Athens to Marathon Historical Battle Tour

March to glory at Marathon battleground: Triumphant victory of the Hoplite phalanx against the outnumbered Persian army

Available departures

  • Our tours take place all year long, in all weather, rain or shine.
  • The tours do not take place on the following public Holidays: 25 , 26 December, New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, May 1st and March 25, the Greek Independence Day.
  • Kindly be advised that all services are subject to availability, your request shall be secured only following receipt of a confirmation email from us and clearance of your deposit.
To ask a question or make a booking request please contact us.

Athens & Surrounding Areas

Human settlements are recorded as early as the 5th millennium BC. Traces of settlements on the Acropolis hill are taking us back to the Bronze Age (3000-1100 BC); those inhabitants were not of Greek origin but bore the mythic name Pelasgi. It was not until the early 2nd millennium BC that the first Greek tribes, Find out more about our tours in the area

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In Brief

Marathon! It is a word, a city, an idea, a unique history but also a symbol of democracy, a flame that disseminates the values of the athletic ideal to every corner of the world. Grandeur, blood and glory at Marathon plain, where in a hot summer morning of August 490 B.C, two civilizations, two Cosmo-theories so striking different, collided in an epic battle that meant to change not only the fate of the ancient world but also the Western world as we know it today! It was the domination of the Hoplite phalanx against a much bigger army as well as that of Strategy vs numerical superiority. The ideals of the newly established Athenian Democracy, the same ones that the Western civilization of nowadays is consisted of, wouldn’t even have been born if the Athenians had fail to prevail that day on the battlefield. Visit the actual location, the burial tomb of the Athenians, the museum and travel back in time in that defining historical day.

Travel back in time to that glorious day at Marathon plain, where the crucial battle of Marathon was waged in August/September 490 BC. It is one of the most famous military engagements and earliest recorded battles in history, fought between the mighty Persian Empire and the city-state of Athens. During that battle the heavily outnumbered hoplite warriors of the Athenian army supported only by Plataea – a nearby small town with 1.000 hoplites; a gesture which did much to steady the nerves of the Athenians, and won unending Athenian gratitude to Plataea - defeated the Persians lead by King Darrius, during his first- out of the three- attempts to invade Greece. The battle was a defining moment for the young Athenian democracy, showing what can be achieved with unity and self-belief; indeed, the battle effectively marks the beginning of a "golden age" for Athens. That was the beacon that has changed a big part in the history of mankind, considering the rise of classic Hellenism over the next two thousand years. This was also applicable to Greece as a whole; "their victory endowed the Greeks with a faith in their destiny that was to endure for three centuries, during which western culture was born".

A 9m-high tumulus or burial mound (Greek Τύμβος, timvos, i.e. tomb), was erected at the site of the battle in memory for the 192 Athenian dead and still remains a feature of the coastal plain. There were originally 10 columns on top of the burial mound to represent the 10 tribes of Attica. Herodotus records that 6,400 Persian bodies were counted on the battlefield, and the Plataeans  lost 11.  The tomb was discovered in early 1884 by Heinrich Schliemann. The battle is perhaps now more famous as the inspiration for the marathon race. Although thought to be historically inaccurate, the legend of the Greek messenger Phidippides running to Athens with news of the victory became the inspiration for this athletic event, introduced at the 1896 Athens Olympics, and originally run between Marathon and Athens.

Marathon Dam

By1924, Athens was mainly supplied with water from the water sources of Parnitha and the underground aquifer. However, the boom of the population of Athens,after the Asia Minor disaster in 1922created new needs intensifying the problem.For this reason,in 1925they began to build the first modern water supply projects in the Capital region.This year an agreement was signed between the Greek government, the American Society OULEN(ULEN and Company)and Bank of Athens for the financing and construction of the capital water supply projects from Parnitha basin. The first major project was the construction of the dam of Marathon, which will “solve” the curse, setting the stage for combating drought that plagued the centuries Attica. It is a gravity dam constructed between 1925 and 1929 by Ulen & Co. from New York and has created Lake Marathon. The dam would serve as the primary water supply for Athens until 1959, when water was pumped from YlikI Lake. The dam is a 54 m (177 ft.) tall, 285 m (935 ft.) long gravity dam with a crest width of 4.5 m (15 ft.) and base width of 28 m (92 ft.).  

Road Map

  • After meeting you in the designated point we will leave Athens and drive through the northern suburbs of the city, towards Marathon! Upon arrival, you we’ll be able to see and visit the actual location of the famous battle, the tumulus and the museum. Immediately after we will visit the Marathon Archaeological Museum which is featuring important findings from various historical periods. It is located next to the Middle Helladic cemetery of Vrana and houses artifacts from the prehistoric age to the Roman period.
  • Following the visit to the museum we’ll take the road that leads to Marathon Dam where you can take photos and learn about the history of its construction.
  • At the end of our tour of Marathon, the timing will be perfect for lunch and first- hand culinary experience of the Mediterranean cuisine.

Highlights

  • The Panathenaic Stadium (erected in 338 BC as part of the public works carried out in the city of Athens by the orator Lykourgos, renovated in 1896 for the first modern Olympic games)
  • The plain of Marathon
  • The 9 m-high Tumulus (burial mound) which shelters the bodies of the 192 Athenian warriors that fell in the battle.
  • Marathon  museum
  • Marathon dam

Useful info

Our tour packages don’t include a professional licensed tour guide, in order to be more affordable to our clients. However your driver will provide substantial & enough information for all the locations that you'll visit, within the car or outside the sites.

Notice that  you could choose from the below choices.

a/ You can have your driver - tour Leader  to accompany you. ( No additional cost)

b/ We can provide upon request a Professional tour guide.

c/ For tours that are taking place outside Athens we can always book a local tour guide in each place of visit , upon your request.

Whatever your choice might be, kindly send your request and we will inform you of the additional cost if that exists!

In case you'd like to be picked up by us at Athens International Airport "El Venizelos", we offer you transportation in significantly better price.

Our representative will welcome  you at the Arrival Hall, holding a sign with your name written on it ,will  help you with your luggage and escort you to the car.

 

duration Itinerary [total duration approx. 5½ hours]
vehicle

Car Type: 

For your chauffeured transportation, we provide smoke free, fully air-conditioned vehicles, that meet all technical and security standards. Depending on the number of participants, you can choose:

a/ Sedan- type vehicle, new Octavia 7 or Mercedes, capacity 1 to 4 pax (depending on availability)

b/ Mini Van, capacity 2 to 8 pax (depending on availability)

c/ SUV- type vehicle, capacity 1 to 5 pax (depending on availability)

Notes: 1) Child safety seats available upon request 2) Luggage restrictions may apply

 

walking-pace Activity level: Easy
equipment Dress Code: As your visit involves a fair bit of walking, it is advisable to wear comfortable, rubber-soled shoes. During the summer months, a hat, and light color garments will also be required for this tour.
group Max Group Size: 2-16 persons

 

Did you know?

  • Marathon's name (Μαραθών) comes from the herb fennel called marathos (μάραθος) in Greek, so Marathon literally means "a place full of fennels". The Greek word for fennel is first attested in Mycenaean Linear B on tablets MY Ge 602, MY Ge 606 + fr., MY Ge 605 +670.
  • John Stuart Mill's famous opinion was that "the Battle of Marathon, even as an event in British history, is more important than the Battle of Hastings".
  • There were originally 10 columns on top of the burial mound to represent the 10 tribes of Attica. According to Herodotus’ records 6,400 Persian bodies were counted on the battlefield, and the Plataeans lost 11 men.  The tomb was discovered in early 1884 by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, the same person that also unearthed Mycenae in Peloponnese and Troy in the Asia Minor coastline.
  • The battle is perhaps now more famous as the inspiration for the marathon race. Although to be historically inaccurate, the legend of the Greek messenger Pheidippides running to Athens with news of the victory became the inspiration for this athletic event, introduced at the 1896 Athens Olympics, and originally run between Marathon and Athens.
  • That Marathon is the only city in the world that has given its name to an Olympic sport.
  • The dam's face and visible structure were also covered in the same Pendelikon marble that was used to construct the Parthenon on top of the Acropolis hill.
  • The artifacts from the Neolithic period discovered in the Cave of Pan at Oinoi, the funerary stelae and the votive inscriptions from the sanctuaries of Marathon are especially noteworthy. The most notable finding is the "Marathon Youth (Ephebe)," an impressively intact statue found by fishermen in 1925. It is bronze, 1.24 m tall, and thought to be of the Praxiteles school.visit the Archaeological museum of the area.

Tour price

150 € (Prices applies per vehicle not per person)


  • Mercedes/Octavia 7 A/C Sedan Yellow Taxi
  • Up to 4 people
  • From Athens Center
  • For a Minivan service up to 8 persons please ask us for a quote.

Inclusions - Exclusions

inxclusions

  1. Transfer to/from the sites.
  2. Hotel pick up (for downtown Athens).
  3. Car fuel
  4. Tolls
  5. Car parking
  6. All taxes
     

exclusions

  1. Gratuities (optional)
  2. Food or drinks
  3. Licensed guide
  4. Admissions