Greece is well-known for its ancient cultural heritage, as well as historical buildings and landmarks that have survived the years. There are dozens of these attractions in and around Athens, as well as many spectacular views sites to enjoy. Driving across Greece is the greatest way to visit all the must-see sights and save time on your itinerary while traveling in comfort and style. Here are five amazing day trip drives from Athens that will take you through some of the best roads in the country.
Distance: About 80 kms | Driving time: 1¼ hrs
Two routes travel to the cape's southernmost point. Tolls are charged on the inland route that runs parallel to Highway A6. The second option is to take the coastal route, which is the more picturesque of the two options since it provides a view of the blue sea for the majority of the journey as you wind your way down the cliffs. Despite the fact that the route is shorter, it will take significantly longer due to the fact that there are a number of beaches and resorts along the way. The best part is, this route is free of tolls!
The Temple of Poseidon, located at the very top of the cliffs, is the main attraction. The ruins on this site date back to at least 400 BC. The ancient Temple of Athena is also located in this area.
Distance: About 90 kms | Driving time: 1 hr 5 mins
The motorway Olympia Odos (A8), which bypasses the towns and villages, leads to Ancient Corinth. The route follows the northern shore of the Attica peninsula, then the Isthmus of Corinth, and finally the southern coast, finishing in Patras. The summit provides a panoramic view of the Saronic Gulf's emerald blue seas. After that, the route drops to the isthmus that links Greece to the Peloponnese. From a distance, you can see the lovely Peloponnese Mountains and their pine trees. The route leading from the canal to the archaeological site of ancient Corinth passes through the countryside with many olive orchards and vineyards.
Corinth is located at the base of the slopes of Acrocorinth, a rocky peak. It was originally a bustling trade and business centre. Today, it features the remnants of a massive marketplace, a Roman basilica, several Roman houses, and Roman baths. On top of the Acrocorinth, the remnants of the Temple of Aphrodite are visible.
Distance: About 180 kms | Driving time: 2½ hours
Drive down the A6 to the E75 highway, then to EO48, following the signs. Much of the route runs through rustic countryside before reaching the highlands, when the road narrows and becomes difficult to navigate in spots. However, the magnificent view is well worth the effort. These mountains are home to Delphi, an ancient religious sanctuary dedicated to the Greek god Apollo. The famed archaeological site is located between Delphi and Arachova. To get to the monument, visitors must ascend the Sacred Way.
There are several remnants of treasury buildings on the way to the Temple of Apollo, which is also famed for the Delphi Oracle. The Amphitheatre and Stadium are two of the most significant ruins. The modern-day Archaeological Museum here has one of ancient Greece's most treasured treasures. It's a must-see for everybody who goes to Delphi to witness the Charioteer monument in all of its glory.
Distance: About 250 kms | Driving time: 3½ to 4 hours
A trip to Greece would be incomplete without a visit to this well-known location of the ancient Olympic Games. You take the A8 motorway to Patra, then the E65 expressway. Nafplio is the most popular stop along the way. A considerable portion of the route follows the coast, with pristine sandy beaches and attractive fishing communities dotted along the way. You might take a break and swim in the sea to get a feel for the warm water. The tourist crowds that swarm the Greek islands are absent from these tranquil beaches. The scenery is breathtaking as you travel beside the Saronic Gulf and across the Isthmus of Corinth into the Peloponnesian Peninsula.
Every four years beginning in 776 BC, the stadium at Olympia hosted the most famous sports event in the ancient world. The Olympic Torch is ignited here before beginning its trip to the city hosting the games, a tradition that has lasted 3,000 years. The Temple of Zeus' decorations must be seen to be believed.
Distance: About 120 kms | Driving time: 1½ hours
The ancient city of Mycenae may be found in the northeastern part of the Peloponnese region. As you leave Athens and make your way up the motorway, you'll be driving towards Nafplion. The roadway has just been reconstructed and is in excellent condition. It is possible to make pit stops at the Corinth Canal, a man-made canal that links the Gulf of Corinth in the Ionian Sea with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean. In some ways, it turns the peninsula into an island by cutting through the tiny Strait of Corinth and cutting off the Peloponnese from the rest of the Greek mainland. If you have the time, take the short detour towards Epidaurus, to see the famed archeological site and its famous theatre.
Finally, you’ll reach Mycenae, the former home of King Agamemnon and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to the remnants of a fort that formerly held a powerful military during the height of its strength between 1600 BC and 1100 BC, and is now a popular tourist destination. Because of its location near the sea, Mycenae was able to keep a formidable naval force at the time. The nine Tholos tombs are located within the fortification and here you can see a pottery workshop that still produces Mycenaean pottery using traditional techniques.