Athens is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful European cities. The magic that exudes this city is unique because one can see the blend of ancient Greek culture with the atmosphere of modern Athens, with its large modern buildings, picturesque quiet alleys or the busy streets and the numerous cafes, restaurants, hotels and so on that anyone can visit and spend moments of fun and relaxation. Sure, most prefer to visit it in the summer as hot weather, crystal clear seas, beautiful islands and sunny days are sought but Athens is a magical city in the winter, too. The melancholy of winter can be felt in every corner of the city; from the yellow leaves scattered on every Athenian pavement the cozy cafes spread in every part of the city and exude an air of relaxation and warmth.
Long walks in the parks, the squares or in some full of character areas of Athens are enjoyable things to do and photograph – alone or in a photo tour– in winter Athens. Some of these parks are in the heart of Athens such as the National Garden, which is a stone’s throw away from the Parliament. A huge, soothing garden full of trees is waiting for you to explore and capture with your camera! This “oxygen oasis” of Athens transforms into a palette of colors during the winter. The paths, lakes, playgrounds and the mini-zoo are covered by the yellow leaves of the trees. The scenery is extremely romantic, especially in the early hours, when sunlight comes out shimmering to warm up the city. The golden light of the sunsets bathes the National Garden in the afternoons and make it look like a hidden fairy-tale forest. Definitely the 155 acres of this garden will provide you with a very enjoyable walk and a fantastic photo album of winter Athens!
Another hidden intimate forest, full of oak trees, almond trees and pine trees, is located in Maroussi, Northern Athens and is no other than the Syggros Park. This grove during autumn and winter is flooded by people who want to enjoy a relaxed walk, families enjoying a pic-nick or joggers. In addition you will see many cyclists roam and enjoy the beauty of the forest. Apart from the natural beauty of the particular forest, it has an architectural interest, since one can see there the unique orthodox neo-gothic church dedicated to Saint Andrew, as well as the mansion of Syggrou family, which the park was named after. Both of these monuments have been declared as buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Take advantage of the crowds that will give you great photo opportunities to capture Athenian winter life!
If you are a sunrise lover, the ideal destination for you is the Philopappou Hill. This hill of the Greek capital is a unique combination of natural beauty and history. Its stone paths are dressed in silver and orange shades from the fallen leaves of the trees. Anyone who decides to climb the hill will enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of Athens to photograph under the magical Athenian sunrise light. What is a better way to start one of your days in Athens from watching and photographing the sunrise as it unfolds over the Greek capital? Find yourself at this magical early hour of the day at the right spot and capture the astonishing views of the historical city of Athens spreading beneath you.
If, on the other hand you are a sunset lover or looking for sunset light photo opportunities, you must find yourself at this time of the day on Lykavittos hill. This highest point of the city is a Cretaceous limestone hill at 300 meters (908 feet) above sea level. Pine trees cover its base, and at its two peaks are the 19th century Chapel of St. George, a theatre, and a restaurant. The hill is a tourist destination and can be ascended by the Lycabettus Funicular, a funicular railway which climbs the hill from a lower terminus at Kolonaki (The railway station can be found at Aristippou Street). Lycabettus appears in various legends. Popular stories suggest it was once the refuge of wolves, (lycos in Greek), which is possibly the origin of its name (means “the one [the hill] that is walked by wolves”). Mythologically, Lykavittos hill is credited to Goddess Athena, who created it when she dropped a limestone mountain she had been carrying from the Pallene peninsula for the construction of the Acropolis after the box holding Erichthonius was opened.
This highest point of the city will offer you 360° spectacular views of Athens to photograph panoramically under the magical Athenian sunset light.
Hymettos mountain is just a stone’s throw away from the center of Athens and it is ideal for nature lovers and hikers. The mountain is covered with a beautiful pine forest and has many attractions waiting for you to discover and photogarph: historic monasteries, impressive caves, clearly marked footpaths, unsurfaced forest roads barred to traffic which are ideal for mountain biking, hiking and trail running. The 9-kilometer Aesthetic Forest of Kaisariani is adjacent. Visit the Kaisariani Monastery built on the ancient ruins of the temple of Demeter, whose columns still stand in its courtyard. Hymettos Mountain also hides a terrestrial little paradise, the Botanical Garden. Lose yourself in its beauties and escape from the negative thoughts of the stress of everyday life.
Winter Athens is ideal for night life! Like many metropolitan cities, Athens never sleeps. A lot of Athenians feel that Athens is more vibrant at night. And indeed, the Greek capital offers a whole lot more nightlife opportunities than most others. A “love-for-life” lifestyle is the Greek lifestyle; a way to deal with life that includes good food and good company. In Greece, life is about fun and leaving your worries behind. The aftermath is a polite, good-hearted, energetic city with bars and restaurants to match with. Choose one of the hundreds buzzing bars, restaurant or cafes in the city’s heart and don’t feel awkward if you are alone. Soon you will have a new Greek friend!
Of course, for the ones that like the less busy places and love the small, quiet and cozy cafes that exude the smell of old Athens, they will find them in Plaka. Plaka is the old historical neighborhood of Athens, clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, and incorporating labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture. Plaka is built on top of the residential areas of the ancient town of Athens. It is known as the “Neighborhood of the Gods” due to its proximity to the Acropolis and its many archaeological sites. The name “Plaka” was not in use until after the Greek War of Independence. Instead, the Athenians of that time referred to the area by various names such as Alikokou, Kontito, Kandili, or by the names of the local churches. The name Plaka became commonly in use in the first years of the rule of King Otto. The origin of the name is uncertain: it has been theorized to come from the Arvanite dialect “Pliak Athena”, meaning “Old Athens”, or from the presence of a “plaque” which once marked its central intersection.
An area loved and known through Greek classic films, with streets full of jasmines and flower-filled big pots on the balconies.
Discover Anafiotika, (“little Anafi”) after the Greek island of Anafi and here time stops… The neighborhood was built to resemble the architecture of the Cyclades islands with stark white-washed cubic houses built of stone, flat roofs and brightly painted shutters and doors, so you get the feel of being in an island village. Wonder amongst the labyrinth of narrow alleyways that connect the whitewashed houses where bright magenta bougainvillea spills over their walls and the narrow alleyways often end in dead-end terraces. Some of the houses have roof-top patios with gardens of potted plants and the occasional shade tree. If you want to step back in (the Athenian) time walk this piece of Cyclades islands situated at the foothill of Acropolis!
Concerts, exhibitions, cultural events, theaters, cinemas, archaeological sites and history, cosy cafes, delicious cuisine or long romantic winter walks… Whatever are your likes Athens can generously offer them to you! The magic that this city exudes will be definitely passed on to you!
Now is the time to find yourself in Athens and among one of our Photo Tours live a true Athens city experience; and at the same time to elevate your photographic skills taking advantage of the warm, sweet and softer winter Athenian sun!