Although Athens is not known for its many parks, the Greek capital still has some unique places for a green escape.
Near the center in picturesque suburbs, close to marinas, or overlooking ancient ruins, these parks offer nature lovers an idyllic escape from the noisy bustling streets of the city.
Athens National Garden
Situated in the very center of Athens is the famous National Garden. It occupies an area of about sixteen hectares between Syntagma Square and the Panathenaic Stadium and is the true green lung of the city.
American novelist Henry Miller described this place as “the quintessence of a park, the thing one feels sometimes in looking at a canvas or dreaming of a place one would like to be in and never finds.”
Today it is difficult to imagine how such a green oasis is located in the very heart of a bustling city not far from noisy avenues. People come here not only for solitude and a breath of fresh air but also to look at various exotic plants, sculptures, lush flower beds and ancient ruins. Some of the wonderful trees found in the park include Australian pines, Chinese heavenly trees, Judas trees, and Canary Island date palms.
The lush Philopappos Hill overlooking the Acropolis is beloved by Athens’ locals and tourists alike. Offering stunning vistas of the city and the Aegean Sea from its 147-meter summit, it is a cherished spot for strolls and gentle hikes.
The hill itself offers pleasant shade and air filled with the scent of pine trees. This picturesque place is believed to be the location of the cell in which the imprisoned Socrates spent the last days of his life.
Other attractions in this park include the 16th-century Church of Agios Dimitrios Loumbardiaris, adorned with beautiful frescoes and marble floors. A marble paved path leads to it. It was designed by the famous modernist architect Dimitris Pikionis.
The top of the hill is crowned by the monument of Julius Antiochus Philopappos, a prince from the Kingdom of Commagene who died in 116 AD.
Lycabettus Hill in Athens is one of the iconic places of the city. Rising 277 meters above sea level, it is the highest point in the Greek capital, offering a challenging but interesting walk. At the top of the hill stands the whitewashed Greek Church of St. George.
Those who choose to hike rather than take a short cable car ride will be well rewarded. The winding paths of the hill, the melodious chirping of birds welcoming visitors, and the stunning views will open up more and more with every step. At the peak, a breathtaking panorama of Athens and Piraeus awaits its viewers.
The sunset view from this hill is a must-see as illuminated landmarks gradually emerge, including the Acropolis, Temple of Olympian Zeus, Panathenaic Stadium, and the Ancient Agora.
Pedion tou Areos Park
— Christos G Failadis (@xfailadis) March 8, 2021
Next to the National Archaeological Museum is the picturesque Pedion tou Areos Park, which covers an area of 114 acres. Dedicated to the heroes of the Greek Revolution of 1821, it boasts a central avenue flanked by marble busts, flower beds, and statues. One of the most famous of these is dedicated to the goddess Athena.
The park has many places for picnics, leisurely walks, and serene reading in the shade of the trees. Families often visit it to engage in various activities such as football, volleyball, roller skating, cycling, and sunbathing. This Athens park also offers plenty of space for dog walking and jogging.
#Flisvos Marina is an urban oasis unlike any other where visitors may relax & unwind. It is the first marina in Greece with full land development, in an area of 3,800 square meters, which in addition to boat accommodation it provides recreational uses. #Athens
IG📷 t.kakavoulas pic.twitter.com/9D2bwGwPhl
— Greece Ελλάς Grecia (@GreekPictures) November 19, 2021
Not all of Athens’ picturesque parks are situated in the city center. For instance, Flisvos Park is located in Faliro near the water and is approximately a 35-minute tram ride from Syntagma Square.
It is a vibrant hub bustling with activity, especially in the evenings when local families enjoy cafes and restaurants after their seaside strolls. This Athens park offers engaging summer activities and attractions complete with shadow-puppet shows and an outdoor cinema. With its scenic seaside location, it provides an ideal setting for leisurely strolls, offering amenities such as a playground for children and an outdoor workout area all while allowing visitors to enjoy the soothing sounds of the sea.
Stavros Niarchos Park
The new, bright, and modern Stavros Niarchos Park was opened in 2015. Although it is somewhat removed from the city center, visitors can easily access the park by taking the tram or using Syntagma’s free shuttle service. Visitors will be rewarded with invigorating sea breezes and a variety of exciting activities, including free yoga classes, outdoor film screenings, and cultural performances.
The 20-hectare park, located in the suburb of Kallithea, is a welcome haven with lush green spaces. The space contains a variety of flora, a vegetable garden, recreational facilities such as playgrounds, a sports field, a jogging track, and a large chess board.