For many, the Greek capital may not be the most picture-perfect city in the world, but it still holds a chaotic charm that makes it a dynamic destination. Whether you are into art, history, culture, food or parties, you can find it all. But one aspect of Athens that few think of is that it is highly walkable, making it perfect for relaxing walks after a day of sightseeing. Here are the best walks to take in Athens.
The pedestrian street around the Acropolis
Undeniably the most scenic walk to take in central Athens is the walk along Dionysiou Areopagitou and Apostolos Pavlos streets. Surrounding the Acropolis archaeological site, these includes spectacular views over the Sacred Rock, surrounding sites, and the Acropolis museum. On weekends, the streets are filled with vendors, performers and artists and the atmosphere is festive. Enjoy it on your way to your hotel or one of the many restaurants you can visit in the neigborhood.
A little more difficult than your average walk in a park, the trails and paths that crisscross the Lycabettus Hill are ideal for enjoying 360° views over the capital city. Whether you opt for the dirt road or prefer to stick to the asphalt road, you can stop every now and then to admire the views. The Acropolis, Marble Statium, and the Parliament all grow increasingly smaller as you make your way to the top, where you will be rewarded by fascinating vistas over the basin and the coast.
Enjoying the SNFCC park
While the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center is technically inside, there is lots to keep you busy for a while. The green space surrounding the building is ideal for chilling on the grass or taking in the views from the Lighthouse. On summer days, join the children and play with the water games, enjoy a game of giant chess or simply relax with a book in hand. Stroll towards the artificial canal and take in the refreshing breeze, rent a bike or enjoy some drinks before a performance at the Opera.
Along the Riviera
What’s the point of having a waterfront if you don’t take advantage of it? Thankfully, the Athenian coast lends itself perfectly for walks along the shore. Whether you want to wet your feet in the water or prefer to enjoy the views from the sidewalk along the tram lines, the paraliaki (waterfront) is perfect for walks, long jogs and bike rides with the beautiful crystal sea as your witness.
Royal Estate of Tatoi
You might have to rent a car to get there but we promise you, it will be worth it. Located less than 30 kilometers from central Athens, the Royal Estate of Tatoi is a stunning, lush green area on the slope of Mount Parnitha. Locals head there on sunny weekends to enjoy a breath of fresh air. The area is perfect for family or friends to picnic, or go on long jogs or bike rides. If all you want after a few days in the city is to escape, then the Royal Estate, which used to belong to the Greek royal family, is exactly what you need.
With a rich ecosystem of bird species, an extensive network of paths and trails, ruins of churches and caves, and less than 30 minutes from Athens’ center, Mount Hymettus is one of Athenian’s favorite escape. One of the most scenic walks starts at Kaisariani monastery, which dates back to the 11th century. From there, follow the path leading up to the Church of the Ascension, all the way up to the renovated church of Taxiarches, from where the view of the city and the sea below is simply breathtaking.
A word of caution: These walks can be strenuous under the summer scorching sun, so make sure to have plenty of water with you and take breaks in the shade. And for those like culture and exercise, you should definitely check out the many Athens walking tours, where you can combine learning interesting facts while exploring the city by foot. Why not be active during your holidays? It’s really a win-win.