Αre you planning your family vacation (or “staycation”) in Athens and looking for ideas for a day trip with children within Attica? You most probably don’t know how lucky you are because there are plenty of options to choose from! The Attica region is culturally rich and has more family experiences to offer than just a walk in the city center and tours in the historical sites around the Acropolis and the Parthenon.
The variety of landscape and the mild climate all year round make Attica an ideal place to combine culture trips and educational tours with outdoor activities in the mountains, relaxation on the beach, as well as great food and wine. More significantly, the fact that all family members can find something that they enjoy at almost the same time and place is what actually renders Attica one of the most family-friendly destinations in Greece.
Top Ideas for Day Trips from Athens
- Lavrio & Sounio Day Trip from Athens
- Athens “Authentic” Marathon
- East Attica from Rafina to Daskalio
- Ymittos Hiking with Kids
- Swimming in Athens Riviera
- Eleusis & the Ancient Sacred Way
- Parnitha Mountain Adventure Trip
- Porto Germeno & the Corinthian Gulf
- Amfiaraio Sanctuary & Oropos
- Penteli Waterfalls
Lavrio & Sounio Day Trip from Athens
The Temple of Poseidon is the reason a day trip from Athens to Cape Sounio is one of the most popular experiences to have while in Athens with kids. Enjoy the unique views from the southernmost tip of Attica, where stories and legends unveil about the ship of King Menelaus who stopped briefly at Sounio on his way back from Troy; or about the unfortunate King Aegeus who jumped into the sea and drowned leading to the Aegean Sea being named after him.
But a family excursion to Cape Sounio is more than that. The Temple of Poseidon was built in honor of the God of the sea to safeguard the profits from the neighboring Lavrio mines, the source of the Ancient Athenian wealth and prosperity that proved to be decisive for the Greeks vis-à-vis the Persians at the battle of Salamis. Without the discovery of this “silver vain”, the money from Lavrio’s mines, no “Golden Age” could have ever existed.
On your day trip from Athens, you can hike in Sounio National Park, amidst a pine tree forest to explore the ancient silver mines and processing workshops. Visit “Incuse Chaos”, a geological phenomenon, as well as the Mineralogical Museum of Lavrio which narrates the history of the area’s rich subsoil, and the Ancient Theater of Thoriko, the remains of one of the earliest settlements in Attica.
Enjoy your swim at one of the wonderful sandy kid-friendly beaches of the area, such as Pasalimani, Asimakis beach and Pounta Zeza, or in the more popular beach in front of Aegeon Beach Hotel, where you will have a great view of the Temple of Poseidon and great food at the fish taverns by the water.
A bit further away, Charakas is a beach with crystal-clear and shallow waters, ideal for babies and toddlers, where you will find two beach bars with sunbeds and umbrellas offering cold snacks and drinks [It is amazing how these waters cover the biggest shipwreck in history “Oria” that took place in the end of WW2!] KAPE is one of the most beautiful unorganized beaches in Attica, but given the walk downhill required, it is not recommended for families with toddlers. Neighboring Legrena however, is an ideal choice for families who prefer an off-the-beaten path unorganized beach.
Athens “Authentic” Marathon
On a day trip from Athens, you can visit Marathon and learn more about the battle of Marathon and the authentic Marathon Race. Visit the Tumulus of the Athenians that shelters the bodies of some two-hundred soldiers who fell in the battle of Marathon, as well as the replica of the trophy of Marathon erected to commemorate their win. Then continue to the main village, where you will find the Marathon Run Museum commemorating the run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, the messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, the “Marathon” also refers to the running event with the official distance of 42.195 kilometers (26 miles and 385 yards).
You can swim on Schinias beach and cherish the shade under the pine trees of the littoral forest or continue inland for a winery visit and farm experience in “Kokotos Estate” upon request. On your way, you can stop at the Marathon Dam and Lake that until 1959 was the sole supplier of water to Athens.
East Attica Day Trip from Rafina to Daskalio
Rafina is widely known for its port connecting Attica with the Aegean islands of Andros, Tinos and Mykonos. However, it is a great destination for a day trip from Athens due to its high ecological value and long history. On your family eco-tour, you have the chance to walk in the Municipal Rafina Park, visit the Ochiro Hill and the underground concrete bunker, admire the magnificent view from the Askitario Acropolis and end up in the sandy Marikes beach to meet the protected seagrass Posidonia oceanica and a geological formation named beachrock. In Rafina, you will also find the “Magic Garden”, the house of “Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses” in Greece, which is a perfect place for the whole family.
Further to the south, Artemida (or Loutsa), famous for the Sanctuary of Artemis, stretches along a sandy coast with taverns by the water. Apart from the -usually crowded- main Loutsa beach, you can swim along untouched Chamolia or just enjoy your meal and drinks with a view of the surfers from “Nissakia Surf Club” at Xypolitos fish tavern.
Another option is Porto Rafti, and more specifically “Avlaki beach”, which is a top choice for families. “Kakia Thalassa” is kid-friendly, but should be avoided in case of northern winds, as it becomes “Bad” as its name suggests. In Daskalio, you will find two organized beaches, less popular during summer months, but equally beautiful!
Ymittos Hiking with Kids
Ymittos (Hymettus) is the closest mountain to the city center of Athens and an opportunity for a weekend family picnic with kids amidst pine and fir trees. Ymittos attracts many local families especially during Easter’s religious festivities due to the numerous monasteries found on its slopes, such as the monastery Asterios, the Monastery of St. John the Theologian, Monastery of St. John Kynigos (the Hunter), and the Monastery of St. John the Baptist at Kareas, all linked through old but very well-preserved hiking trails.
The most popular is the Byzantine Monastery of Kessariani. Behind the monastery, you can have a picnic in the area of the association for the preservation of the Ymittos forest, “Philodassiki”, or hike a half hour to the olive grove plateau that offers marvelous views of the city, especially during sunset. On a kid-friendly eco-tour, you can learn about the more than 600 plants that grow in this mountain. A bit higher, at “Kalopoula”, you will find a canteen to eat with wooden tables in the forest; but bear in mind that it is not recommended for toddlers and babies on strollers as the slopes are on an incline thus a bit risky for children without a stable walk.
A very nice area for picnics and free play in nature is the part of the forest behind the Monastery of Agios Georgios Koutalas at the foothills of the mountain, where throughout the year you will encounter families enjoying their kids’ parties.
Swimming in Athens Riviera
Swim in the top kid-friendly beaches of Attica from Vouliagmeni to Anavyssos. Starting from the closest to Athens, Vouliagmeni is undoubtedly the chicest destination along the Athens Riviera. You have many options: from Astir Beach Complex and Vouliagmeni Lake, to sandy Vouliagmeni bay which has both an organized and a free section, but might get really crowded in summer weekends. If you are not a local, you may not know that in neighboring Kavouri, apart from the “Megalo” (Big) and “Mikro” (Small) Kavouri, there is a “boutique” sandy beach with a café and restaurant, where you can park and find sunbeds and umbrellas overlooking the Lemos peninsula.
Further to the south, Varkiza is ideal for families with kids of every age. You can choose between the organized Varkiza Resort and the free section, but wherever you decide to spend the day, the waters are clear and the view is beautiful. After you pass Varkiza, you will find a smaller cove called “Mojito bay” after the name of the beach bar. The waters are shallow but it can get easily dirty (and noisy when youngsters gather in late afternoon!)
Continuing south, you will reach Agia Marina church overlooking two unspoiled sandy coves, part of the Althea settlement. For “Duni Island beach”, you should follow the signs to “the prehistorical settlement Nissaki” that lead to a free parking area. The following beach is “Skalakia” (Stairs) and it can be reached from the following exit, where you can park and climb down the (steep) stairs.
In Lagonissi, you first encounter “Galazia Akti” (Blue Beach), which offers many opportunities to dine; however, it is not the easiest place to swim with kids, as beyond the sandy coast, you will have to step on slippery stones to enter the sea, as is the case throughout the Lagonissi coast. The best beaches for kids in Lagonissi are the beach in front of “Bali” café, Agios Nikolaos beach and Kiteza beach just after you pass the Lagonissi Grand Resort.
Following the coastal road that leads to Sounio, after you pass Saronida, the landscape starts resembling an Aegean island! A top choice for families is the beach of Mavro Lithari, where you can find hotels to spend the weekend or stay for a longer summer vacation, local taverns, beach bars and watersports. The beach opposite to Arsida island has many stairs and rocks, but Agios Nikolaos in Anavyssos is sandy, very picturesque, and with easy parking. The main Anavyssos beach is ideal for babies and toddlers, as it is sandy, clean and free with many facilities that will help contribute to a wonderful beach day! Just avoid the northern side unless you like loud music! Next family-friendly beach is Thymari, an unspoiled cove, and one of the best kid-friendly beaches near Athens.
Eleusis & the Ancient Sacred Way
The “Sacred Way” was the road connecting Athens with Eleusis following the route taken by a procession celebrating the Eleusinian Mysteries that began at the Sacred Gate in Kerameikos (the Athenian cemetery) and ended at the Sanctuary of Demeter at Eleusis.
Start your day trip from Athens, Kerameikos site, following today’s Iera Odos which geographically coincides with the ancient “Sacred Way”. You will pass Athens’ ancient olive grove, Eleonas, from which nothing -unfortunately- remains. Attica’s rich flora, however, can be appreciated in the Diomidis Botanical Garden that hosts a natural and cultivated diverse vegetation, a natural habitat and an ideal refuge for the local fauna. In the Garden, you can take a guided botany & mythology tour and a family picnic in the wooden tables scattered under the shade of tall trees. There is also a café and playground at the entrance, but don’t forget to take a change of clothes for your kids, as there are many small lakes.
This day trip from Athens ends at Eleusis, 17 km (approximately 11 miles) far from the center of the city, where the Eleusinian Mysteries took place every year around the end of what we now call September. The Eleusinian mysteries, a ceremony to the cult of Goddess Demeter revolved around the myth of Persephone and lasted nine days. In today’s city of Eleusis, you will be able to visit the Sanctuary and enjoy strolling around in the pedestrian alleys where industrial buildings meet the ancient past.
Parnitha Mountain Adventure Trip
Parnitha is the tallest mountain in Attica and is known by the locals as Athens’ “lung”. There are so many options to go out into nature: picnic at the Tatoi Palace and Gardens or higher in Agios Petros and Mola; feeding the swans, the ducks and the deer in Beletsi lake; hiking around the Mpafi or Flabouri refuges; a ride with the impressive cable car…
If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, head to Monastery Moni Kliston and the Castle of Ancient Phyle. Very close to this unknown Attica destination, you will find the rather well-known taverns in the area of Hasia serving mainly meat dishes.
Porto Germeno & the Corinthian Gulf Day Trip
Nobody would bet that such an unspoiled beach can be found in the region of Attica. Located in the west Attica suburbs, along the coast of the Corinthian Gulf, Porto Germeno and neighboring Psatha Beach are among your top choices for a summer day trip from Athens. Crystal-clear waters, beautiful landscape, authentic taverns by the water are some of the characteristics that render this off-the-beaten path bay a summer paradise for families ideally with older kids and teens, as the water deepens abruptly and is significantly colder than the rest of the Attic coast.
Amfiaraio Sanctuary & Oropos Day Trip
A day trip from Athens to Amfiaraio sanctuary is a great idea to get away from the crowds. Visit the ancient sanctuary that is surrounded by nature and walk along the banks of the ancient river to the ancient theatre.
After your cultural tour of the day, enjoy the beach in Kalamos, Agii Apostoli and Skala Oropou, where you can find many options to dine and enjoy your drinks and coffee. Otherwise, if you are in a more active mood, take your kids to the farm “Mia fora ki enan kairo” or the Malakasa “Adventure Park”!
Penteli Waterfalls Day Trip
Penteli mountain used to be very beautiful before the forest fires. But still, you can find a hidden gem closest to Athens, that is its waterfalls, where you can even swim during the summer. Walking downhill with toddlers and very young kids is challenging, but for school age kids and teens it’s ideal! Afterwards, you can have your farm-to-table meal at the farm restaurant “Farma Moo” while kids play in the outdoor playground. In Penteli, you can also visit the Penteli Monastery and dine at Telis, a family friendly tavern with a playground.