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BEST WALKS IN ATHENS

BEST WALKS IN ATHENS

Even for those staying in it, Athens is always an unpredictable city, perfect for walks.

1. AREOPAGITOU STREET & THE ROUND OF ACROPOLIS

The walk starts opposite the Temple of Olympian Zeus at the beginning of Dionysios Areopagitou Street.

On your right as you ascend Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, the Acropolis rises with all its majesty. The cliffs of the south-eastern slope are crowned with imposing walls, just behind which you can see the Parthenon pillars.

The walk continues to the limits of the archaeological site on the southern slopes. Ancient remains are visible among the trees. There is a stop to admire the beautiful 19th and 20th century houses on your left. Of particular interest are the buildings number 17 and 37, beautiful buildings of the interwar period.

Take a detour to see the famous Herod Atticus Conservatory, the Herodion, where the main events of the Athens Festival (part of the Greek Festival) are hosted every summer. Herodion has a semicircular design with an imposing facade (28 m / 91.8 ft high). It can seat up to 6,000 spectators. The wall of the stage was richly decorated but unfortunately destroyed, probably in 267 AD, by the Herouls, a tribe of German barbarians who destroyed most of the magnificent buildings of the city.

Continue on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street. On your left you will find a site of very recent excavations. This is the Altar of the Nymphs, where the newlyweds of the ancient Greek city used to make feasts. A few meters further, you reach the end of Dionysiou Areopagitou Street and enter Apostolou Pavlou Street.

Head downhill with a view of the Areios Pagos, the Ancient Agora and, of course, the Acropolis on your right and the Pnique Hill on your left. At the beginning of this walk and on your right you will notice an exquisite geometric mosaic, probably the floor of an ancient mausoleum. On your left, at the edge of the hill of Pnyka, are the caves of the Pnyka fountain, one of the most famous fountains in antiquity. Next to it is the Altar of Panos, carved on the rocks.

Then you come to Thisio Square. After the sidewalk was completed, the area was regenerated. New cafes were opened, occupying part of the pedestrian street with their outdoor spaces. From Thissio, another starts from Herakleidon Street, also full of cafes and bars, without missing souvenir shops.

Towards the end of the road you will find the “Melina Mercouri” Cultural Center of Athens, housed in an old hat factory known as Poulopoulos. The upper floor has a beautifully organized permanent exhibition of old Athens, a faithful remodeling of a 19th-century Athens shopping street.

You return to Apostolou Pavlou Street via Eptachalkou Street, a narrow street parallel to Heraklidon Street with picturesque low houses on either side of the train tracks. Continue along Apostolou Pavlou Street taking a circular route and you will find Asomaton Square and Ermou Street. The Asomaton Square owes its strange name to the tiny Byzantine church of Saint Asomaton dating from the 11th century AD. Its interior is decorated with frescoes, probably from the 17th century.

From this point until Piraeus Street, Ermou Street was paved. The monuments lie below the street level and so you have panoramic views. You will find a place to rest where Melidoni Street begins, another street worth a walk, as there is the Museum of Contemporary Ceramics and one of Athens’ largest Jewish Synagogues.

From the Ancient to the Roman Agora

At the point where Apostolou Pavlou Street turns to meet Ermou Street, begins Adrianou Street, one of the most picturesque areas of Athens. It takes you first along the Ancient Market. Archaeologists working on the unification program of archaeological sites have highlighted the beautiful two-storey neoclassical buildings on one side of the road

Next to the fence of the archaeological site are the open spaces of the various cafes. On the opposite side of the road there are tourist shops and some antique shops. On weekends, and sometimes on weekdays, the street is full of merchants selling collectibles, such as postcards, old coins and many other used products. Of course you are expected to negotiate the price.

Tower of the winds / Plaka

Heading to the Tower of the Winds and the Roman Agora, take a detour to Kladou Street, a narrow street along Adrianou Street, to take a look at the endless stacks of ’50s magazines.

As you approach the entrance of the Roman Agora, you can admire the simplicity of neoclassical architecture, buildings that resemble the stage of a play. Observe the large stone gate just opposite the entrance to the archaeological site. This is the only remnant of an Ottoman school. There are also many options for a drink or a meal near the Roman Market.

Bypass : The back of the Acropolis

Going down Apostolou Pavlou Street, on your right and near the Thisseio Summer Cinema, you will find a dirt road that leads between the Acropolis and the Ancient Agora. This path is referred to as the School of Philosophy because it was home to many of the great masters who gave Athens the reputation of the “University of the World”. It is a quiet part of town, with only a few tourists visiting.

When you reach the end of the dirt road, turn left onto Theoria Street, where the Kanellopoulos Museum is located, to continue your walk right under the rock of the Acropolis. On your left you will see the Areios Pagos and a little further away you will find a small Byzantine church, also on your left. This is the church of the Transfiguration (11th century).

Then you reach a fork (crossroad). Take the path to your right that leads up. It will take you to the small alleys of Anafiotika, one of the most picturesque places in Plaka. It was built in the 1830s and 1840s by immigrants coming from the island of Anafi, without a building permit, in an area supposedly intended for archaeological excavations. With its small white Cycladic houses and their tiny courtyards, this neighborhood is like a small island in the center of the big city.

As you descend, you will find Stratonos Street and then Platys Lysicrates, which owes its name to the Lysicrates Monument, also known as lantern of Diogenes. Sponsorship was another institution established by the ancient Greeks. All the expenses needed to prepare the venue for the performances to be given during dramatic competitions were paid by wealthy Athenians. If this show won a prize, the state would reward the sponsor with a bronze tripod and a boiler mounted on top of a monument. The Monument of Lysicrates (a souvenir of victory in the dramatic contests of 334 BC), is the only one that survived the plethora of monuments that once adorned Tripod Street, the road leading to the Theater of Dionysus.

At this point you enter the narrow street Thrassilou that leads to the beginning of Dionysiou Areopagitou Street. Your tour of the Acropolis is now complete.

2. FILOPAPPOU HILL

The hill of Fillopappou

When the locals talk about Philopappos hill, they mean the whole complex of hills that rise west of the Acropolis. There are three: the Nymph Hill (also known as the Observatory hill), the Pynka hill and the Museum hill.

One of the main access points to the hills lies at the intersection of Dionysios Areopagitou and Apostolos Pavlos Streets. From there you can walk on beautiful trails through the pine forest until you reach places where you can enjoy magnificent views of the Acropolis and the sea as well as some very interesting archaeological remains. In antiquity, two of Athens ‘most densely populated districts were here: the aristocratic district of Meliti, where Pericles’ home was located, and Koilis, a bustling commercial district.

At Filoppappou hill you can see also the prison of Socrates and an old interesting Byzintine church (Agios Dimitrios Loubadiaris).

3.THE HILL OF PNYKA

It’s next to Filoppappou hill. The place is fenced but does not require a fee to enter. A memo at the entrance tells you about the monuments you can see there. The most important of these monuments is the Pnique itself and the meeting point of the Athenian Church of the Municipality until the 4th century BC. It is the cradle of Western civilization where famous Athenian politicians such as Themistocles, Pericles and Dimosthenes, they preached.

From here you can proceed to the National Observatory if you wish.

4.PLAKA

A favorite spot of all Athenians or not, the traditional settlement under the Acropolis is reminiscent of more picturesque alleys of the island, rather than a city, and is the best way to immerse yourself in Greek culture. In a picturesque setting with coffee shops, trees, stone alleys this district is an excellent choice for a walk, with the Anafiotika district bringing the Cycladic rhythm to downtown Athens and making everyone feel like they are lost somewhere in the Cyclades.

Definitely the most energy field of Athens !

5.LYCABETUS  HILL

Lycabetus is the higher hill in Athens.

Especially if you are a sportsman, you can organize a hike from Kolonaki area to Lycabettus through the streets that lead to it and suck the urban landscape. Alternatively, you can take the bus from the El. Venizelou street or the cable car from Aristippou street and climb the famous hill to enjoy the magnificent view of the city from 300 meters. At the top of Lycabettus you will find the 19th century church of Agios Georgios, surrounded by pine trees.

6.NATIONAL GARDENS

The first name of the National Garden until 1974 was “Royal Garden”. The park is adjacent to the Greek Parliament and extends south to the Zappeion mansion opposite the Panathenaic Stadium where the first Modern Olympic Games were held in 1896. The National Garden is 15.5 hectares. It is located in the center of Athens and, adding to the 13-hectare Zappeion garden, the park covers an area of ​​28.5 hectares, totaling 285 acres. The garden houses ancient ruins, columns, mosaics etc.

In ancient times part of the estate was the private garden of the philosopher and botanist Theophrastus, one of Aristotle’s successors. The garden was a gift from Demetrius the Falieras to his teacher. There was also a sanctuary and a library. The royal garden was demarcated in 1836 by Friedrich von Gaertner, the architect of the palaces, on an area of ​​about 500 acres. Because this area blocked the Athens-Maroussi-Kifissia road, this plan was revised in 1839 by Hoch, chief engineer of the palace building.

The 155-acre garden was planned by the Queen as a science and botanical garden as well as a private garden. In 1839, 15,000 ornamental plants were transported from Genoa, as well as native species, transported from Sounion and Euboea. Queen Amalia’s interest in the Garden was such that she was said to spend at least three hours a day in personal care. In the Amalia family, the creation and maintenance of parks and gardens was a tradition. Not surprisingly, she too wanted to decorate Athens with a large garden. In 1842 she even planted the Washington DCs that exist to this day at the entrance to the Queen’s Amalia Boulevard.

The garden was renamed the National Garden in 1927 during the period of non-sovereign democracy. It is open to the public from sunrise to sunset. The main entrance of the park is from the Avenue that was renamed Amalias in its honor, after it envisioned the garden. There are six other entrances to the garden: one from Vasilissis Sofia Street, three from Herod Atticus Street (which are now closed) and two from the Zappeion Park area.

Henry Miller wrote for the National Garden in 1939: “The park remains in my memory like no other park I have visited in my life. The quintessence of a park is like when someone looks at a table or dreams, to be in a place they can never go. “

Zappion Megaron / National gardens

7.EXARCHIA AREA

The most alternative area of Athens , full of graffiti.

It is perhaps the most famous area of ​​Athens, whose reputation has traveled worldwide. In fact, however, the Revolutionary Exarchate area is not only molotov and tear gas, but a vibrant area with lots of people, shops, bars and restaurants .At the heart of the region is the square, where new people gather and often have concerts, speeches and gatherings, while in the region’s historic lanes you will find anti-fascist messages, anarchist hangouts and neighborhoods that interact culturally and politically. Self-managed structures, such as Navarino Park, are also missing, and the point of shaking is the murder of 15-year-old Alexander Grigoropoulos by police, at the intersection of Tzavella and Mesologgiou streets, which triggered a social riot.

There is the National archeological museum of Athens too! A great reason for visit!

8.PSIRI AREA

Streets of Psiri

With the charm of old Athens, the neighborhood of Psiri has remained in the artistic consciousness as a point of meeting, exchange and creation from below, urban art has become intertwined in the character of Psiri.

Psirri has to walk it at night, because then it is full of life. Shops, small alleys, bars and wine bars will distract you and make you want to stray from your walk.

If you are still planning on sitting down, then pass by Heroes Square where it has amazing pastry shops, as well as Karaiskaki Street where the Little Kook is located, which you should see even if you do not cross its threshold.

And if anything is sure about Psiri, it’s that no matter how you turn his lanes, there will always be a surprise waiting for you in the next corner or showcase.

9.FRENCH ARCHEOLOGICAL SCHOOL

On Didotou Street in Kolonaki you will find the French Archaeological School. It was the first Athens Archaeological School founded in 1846. The School has one of the most beautiful private gardens but unfortunately it is open to the public on specific days and hours.

10.FLISVOS MARINA

For a little sea breeze, about 6km south of the city center you will find yourself at Flisvu Marina, where you can also take a romantic stroll by the sea and relax for coffee and food. The most active can enjoy running, walking and cycling in a tranquil and hospitable environment, next to the humid element, overlooking the yachts, and there you will also have the opportunity to visit the G. Averoff Boat, a floating Naval Museum is the most vibrant part of the modern history of the Greek Navy.

11.PIRAIKI

From the edge of Piraeus up to Kastella hill, the walk there will satisfy even the most demanding.

In the mind of most Athenians, the “sea front of the city” is that of the Seaside, from Paleo Faliro to Glyfada. Piraeus, however, has an equally idyllic path that is constantly moving by the sea, and has far better stops for… refueling at cafés or snacks overlooking the sea.

We start from Piraeus, and follow the coastline on the wide sidewalk that is so conveniently built by the sea, above the legendary rocks of Piraeus and the even more legendary ancient walls of Themistocles. Every few meters, stairs descend from the sidewalk to the sea, tempting us for the first dive of the year. This beachfront ends at Pasalimani, after passing over the Zea marina. But it still continues on the same motif of the big sidewalk by the sea, to the even more picturesque Kastella, with its impressive mansions and panoramic views of Mikrolimano stretching from below and the other Attic coastline opposite it. This route, if you go the whole way, is long (about 7 kilometers from the end of Piraeus to Kastela) but if you are not sporty enough you can only choose one part of it.

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