You’ve probably heard of the National Garden in Athens, located next to the Parliament by Syntagma Square. But did you know that Athens is home to a botanical garden too? It’s a 20-minute ride from the city centre, in the Haïdari district. Here is why you should visit this well-kept secret.
The largest botanical garden in Greece
On busy Iera Odos avenue you will find a stone entrance at number 401. This is the entrance to the Julia and Alexander N. Diomedes Botanic Garden, a green wonderland spanning 460 acres west of Athens, in Haïdari. The garden is home to over 3000 plant species and has an area dedicated to the maintenance of plant biodiversity in Greece.
The Diomedes Botanical Garden is the largest of the nation, and it aims to promote scientific research. Used by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA) for teaching purposes, the garden is also open to the general public, making it a great destination for exploring rich local flora.
Alexander N. Diomedes (1875 – 1950), the founder of the garden and member of the Athenian Academy, was a professor and one of the patrons of the NKUA. Before his death he left instructions in his will for the establishment of a botanic garden, to be used by the university and other institutions for the study, cultivation and development of plants, trees and flowers, and to foster an interest in these in the younger generations. Founded in 1951 through a charitable foundation set up by Diomedes, the botanical garden opened its doors to the public in 1975. Today, the garden features several sections, with paths, playgrounds and greenhouses, as well as laboratories and administrative buildings. Around 20% of the total area is cultivated, while the rest is divided into an arboretum, an ornamental plants section, an historic plants area and an aromatic and herbal plants section, as well as a nursery and a greenhouse.
More than just a pretty garden
Besides being a botanical garden, the area is also a natural habitat for local fauna, which makes it an ideal real-life lab for students of biology at NKUA and the agricultural university. The garden includes a seed bank with over 800 plant species represented. The ultimate goal is to create a section with endangered and rare species. Others objectives include raising awareness on the importance of environmental preservation and the protection of endangered species through guided tours.
If you are a plant lover or simply looking for a quiet and tranquil spot to escape the hustle (and heat) of the city, at the Diomedes Botanical Garden you will enjoy the endemic and exotic plant and tree species. If you are in Athens during the spring, the flowers here are especially beautiful and fragrant. There is also a small cafe at the garden, and plenty of places to have a picnic.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.