Athens is a perfect departure point for day trips in the Peloponnese, mainland Greece and the beautiful islands near Athens. If you need a break from the ‘chaos’ of Athens, look no further. In this post, we will start to collect our favorite day tours from Athens. They will help you plan your Athens stay and your Greek family adventure itinerary. Whether you’re looking for art, culture, adventure, or ruins, we’ve got something for you! So let’s get to it. Here are the best family-friendly day trips from Athens.
Day Trips from Athens: Aegina Island
Aegina island is one of the Argo-Saronic gulf islands (Aegina, Hydra, Poros, and Agistri) and located southwest of Piraeus, the main port of Athens. The ferry boat ride from Piraeus to Aegina is about one hour. There are two ports on Aegina. It’s best to start from the main port in Aegina town. Because even if you do not have your own transport, there is plenty to see and do with kids in Aegina. Here is a list of things to do in Aegina with kids.
Things to do in Aegina with Kids
Here are some of the things that you can see and do in Aegina with (young) kids.
- Visit the port
- The temple of Apollo
- Stroll around the town
- The Aghios Nektarios Monastery
- The Temple of Aphaea (Afaia)
The port in Aegina town
The picturesque port of Aegina is worth a stroll. Visit the beautiful church inside the port and let the kids run freely or admire the wooden, colorful fishing boats.
The Temple of Apollo
At a 10-minute walk distance from the main port of Aegina in Aegina town, you will find the sanctuary or Temple of Apollo. An impressive archaeological site that is interesting for any history-loving family. The temple of Apollo is placed to the north of Aegina town, on a small hill overlooking the port. In fact, it is one of the first sights you see when you arrive at the port.
The Temple of Apollo dates back to the 6th century BC. That means that the site is older than the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens. The Temple of Apollo is also called Kolona from the word ‘column’.
Unfortunately, there is only one column left today. But the site is very impressive nevertheless. It is best to visit the Temple of Apollo in the afternoon because it gets very hot in the summer.
To help your imagination with how the site used to be, there are photos and drawings on display. But best is to visit the Archaeological Museum at the site. Here you will see maquettes and replicas of part of the site. Our kids loved it.
Stroll around the town
Around the port are many cafés and taverns, as well as shops and souvenir stalls. Don’t forget to buy some pistachio nuts. The most famous product of Aegina island. Kids will see horse carriages, statues of famous Greek residents, and lots of Octopus and ice cream!
The Agios Nektarios Monastery
The Agios Nektarios Monastery and its church are some of the most visited sights on Aegina island. Agios Nektarios of Aegina (1846-1920), one of the most widely known Greek Orthodox Saints, was officially declared a saint in 1961. Yearly, thousands of people from all over the world coming to Aegina to visit the tomb of Agios Nektarios and ask for healing or blessings. If you do not have your own transport, you can visit the church and the mausoleum by bus or taxi. Remember to cover your arms and legs when you enter the buildings. Skirts are available at the entrance of the monastery and church. Entry is free of charge.
The Temple of Aphaea (Afaia)
The Temple of Aphaea is the most famous of all monuments in Aegina and is visited by many tourists each summer. It dates back about 2500 years ago and is located in the green hills of Aegina. Aphaia is also part of Greece’s ‘sacred triangles’: along with the Parthenon in Athens, it makes neat isosceles triangles with the temple of Poseidon to the south-east and Delphi Apollo to the north-west. Controversy rages over whether this is coincidence or was deliberately done by the ancient Greeks – and if so, why.
The public bus between Aegina Town and Agia Marina goes via Aphaia Temple several times each day. It takes 25 minutes to get there from the town. Alternatively, your family can hire a taxi, or walk up from Agia Marina or Vagia. The path from the main road towards the temple is smooth, but for families with kids, I would advise visiting in the afternoon.
Across the entrance of the temple is a café with amazing views over the sea. No wonder the Ancient Greeks build their temple here! Here you can taste what Aegina is so famous for: lots of pistachio nuts and pistachio ice cream! For more information about Aegina, have a look here.
Fun family day trip to Marathon
One of our favorite day trips from Athens is Marathon. Marathon is a town on the coast near Athens. There are lots of fun things to see and do. At a 40 minutes car ride from Athens, Marathon is great for a day out with the family. The town is mostly famous for the Battle of Marathon in 450 B.C. and it is also the birthplace of the marathon race. It is the starting point of the Athens Marathon each November.
Here is what Marathon offers:
- The ancient sites of Marathon
- The archaeological Museum of Marathon
- The Marathon Race Museum
- Long sandy organized beaches
- Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods
Things to do in Marathon with Kids
We visited Marathon in September with kids aged 9, 10, and 12 years old. Below, I have listed the things that we visited in one day! We skipped the Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods but added that one for our next visit to Marathon.
The archaeological site of the ancient battle of Marathon
The archaeological site of the ancient battle of Marathon is a large terrain with information about the battle, a maquette of the site, and the most special: the Athenian Tumulus, tymbos or tombs.
The tomb is a 10-meter high, erected burial mound, where the remains of 192 Athenians who died at the battle of Marathon, rest. The site is very peaceful and easy to visit with kids.
The Archaeological Museum of Marathon
The Archaeological Museum of Marathon is located at a 10-minute distance by car from the tomb in the area of Vrana. Although it is a small museum, it is definitely worth visiting because it displays findings from the Neolithic, Classical and Roman eras.
Next to the museum, you can visit an ancient burial area. The graves are covered by a frame construction with bridges allowing you to explore them from above.
In the same area and part of the museum grounds, there is another tumulus that can be visited inside (by appointment), called Plataies.
The Marathon Race Museum
The Marathon Race Museum is a must-visit for anyone who loves running and history! The museum is full of running memorabilia from around the world, and it shows the history of the Marathon Race. It is located in the village of Marathon. It’s a 10-minute drive from the archaeological sites and the archaeological museum.
The permanent exhibition of the Olympic Marathon Museum presents the history of the Marathon race from 1896 to 2000. Over 4.000 exhibits record the history of the race from 1896 until today. The museum also features collectibles, information about Marathons all over the world, the medal of the first winner of the modern Olympics marathon, Spyros Louis, and more. We loved watching the documentary film about Feidipidis, an Athenian soldier who ran all the way from Marathon to Athens to let the Athenians know the outcome of the battle. After about two hours at the museum, we ended our beautiful day at the beach of Marathon.
Museum of Marathon Road Race Opening Hours: Tuesday - Friday 09:00 - 15:00 Saturday & Sunday 10:00 - 14:00 Closed: Monday. Admission: 2 Euro or for students 1 Euro. For more information: www.marathonrunmuseum.com
Stay tuned for more day trips from Athens, we will be exploring Attica this winter!
Featured photo above this post: Temple of Apollo, Aegina
Celeste was born and raised in the Netherlands but lives in Greece for 25 years. She studied at the Dutch Institute of Athens underneath the Acropolis and currently lives with her family in an Athenian suburb. Celeste is the founder of Family Experiences Blog. Whether you and your family live in Greece or are visiting, this blog will show you the very best ways in which to celebrate family life here.