Daphni Monastery and Apollo coast

Only 11 km from Athens along the Athens-Corinth highway, this beautiful Byzantine Monastery dating from the 11th century lies in a tree-shaded grove. In addition to its architecture, the Church of the Monastery is decorated with some of the most brilliant examples of mosaic art of the Byzantine period.

Near the Monastery is a tourist pavilion, the site of the Athens Wine Festival, held each summer.

Apollo Coast – Sounion – Messoghia

By far the best way of seeing Attica is to make my round trip, by bus or car, along the Apollo Coast on a fast road with lovely scenery, which hugs the Saronic Gulf, and on reaching Sounion continue inland through the Messoghia, or midlands, to return to Athens. The high point of this drive is the 5th century Temple of Poseidon crowning the top of the headland at Sounion, with a view looking far out into the Aegean Sea.

The drive back from Sounion to Athens along the inland route takes you through the rolling hills of the Messoghia – the typical Attic countryside. There are two interesting places along the way: Paeonia and Pan’s Cave ( Cave Koutouki ) and Lavrion ( Laurium ) famous in antiquity for its silver mines.

The Messoghia is dotted with tiny villages where a good meal and excellent local wine can be enjoyed in the open or inside small tavernas.

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