Best for: Dedicated hikers, although it's also great for families who want to introduce their kids to the wilderness.
The Route: Mt Parnitha is Attica's tallest mountain (reaching 1,413m) and its most “serious”. Driving from the city, the road climbs steeply before levelling out. After a number of turns you reach the Bafi Refuge at an elevation of 1,160m. Despite a major wildfire in 2007, forested expanses in the area around the refuge have survived and there are myriad gorgeous routes for all levels of ability here—from short, easy walks to nearby springs, to challenging hikes to the mountain's peaks.
Why: You’d expect to travel much further from Athens to experience such an authentic alpine setting, with such diversity of flora and fauna. The Bafi refuge is highly-accessible and offers a range of services, including guided hikes for kids and a restaurant serving up comfort cuisine with a view from (often literally) up in the clouds. Parnitha has snow during most of the cold months lending itself to winter fun. In summer, it rarely climbs above 30 degrees, even on the hottest days, making for a revitalizing getaway.
How long: You can literally hike for days here (and sleep in the Bafi refuge). At the very least you will need half a day, taking into account travel time to and from the mountain.