My family loves being outdoors. We are nature enthusiasts and Greece has so much to offer if we need some vitamin ‘N’. To find nature in Greece you do not have to leave the city very far behind. There are many places around Athens to find the green. I wrote about Varnavas picnic paradise near Kapandriti a while ago. Another one of our favourites is Mount Parnitha. And more specific; Tatoi King’s Estate. This is where we go when we want to walk, climb in trees, play in mud puddles, admire nature and fantasize about the past.
Tatoi King Estate in Athens is the (now empty) summer residence of the former Greek Royal Family. It is also the birthplace of King George II of Greece. It’s ancient and current official name is Dekelea. It can be found on the east-facing slopes of Mount Parnitha at 27 km distance from the Athens city centre. The mountain is densely wooded and there are many walking and riding paths in the woods as well as large open grass areas. These open areas have picnic tables and swings!
Our most recent visit to Tatoi was in February of 2016. We parked our car near the palace (it is easy to park near the estate on the Tatoiou Ave towards Parnitha) and climbed up the hills towards the main open area. Just this walk up the hill was an adventure full of nature’s treasures. At the open grass area near the stables and service houses, we saw the cows on the estate and we had a picnic stop.
We continued our walk towards the main palace and stopped for the swings. At some parts of the park, we felt that we were in Switzerland instead of in Greece. The landscape is amazingly unspoiled and inviting for all sorts of activities.
The abandoned royal buildings are still fascinating. Watching the former landscaped gardens with the statues and fountain, we imagined fairy tale like garden parties and festive summer nights happening.
There is plenty to learn on Tatoi. You can follow the walking routes finding your own way. There are special plants and trees along the walking paths with signs explaining what species they are. There are also some farm animals that walk around freely. Some parts of the park are accessible by bike. My 3 year old walked the whole estate for hours. But you can also use a stroller on the walking paths.
Tatoi offers a free family quality day out for all ages in exciting outdoor surroundings.