Like a great action movie that cuts straight to the chase, we’re struck by knockout views almost as soon as we start our trek up the forested northern slopes of Penteli (or Mount Pentelicus, as it’s also called).
The wide stony trail hugs the mountain edge, falling away to an expansive landscape that’s worlds away from hectic Athens. Beneath us, the valley rolls towards the sea in an emerald sweep of pines, dotted with the terracotta-topped villas of Penteli. We can see as far as the sandy beaches of Schinias on Marathon Bay and Evia island.
“You’d never think you were in Athens,” says my friend Jamila, a fellow hiking nut. “It feels more like we’re in northern Europe.”