Last Updated on July 3, 2021 by Celeste
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. We start with Aegina.
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.
Aegina with Kids
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 one of the most visited sights on Aegina island. Agios Nektarios of Aegina (1846-1920), one of the most widely known Greek Orthodox Saints, 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 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.
Stay tuned for more day trips from Athens soon!
Featured photo above this post: Temple of Apollo, Aegina