Nothing keeps a true traveller-at-heart from the pleasure of exploring. Even in these difficult times, we’re still looking for safe options to enjoy the destinations we visit. So we scanned Athens and handpicked our favourite Covid-friendly walks in known and lesser-known areas of the city. Join us on a virtual stroll and discover them for yourself!
The Bohemian’s walk
Upper Petralona, just to the west of the Acropolis, is a neighbourhood that effortlessly transports you to the past. Back in the mid-20th century, Queen Frederica decided to rebuild the neighbourhood that housed immigrants from Asia Minor, after it was destroyed by a fire. The result was a series of stone houses, known as “The Stone Houses of Queen Frederica”. Strolling by the few remaining houses will make you feel like you are walking in a village straight out of the 50s, right in the heart of Athens! You’ll find plenty of taverna-ouzerie options in the old mansion houses.
The Artist’s walk
A breath away from the Acropolis, the Pikionis Paths (a network of footpaths on Philoppapou Hill named after one of Athens’ most influential architects) are rarely visited by tourists. The walk, comprising ancient, Byzantine and modern construction materials, is a masterful collage of Greek history. Don’t forget to look for the cave that allegedly served as Socrates’ prison!
The Romantic’s walk
Take a ride on the Lycabettus Hill funicular, located just above Athens’ upmarket Kolonaki district, to reach the city’s highest point and enjoy an unparallelled 360-degree view. Created upon Goddess Athena’s shock to bad news, the hill remains Athens’ greatest balcony, featuring the best sunset in town.
At the top, you will find an iconic, island-style church, a peaceful cafe and an upmarket restaurant. The more energetic can walk to the summit along a pine-scented path through a forest planted in the 19th century. Look out for the open-air theatre that has hosted some of the most famous international artists and bands.
The Nature Lover’s walk
The Monastery of Kessariani and its surrounding forest, on the slopes of Mt Ymittos to the east of Athens, are one of the city’s best-kept secrets. The Byzantine-era monastery is in surprisingly good condition and the forest is an astounding oasis of local flora and fauna. It also offers one of the best views of Athens, just 15mins drive from the centre! Be sure to check out the neighbourhoods of Kessariani and neighbouring Vyronas, especially the traditional tavernas where you might be lucky enough to hear live rebetiko folk music.
Τhe Philosopher’s walk
Aristotle once delivered his lessons while strolling here. Today, we can follow in the footsteps of the famous philosopher, exploring (or just relaxing) in the 11-acre site known as the Lyceum of Aristotle. Don’t miss the beautiful outdoor cafe of the neighbouring Byzantine Museum, also part of this rarely visited complex. Entrance to the archaeological site is free.
The Rambler’s walk
There are many Athenians, let alone visitors to Athens, who have never heard about the Botanical Garden of Diomedes, a green wonderland in the residential neighbourhood of Haidari, northwest of the city. Around 20mins from the centre by car (or 2km from Agia Marina metro station), the gardens are home to over 4,000 plant species from all parts of the world (including medicinal plants and a rare collection that appears in ancient Greek Myths and that were dedicated to the gods of Olympus, as well as plants mentioned in the Bible. It is open to the public daily for a stroll or even a picnic.
Discover the best strolls in Athens
From the outdoor gems right in the city centre to the little-known wonderlands of greenery and culture on the outskirts, you’ll adore getting to know some of the best walks in Athens.