When you think about Greece and Athens, and what they are famous for, you probably do not think of the best hiking trails you can find in the area. Your mind most probably runs to the amazing historical sites and the crystal clear waters of the Greek Islands but Athens’ hiking has a ton to offer.
Join me as we take a dive into the best hikes you can find near Athens so hikers can see a different side of Athens, take in the amazing views, and get a little taste of history along the way.
The first of the best hikes close to Athens is in the stunning Sounio National Park which sits just a bus or car ride away on the Aegean Peninsula.
This area is most famous for the incredible Temple of Poseidon overlooking the sea and it’s a must-see while in the area but there is no better place to go hiking than in the national park.
Sounio is Greece’s smallest national park which means you can go hiking around the whole thing in a single day. There are no official hiking trails to choose from or any signs either but using maps on your phone you can easily navigate your way around.
While strolling around Sounio you will find the Gulch of Chaos, the main feature of the park which is an old cave turned sinkhole. You will also find remnants of the area’s mining past and old chapels, but the real delight is the stunning countryside and views across the Aegean Sea.
Sitting just outside Athens is one of the favorite hiking spots for all nature-loving Athenians, Mount Ymittos, also known as Mount Hymettus. Just a 15-minute taxi or car ride out of the city center, you can find yourself in peaceful natural surroundings that will have you forgetting the city even exists.
The area is blessed with stunning pine forests and some historical sites to boot, the most famous of which is the Kaisariani Monastery. There are numerous trails and paths around the mountain and you can choose to do a short 20-minute walk or go all the way to the summit.
Hikers can see all the amazing sights in about two hours of hiking or spend the whole day there enjoying the longer hikes on offer and use the asphalt road to go to the summit.
Some sights not to be missed include the Kaisariani Monastery, the Analipseos Church and koi pond just behind the monastery, and the lovely botanical path too.
You can even hike or drive to Kalopoula where you will find a lovely spot to buy a beer and have lunch with a view.
The Athens Metro doesn’t come to this area and public transport isn’t available so you are best to get a taxi or drive a car up there.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia
Nature lovers in search of easy walks in lush vegetation should head to Alsos Syngrou where they will find some of the best hikes around Athens, Greece.
This area is home to 230 acres of wild but manicured nature which features almond trees, pistachio trees, and grapevines plus a load of herbs like thyme and oregano as well as pine trees and shrubs.
As you can imagine, the smells as you hike around this area in the summer months are to die for.
The area is covered with trails and paths as well as a running track and sports facilities too. It’s the perfect place to get some exercise outside the city, have a family picnic in nature, and enjoy being outside of the city.
None of the best hikes near Athens are complete without a historical site and in the northeastern corner of the area, you will find the only gothic Orthodox church in Greece which was designed by the famous architect Ernst Ziller.
If you are looking for one of the best hikes close to Athens that features true wilderness then you had better head to Mount Parnitha.
Mount Parnitha sits 1,413 meters high and it can be a very challenging hike or a peaceful easy one, it’s up to you. You can spend days hiking around this stunning area if you want to and enjoy some of the best views the area has to offer.
You can hike up to the mountain peaks, enjoy short strolls to springs, wander through stunning valleys and gorges, plus lots more. Most of the activities in the area are based around the Bafi Refuge where you can book guided hikes, have lunch, and see the incredible views.
This is great to hike during winter and the summer too. In winter, it is covered in snow and it stays cool in summer too so you can hike any time you like, even on a blistering day when escaping the heat of Athens is a must.
As you hike around, make sure to keep an eye out for the amazing wildlife including wolves, foxes, and birds of prey.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia
History buffs traveling to Mount Parnitha would hate to miss seeing the wonderful Agia Marina Church. You will find this stunning site on the northern side of the mountain at the top of a stunning valley filled with pine trees and magical rock faces.
It’s in the magical rock face where you will find the Agia Marina Church, known as one of the most beautiful in the region.
The hike isn’t easy as it follows hot tracks, rocky trails, and with no signs over 18 kilometers so it would be wise to bring a map and a compass so you can find your way. Luckily, the hike doesn’t go up any hills so you are walking on flat ground along the path but be aware of the loose stones.
It is best to drive to the trailhead as there is no public transport that will take you to it.
Located on Mount Hymettus, as we already discussed, is the stunning Monastery of Kaisariani and it is one of the easiest and best places to find some peace in nature within a few minutes of Athens.
Getting to the many trails of the area is easy, just hop on the 224 bus and hop off at the Kaisariani cemetery. The trail passes through lush green forests and it takes just 30 minutes to feel like you have left the city behind.
There are numerous trails to choose from that connect the monastery to beautiful viewpoints, chapels, and more. You can hike at your own pace, choose a short or long trail, and head up to the summit for incredible views across Athens.
Image courtesy of Ava Babili
Sitting on the southside of Mount Hymettus lies another awesome trail and one of the best hikes close to Athens, the Trypia Cave and Stavros Pass trail.
You can access this trail from the lovely Glyfada, a well-to-do seaside suburb of Athens. The hike is relatively easy being just 7 kilometers long with almost no elevation change plus it is well sign posted so chances of getting lost are minimal although carrying a map is still very much recommended.
The path takes you through amazing rock formations, lovely forests, and you get amazing views across the sea the whole way. The Trypia Cave is quite a sight to behold too and there are other trails which will lead you to quite a few other awesome caves and formations too.
Getting to the start of the path is incredibly easy. You can either drive, get a taxi, or hop on bus 205 to Terpsithea from the Elliniko metro station.
An amazing hike with many points of interest in the mountains is the path that leads you through the Oinoi Gorge and to Lake Marathon.
This hike really does have it all and as you are walking the route you will find beautiful forest, orchards, ravines, streams, and views of a magical coastline too. The route is also home to old Roman baths, quarries, and the ancient Oinoi Tower ticking both the historical and wilderness boxes.
The hike is easy and is a great trip to do in the summer or winter but it is not marked so you will want to use a map. You can also find more info on a tourist board by Oinoi Tower that will guide you along your adventure.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia
Located on Mount Parnitha is one of the most popular hiking areas close to Athens, the Mpafi refuge and Falbouri refuge. There are quite a few trails to choose from in this area and picking one or the other depends on how much of an adventure you are looking for.
For a complete circuit that ticks all the boxes along the way you can start at Thrakomakedones and head through the beautiful Houni Gorge to the Mpafi refuge and through the forest to Flambouri refuge and back to Thrakomakedones.
If it’s amazing views of Athens you are after, then consider heading to the Regency Casino gondola and climbing up to the Mpafi refuge from there.
You will find two mountain huts at the top which act as restaurants serving up great food and offering an awesome place to have a rest.
A hike that is pretty far away from Athens but one that can and should still be done on a day trip is the amazing walk from the village of Tsagkarada to Damouchari.
You will find Tsagkarada in the Pelion Area near Thessaly, which is about a 3-hour drive from Athens, so you will want your own car for the hike. Tsagkarada is a magical little village and the hike down to Damouchari is pretty incredible.
The path takes you down through a lush valley to the wonderful beach village of Damouchari. It takes about 2 hours and waiting for you at the end is a great beach restaurant and a lovely swim.
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Sitting slap bang in the middle of the city centre of Athens, Greece, is a little mountain of Lycabettus. Sitting at only 300 meters above sea level, this little mountain can be seen from any rooftop in the city and is a great place to head for a city hike.
It’s an easy and popular hike with obvious trails and you can see a lovely chapel on the way plus stop in at the restaurant on the summit and the theater too.
Families looking for a magical wilderness adventure to take their kids to should drive to the Tallulah Gorge State Park which is around an hour outside of Athens.
The park is full of beautiful waterfalls, summits, forest, and lots more. The scenery is pretty magical, paths are well laid out, and the summits are built-in so you can see amazing views.
You can also choose to hike down into the dramatic gorge for a different perspective of the scenery and so look up at the huge waterfall too. There are a lot of stairs to climb though so some fitness would be required.