t like driving but love hassle-free solutions? Book a Private transfer with an English-speaking driver from Athens International Airport to Piraeus Ferries, or anywhere else in Greece
  • Are you looking for domestic flights in Greece? Check out the official Aegean Airlines Website.

Did you find your best day tours from Athens? Let me know what you think about visiting the areas in the comments, I’d love to hear whether I managed to get it onto your bucket list! Till next time, Evgenia❤️

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About the author
Evgenia Mataragka
Hi! I am an Athens-based Greek obsessed with exploring Greece and bringing you the best travel experience ever!

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