A Royal City Break
Tatoi, which was once the summer palace of the former Greek Royal Family, makes for one of the best weekend destinations in the suburbs of Athens. With an area of 47, 427 acres (15,000 of which are a declared national park) and just 30 miles from downtown Athens, the former Royal Estate caters for any visitor’s taste.
The Former Royal Estate of Tatoi is open to the public from sunrise to sunset and visitors can enter the property either from Varimpopi or Lefka. On the weekends, sports enthusiasts can be found cycling, trekking or jogging while others enjoy the peace and tranquility – perfect for picnics on the grass or just reading a book. One thing is certain, a day in nature is a day well spent and Tatoi is an ideal destination to unwind and recharge batteries.
Hiking and mountain bike
The dense forests of towering cypress trees, old elm and plane trees create shady and narrow paths that spread in all directions of the property. Stroll without purpose and let yourself free in an environment where the past meets the present; in fact, while wandering you will come across remnants of some of the palace complex buildings!
While Tatoi is ideal for hiking at a relaxed pace, there are numerous paths suitable for trekking and mountain bike adventures nearby. A beautiful route suitable for trekking enthusiasts begins from the church of Agia Triada, passes through the chapel of Agios Georgios, crosses the ridge of Koromilia-Kambera and ends in the impressive Cave of Pan with a spectacular array of naturally formed limestone icicles and pillars! It is a two-hour route that is incredibly worthwhile. You can find route details on the National Park website (Route Number 6).
With endless options, you have the chance to plan your own route to follow depending on preference and stamina. However, you can also take part in organized daily trips held by the Mountaineering Clubs of Athens and Acharnai.
On the east slopes of Parnitha and close to the stone church of Agia Triada there is situated the beautiful Lake Beletsi. It is an artificial lake, created by accident almost 40 years ago when the water of an already existing well was clogged after a road opening. It took its name from the mountain top rising above it. Its unofficial name is kithara (guitar) due to its shape.
You can get to Lake Beletsi by taking the exit Varimpopi from the National Road or, alternatively, from Tatoi through Katsimidi following the signs to Hippokrateios Politeia. This road, which is among the first road constructions performed by the Koumoundouros Governments, was constructed in 1876 as the stone inscriptions indicate.
A visit to the beautiful landscape of Tatoi and the wider Parnitha region could not end better than in a warm and cozy refuge. There are two well-organized mountain refuges in the area, Bafi (run by EOS Athinon) and Flambouri which complete the experience of a nature escape.
At an altitude of 3800 feet, Bafi and Flambouri are ideal spots to take a break, enjoy warm chocolate or taste traditional home-cooked food. Both refuges also offers accommodation options, perfect to recharge batteries for a second round of adventure! In fact, some of the activities organized by the Bafi refuge are hiking, night hiking, mountain bike trips and a speleology (exploration of caves) experience at Pana’s cave.