Th. Gravanis

The Freedom of open spaces in Athens

Open spaces in Greece and especially in its busy Athens capital, offer a unique feeling of freedom. “Openness” is very much a part of the Greek culture, history, lifestyle, entertainment and character. Here are some favourite parts of the city where you can really enjoy the freedom of open space, relax and have fun.

Enjoy gardens, parks and playgrounds

Lying in the most famous spots of Athens or tucked away in well-hidden areas, the lush gardens and parks of Athens adorn the city’s neighbourhoods and thanks to their scenic beauty they form oases in the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Whether you want to take a romantic stroll, relax or offer your children a pleasant environment to play, the gardens of Athens are definitely to be visited during your stay in the Greek capital!

Visit Athens National Garden, an oasis in the centre of the city with more than 500 different species of plants, trees, birds and animals; home to the Botanical Museum, a zoo, a pond, a playground, a children’s library, a traditional café as well as scattered ancient monuments and statues. Walk along Pedio Areos, the biggest park in Athens, recently fully restored, an ideal place for walking, relaxing or having fun! Don’t forget to visit Thissio Park, the south-westernmost part of the Ancient Agora archaeological site, a favourite spot of the locals and one of the most frequented city places!

Have the most breathtaking views over Athens

Thanks to its rich morphology Athens has plenty of places where you can admire stunning panoramic views of the city. Romantic or not, let yourself be captivated by the Athenian cityscape as seen from above. Must “view” locations include Lycabettus Hill, Filopappou Hill, Kaisariani Monastery, Anafiotika in Plaka, Profitis Elias in Piraeus and Damari in Petroupoli.

Discover Athens Riviera

You don't need to get on a ferry to escape the bustle of the Greek capital: take a short bus ride and you'll find superb local beaches along the sheltered Saronic Gulf stretching from the southern suburbs of Athens to the southernmost point of Attica, Cape Sounio. Just 10 miles south of the city –typically a 30-40 minute drive– you will find a place where urban sprawl gives way to an idyllic palm fringed setting.

Take the opportunity to swim, relax at a waterfront café, walk along the picture-perfect pedestrian streets and the marinas, exercise your favourite water sport, shop in one of the area’s modern shopping centres, dine by the sea or entertain yourself in one of the coastal avenue’s buzzing clubs.

Don’t miss the experience of a summer cinema

One of the most characteristic and beautiful elements of the Greek and even more so the Athenian summer are the mythical summer cinemas. Those which the Italians call “cinema sotto le stelle”, meaning “cinema under the stars”.

Athenian summer cinemas bring back unforgettable memories of summer nights surrounded by potted plants and their aromas, gravel under the feet of the audience, limelights and water fountains. Occasionally a cat strolls in front of the movie screen and chases her shadow in the dark. Songs from loud speakers fill the gaps during the intermission while the canteen owner serves his customers and sometimes tries to sell his ware to the seated spectators by shouting “lemonádes” (lemonades). The ultimate freedom of outdoor smoking, the waning moon, the illuminated windows of the surrounding houses and apartments, the youngsters who watch free of charge from their balconies, a chance for them to watch “restricted” films without parental control. This unbelievable atmosphere became a song and escorts our happiest days.

Take your family on a tour to a zoo!

Bearded dragons, African penguins, bald eagles, Australian king parrots, ring tailed lemurs, giraffes, flamingos, tortoises, lovebirds, pumas, hippos and dolphins are all waiting to give you a tour around the five continents. Combining entertainment with education, the Attica Zoological Park offers its visitors a unique insight into the lives of over 2000 animals, from 400 species. During the summer months, the Zoo offers weekly educational programs dedicated to children. Family packages are also available.