Photo: Ian gkoutas

Hiking in Sounion National Park

Right outside Agios Konstantinos (Kamarizas) on the way to the church of Agia Triada is Chaos, a unique geological phenomenon in Attica. It is a large round gulch with a perimeter of roughly 500 meters and a depth of 70 meters.

There is a fence around it and an entrance on the east side where you can follow a steep footpath to the bottom. Some 2 km north of Agios Konstantinos near the peak of a rocky hill you will find the cave of Kitsos. It was inhabited during the Palaeolithic and Neolithic era, about 40,000 years ago. Archaeological finds include obsidian from Milos, ceramic moulds for silver and a copper pin dating over 7,000 years. Mor recently, the cave was the lair of Kitsos, famed bandit and bodyguard of Serpieri who raided the region around 1860.

Photo: Ian gkoutas

An hour away by foot from Agios Konstantinos, walking uphill on a sand road, you reach the cave on the eastern slope of a rocky peak called Mikro Rimbari. The route takes you through dense Aleppo pine forests, parts of which burned down during different forest fires sadly. After the sand road take the footphat to the left, walkinb between holly oak, thorny fabaccae, and phrygana until you reach impressive rock formations, enormous concave arches and massive monoliths that have fallen from the peak. White or yellow lichen color the grey rock, and lush green moss grows in shady spots. Chasmophytes such as inula candida grow in rock crevices. The peak of Mikro Rimbari above the cave has a great view of the seas all around. Note the autumn crocus and Cartwright’s crocus growing all over the slopes in autumn.

North of the temple of Poseidon are rocky outcrops named Mavro Lithari and Vasilopoula. From the main Athens-Sounio road, a small sand road heads west of Vasilopoula peak. The crested lark’s whistle accompanies you north towards the grey-blue rock at a peak that’s 260 meters in altitude. Mediterranean shrubs and phrygana as well as sharp rocks characterize this arid landscape. During bird migration period, i.e. spring and fall, you can come across many birds of prey. Return to the beachfront road walking along a dry river bed towards Legrena.



Location: Athens & Nearby Islands › Athens City

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Hiking in Ymittos (also Imittos or Hymettus)

Mount Hymettus is famous for its thyme-scented honey. It is covered with beautiful pine forest, impressive caves, historic monasteries and many marked footpaths, just a five or ten minute drive from downtown Athens.

Pit of Sykia, Vari, Mount Hymettus

On the southeast side of Hymettus near the area of Vari, this open precipice impresses you with its mouth and runs 20 meters deep. Speleologists practice climbing up and down over here.


This area was revamped during the Olympic games, creating rowing lakes. The trees near the beach, including large confiers, a creek and some greenery have attracted birds here.

Hiking in Mount Parnitha

There is a lack of landmarks for the 75 hiking paths on this mountain, but there is a guide called Footpaths of Mt. Parnitha and map by Road Editions that outline these hikes well.

Mt. Penteli

While often plagued by forest fires in summer, the elevation of upto 1,100 meters on its eastern slopes may reveal several species of birds. These include Hooded Cirl Buntings, Crows, Jays, Red-backed Shrikes, Sparrow Hawks, Western Rock Nuthatches.

Mt. Parnitha

This is the highest peak near Athens towering at 1,400 meters. Past the cable car station at the upper elevations in the mornings and evenings is bound to reveal the most birds. You could spot a Coal Tit, Firecrest, Flycatcher, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Sardinian Warbler, Western Rock Nuthatch and more.


The closest and largest birdwatching locale in the city is the mountain of Hymettus or Imittos in Greek. It is about 20 km long and 1026 km high, offering a great location to hike and spot birds.

Koutouki Cave

The most well-known cave on Hymettus is Koutouki cave in Peania which hosts guided tours. Sadly, too much lighting and human presence has degraded the natural characteristics of the cave.