Road to Athens - Top Places to Visit on your Journey

Road to Athens - Top Places to Visit on your Journey

Are you searching for the most epic adventure? Then look no further. The Road to Athens awaits! Embark on a two-week, 1,500 km journey by rail and bus from the beautiful city of Budapest to the Greek capital of Athens.

To get the most out of your adventure and hit all of the best spots, you’ll need to know where to go when you arrive in Budapest, Brasov, Bucharest, Sofia, Thessaloniki and Athens. 

Not thrilled at the thought of researching the top sights at each stop-off? There’s no need to stress, we’ve got you covered. Check out our top activities, sights and locations to take your trip to the next level.

The Heart of Europe

Your adventure begins in beautiful Budapest! Did you know that the twin cities that guard the Danube were known as Pest-Buda from the late 1840s until they were unified in 1873? Either way, you’re probably aware of its epic nightlife. With three nights to see all that Buda and Pest have to offer, you’re guaranteed a good time.

When you arrive in Budapest, make sure you check out the Matthias Church: Fools and Kings Tour. If you aren’t familiar with the city and want to get a feel for all it offers, this historical walking tour will take you past some of the best sights. Take in the culture and discover stunning vistas and medieval ruins on your journey. You may even spot a few well-known nightclubs for your evening escapades. 

If you’ve embraced the nightlife and are struggling with that hangover, we have the perfect cure – the Széchenyi Spa! Ditch the lemon water for the largest medicinal bath in Europe. Soak in soothing outdoor pools, sizzle in scorching saunas and let your worries evaporate in serene steam rooms. There’s even a gym if you want to earn your soaks. 

Once you’ve cleansed your system and bathed in bliss, you’ll get access to the Palinka Museum. Discover the Hungarian national spirit, palinka, with an interactive exhibition that tells the story of this terrific tipple. Now that you’ve cured the hangover, try some palinka at the museum or take some away for later!

The Beauty of Brasov

Having experienced all that Budapest has to offer, you’re off to the region of Transylvania. As one of the oldest cities in Romania, Brasov is filled with a multitude of amazing historical and natural attractions. From the bohemian town centre and beautiful baroque buildings, to cosy cafes and the stunning Carpathian Mountains, Brasov is a traveller’s dream destination.

If you want to avoid the crowds at Dracula’s home but still want your fill of cultural castle exploration, you’ve got to check out Peleș Castle. Can you find the secret door in the library? Discover this decadent residence and uncover its mysteries as you roam the palace and find over 4,000 European and Asian artefacts. Situated deep in the Carpathian Mountains, you’re in the perfect spot to venture out into nature after your visit.         

The Best of Bucharest

After you’ve enjoyed the beauty of Brasov, it’s time to visit Romania’s capital city of Bucharest. With thriving nightlife, stunning summer weather and Insta-worthy parks, Bucharest will not disappoint. Once you’ve had your fill of cocktails at one of the many rooftop bars, prepare for a feast for the senses at one of Bucharest’s best attractions – the Museum of Senses

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to lie on a bed of nails or turn yourself into a delicious snack? Of course you have! Thanks to the wacky world at Museum of Senses, you can finally have your wish come true. 

Smell, see, touch, taste and hear your way through mind-boggling rooms with over 40 exhibits. Whether you’re into the weird and wonderful or are just looking for some crazy content, this is a journey of perspective and deception that will not disappoint.

If lying on a bed of nails doesn’t prick your excitement, swap the eclectic exhibits for outstanding opulence at Ceauşescu Mansion. Having been stormed by anti-communist revolutionaries in 1989, this stunning villa was pillaged by protestors after they discovered that the country’s leaders lived like royalty while they suffered. Learn about the cultural history of Bucharest and walk in the footsteps of the rebels who stood against oppression.

Serene Sofia

The fourth stop on your adventure to Athens will take you to an ancient capital with a history that dates back to the eighth century BCE. Whether you want to escape into nature at Boyana Waterfalls, binge on baklava, or uncover the mysteries of Medieval churches, Sofia has it all. 

After you’ve bagged a bargain at the Turkish markets, make your way to Lozen Monastery. Enjoy the peaceful surroundings as you wander the grounds and admire the amazing architecture.

Make sure you snap the perfect photo at this picturesque monastery which is surrounded by dense oak forests and towering mountains. Even if you’re going for the photos and not the pilgrimage, visiting Lozen Monastery will give you a well-earned break from the bustle of the Bulgarian capital. 

What do Madonna, Iron Maiden and Depeche Mode have in common? You guessed it – the National Palace of Culture. Considered the focal point of the city, the National Palace of Culture is one of Sofia’s most iconic buildings with a mixture of both Communist and Modernist architecture.

Home to huge concerts and festivals, the palace has hosted a historic lineup of performers over the years. As you walk in the footsteps of the stars, you’ll find 80 monumental works of art in the halls and learn about the fascinating history of the building. 

Take It Easy In Thessaloniki

Your penultimate stop will be the Greek city of Thessaloniki. With one day to explore before heading to your final destination, take some time to unwind in Greece’s foodie capital.

If you’re not up for exploring the ruins of Roman Emperor Galerius’ 4th-century palace, sit back with a glass of local wine, sample some sumptuous seafood and watch the sun set over the Aegean. You’ll need your energy for Athens.

An Athenian Adventure

After taking it easy in Thessaloniki for a day, board your final train ride on the Road to Athens. With four days to explore the birthplace of democracy and home of the ancient philosophers you passively quote in your Instagram stories, you won’t want to miss seeing the best spots. Check out four amazing activities to get the most out of Athens. 

Considered to be one of the best-preserved ancient sites in the world, the Acropolis of Athens has waited a long time for your arrival! If scrolling through reels as you queue for hours at Athen’s most visited attraction isn’t your thing, get skip-the-line tickets and stroll right up to this stunning sight. 

See the most famous Greek temple ever built in honour of the goddess of war and capture the amazing view of Athens from the rocky outcrop. If you’re looking for the perfect backdrop for your profile picture, this is the spot. 

Not yet had your fill of ancient ruins? By the beard of Zeus, there’s more to come as the Temple of Olympian Zeus awaits! Grab your skip-the-line tickets and get exploring. 

Built in honour of the god of thunder (no, not the worst Thor movie), the Temple of Olympian Zeus stands in the grand pantheon of Athens’ ancient wonders. Whether you’re fascinated by this religious and cultural centre of ancient Athens or just want to do your best Zeus impression in front of a pillar for the ‘gram, the Olympieion is a must-see sight.

If you’ve been inspired by the lightning wielding god and want to get your hands on some ancient weapons for yourself, you can’t, unless you want a free tour of the local prison. But fear not, we have the next best thing!

See ancient bronze weapons, tools and pottery at the Museum of Cycladic Art as you explore every phase of the Early Cycladic period. Not sure what the Early Cycladic period is? That’s exactly why you need to visit the Museum of Cycladic Art

For something a little less historical and a little more mind-bending, head to the Museum of Illusions. Immerse yourself in a world of optical illusions as you dance on the ceiling in the Upside Down Room, snap mesmerising holograms for social media and navigate through a swirling kaleidoscope in the Vortex Tunnel. 

With loads of deceptive installations guaranteed to confuse and captivate, the Museum of Illusions is the ultimate destination for a trippy experience.

Now you’ve had your fill of marvellous museums, spectacular sights and awesome nightlife, it’s time for a challenge. Travel back in time and unleash your inner Olympian with The Olympic Games Workout. Why just hear about the history of the games when you can live it?

Work out in a 19th-century gym, spend time in the neoclassical Zappeion where the modern games were approved and challenge your friends to a race in the marble stadium. Finish your Road to Athens journey as a champion and take home all the bragging rights.

Now you’ve read about them, why not experience these attractions for yourself? You can view more information on our Road to Athens: 3 Week Set Trip here.