Athens guide for nature lovers – best parks in Athens
Say ‘Athens’ and a sunny, vibrant city comes to mind. Sometimes, though, you want to escape the hubbub and we’d love to tell you about the best parks in Athens. If you check out photographs of Athens the way it was around 1910, you won’t believe your eyes. Athens was a small city and had lots of green. The city almost burst at the seams after the Balkan Wars and an influx of Greek immigrants from Asia Minor in the early 1920’s. There was no time for city planning; housing and basic needs were the priority of the government and the Greek people. Imagine that the population of Athens in 1907 amounted to roughly 142.000 people, whereas in 1928 it exceeded 395.000. And the population of the country as a whole had more than doubled, from 2,6 mln to 5,2 mln!
Come along for a walk in the best parks in Athens!
Every neighborhood has its own little green patch, where the local community has made a playground for its smallest members. Parents and grandparents alike love to come here so the little ones can get rid of their energy and the adults can find out the latest news. (Of course, grandma has brought along some of that delicious homemade pie, lest the apple of her eye get hungry!). However, during the weekend, many families visit one of the larger parks before going to a taverna for their Sunday dinner. We listed a few of them so you can discover the best parks in Athens as well!
Once the Royal Garden, this oasis of green makes you feel as if you have left the city. Yet, you find yourself right at the heart of it! Not only does it provide its visitors with shade and a breeze of fresh air, it is also home to many native and exotic plants. Queen Amalia envisioned this park, and she planted the twelve palm trees at the main entrance on the avenue that also bears her name. You will also find several busts of celebrated Greeks, ancient ruins and a duck pond in this must-visit park of Athens. Do not forget to pass to the Zappeion and check out the announcements for cultural events that may be on that day!
Did you know that there is a type of ivy dedicated to Dionysus, the god of wine? The Botanical Garden is such a well-hidden secret that even most locals do not know about its existence. 500 acres of beautiful gardens with ancient plants (for example the poison hemlock plant that killed Socrates), medicinal plants and 25 ponds are only a few of the enticing secrets this place holds. The gardens are located in Haidari, a few kilometers out of Athens and are well worth a visit, especially if you love gardening.
A relaxing tram ride will take you to this seaside park. The park hosts many different attractions: a beautiful green area where you can make a walk with your children or take them to the attractions. You may also want to exercise in the outdoor gym or simply enjoy being in a beautiful green environment. Isn’t it lovely when you can spend a day in the green, next to the calming sound of the waves? And we kept the best for last: a wonderful outdoor cinema to add a unique touch to your stay in Greece’s capital!
Breathtaking architecture. Lush green gardens. Fountains. Innovative playgrounds. This new addition to Athens’ green scene will certainly exceed your expectations. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation has built this jewel for the Greek people and donated it to the Greek State. Both the National Library and the Greek National Opera call this place home and the upper floor of the building offers you fantastic views. Where else can you see the sea, the Acropolis and the city skyline in such settings? The Canal on the side of the building hosts sailing competitions and there are running and biking tracks too. Hopefully, you have enough time to attend a concert or other cultural event, as it will be a unique experience!
As a bonus tip, we would like to share with you Parnitha National Park. It is undoubtedly one of the best parks in Athens. If you want to spend a day in nature, go hiking and see deer, this national park should be on your list. You may even go mountain biking, but you must be well prepared as this is rough, mountainous terrain!
Did you expect such beautiful green areas in Athens? If you discovered any other green paradise, let us know in the comments!