Sometimes the best part of a run is feeling completely removed from the city, almost like a mental vacation of sorts. In Athens, there are limitless trails and pathways for runners to enjoy whether they are visiting or living in the city, it’s just a matter of knowing where to go.
A favorite of Greeks and tourists alike is Ymittos Mountain. It can be accessed from Kaisarianni, Papagou or Aghia Paraskevi. The fresh air, unspoiled nature and stunning views of the city of Athens below are all just gravy. There are many paths to choose from, or one can always opt to run along the asphalt road, which is infrequently traveled by cars. Also, Ymittos has a great variety in levels of difficulty for runners at all stages, ranging from steeper slopes to hills and flat trails.
Also highly recommended by local runners is Dasos Sygrou, located at the north of Athens near Kifisias Avenue. The area is very safe and has what seems like a limitless amount of routes in dirt paths and asphalt to choose from throughout the forest. One feels like they have stepped into another world, surrounded by cherry tree blossoms, and chirping birds. The view is great too, covering the entire city of Athens, the suburbs and the port of Piraeus.
Or running at the royal estate of Tatoi at Mont Parnes might present the ideal run, where one will find forested trials at every turn. Various trails have fresh water fountains for drinking water and picnic areas as well. The base of the mountain has grassy trails that are both flat and with incline, a perfect workout.
Of course, if a less secluded option for distance running is desired there are more options, such as running just south of the city along the seafront starting at Aghis Kosmas sport center in Hellinicon, continuing south towards Vouliagmeni.
If you’re not into distance running stop by some more centrally located parks where one can easily run laps of 2-5km. Alsos Neas Philadelphias, is a good place to start, with flat, dirt trails and is forested. Also, NTUA Zografou campus is on a slope and has an asphalt trail that makes for a good run. One other place to check out is the Municipality Marina of Kallithea. There, runners can choose to run along the asphalt road from the Marina to the park at SEF or can run inside of the Marina, over the bridge towards the newly constructed Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center where there are new running paths in the park.
Something else that might be of interest, particularly to visiting runners, is the newly set-up service for runners who want the opportunity to participate in guided running tours of Athens. The service has a 2 in 1 benefit, taking runners to the best suited places for running in Athens as well as teaching about Greek culture and history.
For more information about running tours see http://www.gorunningtoursathens.com