by Katie Clift*
When you think of Athens, you often think of the Acropolis… Parthenon… crowds, spanakopita, olive oil and Greek flags.
And I don’t blame you! The city is famous for all those things. But you may not know that Athens is an incredible gateway to some of the best hikes in Greece!
Here are five of the best hikes you simply must conquer when in and around Athens.
1. Monastery of Kaisariani
A short 30 minute drive from Monastiraki or the northern suburbs, the Monastery of Kai-sariani is a breathtaking site – it’s almost hard to believe it’s right in the centre of the city! A few minutes off the highway, and you’re into pure forestry bliss. You can visit the monas-tery, take a botanic walk and soak in the remarkable views!
2. Tsagkarada to Damouchari
A little further out – a three hour drive to be exact – you’ll come across a gorgeous village called Tsagkarada in Thessaly, around the Pelion area. A fun hike from the village down to Damouchari (where they filmed the famous Dancing Queen scene in Mamma Mia!) takes a couple of hours. Amazing scenery and adventure – almost like no other place in Greece – awaits!
3. Mount Parnitha
You can reach Parnitha mountain easily by a free cable car – the views on the way to the top are incredible – as is the final destination! We visited for the first time in winter – the mountain was covered with snow. You can hike to different tavernas – with a Greek feast as your reward after a good walk – nothing better!
4. Palamidi Castle in Nafplio
There’s close to 1000 steps to reach the Palamidi Castle at Nafplio – but every one is ac-companied by endless views of this beautiful seaside town. You can reach Nafplio and get hiking about in about two hours from Athens.
5. Mount Lycabettus
Mount Lycabettus stands at about 300m above sea level – easy to see from any rooftop bar in the centre of Athens! There’s a chapel, theatre and restaurant upon its peaks – and it’s a popular, challenging climb with locals and tourists alike.
Five of the best hikes in and around Athens! Get those climbing shoes on!
*Katie Clift is an international PR consultant, journalist and broadcaster living and working in Athens, Greece. Follow her adventures at twitter.com/katieclift, @katieclift on Instagram or at katieclift.com.