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Day Trips from Athens

We are a family of 4 (children ages 15 and 12) who will have five days in Athens this June. We plan to spend two of those days exploring central Athens. For the other three days I would like to plan some day trips out of the city. The ones I am considering are currently:

Temple of Poseidon
Delphi
Corinth - Epidavros - Nafplio - Mykines
Aegina Island
If you had to choose only three out of the those four, which ones would you choose? Are the roads to any of of these very twisty which could be an problem for a car sick prone child (we have some medicine for her that works, just need to know ahead of time if we should give it to her)? Are there other day trips I should consider?

I appreciate any and all help. Thanks you!

Posted by
6513 posts

Having been to all four I will say that my favorite would be the Corinth etc day. Mainly because it gives you a great variety of sights - Epidaurus and Mycenae for the ancient world, Corinth for the more modern technology of the canal, and Nafplio for a wonderful scenic seaport with a castle watching over it. It's a lot for one day but I enjoyed every bit of it.

My second choice would be Aegina because you can't go wrong with a Greek island. Are you planning a whole day on Aegina or the one-day cruise that visits Aegina, Poros, and Hydra, which is what we did? Some people would say just do the one because with three you don't have a lot of time on each one, but I enjoyed getting a taste of the different islands.

After that it would be a toss up between Temple of Poseidon at Sounion and Delphi. I personally preferred Delphi but it's a much longer drive and does involve some mountain driving although I don't remember anything horribly twisty. The Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion is very scenic and a shorter drive than Delphi. Both are worthwhile if you like ancient Greek ruins.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you, Nancy, for your response. Regarding the island day trip, I was thinking of keeping it to just one island so we are not too rushed. But the Aegina, Poros, Hydra cruise is an option too. There are just so many things I would love to see in Greece and not enough time!

Posted by
2900 posts

It would help us to advise best, if you would share - are these 5 days y our total time in Greece? Or will they be followed or preceded by weeks, on various islands? If its your ONLY Greece time,my thoughts:

• Do NOT do the 3-island ferry tour... it's all about getting on/off the boat, not much time ashore at all.

• For 1-day island & ferry experience, I highly recommend AEGINA. Green line Metro (30 mins) to Pireaus -- or a taxi will run about 25E. Buy tickets at any seafront agency for a REGULAR ferry -- NOT hydrofoil. The latter are assigned-inside seats, NO deck, no view. On REGULAR ferry you sit on deck 50 minutes to enjoy seascape -- huge cargo ships and cruise liners, ferries, yachts, sleek motorboats, tiny sloops ... maybe even a dolphin!. Aegina harbor is charming... a ruin right next to dock for photo ops. But for 4, rent a car & go inland ... beautiful flowers, monastery and then TA-DA! best-preserved ancient temple of any island Temple of Aphaia on a high hill... 360° view of entire Saronic bay. Move on to a beach, a relaxed lunch & a swim, back to port to explore back-streets, then dinner & sunset ferry. http://www.flickr.com/photos/36264706@N03/sets/72157621604646139/detail/ is photo album of a June Day in Aegina ... and a photo & website of a lovely cafe on a nice beach, Marathona -- http://www.aeginagreece.com/aegina/pages/beaches/la_palma_marathonas_cafe_bar_restaurant.html

• TEMPLE of POSEIDON is a tour-bus target for sunset,... but if you went there in the AM, it's deserted, I hear, then you could go down the hill to the beach below. But it's not a whole-day thing.

  • That list of 4 Peloponnese sites sounds like a "RUIN-A-THON" that would exhaust you and your teens would revert to whiny 10-yr-olds. Way too much for an 8am - 6pm rush IF these interest you, edit. My choice for you? OVERNIGHT ADVENTURE in ARGOLID! Arrange with your hotel to be away ONE night ... they are VERY used to this, because so many tourists do bus trips. OR, you could check out, and for final night, book a pension close to the Airport. I suggest renting car at 8 AM, day one, returning by 5 pm day 2. (at airport?) and in the meantime having GREAT Discoveries. You can drive on Greece's MOST modern highway across peninsula (roads are level in a valley, no sick-making turns) stop at a GREAT "Games" site, explore nafplio in afternoon & sunset, In AM, off to Epidaurus before Noon, then a Corinth canal stop, back to Athens. . Here's a great Map http://euro-map.com/karty-grecii/peloponnes/podrobnaya-turisticheskaya-karta-peloponnesa.jpg -- click & it gets huge,

• ATHENS -- take BIG ROAD over Canal, 15 miles on, exit to to ANCIENT NEMEA, "runner-up Sacred Games Site" Ruins, temple, fab stadium with Athlete's Tunnel, and actual ancient starting blocks for runners! NO tour busses! Enjoy in 45 minutes. This is in heart of BEST wine district In nearby NEMEA village on Main St, there's a bottling place to watch bottles being capped & sample Nemean Red. Then on to NAFPLIO
• NAFPLIO -- This noncommercial website explains all delights ... http://www.visitnafplio.com/ Click ALL links! These pix show some glorious views http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanbr54/sets/72157632094108982/ Cllimb Acronafplia out to the POINT ... do the fab walk around point @sea level, do Greece's BEST sunset on the wonderful seafront promenade. Next AM you can drive up BACK way to top of Palamidi ... for the best views ever! Kids will love the "castle/fortress" ambience.
• RETURN ROUTE - At EPIDAURUS, theatre is main feature, u can skip ruins. To see Canal right, exit at "Isthmus" and ask way to Old Bridge a few blocks away & walk out ... So deep! so Skinny!

If this is of interest, I can recommend accommodations near airport, and in Nafplio.

Posted by
3 posts

Dave, thank you for the tour company recommendation. I'll look into that.

Janet, thank you your very detailed, thoughtful response. Yes, the five days in Athens are the only days we will have in Greece. I know it is not enough time, but we want to at least get a taste of the country. Your description of Aegina sounds wonderful. Do you, by any chance, know how often the ferries to/from Aegina run? Do we need to make a reservation for a ferry at a specific time? Do they ever sell out?

Regarding spending one night elsewhere, we have already make an Airbnb reservation for what looks like a nice apartment with a view of the Acropolis so I think I just want to make that the homebase. Do you think the Delphi day trip is less exhausting? I know that has a pretty long drive too.

Posted by
8003 posts

The Corinth, Mycenae and Epidavros are outstanding sites to explore. You drive through pretty citrus and olive groves on your way there. Your kids will enjoy the acoustics at Epidavros. . Have someone in your family stand on the ground level and the rest go up in the seats. You will hear what the person on the ground says clearly.

Posted by
2930 posts

In my opinion, you are short-changing Athens. I'd recommend one day trip at the most, and my recommendation would be Delphi...fascinating and absolutely breath-taking. Yes, give your child the motion sickness medicine for that trip. That was the drive that I felt the worst on. It would be a long day trip, but well worth it IMO, especially if you track down an excellent guide who can bring in many aspects to address the probably varied interests of your family (RS's Penny was enchanting). If you don't do Delphi, I'd keep it closer to Athens and do the Temple of Poseiden at Sounion. Your #3 would be my last choice, sounds like a horrid day to me, if even possible with getting out of the car much at all, so 12 year old and particularly 15 year old might find the #3 trip miserable. I think with fewer locations, often the more one actually sees and it also allows time for just being in a different culture with your family. Again, just my opinion, but...