Marathon is a sleepy agricultural town in the north-east Attica that comes alive once a year for the classic Marathon race. It’s also a good starting point for exploring the Schinias National Park and the hills around Marathon through one of the newly marked trails. We choose the 8 km long trail no.4 passing through the Oinoi Gorge to the dam at the Lake Marathon. To get to the trail take a bus from Athen’s Pedio tou Areos station to the Marathon (every hour, 4.10 e) and then walk to the west among the fields and greenhouses towards the Oinoi Tower.
From the tower there are two options. A short and easy dirt road across the hill or long, narrow path following the whole length of the gorge. The path is fighting its way through the bushes, climbs across boulders and crosses the river bed few times and is quite difficult to follow at places. But the valley is beautiful and there is a good chance to see a shepherd running his goats back from the pasture which is always worth few scratches. It’s such a common sight in Greece to see the shepherd with their flock wandering through the countryside but it always makes me stop and thing about how wonderfully simple life can be.
After joining the dirt road about half way through the gorge the path widens and follows the bubbling stream up to the dam. We have some crazy weather this year and even though we walked this trail in the end of January every possible surface around the path was covered in daisies, daffodils and other colorful flowers.
After climbing a steep slope (and a gate) we reached the dam of the Marathon lake. The lake serves as a supply of drinking water for Athens so it’s not possible to descent to the shore, let alone swim. However, the view of the lake with Mt.Parnitha in the background is beautiful and can be enjoyed from the nearby cafe with a glass of beer or fredo espresso in your hand before returning back to Marathon the same way.