Visiting a big city, a capital, can be stressful at times; you have to try to follow the plane you made before leaving (otherwise why bother writing one down in the first place, right?), be sure you are on the right metro line, avoid tourists’ traps and cope with the city’s pace and attitude. At the end of the day you might find yourself thinking “Oh really?!?! Tomorrow this and that?! I am on vacation, I want to chill!”; when this happens, the usual move is to cut off from the list a museum or bar and replace it with a visit to a more relaxing spot like a park or the beach. If you find yourself in Athens and this is what pops up in your head just take the bus to Parnitha mountain, city’s highest peak, and enjoy the quiet and the nature with a hike or walk.
Parnitha is located at the northwestern outskirts of Athens, with its western side overlooking Viotia perfecture. It is connected to Mount Kithairon to the west via the Skourta Plateau, while its eastern heights (Mavrovouni) reach as far as the coast of the South Euboic Sea. Part of the mountain range, including the highest peak, is a military area and therefore inaccessible to civilians. Parnitha is one of the mountains that border the city of Athens, and one of the few places where, on bright days, you can enjoy a full panoramic view of it. Coming here for a full day hike or just to have a pic-nick on the mountain’s slope is what you need to recharge after a couple of days of hard-visiting. The mountain offers an incredible variety of landscapes and sights and several hiking paths that allow the visitors and the locals to fully appreciate them. There are different hiking routes, with different levels of difficulty, different amazing views, plus a great number of rock climbing routes. Parnitha is also considered to be one of the “oxygen providers” of Athens.
On the mountain you can find a mix of history, culture and nature: royal palaces, ancient fortresses, byzantine monasteries, caves, gorges, and lakes. Spending a day here is quiet an experience, the contrast with the noisy, busy city (which is just right there) is very strong and a certain feeling of odd detachment seems to prevail up here, making you almost forget about the hard days ahead and your way back. Athens’s highest peak is waiting for you!
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