Athens, with its relatively mild weather and almost 300 days of sunshine per year offers visitors a generous array of sports activities. The birthplace of the first modern Olympic Games which took place at the Panathenaic Stadium in 1896 marked the beginning of one of the most important events in modern history. To this day the torch relay for each Olympics begins at the Panathenaic Stadium situated in the heart of Athens. Whether you are into extreme sports, outdoor activities or just love to connect with nature, Athens is ready to cater to your needs. We’ve compiled a list of some of the top sports activities for visitors in Athens.
Hiking and Trekking
Athens boasts an unparalleled choice of hiking and trekking routes that are relatively easy and are a perfect balance of mild exercise and mental relaxation. Along the routes not only will you be able to connect with nature but also to explore historic sports, walk through forests and admire the best views of Athens.
The city of Athens is built on seven breathtaking hills, many of which are connected to the enchanting myths and legends. Discover some of our top picks while you are staying in Athens:
It is debatable whether Acropolis is an actual hill, but in fact the top rock layer on which it stands is 30 million years old. It used to be larger but has eroded from the sides, as a result of the passage of time. The Acropolis is the crown jewel of Athens and a walk up to the Acropolis is a must.
This is one of the most famous (after the Acropolis) and the second highest point of Athens. If you’re feeling lazy you can also get here by a funicular and enjoy a meal or drink at the Orizontes Restaurant, famed for its spectacular views of Athens.
The Immitos Mountain range stretches from the north to the south of the city of Athens. From here you can admire the view as far as the eastern suburbs of Athens (Vouliagmeni, Voula, Glyfada, Markopoulo, etc) and the Athens International Airport as well as the mountain of Parnitha, Penteli and Aegaleo. The hiking trails pass through more than 60 caves, Byzantine churches, pine tree forest, and botanical gardens.
Mount Pentelicus, also commonly referred to as Pentelikon is best known for its fine marble since antiquity, which was used to build the famous Acropolis among many other ancient buildings of Ahens. It is located at the north-west of Athens and is easily accessible for a day hike.
From the top of the mountain the view opens up to all of Athens, all the way to the port of Piraeus and the Saronic Gulf.
Tattoi Royal Estate
The former summer retreat of King George and Queen Olga, is located 27 km from the city of Athens. Surrounded by a dense forest of pine trees, citrus trees, olive trees as well as other plant species — it is home to red deer, wild boars and other animals. The estate is protected by Natura 2000 network as an area of outstanding natural beauty. Among the attractions are wine cellars, stables, WW1 bunker and the royal cemetery.
Whether you consider yourself a go-karting expert or just starting out, there are a few sports as thrilling as this one. Head over to Agios Kosmas in Elliniko in the southern suburbs of Athens. The Galazio Go Kart is a well equipped seaside kart center ideal for all ages and experience levels.
The Glyfada Golf course “Konstantinos Karamanlis” is an 18-hole world-class recreational center located in the area of Glyfada, 12 km from the center of Athens. Spanning across 530 acres of land, the golf course features a Golf academy for kids, two tennis courts, a restaurant and bar, reception halls and parking facilities.
Coast Walking and Running Routes
The southern suburbs of Athens, known as the Athenian Riviera are lined with several noteworthy coastal routes ideal for running or simply walking. The path from Flisvos Marina, passes through several beaches, nightclubs and bars. It is one of the most popular coastal walking routes of Athens. Further down south along the coast you will come across Glyfada, dotted with beaches and marinas which then connects to Voula, Kavouri and Vouliagmeni. The whole coastal area offers splendid views and many options to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee while soaking in the sun’s rays. Combine your walk with a refreshing swim, there are many beaches that are found along the coastal route.
One of the best ways to explore Athens is on two wheels. There are many bike tour options available that will take you to the most exciting parts of the city. If you feel like adding an extra highlight to your biking tour, there are also themed bike tours available – some even end at a seaside taverna. A quintessential Greek summer experience!
You can try horseback riding in several places in Athens. Those who wish to master the sport can do so in one of the excellent equestrian centers located in the eastern suburbs of Athens. Alternatively there are several locations just a short drive outside of Athens where you can even enjoy a horseback ride on the beach.
A great team sport and a perfect team building activity, paintball can be played on a natural terrain or in an organized space. There are several paintball locations in Athens. The biggest Paintball Park of Athens is located a 25 minute drive from the city center and is equipped with various exciting paintball scenarios – imagine making your way through fortresses, crossing small rivers and walking bridges, sounds exciting right?
Athens and the Attica peninsula is surrounded by hundreds of miles of coastline. In recent years it has gained popularity as one of the developing scuba diving destinations in Europe. With more than 50 dive spots, most of which are located in the east part of Attica, Athens is a great destination for scuba divers. If you are new to this sport and want to learn all about the exciting underwater world, there are several diving schools that offer PADI certified courses. For those who prefer snorkelling, several boat trips to the nearby islands are also an option where you can witness the beauty of the Aegean Sea, explore historical shipwrecks and observe the fascinating marine life.
Athens has a loyal tennis community and there are several tennis clubs located in various parts of the city. Athens’ oldest tennis club is located in the heart of the city center just across from the Zappeion gardens. Its courts can also be used by non-permanents members of the club.
For those who wish to experience the thrill of skydiving can do so in the Pachi airfield in Megara. If you are feeling like you want to take your experience to another level, then opt for an Accelerated Free Fall Course which is an intensive skydiving instructional course where you get to delve deeper into the sport and learn how to skydive by yourself.
Sailing is one the most popular recreational activities in Greece. With a coastline stretching for hundreds of miles and thousands of islands and islets to explore – the Greek seas are a paradise for yachting and sailing experiences. From day trip escapes to the nearby islands or longer sailing holidays, you will never run out of choice when it comes to discovering the wonders of Greece.
Athens’ weather is perfect for water-related activities almost all year round. Water skiing is the ultimate activity especially during the hot months. The Athenian Riviera is one of the areas where you can master the sport at any time of year.
The coastal area of the Attica region is an ideal destination and a paradise for windsurf lovers. Whether you are an experienced athlete or looking to learn how to wind surf, there are various packages available for all ages and levels.
There are endless possibilities for outdoor activities which you can enjoy in Athens and beyond. We guarantee you that your days and weekends will be filled with exciting opportunities to stay fit while having fun.