Parks, picnics, archaeological sites, a zoo, mountains and the sea… What more do you want?
Getting the kids outdoors is easier in Athens than perhaps any other European city. With fantastic weather for 10 months of the year, a walk in the park, on the mountains surrounding the capital and of course by the sea are the most enjoyable ways to get in touch with nature.
The Antonis Tritsis Environmental Education & Sensitisation Park in Ilion has six artificial lakes where you can feed ducks and wooden picnic benches. And there’s Syggrou Forest, on Kifissias Avenue, ideal for an escape and a breath of fresh air. In the centre, a short climb will get you to the top of Filopappou Hill, where you can enjoy Athens’ ancient civilisation from up high, amongst the many olive trees, and there’s the intriguingly named Kaisariani Rifle Range Park for a walk in the cobbled stone paths.
For one of the best archaeological walkabouts, start at the bottom of pedestrianised Ermou Street (the bit that starts from Piraeus Street opposite Technopolis) and visit the atmospheric Keramikos neighbourhood, and then the Ancient Agora with the Temple of Hephaestus. Go through the Roman Agora and pause at the Bath-house of the Winds, before you climb the hill to the Acropolis. From there, go down Dionysiou Areopagitou Avenue to end up at the Columns of the Olympian Zeus and Hadrian's Gate.
If it’s animals you want to see, an excursion to Attica Zoological Park in Spata will excite the little ones. It’s a journey to the five continents, through the life of 350 different species of animal.
For fun and games, visit Allou! Fun Park and its neighbouring Kidom theme park in Redi, or the more adventurous (for slightly older kids) Adventure Park in Malakasa, north of Athens, where you zip-wire between trees.
An alternative suggestion is Polymechanon, a new technological theme park right next to Allou! Fun Park with rides based on robotics, informatics and virtual reality. The go-karts in Agios Kosmas guarantee family fun, so long as the kids are old enough to drive them.
And for something more sedate, take a walk by the sea. Marina Flisvou is fantastic for a stroll, as are the neighbourhoods of Glyfada or Piraeus, where you can walk along Marina Zeas, Pasalimani, Mikrolimano and picturesque Kastella.
Finally, you can take the cable car up to Mt Parnitha, north of Athens, and walk to the Flambouri refuge, run by the Mountain Climbing Club of Acharnes. Though close to Athens, it couldn’t be further removed from city life. It gives you the opportunity to relax and recharge your batteries in nature, in the unique fir tree forest of Parnitha National Conservation Area. You can hike, take orientation lessons with a theoretical class on compass and map reading as well as engage in a range of activities that develop the idea of team spirit in your little ones.