Athens is a popular tourist destination and sees millions of visitors each year. People flock here in order to catch a glimpse of the Greek culture at its finest and to also soak up some of the history. Besides being enchanted by all the city has to offer, the surrounding area is also filled with wonders. Here are some day trips you should consider taking while in Athens:
Temple of Poseidon
The remains of the Temple of Poseidon are located 70 kilometers, or about 43 miles, from Athens on Cape Sounion. Originally built around 440 BC by Pericles, the temple’s columns stand nearly 60 meters, or 200 feet, high. On one of these columns, you can find the word “Byron,” which was carved by the famous British poet Lord Byron when he visited in 1810.
In addition to the ruins, Cape Sounion is noted for its terrific sunsets and magnificent views of the Aegean Sea. Tours there depart regularly from Omonia Square in Athens,and take visitorsalong a picturesque highway for a two-hour journey. You can also hire a taxi from anywhere in the city. Be sure to ask up front what the rate will be for the driver to take you there and back so that there are no surprises when you’re asked to pay!
Take a Day Cruise
There are plenty of day cruises that depart from nearby Piraeus on a daily basis, but the best is those that include Hydra and Aegina, two interesting islands that are worth a visit. Typically, you depart for the port by bus or taxi so that you can board your ship. Most of these cruises begin by heading to Hydra, a small, traditional island where cars aren’t allowed. You’ll have a few hours on the island before it’s time to move on. After that, the ships usually head to Aegina, another scenic island. Some other cruises involve other islands such as Poros as well. All three of these islands are also worth visiting on their own for a day trip.
Although it can take a while to get there from the city, day trips to Olympia, the site of the Ancient Olympic Games, are worth your time. You can either take a bus tour from the city or drive your rental car on your own. You will also have the ability to organize a tour on site once you arrive. While at Olympia, you will be able to visit the ancient stadium, archeological museum, Temple of Hera, the Villa of Nero, and the Temple of Zeus.
Go to the Beach
No trip to Athens is complete without visiting some of the beautiful beaches that you can find along the northeastern and southern sides of the Attica Peninsula. From Glyfada to Cape Sounion, you’llfind both large public beaches and barren coves, and all within 65 kilometers, or about 40 miles, of Athens. You will also find all kinds of beaches: sandy, pebbled and beaches that are family friendly. Consider visiting Sandy Beach, which is in Vouliagmeni, Pebble Beach, which is in Porto Rafti, and Legrena Beach, a somewhat secluded beach outside of Athens. All of these are great choices!
Whether you like to visit ruins or spend an afternoon laying in the sun, you will find one-day excursions from Athens that you will just love.