Fascinating routes in the mountains of Attica’s mainland
If you are a nature and mountain lover, Attica will truly amaze you, with its lush green mountainsides and the routes right next to running waters. If you enjoy outdoor activities, here you will hike beautiful trails, ride your mountain bike, climb and trail run… in breathtaking landscapes that lie only a stone’s throw away from the centre of Athens! Prepare accordingly, put on proper clothes and hiking shoes, fill up your backpack with picnic snacks and water, and don’t forget the trail map and your camera, to capture all this natural beauty! Ready?
First destination is Hymettus, for hiking in paths of different types and classifications, for beginners or advanced hikers, to match your preference and physical condition. Choose among the 38 different marked trails that cross through the whole mountain, and… wander in the dense forest with the pine trees and the cypresses, the cedars and the thick low vegetation. Discover the crystal springs and marvel at the breathtaking view of Athens from above!
At the heart of Mt. Hymettus Aesthetic Forest stands the Kessariani Monastery, built on the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to goddess Demetra, columns of which still survive today in the churchyard. Scattered around the forest are also the churches of St. Mark and Taxiarches, the church of the Ascension (Analipsi), the monasteries of St. John the Theologian and St. George Koutala, as well as the Asterion Monastery.
Stop at the amphitheatrically built coffee shop of the Municipality of Kessariani, also known as Kalopoula. Have a beverage or light meal, among sky-high pine trees and colourful flowers, listening to the background melody of birds singing and water running from the mythical springs Kylou Pera, which ancient Athenians thought had healing and fertility properties.
Solo or guided by experienced hikers and mountain climbers or in organised excursions for family activities on the mountain and picnic in the forest, on Mount Hymettus you will experience unique moments in the stunningly beautiful landscape of Attica!
One of the easiest routes, ideal for trekking and trail running, is the one that starts from the coffee shop of the Municipality of Kessariani, goes through the Kessariani Monastery, and ends on the hill of Taxiarches and the church of St. Mark or Fraghomonastero, a perfect glade spot for picnic and some rest. The trail is wide and perfectly marked, with breathtaking views of Athens and the Saronic Gulf. The whole route takes about an hour.
A second, slightly harder and very popular route that is well marked, crosses vertically almost the whole mountain. It begins at the entrance of the Kessariani Aesthetic Forest and goes uphill to the Kalopoula springs, it continues to the Byzantine Tower of Anthoussa through a fragrant pine forest, and ends in Paeania. Overall, the route is 4.3 km long and lasts about 2.5 hours.
A longer circular route of ten kilometres, starts and ends at the monastery of St John the Hunter, going past the Lion Cave – which, according to the legend, was home to a lion that terrified the people of the area, until it finally turned into stone.
The national park of Parnitha, which is the nearest to a metropolitan centre in Europe, is accessible by car or by cable car, after a 7 minute ride. The approximately 85 springs found in the area, make hiking on the mountain a true pleasure, under the sound of crystal running waters. On Mount Parnitha it is likely that you’ll have some unique company. The park’s inhabitants, the wonderful red deer of Parnitha, with their characteristic brown-red fur, will be your best and most beautiful hiking companions!
One of the easiest routes, ideal for beginners and… lone hikers, is the one that begins from Aghia Triada and ends after a couple of hours at the chapel of St. Peter in Mola, crossing the entire fir forest of the park, offering an amazing view of West Attica.
If you prefer organised, group trekking excursions, exciting hiking routes are planned by the two refuges in Parnitha, Bafi and Flabouri. With experienced guides and a multitude of routes to choose from, according to your preferences, day and evening hikes in Parnitha will absolutely thrill you! At an altitude of 1,160 metres, Bafi refuge is open daily, all around the year, providing accommodation, delicious meals or hot beverages with mountain herbs, near the fireplace. Flabouri refuge, the mountain’s “balcony” with the majestic view of Athens, organises not only hikes in Parnitha, but also seminars and activities for children and adults – from yoga and percussion classes to skill games, flying fox and mountain bike rides.
Equally beautiful with Parnitha and Hymettus, with well-kept secrets and full of surprises, Mount Penteli is ideal destination for more… alternative hiking. Known for the famous marble of Penteli, with which the Parthenon was built, the mountain features trails that go through a dense pine forest and come across beautiful churches and unexpected sights, created by humans or nature itself! Discover the secrets of Penteli, such as the Drafi waterfall, with its crystal clear waters that run all around the year!
One of the most stunning routes in Penteli starts and ends at the Amadryades square in Drossia, following a circular trail of 6.2 km and lasting approximately three hours. The wonderful path goes through a dense pine forest, past three picturesque chapels (Profitis Ilias, St. Nikitas, St. Lucas) and comes across a lush green glade, perfect for a stop for some rest and picnic. Next stop, the old quarry of Dionyssos, with the downhill path on which the famous marble of Penteli was hauled, in little trolleys that moved on rails. The route ends at the old railway station of Dionyssos, where you will marvel at an open-air exhibition of marble sculptures!