National Gardens

Price guide: Free

Vas. Amalias Avenue, Athens

Price guide: Free

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By Rachel Howard, your Athens expert

I write for Conde Nast Traveller, .... Read more
#18 of 20
expert-rated things to do in Athens
Expert overall rating:4.2 out of 5
Value for money:
0
N/A
Recommended for:
Backpackers / Students, Couples, Families with younger children, Nature / wildlife, Relaxation

Expert review of National Gardens

Shady, pleasantly shabby park in the centre of town.

Henry Miller once described it as ‘the quintessence of a park’. Hardly true today – the National Gardens are a little rundown. But this is still a welcome burst of shade and greenery in the city centre. Built as the private pleasure grounds of Queen Amalia – whose former palace is now the Parliament building – the park was originally off limits to the hoi polloi. The Queen imported more than 500 species of plants, as well as peacocks, ducks, and turtles. The Mediterranean heat killed off the more exotic plants; but there’s still a small (and depressingly neglected) zoo. Pistachio vendors, portrait painters, and stray cats provide company and entertainment.  

Expert tips: 
The idyllic (but grossly overpriced) café is a lovely spot for an iced coffee.
Evzones (presidential guards) parade in tutus outside the park.

More information on National Gardens:

Price guide:
Free
Type:
National park / nature reserve, Park / garden, Zoo / wildlife park / aquarium
Address:
Vas. Amalias Avenue, Athens
Months open:
All year round
Opening times:
Sunrise to sunset.
Indoor/outdoor?:
Outdoor
Free tags / Keywords:
Park, Zoo, Cafe, Botanical Museum

Have you been to National Gardens? Would you recommended it?