Photo: Antonios Tsaknakis

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.

Start from the Kaisariani neighbourhood, walking through a forest of pine, cypress and olive trees. Apart from the amazing views of city and sea from upper elevations, expect to spot the following, depending on the time of year: Alpine Swift, Black-eared Wheatear, Blue Rock Thrush, Chukar, Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Hoopoe, Pallid Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Rock Bunting, Rock Nuthatch, Short-toed Eagle, Ruppell’s Warbler, Sombre Tit, Subalpine Warbler, Turtle Dove.

 

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Location: Athens & Nearby Islands › Athens City

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mt. Lycabettus

Also noteworthy is Lycabettus or Likavitos Hill in Athens almost in the centre of town. In addition to great views of the port of Piraeus and all of Athens, a rocky area on top attracts many rock-loving birds. You might see a Bunting, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Sardinian Warbler and many more.

Schinias

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 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.