Athens National Garden

Location: Syntagma

The National Garden in Athens: Right in the heart of Athens, between Syntagma Square and the Panathenaic Stadium, lies the famous National Garden, a beautiful area to escape the noisy city center and relax in a lush environment. It is almost unbelievable that such an enticing garden is situated among the busiest avenues of the city yet remains so well-protected from noise.

The garden covers a vast area of about 16 hectares. It is situated on the north of Syntagma Square, right next to the Hellenic Parliament.

The National Garden was created between 1838 and 1840 by order of Queen Amalia, the wife of King Otto and the first queen of Greece. The German agronomist Frederick Schmidt was responsible for its planting. He imported more than 500 plant species from Greece and around the world, including many tropical plants. Unfortunately, with the passage of time, some of these plants didn't survive the Mediterranean climate, but those who have survived, create a lovely environment to relax.
The most impressive plants of the garden are the Washingtonias (the impressive palm trees named after the US President George Washington), the Chinese trees of heaven, the eucalyptus and casuarina trees originating from Australia, the pokeweeds originating from South America and the false peppers from Central America.

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More information about the National Garden

Initially, it was named Royal Garden because it was fenced and only the royal family had the right to walk there. The people were only allowed to stroll around in Zappeion, another small park next to the Royal Garden. However, after the restoration of democracy in Greece in 1975, the park was named National Garden and became open to the public. Today, it welcomes guests from sunrise to sunset.

The National Garden stands out for the narrow labyrinth paths, the wooden benches and the small lakes in between its areas. It hosts a small zoo (with wild goats, peacocks, chickens, and other animals), a Botanical Museum, a children's library, a playground, and an open coffee shop. The duck pond is particularly popular, as visitors can throw bread and food leftovers for the ducks.

Henry Miller has written for the National Garden of Athens in The Colossus of Maroussi (1939):

[...] That first night I walked in fascination around the Zappeion. It remains in my memory like no other park that I know of. It's the quintessence of the park, that thing you feel sometimes when you look at a painting and or dream of a place you'd like to be and never find it. [...]

Don't skip reading our blog post!
National Gardens: Athens’ green secret

How to get there

There are many ways to reach the National Garden from any location in Athens.

Tours: Discover the National Garden with an organized tour.

Private transfers: We recommend using an online pre-booked transfer service, which provides transfer by taxi, minibus, or private VIP car and arranging a pickup directly from the port, airport, or your hotel. Alternatively, there’s the option of arranging a pickup by a local driver directly at the following numbers: (0030) 18288, (0030) 18222, (0030) 18180. You can also book your taxi online.

On foot: As the National Garden is located in a central area of Athens, it can be easily reached on foot from Syntagma Square in approximately 2 minutes.

By metro: The closest metro station is Syntagma (Red Line and Blue Line). Get a map of the metro here.

By bus/trolleybus: The closest bus stop is “Syntagma”. There are many buses and trolleybuses that make a stop there. Check the routes and the official timetables on OASA Telematics.

By tram: The closest tram stop is Syntagma (Route 6, Syntagma-Pikrodafni). Get a map of the tram here.

Map

Reviews

4/5.0
1 Reviews
  • vanessa44 04 Feb 2011
    Magnificent garden
    The National Garden is one of the most fresh and shadowy places that you can find in the center of Athens, filled with lush greenery, colorful flowers and several species of birds. We spent half a day walking around and exploring this magnificent environment and I noticed two lakes with ducks and a small zoo with many children around it.

    Next to the zoo there is a lovely coffee shop called "The Garden". I ordered a cool drink and sat in one of these small tables that fit only two people and enjoyed the magic, almost divine atmosphere. It's strange to think that this place is actually in the heart of Athens. Even the air you breathe is different.

    After an hour or so, I continued my wondering and saw some ancient monuments and mosaics. In the north side of the garden you will find busts of great Greek poets. You can spend many hours wondering around especially if you like a nature lover. If you sit somewhere near the ducks, they will approach you to ask for food.

    The Garden is open for the public till sunset. A nice spot to relax in between the sightseeings and right next to the impressive building of Zappio.

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