9 of the best hikes near Athens (by public transport)

9 of the best hikes near Athens (by public transport)

*This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Hiking is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Athens or Greece as a whole. Thanks to its beautiful coastline, charming islands, never-ending sunshine and delicious cuisine Greece become the synonym of relaxed summer holidays. But with around 70 percent of its surface covered with mountains and hundreds of kilometres of paths and trails Greece is actually a paradise for hikers as well.

The region of Attica surrounding Athens is no exception. It offers a wide variety of terrain from coastal plains and marshes to forested mountain ranges furrowed by gorges and valleys. What’s more, some of Attica best hiking trails can be reached by the Athenian public transport or suburban KTEL buses in no more than 1 – 2 hours from the centre of Athens.

I’m not gonna lie, planning a trip around Greece depending solely on public transport requires a certain amount of creativity and a lot of patience. On the other hand, it allows for a day in nature far away from the city without the necessity of car renting or frightening driving experiences.

Below is a list of my favourite day hikes near Athens so far. If you know about others, let me know in the comments! The distances included are a rough estimate, I never use any kind of fancy GPS tracking, just good old printed map. The difficulty is based on my very average physique mixed with determination, again nothing too scientific. So take them with a grain of salt.

Sunset over the Acropolis of Athens as seen from Kaisariani
Amazing sunset over the Acropolis of Athens as seen Mount Hymettus

The best hikes near Athens

1# Fyli Fortress Hike

Where: Western Parnitha near Fyli
Distance: 15 km
Difficulty: Moderate
How to get there: Train from Stathmos Larisas to Ano Liosia, bus no. 723 from Ano Liosia to Fyli.

One of my favourite trails at Mount Parnitha hides at the quieter western side of the mountain. It starts at the small suburban town called Fyli and climbs through the lush green Valley of Theodora to the Fortress of Fyli, one of the most impressive ancient fortresses in Attica.

This 15 km long circular hike is easy to follow thanks to its thorough signposting. It is not particularly challenging either. However, it can change during spring thanks to the many river crossings (dry during our visit) at the lower parts of Theodora valley. The valley itself was the highlight of our hike! Walking through its remote, forested slopes it was easy to forget how close to the city centre we really are! READ MORE

Fyli Fortress Hikee, Mount Parnitha , Greece
Valley of Theodora leading to the Fortress of Fyli

2# Pan’s Cave Hike

Where: Western Parnitha near Fyli
Distance: 15 km
Difficulty: Moderate
How to get there: Train from Stathmos Larisas to Ano Liosia, bus no. 723 from Ano Liosia to Fyli.

Yet another beautiful hike starting from the Fyli suburb at Western Parnitha. This trail leads to the Cave of Pan, an ancient place of worship of the god of wild, passing on top of the impressive cliffs of Goura Valley. The area is popular among rock climbers but except for them, you won’t find many other visitors along the way.

The best part of the hike, at least for me, is the final descent to the cave. Leaving the main trail, the path becomes rougher and rougher until the trail disappears altogether. The last drop to the cave consists of small steps carved to a rock face secured by a metal rope. What seems like a dangerous idea at first becomes a lot of fun later on and a highlight of the hike. READ MORE

Pan's Cave Hike at Mount Parnitha
Striking countryside near the Cave of Pan

3# Agia Marina Church Hike

Where: Northern Parnitha near Avlona
Distance: 18 km
Difficulty: Moderate
How to get there: Train to Avlona + truck ride if you are lucky.

The tiny church of Agia Marina hides at the northern side of Mount Parnitha near Avlona. Sitting above a remote, forested valley partially carved to a rock face this is one of the most picturesque little churches in Attica. The trail consists of a mixture of asphalt roads, dirt tracks and rocky paths without any specific markings or signs so you’ll need a map and some navigation skill to find your way.

The hike itself is mostly flat without any significant elevation gain. However, it is enough challenging thanks to its length and a long stretch of asphalt road (about 3km) at the beginning. Coming by car would be a much better choice for this hike. Otherwise, you can try to hitch a ride with a friendly passerby farmer like we did to save yourself a couple of kilometres. READ MORE

Agia Marina Church Hike, Parnitha, Greece
The fairytale beautiful Agia Marina Church near Avlona

4# Mpafi and Flabouri Refuge Hike

Where: Eastern Parnitha near Thrakomakedones
Distance: 14 km
Difficulty: Moderate
How to get there: Bus no. 504 from Kifisia metro station.

The area of Mafi and Flabouri refugee is the busiest part of Mount Parnitha frequently visited by the nature-loving Athenians. This doesn’t take anything from its beauty and the presence of two mountain huts with their tasty food and rakomelo is a pleasant distraction during a hike. My favourite trail at this side of the mountain climbs from Thrakomakedones to Mpafi refuge through the Houni Gorge, crosses the forest towards Flabouri refuge and descends back to Thrakomakedones on the other side of Flabouri ridge.

As an alternative, you can climb up to Mpafi refuge under the Regency Casino gondola enjoying some of the best views across the city of Athens. Or, ascend to Flabouri refuge following the rocky edge of Flabouri ridge. This is by far the most adventurous way up but the path is hard to find and quite dangerous at some of its more exposed parts so better done with someone with experience. READ MORE

Mpafi refuge
Snowy countryside around Mpafi Refuge

5# Kaisariani Monastery and Forest

Where: Western Hymettus
Distance: Any
Difficulty: Easy
How to get there: Bus no. 224 from Evangelismos metro station to its last stop at Kaisariani cemetery

The forest around Kaisariani Monastery on western slopes of Mount Hymettus is one of the best places for an easy afternoon escape from the city. It takes only about 20 minutes by bus to get to Kaisariani from the city centre and another half an hour to walk up to the forest but it feels miles away once under the canopy of trees.

There are plenty of marked trails running through the forest, connecting Kaisariani monastery with picturesque chapels hidden in the forest, panoramic viewpoints and the kiosk in Kalopoula so you can mix and match based on your aptitude and liking. Or, if you are up for a challenge head up to the summit of Korakovouni for stunning views across the city. READ MORE

Kaisariani Monastery Hike, Mount Hymettus, Greece
Picture-perfect Kaisariani Monastery

6# Trypia Cave and Stavros Pass

Where: Southern Hymettus near Glyfada
Distance: 7 km
Difficulty: Easy
How to get there: Bus no. 205 from Elliniko metro station to Terpsithea.

Glyfada is best known as a posh seaside suburb but it has some pretty hiking trails on the southern side of Mount Hymettus as well. The hike to Trypia cave and further to Stavros Pass is one of the best in the area, offering peaceful, partially forested landscape, impressive rock formations and amazing views towards the sea.

The hike is not too difficult with only little elevation gain and newish signposting especially in the area of Stavros Pass. A map is helpful though especially if you want to make detours to some of the many caves and gulches. The trailhead is easy to reach by bus from Elliniko metro station making it a perfect destination for an afternoon escape from the city. READ MORE

Trypia Cave at Mount Parnitha
Trypia Cave – much more impressive once inside.

7# Mount Pentelicus Crossing

Where: Mount Pentelicus
Distance: 10 km
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
How to get there: Bus 536 from Kifisia to Dionysos (bus stop Amadryadon)

Mount Pentelicus doesn’t look particularly interesting from distance with its bare slopes scarred by marble quarries and utility roads. Up close, however, it is as pretty as the other mountains of Attica. Crossing the mountain from Dionysos to Old Penteli is the best way to see the most of its varied terrain in just one day.

The first section of the hike right above Dionysos is the prettiest. The trail climbs through lush pine forest passing three picturesque little chapels hidden in the trees. Later on, it ascents (almost) all the way to the windy top of the mountain before zigzagging down to old Penteli between the old abandoned quarries. Even though at length it only has around 10 km, an ascent of 600 meters and the following descend make it just enough challenging. READ MORE

Mount Penteli
Open Air Museum and neverending pine forests of Dionysos

8# Sounio National Park Crossing

Where: Sounio National Park from Sounio to Lavrio
Distance: 12 km
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
How to get there: KTEL bus from Pedio Areos park to Sounio (getting off the bus at Grecotel Resort right before Sounio)

The Cape of Sounio is well-known thanks to its magnificent Temple of Poseidon overlooking the Aegean Sea since the antiquity. But did you know that Greece’s smallest national park hides in the hills above? Due to its size, the whole park can be easily explored on foot in just one day. There is no official trail or signposting but we managed to navigate just fine across the quaint countryside of Lavreotiki with nothing but google maps in our phone.

There is plenty to see along the way from the pleasant countryside of rolling hills adorned by a couple of obligatory whitewashed chapels to the remains of Sounio’s mining past in form of tunnels, caves and abandoned industrial buildings. But the highlight of the hike from Sounio to Lavrio is the impressive Gulch of Chaos, a former cave turned into a huge sinkhole. READ MORE

Gulch of Chaos in Sounio National Park
The Gulch of Chaos

9# Oinoi Gorge and Lake Marathon

Where: Marathon
Distance: 15 km
Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
How to get there: KTEL bus from Pedio Areos to Marathon Town

The area of Marathon offers completely different scenery full of orchards and fields, ravines filled with lush vegetation and streams running towards the coastal marshes of Schinias. It is an ideal location for easy yet pleasant strolls or relaxed cycling trips. The hike through Oinoi Gorge will take you all the way to the artificial Lake Marathon passing the medieval Oinoi Tower as well as the remains of Roman Baths and ancient quarries.

The hike itself is not marked (or at least wasn’t marked at the time of our visit) but there is an information table near Oinoi Tower describing the trail as well as all the different sights of the area. Again, this hike would become much easier and shorter (about 8 km) if coming by car and parking right at the Oinoi Tower. Otherwise, you’ll have to walk all the way from Marathon Town on the side of an asphalt road for an extra 3 km each way. READ MORE

Lake Marathon
Refreshing break at the banks of Lake Marathon

Few extra tips for hiking in Athens and around:

Tickets and public transport:  A single ticket for Athens Public Transport costs 1,40 euro and is valid for 90 minutes. You can find information and timetables on OASA website HERE but do not fully rely on them, it seems like the suburban bus drivers have their own time zone. Also, keep in mind that you’ll need your ticket not only to enter the metro station but also to exit through the gates so keep an eye on the time.

The KTEL buses going to Marathon and Sounio leave from Pedio Areos park (near Viktoria metro station) with tickets sold onboard. You can find their routes and time tables HERE.

There are multiple train stations in Athens where you can hop on the train depending on your location. Larissa Station is the main train station connected with the rest of the city by the red metro line (Line 2). You can buy your tickets online HERE or at the train station before your departure.

Maps: All three of the Athenian mountains (Parnitha, Pentelicus and Hymettus) has their own dedicated hiking maps published by either Anavasi or Terrain. I found the Anavasi maps more detailed but both are a helpful addition when planning your next hike.

For the rest of Attica, you’ll be left with google maps and a lot of guesswork. There is a general map of Attica from Anavasi with information about the main sight of the region but I didn’t find it particularly helpful for planning our hikes. The Paths of Culture website is another great resource especially for the area of Marathon and Schinias.

Forest fires: Every summer, Greece suffers from devastating forest fires, some accidental others possibly intentional. Therefore, on high-risk days, with high temperatures and strong winds, you may not be allowed to enter the forest.

These regulations are put in place not only for the safety of the forest but for yours as well so comply even if disappointed (check out THIS daily fire prediction map while planning your trip). It goes without saying that lighting fire during the summer months is a stupid idea but be careful with your cigarette buts and garbages, too, as they can flare up on its own.

Hiking gear: None of the hikes described in this post requires any kind of advanced hiking gear. Athletic shoes, regular backpack and windbreaker will do just fine most of the time. Winter is the only exception, especially on Mount Parnitha.

You would be surprised how snowy the Athenian mountains can get and if they do, you’ll need proper winter gear in order to enjoy your time on the mountain (waterproof hiking boots, gaiters and trekking poles). Check out THIS post to get an idea what can winter on Parnitha look like.

Food and water: Except for Mafi and Flabouri refuge at Mount Parnitha, Kiosk near Kaisariani Monastery and café at Lake Marathon you won’t find any kind of refreshment along the way, not even a spring. Keep that in mind and bring plenty of water and snacks.

PIN FOR LATER


Fyli Fortress Hike at Mount Parnitha
Best hikes near Athens, Greece
Winter Hiking at Mount Parnitha

8 Comments
  • Dee says:

    loved that this post shares something unique about athens that I haven’t previously seen. I’m not a ‘hiker’ but I’d definitely check out one of the easier hike! Thank for this!

  • Kelsey says:

    Wow – all of those hikes look STUNNING! Especially the Agia Marina Church Hike – I went to Meteora a few years ago and that reminds me of it. Something about buildings perched on top of high cliffs really gets my heart happy haha. I’ve been dying to go back to Greece and will keep these hikes in mind for when I do!

    • Helena says:

      Thank you!! You are right, the Agia Maria hike is great, such a remote and peaceful place, I always wonder how they managed to build the little church out there in the middle of nowhere. Meteora is superb, hope you enjoyed it! If you need any help planning your next (hiking) trip to Greece let me know!

  • Darcy says:

    You’re so right; I’ve never considered hiking as something to do on a trip to Greece, but these look really interesting. All of your photos are beautiful. The KaisarianiI Monastery hike definitely looks like something I would enjoy.

  • Brianna says:

    Wow each of the hikes that you write about looks amazing! I don’t know how I would choose which one to go on. I love that you can do all of these using public transit from Athens to access the hiking starting point. Trypia cave looks really beautiful, I love how the arch looks above it. It would be hard to resist exploring there! Great information on exploring Greece! Which would you recommend if someone only has enough time to do a single hike near Athens?

    • Helena says:

      Thank you, I’m glad you liked the post! I think Kaisariani is the best. It is easy to reach and there many trails to choose from for anyone, from easy walks around the main monastery to longer hikes to the top of the mountain. Its a great place for kids, too, and there is plenty to see with all the small churches and monasteries.

  • Rahma Khan says:

    OMG all of these hikes looks amazing!! I am surprised to learn there is so much to do near Athens! Thanks for the super informative post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.