The Wood of Illissia (‘Alsos Illission’) is one of the largest urban parks in Athens and, I would say, one of the least known as well, at least for those who don’t live around this area. It is located in the eastern part of the City of Athens and continues further east to the municipalities of Kaisariani and Zografou. The “University of Athens” and the “National Technical University of Athens” have moved their campuses here, in the easternmost part of the park. The campuses are not open to the public for most of the day (not that there is really anything interesting to see there). Further east they connect with the Ymittos Mountain which enjoys a protected area status.
We decided to take a walk in the main part of Illissia Wood, the one closest to the center of Athens, a few Sundays back, in the midst of the July heat. The park has many entrances, one of which is at the NorthWest edge, right next to the church of Agios Charalambos and Agia Varvara, at the corner of Ionos Dragoumi & Iridanou Streets.
This is clearly a wood, more than a typical urban park, although you will see some attempts at landscaping part of the area, with paved corridors, built benches or water faucets, most of which are functioning (although we chose not to drink from there and instead had some bottled water with us). It is mostly pine, cypress and carob trees that you’ll see; typical Mediterranean vegetation.
The wood seems to be frequented by many dog owners and their four-legged friends. I have noticed this both times I’ve been here: On a weekday morning and during this Sunday afternoon.
There are uphill paths that take you to several clearings in the wood, which provide interesting views to the hills of Athens and the mountains surrounding it.
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