Greek: Μαραθώνας (mah-rah-thon-as)

Marathon is, of course, the site of one of the most famous battles in all of human history. In the 5th Century BCE, the Persian Emperor Darius I landed a great army of over 50,000 men (some ancient sources claim as many as 200,000!) and hundreds of ships at the Bay of Marathon, where they were eventually repelled by a force of just 10,000 Athenians—perhaps the world’s first true underdog story! Legend also holds that in the immediate aftermath of the battle, a Greek foot soldier named Pheidippides ran the whole distance between the battlefield and Athens, approximately 26.2 miles, to deliver the message of victory—the world’s first Marathon!

Before seeing the site itself, one might stop for lunch or coffee at Lake Marathon, home to, in true ancient Greek fashion, the only man-made dam in the world built with marble. Then comes the Marathon Plain itself—the site of the battle. There, one can still find the so-called “Tomb of the 192 Athenians,” a burial mound nearly thirty feet tall, erected in honor of the Athenian soldiers who fell at that famous battle. In addition to the fantastic Marathon Archaeological Museum, there’s also the option of a visit to the Marathon Race Museum, at the site of the birthplace of the modern marathon, run as part of the 1896 Olympic Games.

A visit to Brauron, Rhamnous, or Marathon can also be adjusted to include a trip to one of the many local wineries and vineyards that dot the Attica countryside!

An outside view of Soros, resting place of the fallen Athenian soldiers