Parnitha is the perfect place for nature and hiking lovers, herb collectors and gambling fans. Everybody finds something interesting on Parnitha Mountain, which is the highest mountain in Attica (1.400 m) and one of the most beautiful in Greece.
It is located 30 km NW of Athens and in its vast and full of pine trees National Park, which extends over 300 sq. m., live 30 mammal species (deer, rabbits, foxes etc), 120 bird species (many of which are endemic) and 800 different plant and herb species (covering 17% of country's flora); what is more, over 800 kinds of herbs and plants grow on it, which accounts for 17% of the flora of Greece. Visitors can walk through this park and explore the area and its several small caves.
Ancient Greeks believed that the cloven-hoof god Pan used to come here to play his flute and dance in the forest. Parnitha was first inhabited during the Mycenean Period and was always a key point area for Attica’s defense. There are also many beautiful churches and monasteries to see here such as Aghia Triada, Kleiston Monastery, Aghios Kiprianos Monastery etc.
Walk on hundreds of footpaths, take a mountain bike ride on a designated trail in the area of Agios Merkourios, explore dozens of small caves and visit a lot of beautiful churches and monasteries (Agia Triada, Moni Kleiston, Moni Agiou Kyprianou etc). At the location Bafi and Flambouri (alt. 1,158 m.), two mountain refuges operate with a capacity of 50 persons each. The mountain attracts climbing fans (locations “Arma”,”Katebasma Gouras”, “Flambouri”, “Korakofolia” and “Megalo Armeni”).
Moreover, one can visit the luxury hotel “Mont Parnes” and challenge their luck in the casino.
Filis Fortress. It is located in the west slopes of the mountain at an altitude of 687 m. It was built in the 4th century B.C. in a critical position (on the ruins of an older fortress) and with a great view of the area. In the SE part of the fortress along the way that led to Athens, you can still see marks of carriage wheels on the rocks.
Panos Cave. It is close to Filis Fortress and is only accessible through a gorge, by climbing on a slope which is difficult to approach. It took its name from the worship of Nymph and Pan. Archeologists found 2.000 oil lamps in it. It has two rooms and a rich decoration of stalagmites and stalactites, while the rocks around the cave have holes where people used to put their votive offerings.
“Mont Parnes” Casino. The casino is open 24/7. A formal outfit and a valid passport are required in order to enter the casino.
How to go there. If you go by car, follow Athens-Lamia National Road and turn left to Parnitha exit. The road that leads to the top has many turns but the route is amazing. If you do not want to take your car to the top, you can live it on the mountain foot and take the cable car.