Mount Hymettus (Imittos)

It’s name comes down to us from pre-Hellenic times, Mount Hymettus or Imittos is only one hour’s walk away from Downtown Athens. In fact, Athenians used to cut its trees for wood up until the 1950s, when the Friends of the Forests organization changed this.

Spared for the most part from catastrophic (usually man-induced) fires, the mountain is a garden ofpine trees, wild olive trees and cypresses, peppered with cedars, plane trees and eucalyptus trees. Numerous herbs, such as different types of thyme, dot the landscape along with many wild flowers (three are endemic to the region). While this is a protected area where building, quarrying and woodcutting are forbidden, the 1980s saw many giant media antennas rise atop the mountain.

Photo: Hannoulaki

Thousands of years ago, there used to be bears and hyenas on the mountain. Today, there are still some foxes, skunks, weasels, porcupines and rabbits. There are also more than 100 species of birds making it a true haven for birdwatching. The area was declared a wildlife refuge in 1976 and hunting is fortunately forbidden.

Volunteers have mapped the hiking trails of Hymettus giving Athenians an opportunity to seek solace in nature only minutes away from the city. Rock climbing and mountain are also common activities on the mountain.


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