In the Heart of the Capital

Athens may not be known as green city, but it does have some lovely spots


LYCABETTUS HILL

This picturesque green refuge in the heart of Athens attracts fitness fanatics, dog walkers and pedestrian commuters taking a green shortcut across the city. The hill (300m) is densely covered with pine trees, aromatic herbs, flowers and plants (even wild asparagus in early spring). A dirt path circles the hill but there are numerous zigzag tracks for more extreme runs, while a leisurely stroll to the top takes around 30 minutes. Stop along the way to take in arresting views of the city below, the Acropolis and the port of Piraeus. At the very top you’ll find the Orizontes restaurant and the small church of St. George. Near the top is an open-air theater that hosts some great concerts in summer. Incurable romantics frequently park here to watch the sun set on the horizon as the lights of Athens gradually begin to twinkle.

TIP

Head straight for the top on the 5-minute funicular ride that starts on Aristippou Street in Kolonaki. Best street entry points for pedestrians: Marasli or Kleomenous (Kolonaki), 
Koniari or Sarandapichou (Lycabettus neighborhood) and Paliggenesias or Melinas Mercouri (closer to Ambelokipi metro station). Open 24 hours.

ARDITTOS HILL

Some of the world’s greatest athletes have competed at the 45,000-seat Panathenaic (or Kallimarmaro) Stadium, famous for hosting the first modern Olympics in 1896. Fitness enthusiasts can exercise on the adjacent pine-covered Ardittos Hill, where ancient Greek judges took their oath in the names of Zeus, Apollo and Demeter. Ardittos towers above the sparkling white stadium, offering lovely views of the city from its top. Athenian runners love going for a jog around the horseshoe-shaped track just behind the stadium.

TIP: The running track is open from 8:30-sunset.

ACROPOLIS, PLAKA & MONASTIRAKI RUNS/WALKS

Run, walk or bike along Dionysiou Areopagitou until you pass the Dionysos restaurant on your left and the coach terminal, then turn left into the cobblestone walkway that leads to the Philopappos and Pnyx hills; both are gorgeous, scenic routes. Rocky Pnyx, where ancient Greeks gathered for their popular assemblies, affords a spectacular view of the Acropolis and Mount Lycabettus. Philopappos, too, offers memorable views of the Parthenon with the Saronic Gulf in the background.

 


Read More

Editor's Pick

Souvenirs to Impress

10 original souvenir ideas, created by Greek designers, that are...


Athens

What to Do in Athens: Your Winter-Spring 2019 Weekend Itinerary

Our itinerary hits all the best new venues and all-time...


Athens

Where to Eat in Athens

The newest venues, the freshest menus and latest trends.


Athens

7 of the Hottest New Hangouts in Athens

Seven up-and-coming venues, as yet undiscovered by the crowds, which...


Greece Is Blog Posts

Hail Hydra: A Midwinter Weekend on the Saronic Isle

BY Anthony Grant

“I do.” No, there was no matrimonial interrogation...

read more >

Zen and the Art of Driving in Greece

BY Pavlos Zafiropoulos

When I was first learning to drive, my...

read more >

Autumn in Pylos: An Expat’s View of the Battle of Navarino Re-Enacted

BY Hayley Prokos

On a balmy Saturday night in late October,...

read more >