Athens flat superb reviews

ethnikos khpos2Located just behind the Greek parliament building, next to Syntagma Square, just few minutes walk from the flat.

Picnicking with the children at the National Gardens on a Saturday has become a common pastime for local Athenian families and is a great way to spend a sunny summer's day when the days are long.


The gardens used to be called the Royal Gardens because they were the gardens of the king and the locals are very proud of this lovely green space in a city which doesn't actually have many parks.

They have a collection of plants and trees from all over the world and plenty of water features which add coolness in the heat, a small zoo, duck ponds, resident cats, a Botanical Museum, a playground and lots of wide-open space for children to play in.


ethnikos khpos3For children who love books, the gardens are also home to a Children's Library.

There are many beautiful areas to relax in the shade and get some respite from the busy city of Athens, ideal for walking or running and children play.

Locals enjoy playing games together at makeshift tables and often they don't mind if you want to join them.

Published in Short walks nearby

This is an ideal place to enjoy a day away from the busy center of Athens. If you carry your supplies you can enjoy a picnic at nature.

panorama kessariani1

Mount Ymettos is a long, narrow mountain of 20 km total length while its highest peak reaches 1,026 m.
6.4 Km (4.0 miles) away from Syntagma square

Highlights of the western part:

- The Orthodox Monastery of Kessariani

It is believed that the monastery was established in Byzantine times in ca. 1100 as this is the date of construction of the surviving church. But, the site has a far longer history as a cult center. In Antiquity, before being taken over by Christians in the 5th/6th centuries, it was probably a site dedicated to goddess Aphrodite.
Moreover, next to the Monastery there are remains of the 10th/11th centuries such as a large early Christian basilica to the west, and a smaller church further.

Early monks of Kessariani had their cells and refectory equipped with a Roman plan bath-house with hot and cold baths and a warm water heating system.
During the Ottoman occupation the luxurious bathhouse was transformed into a more utilitarian oil press, parts of which have been preserved.
During World War II all the trees of the surrounding hill were cut down. In about 1964 the Athens Friends of the Tree Society “Philodasiki” took charge and have planted them after. The large garden of the monastery is now a peaceful sanctuary.

Please keep in mind that Kessariani Monastery is an active church. So, if you intend to visit it dress appropriately. Inappropriate clothing includes sleeveless shirts, shorts, miniskirts

Kessariani Monastery is an excellent starting point for a hike, a bicycle ride or just a picnic on Mt. Ymettos since it has paths that lead to the forest. The scenery and the full city view makes Kessariani Monastery a popular recreation spot, especially on the weekends.

panorama monastery

- The aesthetic forest

The whole area, successfully reforested by Philodassiki after extensive efforts was declared an “Aesthetic Forest” in the Presidential Decree PD 71/94. The aesthetic forest covers an area of 4,460 acres and surrounds the Byzantine Monastery of Kessariani.
It stretches from the edge of the city to the rocky slopes of Ymettos at 760 meters altitude. Medium and strong slopes dominate the area (30% - 65%) the area is ideal for leisure activities such as hiking and cycling.
Various species of trees grow in the forest, but cypresses and pine trees predominate.

- Botanical walk

The garden that originally established in 1964, on land near the Monastery of Kessariani, was the home of over 200 different species of plants from Southern and Central Greece, the Aegean islands and Crete.
Altitude: 360 - 410m
Orientation: Northern - Northwestern

Αlong the paths the visitor can see many species of plants and trees with their Greek and Latin names written on beautiful wooden signs.
The aim of the garden is threefold: conservation, education and pleasure. The conservation of rare and threatened with extinction species is the primary purpose of most botanical gardens today. The members of Philodassiki Society are very concerned with the ever increasing growth of plants on the Red Data Book list. Of paramount importance is, therefore, the existence of the nursery of Philodassiki for the multiplication of threatened plants and their reintroduction to the garden.


How to get there

Public bus 224 From Syntagma To Kessariani Cemetery takes about 50 min depending on traffic.
From the Cemetery the Monastery is 2 km walk (altitude difference 275m / 942 ft) .

By taxi 20-35 mins. Cost about 7€ one way.
For your way back you need to have an appointment with the driver or use a relevant app on mobile phone (e.g. BEAT, UBER). Additionally you can walk downhill to the cemetery where there are taxis.
If you go with your private car please note that car access to the forest is prevented by bars after the dusk, especially during the summer period. Also parking is not very easy on weekends as this for the Athenians is a popular place to go.

Published in Short walks nearby

NEON presents and commissions Adrián Villar Rojas’ first outdoor and indoor major site specific installation in Greece at the archaeological site of the Hill of the Nymphs

Adrián Villar Rojas: 
National Observatory of Athens, Hill of the Nymphs
Exhibition Dates: 1 June – 24 September 2017
Opening Hours:
Thursday – Sunday, 11 am -9 pm
Free Entrance

National Observatory of AthensNEON is pleased to unveil the first site-specific, outdoor and indoor installation by Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas in Greece, at the National Observatory of Athens (NOA), located on the archaeological site of the Hill of the Nymphs. Built in 1846, the National Observatory is the first scientific research institution in Greece and consolidates nearly two centuries of astronomy since Greek independence in 1832.
Today, almost 170 years later, this commission sees Villar Rojas negotiating with an archaeological site for the first time as he radically alters both the indoor and outdoor space of the National Observatory, occupying an area of 4,500 square metres. The whole site undergoes a complete transformation – architectural, horticultural and emotional.

Villar Rojas is well known for large-scale sculptural installations that disturb the sites he engages with. Through his work, he interrupts the status quo of artistic practice and behavior within a museum, a site of cultural heritage, a rooftop
or public space. He creates unpredictable settings for the visitor to explore, places where we feel uncomfortable or are astounded by the alternative histories he suggests. Concerned with ideas of disappearance, extinction, the passage and
volatility of time, Villar Rojas creates a new, and often disconcerting, visual language.

Through this site-specific intervention in Athens Villar Rojas asks, ‘what does it mean to have the soil beneath our feet?’  Villar Rojas says: “I come from Argentina, where essentially soil is a means of production. That which is beneath our feet does not represent us in the same way that it represents people in Greece, nor people in Turkey. I think we Argentinians equate soil with fertility and this, of course, is a geopolitical construct made by Europe, the Western world and the global economic powers in general. No doubt the strongest features of our national identity are our crops and cattle, endlessly provided by a ‘God–blessed’ soil upon flat grasslands whose only limit is the sky. It seems a bit of an exaggeration, but just drive from Buenos Aires to Rosario crossing the countryside in the center of the ‘Humid Pampas’ and you will quickly understand why Argentinians are so proud of their land. So, when I arrived in Greece, I immediately understood that for Greeks what is below their feet was as constitutive of their national identity as it is for Argentinians, but in a completely different way. What was beneath their feet was culture: thousands of years of human civilizations.”

THE THEATER OF DISAPPEARANCE3The artist has selected 46,000 different plants from 26 different species: a mix of graminaceous plants including bamboo, seeds and grains, and fruits and vegetables such as artichokes, watermelons, asparagus and pumpkins. Re-planted from nurseries side by side in this unorthodox way, all the plants must survive and co-exist for four months. The act of planting serves as a symbol of liberation, co-existence, struggle and reparation.

Villar Rojas disorientates the internal geography of the National Observatory. The viewer walks through narrow pathways leading through the areas of fertile soil but the physical borders of the area are not clearly defined allowing visitors to wander and lose their way. Outside the National Observatory, the landscape undergoes a similar metamorphosis. Instead of digging down into the ground, Villar Rojas plants densely on top of it, in a constructed, artificial second level of soil.

The intensely fertile area gives way dramatically to a barren, polemical zone. Villar Rojas disrupts the usual dynamics of the National Observatory by utilizing a neglected space.

THE THEATER OF DISAPPEARANCE1Sculptural installations inside eleven variously sized vitrines expose the brutality of years of conquest and expansion and our quest for colonizing new territory on earth and beyond. The vitrines, with clear glass panels and black steel frames, stand pristine in a wasteland, half dug out of the ground or hidden inside caves amidst rocks, soil, and dirt. Navigating yourself around them is a challenge requiring real physical effort and results in an unpredictable encounter.
Inside the vitrines, cultural, historical and war artifacts, remnants of past civilizations, have been painstakingly researched and gathered by the artist then placed uncomfortably alongside relics from later times. The victory of Samothrace, the statue of a winged female figure, lies horizontally instead of upright. Marked with graffiti, posters, and messages taken directly from the public space of Athens, she becomes a testament to a confused global identity. A replica of “Lucy”, the collection of fossilised bones 3.2 million years old that revealed how evolution did not follow a straight line as ape developed into human; NASA’s unmanned space rover that arrived on Mars in 2012 to assess whether the planet has ever supported life; a hand-sewn Apollo suit as worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin when they planted the American flag on the moon; boots, helmets and flags from the Malvinas’ (Falklands) War. Inside the vitrines, these symbols of conquest, expansion, and evolution are re-activated.

The Theater of Disappearance in Athens becomes an open-ended investigation of cultural traditions, national norms and stereotypes, learned preconceptions and received histories of conquest and exploration.
This project forms part of NEON’s work to establish a link between contemporary culture and the historical and archaeological heritage of Athens. The exhibition is curated by Elina Kountouri, Director of NEON.
The Theater of Disappearance is an umbrella title and part of four separate exhibitions taking place in 2017 across Europe and the US through new independent commissions by all institutions involved. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (14 April – 29 October), Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (13 May – 27 August), and the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles (22 October 2017 – 26 February, 2018).

Download the brochure

For more information visit the official website

Published in Short walks nearby

diomidios kiposA mere 8km outside of Athens, Diomidous Botanical Garden sits like a green haven in amidst the bustling city; 1,800 hectares of peaceful tranquillity in the western suburbs of Haidari. Its extensive array of flora includes a number of rare species as well as a selection of trees from Africa, Asia and Australasia.

diomidios kipos3Used as an area to study for students from the University of Athens it's also a botanists dream with a number of pharmaceutical plants.

The Diomidous Botanical Gardens are a unique ecosystem housing both wild and cultivated species (organized by geography and theme).

A historical plants section offers up species mentioned in Greek mythology and the Old Testament, such as the laurel dedicated to Apollo (Laurus nobilis), the ivy dedicated to Dionysus (Hedera helix) and the narthex (Ferula communis), the giant fennel stalk in which Prometheus hid fire stolen from Zeus.

The Herbarium includes 19,000 dried plant samples, most from protected areas belonging to the NATURA 2000 network.

diomidios kipos2After a cooling stroll along the bamboo path, visit the section on plants and economy, where you’ll find species that contribute to the world of modern commerce: fruits, vegetables, wood, fabrics, pigments, resins, scents and spices. Don’t miss the Egyptian lotus pond; as you’ll learn, it’s a misnomer, since the lotus originated in Asia.
Among the medicinal plants, you’ll find aloe, balsam, ginger, lavender and rosemary. In the nearby nursery and greenhouse, you’ll find sugar cane, pepper, cacti and endangered species.

Note: Cars, motorbikes, bicycles and pets are not permitted in the gardens. Ball games are strictly forbidden. Children under 14 years old must be escorted at all times. Guided tours: Specialists conduct tours from Monday to Friday, by prior arrangement.
Call the Diomidous Botanical Gardens at 210-5811557.

Visit it`s website for more info

How to get there:

 Take the Metro to Egaleo and then grab bus No. 801, 811, 845, 866 or X63

 A Taxi (up to 4 persons) will cost around 9€/one way

Published in Explore Athens

Your home in Athens

Published in Explore Athens

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) covers an area of 210,000 sqm.

SNFCC1Designed by the architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW), the SNFCC is a multifunctional urban complex that includes new facilities for the National Library of Greece, the Greek National Opera, and the Stavros Niarchos Park.

Renzo Piano envisaged the SNFCC rising out of the ground like a dislodged piece of the earth’s crust. As a result, an artificial hill is constructed and the roof of both the library and the opera house is emerging from it maintaining the slope. The library is lower and the ‘hill’ concludes with the opera house. The roof of the library will be covered with ground material. On top of the opera house, there will be a canopy supported on thin steel columns. According to Piano, "the canopy represents a cloud hovering over the highest point of the hill"

It is a recreation destination as it offers environmentally sustainable education, arts, playground and an interesting architectural structure.

The National Library of Greece
The nearly 24,000 m2 (235,000 sq. ft.) building combines traditional with technological innovation, conservation with information and communication. A nationwide digitization project helps make heritage materials available to the public and offers access to the Library’s various collections. Connectivity with other libraries both nationally and globally allows the Library’s users access to material abroad that is relevant to Greece or Hellenism. In addition, a Business Center provides the public with an active hub for enterprise, knowledge, and innovation, offering computer workstations, laptops, and wireless connectivity.

Holdings include over 4,500 manuscript codices from the 9th to the 19th century and a rich variety of important historical documents and archives.

The Greek National Opera
Greek National OperaCovering an area of 28,000 m2, the new premises of the Greek National Opera can only be compared with the most modern opera houses in the world. The high aesthetics and acoustics, as well as the installations of the Main Stage (Stavros Niarchos Hall, 1400 seats), bolster a high-calibre artistic program. Furthermore, the Alternative Stage (400 seats) is a hub of research and creativity in the field of education, community and contemporary artistic creation, with special emphasis in all forms of the musical theater.
More info and scheduled performances 

The Stavros Niarchos Park
The Stavros Niarchos Park, a modern Landscape Architecture project has been designed in accordance with the principles of sustainability, ecosystems and the alternations of a place that is in constant evolution. It is a welcoming and open space, with plantings and a character that reflects the Mediterranean landscape.
Every Thursday at 13:00 there is a guided tour in English language.
Meeting point: Visitors Center (Evripidou & Doiranis, Kallithea)
Tour Duration: 90 '
Number of participants: 20 people

Please note
*The tour involves continuous walking down the Stavros Niarchos Park and the use of stairs. Estimated walking distance is calculated at 1 km.
*The tours at the Stavros Niarchos Park will be conducted under sufficient weather conditions.
*Τhe Stavros Niarchos Park is fully accessible for people with disabilities. For further information please check

Renting a bike
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center Bikes is a short-term bicycle rental service for children and adults able to use a bicycle.

There are 50 adult bikes available distributed across the three bike stations around the SNFCC (Visitors Center, Agora, Rear Agora) and 25 kids' bikes at the Visitors Center. (fifteen 20-inch bikes for children aged 5–8 and ten 24-inch bikes for children aged 9–13)
The SNFCC Bikes have three speeds and are equipped with hub dynamo powered headlight and taillight, bell, saddle with adjustable height, short-term safety lock and basket for carrying light objects along.
Hours of operation are 09:00-21:00 daily.
Registration 3€
Rate per hour (€3/5/10/20 prepaid pack options) 1€

Μore info about bicycle rental

How to get there

For convenient access to and from the SNFCC, transportation by shuttle bus is available daily to visitors, free of charge. A minibus bearing the SNFCC logo departs from Syntagma Square (intersection with Ermou Street), with a stopover at the Syggrou-Fix Metro station (Syggrou Avenue), and arrives at the south side of the SNFCC Canal (near the GNO building) and vice versa.

On Sundays, from 10.00 to 13.00, the shuttle bus runs only from Syggrou-Fix to the SNFCC and vice versa, due to the scheduled changing of the Presidential Guard in front of the Hellenic Parliament. In the event of special traffic regulations the schedule of shuttle bus, might be modified accordingly.
See the time timetable and other ways

Published in Contemporary
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