Marathon Greece is a famous, historical and popular small town in Athens. It is also the:
- Hometown of the site of the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC against the vast Persian army
- Starting location of the Authentic Classic Athens Marathon Race
- Athens main water supplier with the impressive Marathon lake and dam
- Owner of a gorgeous natural environment, a gorge, dozens of hiking trails, Schinias beach famous for its windsurfing, and great food by the sea.
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Up next I am going to tell you about the best things to do in Marathon Greece:
Things to do in Marathon Greece
If you are wondering what to do in Marathon Greece, my post will give you many ideas!
Marathon is mostly known as the birthplace of the original Marathon race of Feidipidis, but there is a lot to do in Marathon making it the perfect Athens day trip. And these are some of the best ideas for things to do in Marathon Greece:
Visit the Marathon Run Museum
Every year, the Marathon Greece town is the starting line for the Authentic Classic Athens Marathon Race, a 42 km and 195 m run all the way to the ending point at the Athens Kallimarmaro or Panathenaic Stadium.
It comes as no surprise that Marathon Greece has a great specialized museum, a MUST visit for every marathoner or just an Olympic fan. The museum is packed with running memorabilia (medals, cups, and souvenirs) from marathon races around the world. Proudly displayed you will see the original gold medal of Greek Spiridon (Spiros) Louis, the 1st Marathon winner in the 1st Modern Olympic games in 1896!
The Marathon Run Museum can be found in Marathon town and is open Tuesday to Friday from 9h to 15h. Saturday & Sunday: 10h to 14h.
Participate in the Classic Athens Marathon Race
With a starting point in Marathon Greece, you can run the …real Marathon! A bit of warning though. The 42,195m from Marathon to Athens is considered to be one of the most demanding Marathon routes in the world.
Of course, that hasn’t stopped thousands of runners from around the world to participate in the celebration.
The next Athens Marathon will be in November 2023. Would you like to participate in it? Register on the official Marathon Run page here.
Visit the Site of the Ancient Battle of Marathon Greece
Brief Ancient Greece History: In 490 BC Athenian hoplites, united against the vast invading Persian army, fought and defeated the Persians in the famous Marathon Battle.
According to Greek historian Herodotus and modern historians, the Persian army and fleet outnumbered dramatically the 11.000 ancient Greek hoplites (10.000 Athenians and 1.000 soldiers from Plataies).
As soon as the battle was finished, an Athenian soldier, Feidipidis, ran all the way, from Marathon to Athens, to let the Athenians know of the outcome. He only managed to spell the word: “Νenikikamen”, meaning “we won” before he died of a heart attack.
Other Greek Battles against the Persians in Greek territory are:
- August 480 BC: Thermopylae and Artemisio
- September 480 BC: Salamina Island
- August 27th 479 BC: Plataea and Mycale in Samos
The Archaeological Site of the Ancient Battle of Marathon is quite modest but powerful in its significance. On the site, you can see the Athenian Tumulus, a 10-meter high erected burial mound, where the remains of 192 Athenians who died at the Battle of Marathon, rest.
The Marathon Archaeological Museum is not in the same location as the site. You have to go to the close-by area of Vrana. Although it is a small museum, it is worth visiting as it displays impressive statues and findings from the Neolithic, Classical, and Roman Eras.
Entrance €6, Closed Mondays and if easy give them a call Tel: +30 2294055155 to check operation if you are visiting in winter. The entrance fee is valid for the Tumuli area, the Museum, and the Early Helladic Cemetery in Tsepi.
Nearby is the Plataean Tumulus, which houses the inhumed bodies of the Plataeans who fell during that same battle and a victory column erected by the Athenians.
Tip: If you love ancient battlefields then this guided tour to Marathon, Salamina, Thermopylae and Plataea is ideal for you.
Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods (Brexiza) at Marathon
When I first found out about this site – totally by accident as I was at Marathon Beach for a swim – I couldn’t believe my eyes. Egyptian statues in an ancient Greek archaeological site? How is that even possible?
How was the Sanctuary of Egyptian Gods Constructed in Marathon Greece?
Herodes Atticus, a wealthy aristocrat, patron of the arts, and great benefactor of Athens (Built also the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Acropolis), lived in the area during the 2nd c AD he set up the sanctuary at the borders of his estate.
Today, you can walk around the site, and see the replicas of Egyptian statues (the authentic ones are displayed in the Marathon Archaeological Museum), the remains of luxurious Roman baths as well as a large oval fish pond which, together with the marble oil lamps of monumental size unique in Greece.
Entrance to the site daily 8:30 – 15:30, closed on Tuesdays.
The Sanctuary is at Marathon – Nea Makri Beach, a really lovely place you can visit afterward for a stroll and fresh food in one of the many taverns by the sea.
Go to Marathon Lake Greece and the Marble Dam
The Marathon Lake in Athens Greece, Attica: The Marathon Lake is an artificial lake at a distance of about 45 km from the center of Athens. The dam’s walls have all been enforced with Pentelic marble, the same marble the Parthenon was constructed.
This lake actually works as the main water reservoir that supplies Athens with drinking water, so swimming is definitely not allowed!
The lake is very beautiful to walk or bike around it, even though some parts of it have restricted access. The lake has attracted over the years wildlife and the surrounding area is lush green and fertile, great for a stroll or even better, a hike!
You may also enjoy: Best Day Trips from Athens
Marathon Gorge Hiking
Right on Marathon lake, you can hike one of the most beautiful areas in Athens, the Marathon Gorge. Some basic info on the signposted trail is:
Trail Type: Loop – Distance: ~11.4 km – Elevation Gain: 250 m
Difficulty: Easy – Dogs allowed: Yes
We started early in the morning at the top of the Marathon Lake Dam. Clad in our hiking gear, laden with bottles of water, all quite happy and cheerful. We had all arrived in the area using our own vehicles.
The weather was bright, sunny, and slightly fresh, perfect for a hike!
The trail starts right across the abandoned and in total disrepair café overseeing Marathon Lake and winds up through a dirt road leaving the lake behind and on our right side. We hiked downhill and reached the back of the dam where a stunning replica of the Athenian Treasury found in the Delphi Archaeological site, stands.
We took our photos and went on hiking to the actual gorge, flanked by lovely plane trees and having on our right side a small stream of clear water accompanying us, really beautiful!
Soon enough we reached the medieval Oinoi Tower, built in 1250 AD by the Frankish lord of Athens Guy I de la Roche.
The landscape was full of flowers, daisies, and daffodils and I noticed hawks or small eagles flying high over our heads, probably hunting.
The valley is beautiful and we could hear (and occasionally smell) the sheep, and the goats, and hear the barking dogs behind the surrounding hills.
As we had at least one dog-hiker with us, the shepherd dogs were barking non-stop whenever we passed by them. But this happened just twice and they were in the distance.
We crossed the riverbed a few times, adding to the excitement of this relatively easy hike. After we finished our hike, we drove to Schinias Beach for a picnic.
My favorite months to hike in Greece is October (warm but not too much) and April (everything has blossomed). Read here for more about the Best Time to Visit Greece.
Schinias Wetland and Beach
Southeast of Marathon and a short drive away, you find the Schinias Beach and wetland, a National Park of great natural beauty. The long sandy stretch, flanked by a beautiful pine forest, is frequently struck by strong winds making Schinias an ideal beach for windsurfing sports.
Nearby can be found as well the Olympic Rowing Center which was used for the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Schinias is great for a family, has quite shallow waters, and is great for picnics but also for surfing as it can get windy. On the main road, you can find several good taverns for your lunch.
Tour Tip! Are you an adventurous type and do you love off-road experiences? Book a Marathon lake with a 4×4 vehicle private tour!
Saint Ephraim Monastery
A great Greek monastery with nuns in the area is the Holy Monastery of Saint Ephraim. One of the oldest in Athens, founded in the 10th c, is a Byzantine construction. Read here more about Byzantine churches in Athens.
It is one of the biggest pilgrimage monasteries in Greece as it also contains the remains of Saint Ephraim.
The Monastery is located in Nea Makri, on the hill of Amomon. They open daily between 7 am – 12 pm in the morning and 4 pm – 6 pm in the afternoon.
What else is there in Marathon Greece?
- Archaeological Site of Ramnous, the best-preserved ancient demos in Attica
- Many Wineries, because of Marathon and the surrounding areas, make excellent Athenian wine (Savvatiano variety)
Where to Stay in Marathon Greece
Seaside Glow is a really lovely house, a 1-minute walk from Schinias beach and the pine forest. Great views from the terrace with the sea beds and with great friendly hosts).
Where is Marathon Greece?
Marathon Greece is a small town located on the northeast side of the Attica region, about 40 km from Athens Center. Find here an interactive Marathon Map with all the locations mentioned in the post:
How to get to Marathon
Intercity Bus (KTEL): they leave from Athens center in Park of Pedio Areos, ktelattikis. gr, the cost is around 3-5 euros and it takes about 1′.35” to get to Marathon town.
The best and easiest option is to rent a car or take a guided tour with the expertise of local guides:
Interesting Facts about Marathon town
Marathon is close to Athens villages of Grammatiko, Nea Makri, Varnavas, Kapandriti and Stamata.
Marathon has two sisters cities: Hopkinton, Massachusetts in the United States, and Xiamen in China
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Great article and information!
Thank you Lance, glad you found it useful!