You are going to visit some days Athens, but are you also keen on knowing some other parts of Greece? Not a problem at all! You can stay in this historical and beautiful city and make day trips to some hidden paradises!
My suggestions are:
- Corinthos Mountain Area
Corinthos Mountain Area
This is a mountainous area that you won’t believe that it is so close to Athens! You have to rent a car and after 2 hours driving you will reach in the mountainous part of Corinthos, which is full of firs and oaks forests and lakes, rivers and beautiful hidden traditional villages! You should definitely visit Ano Sinikia, Mesi Sinikia and Kato Sinikia, where you enjoy panoramic views of the Corinthian Gulf! Don’t forget to stop at the village Goura, where the beautiful square and the church of the Archangels dominate the place from 1880! And of course, an absolute highlight of this trip is the small artificial lake that was created in 1997 and is surrounded by a mixed forest of fir, oak and pine! There is a narrow strip of land which “invades” in the lake and leads to the church of Saint Fanourios – which is in the middle the lake! After this walk, you should also ascend to the Monastery of St. George. which very close and has a magnificent view!
How to go on your own: You just rent the car and follow this route!
Travel on a tour: This is not a trip that many tourists follow, but many Greeks do. So, you won’t find any tours for this day trip.
Nafplio is another excellent choice for a day trip from Athens and many Athenians drive till there as it is just 1.5 hours away from the city and it was the 1st capital of Greece after the 1821 revolution!! Many claims that are a more beautiful version of old Athens! The old part of the town is just beautiful with alleys and amazing neo-classical buildings which give a special atmosphere to the city. You will definitely walk to Akronafplia, one of two castles of Nafplio. Palamidi is the other castle with breathtaking views to the town and to the small barren island Bourtzi. You get to Palamidi castle by car or if you are adventurous walking up the 999 steps!
So, take your camera, leave your watch at the car and walk towards Akronafplia, which is the oldest part of the town. From there, follow the idyllic pedestrian Arvanitias path that surrounds the rock of Akronafplia, where the view is impressive and the whole landscape scenic.
Restored mansions are everywhere in the old town of Nafplio and you should spend some time just walking around. The main pedestrian street of Vasileos Konstantinou has become a reference point and leads to Syntagma Square, which is strongly reminiscent of an Italian piazza.
There is the Archaeological Museum, the parliament which housed the first parliament of the independent Greek state and the Old Mosque.
How to go on your own: I strongly recommend to rent a car and go on your own.
For many people, Greece means Greek Islands, so my next suggestion will be an island very close to Piraeus, which is the main port next to Athens city. There are 5 islands, Aigina, Agistri, Poros, Spetses and Hydra that are called Argosaronikos and their proximity to the capital make them ideal for day trips from Athens. But I am going to suggest Hydra island, which is one of the most scenic and atmospheric islands and ideal for romantic weekends or day trips! The architectural structure of Hydra has remained the same till the early 19th century!
The port is the heart of the island and … the only village!
As soon as you arrive at the island wander around the alleys and beautiful traditional houses and boutiques hotels. This ideal for those that love walking, as this is the only way of going anyway. No cars are allowed on the island!!! You can choose various walking routes, like starting from the port to the Historical Archive and the Port Authority or to Kiafa and the mansions of Kountourioti and from there, along with the coast to the cave, the Mills and Kamini! The point of interest are also the churches: the Monastery of the Assumption οf the Holy Mary and the churches of St. John the Faster with 18th-century frescoes and Saint Constantine of Hydra. I am afraid that you should expect incredible beaches, but some decent ones like Mpisti and Agios Nikolaos, where you go by taxi boat. Τhe quickest way to go to Hydra is by flying dolphins (1.5 hours from Piraeus) or by car, which is a 2.45′ drive from Athens to Metohi and then with a taxi boat, you arrive at Hydra.
How to go on your own: From Piraeus to Hydra you can take the ferry or the dolphin. Check here for the timetables and prices.
You have probably already heard about Delphi, which was famous in ancient Greece thanks to the oracle of the (ancient) city of Delphi and it continues nowadays to attract visitors from all over the world! Even it is quite far for a day trip – around 2.30′ drive from Athens, I strongly recommend it. So, coming from Athens you will pass the beautiful Greek village Arachova, where you make a quick stop, for coffee or lunch. Fifteen minutes after Arachova you will arrive at the archaeological site of Delphi.
The main road split the site into two different parts. One, above the road, is the largest one. Start your tour from the so-called “Sacred Road”, which was exactly the same route followed by the ancient pilgrims and has adorned with numerous buildings and offerings (the treasure of Sikyonion, Siphnian of Megara, the Athenians and many many others).
There you will find the Omphalos of the earth. According to the mythology, god Zeus released two eagles at opposite ends of the world and ordered them to fly across the earth to meet at its centre. The eagles followed his command and the met at the and at Delphi, where Zeus threw a stone as a sign of humanity. As this stone is placed at the centre of the earth, it was called the omphalos stone, the meaning of omphalos being ‘navel’.
Then, you reached at Temple of Apollo, where according to tradition the priestess Pythia muttered words incomprehensible to mere mortals. These words are then interpreted by the priests of the sanctuary in a common language and delivered to those who had requested them. But, the oracles were always open to interpretation and often signified dual and opposing meanings!
Continuing your walk at the site you will find the ancient theatre and then follow a steep path you will get to the stadium. The archaeological walk ends at the museum, which presents the most famous discoveries of archaeological research.
The second part which is below the road is the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia, where you will find a group of temples and treasuries and also the famous Tholos of Delphi.
The modern town of Delphi extends further to the ancient, but it hasn’t kept any particular architectural character.
How to go on your own: The journey it is around 2 hours and you can check the route here.
Last I left the most accessible and short trip from Athens, the archaeological site of Sounion. Personally, I think it is the best choice if you have a limited time and you want to visit a magical place, especially if the weather is good. It is located in the southernmost of the Attica region and it’s around 1.15′ drive from Athens, but take into the account that sometimes there is traffic! At Cape Sounion, the Athenians had built at the rocky and steep hill a sanctuary surrounded by a wall. The sanctuary included temples dedicated to the gods of the city and the main temple was dedicated to Poseidon, god of the sea and it was built in ca. 440 BC. I recommend to visit Sounion Temple, at afternoon, have a visit at the temple and a quick dive at the small beach below it! The feeling of the place is amaing. Also, there some taverns where you can have ouzo and eat fresh fish! Don’t forget to watch the amazing sunset from the temple! Probably, the 2nd best sunset in Greece after Santorini’s!!
Sounion cape is responsible, according to mythology, that Aegean sea – the part of Mediterranean Sea that is located between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey – took this name! Theseus – a Greek hero in Greek mythology- defeated the Minotaur in Crete island, but he and his pilots forgot to raise the white sail as they returned to Attica and Athens. King of Athens Aegeus – his fathers – saw the black sail as the ship approached, and thought that Theseus had been killed on Crete. In his grief, Aegeus threw himself from the Acropolis and died.
You can find more information about the archaeological site here.
How to go on your own: Easy, rent a car and use this route.
If you are interested in visiting one of the above places, but you prefer to go with a tour agency, just contact us and we can recommend you some good choices!