Athens to Epidaurus: Options To the Theatre Or Sunken City

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When people talk about going to Epidaurus, they usually mean the ancient theatre. But the modern village (confusingly called Old or Ancient Epidaurus) is also pretty to visit, and seeing The Sunken City there is a fun adventure.

There are several ways to travel from Athens to both the ancient theatre at Epidavros – as you might also see it spelt – and the coastal village of Ancient Epiduaurus.

You can travel from Athens by:

  • organised group or private tour from Athens
  • rental car
  • direct bus from Athens (to Ancient Epidaurus village only)
  • a combination of bus and taxi or two buses via Nafplio or Ancient Epidaurus
  • special buses from Athens in the summer for the evening Athens Epidaurus festival performances at the Ancient Theatre or the Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus

I’ll take you through how to get to the archaeological site first. And then below that, I’ll add details about getting to the village and Sunken City.

The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus

The ancient theatre of Epidaurus is the main attraction at the Sanctuary of Asklepios, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The stunning architecture and wonderful acoustics mean that the theatre is still in use today. Performances are put on there as part of the Epidaurus Festival in the summer months.

See the separate instructions below to get to performances at the theatre during the summer festival.

Group and Private Tours to Epidaurus Theatre

If you just want to visit the theatre and historical site, then an organised day tour from Athens with a tour guide is probably the easiest and best way to go.

I use GetYourGuide to find tours and you can find ones to the area from Athens with hundreds of great reviews.

Trips to Epidaurus often include a stop at the Corinth Canal, a visit to Mycenae, some time in the pretty town of Nafplion or a trip to the beach.

Epidaurus Archaeological Museum within the ancient site

Check the details for each, but usually, these day trips include a guided tour with a licensed tour guide.

Bus and Taxi Combos via Nafplio

There are no direct buses from Athens to the Ancient Theatre (except for the summer performances). So you need to either go via Nafplio or Old Epidaurus.

Bus from Athens Via Nafplio

Daily buses run frequently from Athens to Nafplio, where you can connect to the ancient theatre.

Getting the Bus from Athens to Nafplio

The journey to Nafpilo is about 2 hours and 15 minutes on a comfortable bus from Kifisou Bus Station.

The bus terminal, also known as Kifissos KTEL bus station, is a bit outside of the city. You can find out more information about getting there in this post about Athens’ Bus Terminal A.

Ticket prices are 13.10 euro and you can buy your ticket online or at the station. Even though at the online checkout it says you can show your e-ticket, in my experience, you still need to get one printed out.

The ticket office in Athens is beside the bus stand at stance 36, not in the main building.

The bus goes past the Corinth Canal viewpoint if you want to stop there on the way. You can look at the Isthmus in both directions and then have a coffee somewhere while you wait for the next bus. Don’t forget to buy two separate tickets if you do that.

Bus from Nafplio to Epidaurus

The buses leave from outside the Nafplio bus station, the same spot you got off from Athens. The journey to the theatre takes about 45 minutes.

You can check bus times and prices here. The stop you need is Epidavros (Asklipiio).

🎭 See this post about getting from Nafplio to the Theatre

Bus to Napflio, then Taxi

When you arrive at Nafplio bus station, you’ll see taxis opposite where the bus stops. The return taxi fare to the archaeological site costs 70 euro and allows an hour for your visit. Make sure you have cash, as the taxi drivers don’t take cards.

By Bus and Taxi Combos via Old Epidaurus

There are limited direct buses from Athens to Old Epidaruas village. Confusingly, the village is known as Palaia Epidauros, Palaia Epidavros and Archaia Epidauros, too.

From the village, you can make your way to the sanctuary and theatre by bus or taxi.

The Sunken City is here at the coastal village.

Bus from Athens to Old Epidaurus

The timetable varies a bit with the season, but expect two or three services on weekdays, one on Saturdays and often none at all on a Sunday.

The bus leaves from Kifissos Bus Station, the same as the Nafplio buses. Check the times online here (the stations you need are Athina (Bus Station Kiffisos) and Archaea Epidavros (Limani).

If you buy your ticket online you still need to go to the ticket office by the bus stance in Athens to get a printed version.

Bus to the Theatre From Ancient Epidaurus

Once you arrive in the village, you’ll need to get another bus from the same spot. The one you want goes to Nafplio via the ancient theatre.

You can check bus times here. The stations you want are Archaea Epidavros (Limani) and Epidavros (Asklipiio).

This poster in the KTEL ticket office at the village in September displays buses to the theatre at the following times from Monday to Friday:

  • 07:20
  • 08:30
  • 10:30
  • 12:30
  • 17:30

Note that if you’re travelling out of the peak season (i.e not June to September), this option is best if you want to spend some time in the village. The buses are limited and infrequent, so be prepared for the only bus to the theatre to leave in the early morning.

Taxi via Old Epidaurus

Once you arrive in Ancient Epidaurus you can get a taxi onward to the Ancient Theatre. Walk down to the port to get a taxi or book one in advance.

Taxi-Epidavros is available from the port, and you can reach them on +306974714369

Expect to pay about 50 euro with waiting time and remember to take cash for payment.

Driving from Athens to Epidaurus

If group day tours aren’t your thing, you could hire a rental car to explore the Peloponnese peninsula.

It’s about a two-hour drive to Epidaurus from Athens and a pretty straightforward road trip. You’ll need to pay for tolls along the way. (Three, I think, and 2.50 euro or under.) But the roads are good, well signed and there are services along the way.

You need to get onto the E94 motorway and then follow the signs to Ancient Epidavrou where you’ll start picking up signs for the Ancient Theatre. I always like to use GoogleMaps, but getting a SATNAV with your car might be a good idea too.

If you want to see what the roads, toll booths and services are like I have quite a few details in the post about getting to Nafplion (which you’ll pass on the way).

Travelling between Athens and Epidaurus under your own steam makes it easy to visit Epidaurus and then head on to various other places. You can make your own itinerary and perhaps fit more into your day than an organised tour.

🚗 I have info here about renting a car and driving in the country for the first time.

Travelling to Epidauraus Festival Performances

Every summer, Epidaurus hosts a festival. The theatre still has amazing acoustics and is able to accommodate large audiences, so it’s the perfect place for performances.

Over the years, greats like Maria Callas and Rudolf Nureyev have performed there.

If you’re visiting Athens during this time of year, you might be lucky enough to get a ticket to some ancient drama or one of the other theatrical performances.

In that case, you can take one of the dedicated buses that run from Athens to coincide with the theatre performances.

I’ll update the details when they’re released for summer 2024. But in the meantime, you can get an idea of the service from the KTEL bus website.

Again, buses leave from Kifissos Intercity Bus Station with a travel time of around two hours. Buses from Epidaurus depart twenty minutes after the performance ends and take you back to the bus station.

Visiting the Sunken City

The Sunken City is at the edge of Ancient Epidaurus village. To see the underwater ruins, you can either join an organised kayak or diving tour or go yourself.

You can see the Sunken City marked on GoogleMaps but to get to the beach, head for Athina Tavern. There’s a little bit of parking there if you’re driving. Alternatively, you can walk from your village or hotel.

You’ll need your snorkelling kit or stand-up paddleboard to pass over and see the foundations in the sea.

Other Places to Visit in the Argolida Area

Here’s some information about the other places you should consider for a day trip if you’re heading to this part of mainland Greece.

  • the Sunken City, beaches and hiking at Epidaurus village and port
  • Isthmus of Corinth
  • The Archaeological Site of Mycenae
  • Ancient Corinth
  • Acrocorinth
  • Nafplio, the first capital of modern Greece
  • Agnountos Monastery
  • The ancient stadium at Nemea

More Info on the Peloponnese

Click here to see all my posts about the Peloponnese.

Athens to Epidaurus: Options To the Theatre Or Sunken City

Suzie Young

Suzie writes informative posts for solo, nervous or first-time travellers to Greece, Turkey and other countries on her 50-before-50 bucket list. She became a Greek resident in 2020 and intends to visit every inhabited island (13 down!).

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