Parks in Attica. The best walk in the city. By far. Have you stolen some time and are looking for a green hug to sneak into a short time break? Have you arranged it and carried with you everything from children’s bikes and skates to picnic baskets? The parks and groves of Attica are a great treasure. They are what make our city more bearable and charming. The walk inside them is almost psychotherapeutic. Here are four famous groves of Attica, along with their secrets!
Parks in Attica: Alsos Veikou
Probably the most emblematic grove of the city, firstly due to its size – the grove (actually a park) extends to 256 acres. Grass, trees, benches, and gazebos as far as the eye can see. In short: extra-extra-large grove that takes a lot of visits to say you explored it. Here you will do it all. You will enjoy the beauty of nature. You will exercise and be entertained. You’re going to have a picnic. In general, of all things there are Baxes.
Count courts: two outdoor basketball courts with stands. Six outdoor tennis courts and two tennis training walls. Volleyball court, football field (with turf, stands, and changing rooms), 5X5 soccer field. The swimming pool, includes two open heated pools, one for young children and one for adults in full operation.
There is a track, a skating rink, and a space shaped into a velodrome and also two playgrounds, an open-air exhibition area, an open-air cinema, and an open-air theatre. Note that there is a Municipal Infirmary in the area. Nearby is the area of Attica where Zeus is said to have thrown lightning! What else to look for?
Parks in Attica: Alsos Nea Filadelfeias
This specific grove is probably the one with the most “character” of all and is the great pride of the area. First of all, it is an important green lung for the whole of Attica as it occupies 420 acres. Its vegetation is very dense and the “menu” has everything. There are pines, cypresses, carob trees, eucalyptus trees, and plane trees. There are dozens of paths and walks. The points to stop and the benches, small clearings, and tables are not few, and depending on the moment and the company you can choose between the quieter and more remote parts of the grove and those with more noise, people, children, young companies, etc.
Note that in the grove there is also a nice playground and fitness equipment. But the “ace up your sleeve” of this grove is clearly its large artificial lake, with the small windmill inside it, an image so postcard that it will momentarily give you the feeling that you are somewhere far away from the city. The lake (which you have surely seen in old Greek movies) was handed over to the people of Filadelphia in 1966.
Even older is the (very tidy and beautiful) open-air cinema. “Cine Alsos” opened in 1959 and since then, in the summer, it gathers cinephiles from all over Athens. In the grove, there is also a meteorological station of HNMS. In fact, as far as summer temperature records in the grove are concerned, it is consistently proven that this area is one of the warmest in the country. At one time, a very famous zoological station operated in this grove (from 1986 to 1995). The garden had even come to have lions and bears.
In Nea Filadelfia, there is the abandoned building of Attica that once produced the “gold” of fabrics.
Parks in Attica: Alsos Pagkrati
This grove is a “pure surprise”, as it invites you to enter it from one of the most central and busy points of Pagkrati (the junction of Eftychidou and Spyros Merkouri Streets). At the same time, it is a stone’s throw from the Kallimarmaro Stadium, a few alleys above Vasilissis Konstantinou. It is one of the oldest in the city, covering an area of 30 acres. Its history dates back to 1908. Then, at the behest of Princess Sophia, the “Philodassiki Society” planted the first pines. In 1936, the above company transferred the area to the Municipality of Athens to operate it as a public recreation area. In fact, until the German occupation, the grove also housed a zoo. The newspapers of the time then spoke of three bears. In the 1970s, artists with anti-dictatorial action were gathered here again while the “Free Theater” gave performances in the small outdoor theater.
Today, this small green lung in the heart of the city hosts a playground, outdoor instruments, a basketball court, many benches, cobbled streets, and small clearings. If you find yourself there, here are four good reasons why Pagkrati has become a hangout.
And a song to listen to while strolling here: “The Bastard Son” by Fivos Delivorias (a very famous modern singer and songwriter) from the album “Kallithea”. In one of his lyrics, the singer says:
“Callas no longer remembers my nightingale in Epidaurus, And my Aegean is unworthy of the “Axion Esti”, In Vouliagmeni, no matter how much I searched, I didn’t find Kilaïdoni, And in Alsos of Pagkrati nobody wants to comb their hair.”1
Parks in Attica: Nea Smyrni Park
Very, very well cared for, it “spreads” over an area of 50 acres and consists of forest trees and ornamentals. The elements that compose its landscape are two fountains, dovecotes, abundant birds (blackbirds, eighteen-year-olds, sparrows, etc.), and outdoor chess while the velodrome steals the show around the entire area of the Park. And while this grove has no courts, all its perimeter corridors are used by a multitude of citizens who play sports because here everyone really runs!
Local NeoSmyrniots are so fans of exercise and sports that in 2001, a group of amateur athletes created the “Association of Sports Friends of Nea Smyrni Park” (SAFANS), with the aim of cultivating recreational sports (dynamic walking, jogging, gymnastics, etc.). SAFANS has also created a triathlon team.
Inside the park, there is also a canteen and an open-air theater with a stage, with a capacity of about 2,500 people.
In recent years, the image of picnics, children’s celebrations, and birthdays in the groves is increasingly repetitive. The celebrations of the Athenians find a home in the green lungs of the metropolis and the public space is used in a creative way. Try it yourself.
- We thank the Press Office – Municipality of Nea Smyrni for providing the photographic material
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