Outdoor enthusiasts who want more open air than open hours are going to delight in the wide range of natural landscape and activities available in Athens. Few cities have more access to mountains, lakes, trails, caves, all within half an hour to an hour from the city center. Our top ten list of things to experience in the great outdoors around Attica are based on getting back to nature, and thus exclude areas that are overly developed.
The first two outdoor destinations are within the city center, though especially in the case of the Philopappou area, there are large sections where its easy to forget. A climb up Lykavittos is the best remedy for feeling stifled by the congestion of the city and taking in a spectacular view. Syngrou Estate, slightly outside of the city center, is a huge sprawl of parkland with trails and gardens.
Parnitha and Penteli Mountains are both home to important monasteries as well as riddled with faint traces of ancient civilization, mysterious churches and caves. A hike up either will have you understanding why people worshiped the nymphs in these mountains even into the early 20th century. Locals and hikers have marked the trails to help you along your way.
And of course what would an outdoor guide to Athens be without mentioning the water? Schinias Beach in the area of Marathon is a pine-shaded sand beach that does tend to get crowded in areas, but with a little hunting you can find a secret spot to swim. While you're there don't miss the site of the Marathon Battleground and burial tomb. Vouliagmeni Lake, likewise protected with a cost of admission, still has a wild feel; its thermal waters are reputed to cure arthritis. Legena Beach and the craggy areas around Cape Sounion are the perfect places to become one with the sea without so many reminders of modern times. Just be sure to pack snacks; getting remote means that places to lunch become few and far between, but that's probably just what you're looking for.
Robertou Galli Street
Strolling around the birthplace of democracy...
Corner of Aristippou & Ploutarchou Streets
A bit of earth and an urban retreat... read more
The Home of Saints, Nymphs, Goat-god, a Duchess, and a Thief... read more
Still waters and pine-shaded shores... read more
Castaway Beach 60 km From Athens... read more
Cape Sounion Peninsula
Romantic sunsets blessed by Poseidon... read more