Athens for Nature Lovers
Sound nature and a sound environment is an issue of surmount importance to all. And we do not have to be coined nature lovers to appreciate the strides that are being done in this area. Despite Athens’ distinct urban landscape, it does offer nature lovers areas to explore some within the city and others not too far away. There are nature trails and tour operators that can help guide you. Here are some nature-oriented activities and places to visit for a “green Athens” experience.
- Little-known green areas and parks in Athens
- “Green” –conscious shopping
- Nature-oriented museums and venues and environmental protection initiatives
- Eco-friendly beaches
Little-known green areas and nature parks in and around Athens A visit to the well-known parks of Athens such as The National Gardens in the centre of Athens, can be enriched by a visit to the following:
Diomidis Botanical Garden (www.inbiology.gr/botgarden/botgardenmain.html, +30 210-581 1557; Iera Odos 403, Haidari) The largest botanical garden in the Southeastern Mediterranean region (it covers an area of 170 hectares) features several plant species seldom found in Greece and more than 2.500 plant species from all over the world including those mentioned in ancient Greek mythology, in the Old Testament, and in various myths.
Ecological Park in the northern suburb of Neo Psychiko; (www.oikoparko.cityofnewpsychico.gr , +30 210-677 4206; Stratigou Makrigianni, Neo Psyhiko). A charming park geared to provide entertainment of an educational nature for young children with programmes on ecology and recycling.
Adventure Park; (www.adventure-park.gr, +30 210 339 0985 - National Road Athinon-Lamias, Malakassa). In this thematic leisure park in the forest, near Athens, visitors of all ages can safely zipline from tree to tree up to 15 metres high and practice archery or use a bungee trampoline. The park is open from November to March.
Sounio National Forest Located at the southeastern corner of Attica, 50kms (31 miles) from Athens, it has over 500 different plant varieties many of which are considered rare, local and migratory birds, various mammal species and one of the earth's richest subsoil's with over 100 mineral classifications.
"Green" -conscious shopping There is no guilt when shopping sprees are eco-friendly. Here are some places in downtown Athens in which to indulge your guilty-pleasure shopping therapy ... with a green finger.
U.B.U. (www.ubu.gr; +30 210-324 4081, Kolokotroni 7, Kifissia / Adrianou 83, Plaka) Simply put U.B.U. is short for Used But Useful, a delightful shop featuring objects of art and other items created from recycled material, and designed by artists and architects.
Prasinos Gatos (www.prasinosgatos.gr , +30 6979 178 257, Ippokratous 142, Athens). The "green cat" (Greek translation) is a recycling store where people give away items, so that someone else can buy them at a very low price. The surplus is donated to those in need.
Rubberize (www.rubberize.gr, +30 210-383 2145, Ippokratous, Exarheia)
The new theory of upcycling (converting useless products into new materials) inspires the fashion here which uses materials such as inner tubes, old plugs, screws and chains to create unique bags, wallets, belts and jewels.
The Earth Collection (www.theearthcollection.com,+ 30 210-323 6863; Ermou 8, Syntagma / Adrianou 109, Plaka / B. Paleologou 7, Plaka)
The Athens outpost of this international brand claims to attract fashionistas with ecological concerns.
Eco-bookstore Living Green; (www.livingreen.gr, +30 210-382 7278,
Harilaou Trikoupi & Navarinou, Exarheia) A store combining ecology and garden books with products such as green beauty products, eco-gadgets for the garden, green accessories for pets, bags from recycled material and green detergents.
Lena's (+30 210-324 1360, Nikis 1, Syntagma) A bio-market with organic fast food and products.
Petite Fleur (+30 210-681 4825 Omirou 44, Kolonaki / Ag. Nikolaou Square, Halandri) The only products that enter this kitchen are certified as biological, including Balhrona chocolate, milk and coffee, bio-beers and wines, fresh juices and salads.
Nature-oriented museums and venues While you are here you may want to get involved or seek out some of the interesting environmental protection organizations geared at protecting wildlife in the Mediterranean ecosystem. Archelon (www.archelon.gr) in Glyfada focuses on the sea turtle; Mom/The Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Mediterranean Monk seal ( www.mom.gr, +30 210-522 2888) and Angels of Seas (www.angelsofseas.gr) studies the dolphins in the area.
For more conventional science and nature-oriented museums and venues check out: Hellenic Cosmos; The New Digital Planetarium-Eugenides Foundation; the Goulandris Museum of Natural History and Gaia centre; and that Attica Zoological Park.
Eco-friendly Beaches The Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label, awarded to beaches and marinas that meet strict criteria, regarding cleanliness of the sea and the coast, good organization and safety, as well as the protection of the coastal environment. The following beaches were awarded with Blue Flags can be found:
In the Municipality Marathona at Schinias/Karavi beaches; in the Municipality Neas Makris at Brexiza beach; Municipality Markopoulou at Avlaki; in the Municipality Lavreotikis at Pounta Zeza in the Municipality Anavyssou at Mavro Lithari/Eden Beach and Anavyssos/Kendriki; in the Municipality Kalyvion at Lagonissi 1-3; in the Municipality Varis at Varkiza; in the Municipality Vouliagmenis at Asteras Vouliagmenis; in the Municipality Voulas at Voula A and in the Municipality Kythiron at Kakia Lagada.