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The Ultimate Guide to Athens Authentic Marathon – Race and Travel information [2023]

    The Athens 2023 Marathon

    The Athens Marathon is a unique yearly event attended by thousands of people from all over the world. During the Athens Marathon, runners get to race along the historic route from Marathon to Athens following in the footsteps of the legendary runner Pheidippides. No other event in Athens is so closely related to Greece’s ancient history. The Athens Marathon also called the Authentic Marathon, is the biggest most significant international sports event in Greece.


    The Marathon Race originates from a true historic and heroic event. It was the news-bearing foot soldier Pheidippides who ran from Marathon to ancient Athens, to announce the victory of the Greeks against the Persians during the Marathon Battle in 490 BC. Much later, this 42,195 m run became one of the most competitive events during the revival of the Olympic Games in 1896. The famous Greek athlete Spyros Louis ran the original marathon course from the ancient city of Marathon to the Panathinaikon Stadium in Athens and won the gold medal of the first modern Olympic Games.

    Join the Athens 2023 Marathon as a runner


    Inspired by Pheidippides and Spyros Louis? Everyone above 18 years old can join the Athens 2023 Marathon race. To participate, you need to register at the Athens Authentic Marathon website. You can opt to run or power walk the actual classic marathon. But there is also a 10K and 5K race.

    Children can participate in a kid’s race of 1200 m. The age limit to participate in the Kids’ Run is set from 11 to 13 years old. The kids run takes place around Syntagma square and ends in the historic Panathenaic Stadium. Can you imagine the stories they can tell their friends after participating in the authentic marathon at the place where it all started some thousands of years ago! At the end of the race, the kids receive juices, fruits, and of course, a beautiful high-quality medal. Is there a better souvenir to take home? Participating in the Athens Marathon is an unforgettable experience!

    There are currently places available but the registration procedure closes without any further notice once the participation limit per race is met. For more details and information, follow this link.

    How to get to the race starting point

    The Marathon race starts in the town of Marathon and then heads into Athens. The finish line is at the historic Panathinaikon Stadium. On the day of the Marathon, the Athens Marathon Organizing Committee provides buses for all marathon runners that depart from six different points in Athens Center to the starting point in Marathon town. Alternatively, Kids Love Greece can provide a private luxury transfer to the race start venue as part of our Athens Marathon Package.

    The 10K race takes place inside Athens city around the central Syntagma square. Should your hotel be located outside of the center, we are happy to arrange a private luxury transfer for you as part of our Athens Marathon Package.

    Further, all runners registered to participate in one of the Athens Marathon races at the full registration level, are entitled to a transport card offering them free use of all Athens public transport means for the period three days prior and two days after the Marathon race.

    Did you know that some participants even run in strollers? Especially during the 5K and 10K races, we have seen many women and men running and power walking pushing their children along during the sunny historic Athenian scene!

    Join the Athens 2023 Marathon as a spectator

    If you are not participating in the Athens 2023 Marathon but would like to join the celebrations and festivities, have a look at the program below.

    Program Saturday 11 November 2023

    • 12.30–13.15Opening Ceremony –  (Marathon Tomb) – Transfer of the Marathon Flame at the Historical Starting Point of the Marathon Road

    • 13.50-14.10: Lighting of the Altar of the Marathon Flame

    Program Sunday 12 November 2023

    • 08.15: Start of 5km Road Race in Athens city

    • 09.00: Historic Start of Marathon Race at Marathon Stadium

    • 08:30: Estimated finish time of the 1st runner of the 5 km Road Race in Athens city

    • 11.29: Estimated finish time of the 1st male marathon runner in Athens’ Panathinaikon Stadium

    • 11.50: Estimated finish time of the 1st female marathon runner in Athens’ Panathinaikon Stadium

    Visit Marathon

    If you decide to visit Marathon, note that it takes about one hour from Athens by car. Marathon is located on the northeast coast of Attica, 40 km away from Athens, and twenty minutes away from Athens International Airport.

    Kids Love Greece can organize a visit to the Marathon by private luxury transfer as part of our custom-made Athens Marathon Package.

    It is not wise to visit the Marathon on the day of the run because, alongside the marathon route, road closures and traffic restrictions are taking place the entire day. It will be very busy and it will be difficult to get back to Athens in time for the finish.

    Visit the Panathinaikon Stadium

    To truly understand the atmosphere of the Marathon race, we recommend you find a seat at the finish line in the historic Panathinaikon Stadium. Runners have to run the last 170 m of the race inside the stadium before they finalize their achievement.

    On the day of the Marathon race, the Panathinaikon Stadium opens its doors to the public free of charge. The stadium closes late in the evening when the last runner has crossed the finish line. Witnessing athletes receive their medals at the finishing line from the marble seats of the Panathenaic stadium overlooking the Acropolis is an unforgettable experience.

    Walk the Athens Streets

    You can also opt to support the runners along the streets of Athens. The 5k and 10K races, as well as the kids’ race, take place along the historic center and monuments of the city. The center of Athens will be closed off to cars and the streets are easy to navigate by foot. Music and festivities take place along the route and lots of Athenians will be out.

    The course map for the Marathon race can be found here. For the rest of the course maps click on each race to find them. If your family decides to wander the city, we recommend Zapeion and the National Gardens, the starting point of the 5K and 10K races. The hustle and bustle and the energy of the runners will excite everyone. The Athens 2023 Marathon is an event that families are looking forward and lots of Athenians will bring their children along.

    Some people dress up as ancient Greeks and run the race, others bring their dogs or their musical instruments. The Kids Love Greece team has witnessed the Athens Marathon and can guarantee you that it is the experience of a lifetime!

    How to navigate Athens on the day of the Athens 2023 Marathon

    During the races, there are no vehicles allowed in the city center of Athens and anywhere around the Panathinaikon Stadium until the afternoon. Therefore, we recommend the use of the metro. The Athens metro is stroller accessible and most metro stations have elevators. Follow this link to find useful maps of the Athens metro network. The Panathinaikon Stadium is located in downtown Athens, just 1000 m from the “Syntagma”, “Acropolis” and “Evangelismos” metro stations. You can get there by metro or walk.

    Where to stay in Athens for the Marathon

    Whilst Athens has plenty of accommodation to choose from, large events such as the Athens Marathon may have an impact on the number of hotel rooms available. If you are planning to visit Athens for this year’s Marathon, contact the Kids Love Greece team, and we can find you a great hotel that is comfortable for you and your family and has good connections to the event.

    For people who opt for a quiet and relaxed location to have a morning run along the coast, we recommend hotels at the Athens Riviera. For those who do not want to miss the festive Marathon atmosphere, we recommend staying in the city center.  

    If you are planning to visit Athens for the 2023 Marathon, it pays to plan ahead, and again our team can help you!

    Athens Marathon 2023 Packages

    Our The Ultimate Trip to Greece for Sports Fans: 5-Day Travel Package has been specially designed for families who want to explore the Marathon but also experience Athens and Greece at the same time in a relaxed and comfortable way. The program of our 5-Day Ultimate Trip to Greece for Sports Fans Package allows you to visit and race in 3 of the 4 original stadiums of the Panhellenic Games (Olympia, Nemea, Delphi) and the stadium of the first Modern Olympic Games (Athens). Included in the package is transportation to all the activities in private luxury transfers. You will not need to use any public transportation.

    We will also guide you to pick up your bib numbers and race kits from the Athens Marathon EXPO & Registration Centre. We further organize a guided family tour at Delphi, Epidaurus, and Olympia to explore the rich sports history of ancient Greece. Contact the Kids Love Greece team for more details about our 5-Day Travel Package.

    Further to our 5-Day Travel Package, the Kids Love Greece team is happy to design a tailor-made Athens Marathon package for your family according to the race you are participating in and in accordance with your travel dates.

    We will create the perfect itinerary if you want to truly experience the magic and antiquity of Greece and the Marathon. We guarantee an unforgettable time for your family!

    Still, we offer more programs even if you cannot attend the marathon as a visitor or runner. You can definitely come at another time.

    Our A Day In The Life Of An Ancient Runner: Trip to the Panathenaic Stadium and Marathon is another amazing experience for both kids and adults. On this 5-hour private day trip from Athens, you and your family will have the opportunity to visit and explore the Panathenaic Stadium, the stadium of the first Olympic Games in modern times, and the city of Marathon. Museums and archeological sites are also included in this unique day trip that your kids will love. You will be accompanied by a licensed tour guide and a professional driver in a luxury vehicle.

    Feel like an ancient Athlete

    Don’t miss the opportunity to take part in your very own family’s ancient workout in the Panathinaikon Stadium. Have a look at our Olympic Games Workout – Family Olympics Activity in Athens and feel like an ancient Athlete. During this morning activity, you will learn how ancient and modern Olympians trained, take part in a fun gym session, and finish with a family race at the magnificent Panathenaikon Stadium.

    We also offer virtual Marathon and Olympic Games-related events. Feel free to sign up for our Run Like The Ancient Greeks: Sports & The History of Marathon Running, where you will learn everything about the history of the Marathon and the role of an athlete in ancient Greece.

    If you want to learn everything about athletes and sports in ancient Greece, you can read our Sports in Ancient Greece: Key Facts about Marathon, Panhellenic and Olympic Games article. Click the link below for more information.

    For more info - Kids Love Greece hori

    Other things to do in Athens

    There are of course plenty of other things to see and do in Athens for you and your family. During a visit, you should definitely make time to see the Acropolis, take a walk around Plaka, and visit the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion for sunset. For mythology fans, we recommend our Percy Jackson Tour of the Acropolis and Acropolis Museum and Percy Jackson Tour of Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon from Athens.

    Good luck to all participants of this year’s Athens Marathon! Feel free to contact us for more details.

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