Parnitha is a unique place only a few km away from the centre of Athens. It is an area of distinguished natural beauty and of extreme significance for bird populations especially after it was included in the Natura 2000 network. In one of the mountain’s summits, Mavrovouni, you will find the Mont Parnes Casino which one may reach either by car or cable car, the latter being an experience worth living at least once in your lifetime. In the area you may also find the mountaineering refuges Mpafi and Flabouri. If you are looking for relaxation and ways to connect to nature, then you may also hike. There are many designated trails with varying degrees of difficulty. Routes: www.parnitha-np.gr
On Hymettis there are approximately 700 recorded plant species from all over Greece and, besides the wild ones you may locate in the woods, the Philodassiki Society has created a plant nursery and Botanical Park open to the public. If you want to get to know Hymettus, an easy and comfortable route is the one starting from the refreshment stall of Kaisariani in Kalopoula. This route goes through the Kaisariani Monastery and ends in the Taxiarhon hill with its deserted Frankish monastery. There are various spots from where to enjoy a panoramic view of the attica basin while the pine trees and verdant areas will revive you.
Penteli is half an hour away from the centre of the city and offers all the necessary ingredients to make your visit a memorable experience: beautiful scenery, verdant areas, small waterfalls and great choices for a meal. You can visit the Monastery of the Assumption of Virgin Mary where you will also find what is perhaps the most famous attraction of the area, namely the Secret School. Here is also the popular Observatory of Penteli, an ideal choice for a small trip on a Sunday when night tours bring us a little closer to the starts. Finally, you should not miss the Tower of the Duchess of Plaisance (Sophie Lebrun), an architectural jewel which would surely take you back in time.
Lycabettus has an imposing presence over the Attica basin. St George chapel is to be found on its very top. From there you can enjoy a panoramic view of Athens with the eyes reaching the Piraeus port. 277m high, this is the highest spot in Athens. According to mythology, the hill was created out of a rock goddess Athena was carrying on her way to the Acropolis. The rock fell off her hands after distressing news brought to her by a raven and so the rock became what Athenians would later call the hill of Lycabettus. The cable car transferring us to the top of the hill started functioning in 1965. Right under the chapel of St George, there is plenty of choice for a meal or cup of coffee.
Lycabettus Cable Car: 66 Ploutarhou Str, Kolonaki
Philopappos Hill / Pnyx
Philopappos Hill or Hill of the Muses is right across the Acropolis and really consists of 3 hills since there are paths linking it with the Pnyx and the hill of the Observatory where one may find the new and old National Observatory of Athens. The famous stone paths of the hill, made by the architect Dimitris Pikionis, start at the entrance to the hill right across from the end of Dionysiou Aeropagitou Str. The Philopappos Hill is named after the homonymous monument found at the hill’s top built at the times of emperor Traianos. In verdant surroundings, you will find one of the most beautiful chapels of Attica, St Dimitrios Loubardiaris. From there you can follow one of the many marble paved paths which will lead you to the famous Pnyx hill. The view from here is breathtaking!
The Pnyx was the official meeting place of the Athenian democratic assembly in ancient Athens from the 6th century until the end of the 4th century B.C. This is where democracy flourished making Athens the centre of the ancient world, a time that reached its heyday in the Golden Age of Pericles.
Subway/Train: Line 1 / Thission Station
The Attica Prefecture has many and varied beaches where the visitor may enjoy the sun, the sea and a delicious meal under the Attica sky. Just a few km from the centre of Athens, you will find beaches for every taste, organized or not, sandy or rocky, crowded or not. Try visiting them on weekdays or during the early hours of the morning at weekends when visitors are less and you will be able to truly enjoy Greek summertime!
Asteras Vouliagmenis, Varkiza, Voula Α, Vouliagmeni, Lagonisi – Grand Resort, Mavro Lithari
Others beaches / shores
Limni Vouliagmenis (Lake of Vouliagmeni), Limanakia, Saronida, Legrena, Sounio – Temple of Poseidon
Lake Marathon – Dam
The artificial lake Marathon was created in 1931 and used as the main water supply for Athens. It was created after the construction of the Marathon Dam and was the main water reservoir for the Greek capital until 1959. The view of the lake from above – as you go downhill – is enchanting. There are plenty of places around to have a picnic under the trees. Verdant areas, a true breathing space for Attica, makes this a favourite spot for hundreds of Athenians as it combined both mountain and the sea!
It is definitely worth visiting the Marathon Dam surrounding Marathon Lake. It was an envied architectural structure in its own time. It is 54m high and 285m long. It is covered with the same while penteli marble as the Parthenon and the Panathinaiko Stadium. The most admirable sight here is the small marble temple at the dam’s base. This is a replica of the Athenian Treasury, built by the Athenians in Delphi as a reminder of the victory against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon. The small temple of the lake was built as a reminder of the people’s victory against water shortage.