Where to run in Athens
Are you staying in Athens or you are planning for a visit?
No reason for skipping your run!
We have run every inch of the city and we recommend you the best places for a safe and enjoyable run!
Historic centre of Athens
Running next to history, in the old city of Athens.
We often refer to various beautiful places for running in different areas of Greece, forgetting the beauty that hides the historic center of the city of Athens.
So, this time we chose to run on a beautiful route next to the most important monuments and picturesque neighborhoods of Athens and we really enjoyed our training there as well as this special view.
It is one of the most touristic places in Athens that is offered for both walking and running since apart from the unique company of ancient monuments it has paved roads without cars and enough green under the blue Attic sky.
With a walk you can see the Parthenon, the hill of Philip, the Ancient Agora, the Herodion, the museum of the Acropolis and wander the streets with a long history but also in picturesque neighborhoods such as Plaka and Anafiotika.
In any case, it is a destination where running can be very enjoyable and demanding at the same time.
The best way is definitely by metro since the “Acropolis” station is very close to our route. In addition, there are buses that stop on Amalia Avenue at the beginning of Dionysiou Aeropagitou.
For those who drive, things are a bit difficult when it comes to parking as there is not enough space most hours of the day, so we would recommend avoiding it and using the means.
Our route moves around the hill of the Acropolis, continues around the hill of Philopappos to close a circle of 5 km. This route (with some small variations) was used in the recent race The Toc Merrython 2015.
Our route, therefore, starts from Dionysiou Aeropagitou at the height of the junction with Makrigianni (point A) and continues on it while at Robertou Gali Street it turns left on the hill of Filopappos (point B) to follow a perimeter route until complete a cycle and get back to where it started.
There, turn left on the pedestrian street (Theorias Street) where it descends to Thiseio around the Acropolis hill while turning left on Prytaneiou Street (C) and then on the pedestrian street of Stratonos to return to the starting point (exactly a few meters ahead).
It presses on paved and asphalt while in a large part it is free from vehicles (although it needs a little attention with the cyclists).
+ Pleasant environment
+ Landscape changes
– Limited ability to perform faster workouts
– Hard surface
There are many places even in the center of Athens that hide street oases. One of them is definitely Zappeion, as well as its surrounding area, which daily hosts the training of dozens of runners and offers pleasant racing moments.
A few words about the place
Zappeion Megaron is located in the center of Athens on the south side of Syntagma. Between Zappeion and the Greek Parliament dominates the National Garden which is essentially the ideal street destination for runners (it has been hosted in an older issue of RUNNER).
But it has one major drawback: it is open to the public only during the hours between sunrise and sunset.
On the contrary, the surrounding area of Zappeion, which is mainly covered by asphalt, is always accessible to the public at all hours.
Of course, it does not have the variety of options that the National Garden has, but it has significant advantages for your training such as long straight, wide roads, while the movement of vehicles is not allowed with some exceptions (for catering and organizing conferences or exhibitions).
In addition, in the afternoon and evening it is empty and open to the public.
The access is extremely easy to get there as it is very close to both the “Syntagma” Metro station and the bus stops of many OASA lines.
For those who drive their own car, things are more difficult since their entrance is not allowed on the streets around Zappeion but one can use the parking lot with entrance from Vasilissis Olgas Avenue managed by the cafe – restaurant called “Aigli”.
On the contrary, those who ride a bicycle can park it outdoor in different places.
The route we ran is a little over 1 km long and essentially is a circle that surrounds almost the entire area.
We started on the road behind the Zappeion Megaron and headed towards Amalias Avenue in order to turn left towards the alley (B) and from there, then we passed in front of the Zappeion and we turned left to find the place where we started. Up to there we had completed 750 m.
Alternatively, when there are enough people or an event in “Aigli”, one can turn left before the Zappeion Megaron following the yellow route (C).
However, we continued right until Herodes Atticus Street, in order to extend our route a little bit more, we made a turn at the end of the road and returned to our starting point having “written” 1,080 m.
Of course, in the area one can perform break training, mainly in ring road (A) which is suitable for such a thing since it is relatively flat and has a total length of 500 m.
During the hours when the National Garden is open, there is great chance that runners can combine their training there as well.
+ Lighting in the evening
+ Easy access
– Limited route options
– Relatively hard surface
It is one of the most historic, running location not only for Athens but worldwide. The Panathenaic Stadium is known to everyone and considered as major sports symbol in the world.
For decades, it has been a hive of runners since it hosts hundreds of runners every day who write their own kilometers and their own road history behind these famous marbles. The stadium is also known as the “horseshoe”.
A few words about the place
The “horseshoe” of the Panathinaikos Stadium is located on the back side of the Stadium on the hill of Ardittos.
For many years, runners visit the place for their training, while in the past it was a training place for long-distance runners of national teams.
Admission is free for all from 7:00 a.m. until 22:00 and there is no restriction. Unfortunately, the specific location does not have its own lighting however the level of visibility is pretty satisfying from the lighting of the stadium.
For anyone who wish to run in Kallimarmaro there is the possibility but only for the morning hours (7:30-9:00) and as long as you complete an application for acceptance of the safety conditions of the Panathenaic Stadium that can be found at the entrance.
It is located very close to the center of Athens and therefore it is quite easy to be reached. The nearest metro station is that of Syntagma, about 800m away, while right in front, on Vassileos Konstantinos Avenue.
In addition, other types of access are by bus (lines 209 and 550), tram (T4 and T5) or trolley (2, 4, 10 and 11). The main entrance to the horseshoe area is located on Archimidous Street, at the back of the Panathinaikos Stadium.
From the front side the access to the specific point is made through the small Agras street that follows the stairs that are next to the left side of the Stadium while from the side of Pagrati it is made from Archimedous street.
A total of 500m covers the entire route following the shape of the horseshoe. The soil (coal soil) is one of the best you can find, ideal for many kilometers, as it is very soft absorbing vibrations while it has no particular problem with rain as water puddles are rarely formed.
In the alleys of the hill that are located next to the route, on the north and on the south side of the stadium, there is the possibility to perform uphill tracks and exercises since there are various fitness equipment for this purpose.
+ Very close to the center of Athens
+ Alternative option National Garden
+ Excellent ground quality for running
+ Possibility for uphills
– Insufficient lighting at night
– Repeated route
Filothei: The authentic running suburb
Filothei could be characterized as garden city. It abstains 6 km from the center of Athens and belongs to the newly established Municipality of Filothei – Psychico which has about 7,000 inhabitants.
The stream that crosses it favors the preservation of the greenery that characterizes this particular suburb of Athens and makes it stand out. In its wide and well-paved streets, you will see every day several runners and hikers running or walking as the countless clusters of tall trees create a particularly pleasant, but unfortunately in our city, rare environment.
Filothei is a region privileged since it is surrounded by central streets such as Leof. Kifissias and Leof. Kapodistriou, which makes access particularly easy both through a private vehicle and through OASA buses from many areas of Athens (lines 19, 421, 444, 550, 602, 610, X14, A7, E14).
There are actually many options for running while most of the people prefer to form their own route.
We are presenting to you one of the most common routes that many runners usually choose for years and we had the pleasure to run under the guidance of the old marathon champion and friend of the magazine, Christos Sotiropoulos.
Its length is exactly 5 km, while for a starting point we define Leof. Kehagia and we turn to Kalliga Street that passes in front of the entrance of the Municipal Stadium of Filothei.
Then, we remain in Kalliga, to turn left on Ventiri Street and immediately right on Vekiareli Street and again on Leof. St. Filotheis again on the right side of Graiko Street and on the left on Narcissus Street.
While we have covered exactly 2 km at this point, turn right onto Kehagia Street and you are going to be in front of the point from where we started (completing exactly 3 km).
The route is completed by continuing on Papaflessa Street (continuation of Kehagia) to turn diagonally left on Macedonia Street and again right on Louki Akrita Street where we reach its end to make a U-turn (a little more than 4 km at this point) and return to the original point from where we started from Papaflessa Street, having completed exactly 5 km.
+ Available at all times of the day
+ Runner-friendly environment
+ Possibility of execution of other actions activities (courts, playgrounds for children)
+ Ability to design many and different routes
– Attention to the passage of vehicles as the path moves on Streets
Lycabettus Hill is the reference point of the Goddess of Athens, ever since it fell from her hands, according to mythology, following the evolution of Athens.
Most people visit the Hill either to attend a concert, in the homonymous theater, or to enjoy the amazing view it offers. However, recently it receives more and more visits from people who love to run and choose this area for their training.
The hill of Lycabettus is well known since it is not only the highest point of the city but also one of its most romantic places. It is located in the center of Athens while its view is magical since one can gaze the entire city.
At its top is located the church of Ag. Georgiou, the theater of Lycabettus and can be reached there by a cable car that starts from Aristippou Street.
Access to the area of Lycabettus is free and open for everyone, at all hours of the day. There are several entrances, but the main road, which crosses the entire hill along and passes through the top starts from the 7th bus stop on Sarantapihou Street and ends at the junction of Paligenesias and Daskalogianni streets.
There are still several flat and dirt paths around the hill that are ideal for running.
The easiest as well as most practical route is the perimeter of the hill since many runners choose it for their daily training.
The great advantage is that it is relatively flat (only 44m. of altitude difference) while its total length is almost 3,330 m. Of course, because it passes through roads of increased traffic one should be careful with cars and you have to follow the route as it is designed on the map as there are some dead-end roads.
Another option is route B that moves exclusively on a dirt, well-paved path (with fairly good soil quality) where there are negligible altitude differences.
This path, which is 800 m long, ends at point C (above the junction of Paligenesias and Daskalogianni streets) and one should make a U-turn and turn to the point where it started.
Running is really very pleasant since the route moves almost entirely between trees. Similar paths continue in other parts of the hill alongside the ring road that are interrupted, with the specific path that we propose to be the largest.
+ Easy access
+ Variety of activities
+ Stunning views from the top
+ Several options on routes
– Car traffic in the ring road
– Limited parking space
Diomidous Botanical Garden
It is one of the places that have a double value since in addition to pleasant road moments they can offer new knowledge and spectacle, as well.
The Diomidous Botanical Garden is an ideal destination for runners that everyone should visit soon. It is located on Iera Street.
A few words about the place
It is one of the largest botanical gardens in the country as it hosts about 4,000 species of plants and opened its gates to the public since 1975. It is an area of about 1,900 acres on the slope of Mount Egaleo in Haidari.
On its well-paved and earthy roads, hundreds of runners and walkers enjoy their walk or workout under the dense trees that effectively hide the sun’s rays.
Inside the garden, you will also find the opportunity to get to know plants from all over the world and to learn useful information about them by combining your training with interesting knowledge.
The doors of the Botanical Garden are open to the public from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. during weekends.
The main entrance of the Garden is located on Iera Odos on the borders of Haidari shortly after Dromokaitio Hospital.
In the wider area, there is enough space for parking your vehicle. Those who travel by public transport they can use the bus lines A16, C16, 801, 811, 836, 845, 866 and 876 are parked from the outside, while relatively close, at a distance of three kilometers, is the Metro station Agia Marina.
There are several roads to follow in the area of the Garden.
The route we chose starts from the main gate and initially moves left to the offices parallel to the Iera Street.
Then, immediately after the offices, turn right on the uphill road and on the first road turn right again in the direction of the main gate.
It continues on this road to make another right turn in order to return to the point from where it started having completed exactly 1,500m. Of course, the options are many and you can improvise by exploring all the roads of the Garden, while the roads that are upwards are offered for uphill and downhill training.
+ Plenty of routes
+ Good soil quality
+ Shade 24 hours a day
– Open a few hours a day
Plato’s Academy Park
It is a historical area of Athens, as it was considered the “roof” for the philosophical school of Plato that operated for about 900 years in Ancient Athens. The dense vegetation and the well-paved paths reduce the park of the area, to another quite remarkable running destination.
A few words about the place
Plato Academy is an area in the northwestern part of Athens, very close to its center, with a long history as it hosted in antiquity the philosophical school started by the great Greek philosopher. There is also a park that we recently visited in an effort to highlight new road destinations.
The park extends over a relatively large area (approximately 60 acres) that is divided into two sections after being cut by a low traffic road (Drakontos Street).
The southern part in which our route moves, has better quality dirt roads and paths and is usually chosen more often by runners. It also has many trees, benches and a fairly large playground.
The northern part has roads with a lot of road interest, although some of them are not so smooth, while in the area you will find a football field and a basketball court.
The Park of the Academy is located very close to the center of Athens, just a few meters from the Metro stations Metaxourgio and Larissa Station while from the main streets that surround it (Athens Avenue, Lenorman and Kon / poleos Avenue) several buses pass from every corner of the city.
For those who drive with their own vehicle there is easy access mainly from the National Road (exit of Athens Avenue to Athens) but also from the center.
Parking at the point is relatively comfortable mainly from Dionysou Street where there is a main entrance (A) but also to the other adjacent streets.
The route of the southern part we ran forms an eight and is completely covered by dirt, wide and flat roads. In this route that has a length of 800 m. One can run freely but also perform interval training since the roads are “run” easily while there are no sharp turns and steep slopes.
In the park, however, there are several roads, paths and steps that can enrich your workouts and give them new interest while they will surely intrigue the friends of trail running.
+ Good soil quality
+ Very close to the center of Athens
+ Easy access
+ Route changes
– Lack of lighting at night
– Short total path length