Athens reveals its best charms to those who put one foot in front of the other!
Whether you’re looking to just stretch your legs while taking in some key sights and gorgeous scenery or want to give your kids the chance to burn off some steam, here are some great walking routes in Athens to cover all the bases.
The Great Athens Walk
A new name for what is effectively a (very) old route. Since the first prehistoric settlers set up camp in the caves around the Hill of the Acropolis, people have continuously inhabited the area we know today as the Historic Centre. And it’s here that you’ll find the city’s most famous ancient sites: the Parthenon, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the Ancient Agora and much more. During Athens’ post-war development, many of these sites became isolated from one another; the ancient landscape broken up by the busy roads of the modern metropolis. But that’s now changing, thanks to a major project launched by the City of Athens. Through interventions such as limiting traffic on certain roads, creating bike lanes and green pedestrianized areas and extending pavements, moving around the entire Historic Centre on foot is getting easier and more enjoyable. Key sections of the Great Athens Walk are already in use (such as Vasilissis Olgas from the Arch of Hadrian toward the Panathenaic Stadium, and the lower half of Ermou Street). The end result, by 2022, will be a roughly circular 6.8 km route that links all of Athens’ major cultural stops, making them accessible on foot.
To the northeast of the Acropolis lies Lycabettus Hill, the tallest point in central Athens. A path winds (rather steeply) up the hill through pine, cypress and eucalyptus trees. If you don’t fancy an uphill trek in the heat, a funicular train runs up there every half hour from Aristippou Street in the neighbourhood of Kolonaki. It’s a great option for those with kids in tow; they’ll get a kick out of the train. You can then walk down the path. At the top of the hill there is an interesting church built into a cave, an upscale restaurant and a café, but the primary reason to head up here is for the best view in downtown Athens. There’s an open-air amphitheatre near the top which hosts concerts and film screenings in summer. If you get the chance to see a show up here, don’t pass it up!
Read more: This is Athens