An Oasis of Greenery in the Heart of Athens
Located next door to the Parliamentary Building and the Tomb of the Unknown soldier in Syntagma Square are the National Gardens, (or Royal Gardens as they are also known).
These beautiful gardens provide welcome shade, and relief from the mayhem of central Athens, especially in terms of traffic, noise and general summer heat. With areas of green not commonplace in Athens, these gardens are a godsend, and many people view them as one of the gems of Athens.
The parks offer much needed shade from the summer sun with the huge palm trees and other plants, and many Athenians as well as visitors to the city head here to relax during the afternoons for some peace and quiet, as well as a quick nap. Once inside the parks, you would really struggle to believe that you were in the centre of Athens, amongst the chaos of everyday life.
The parks and gardens that make up this oasis of greenery and peace include some of the private parks and gardens that belonged to the nobility of the city. Combined together, they offer visitors a wonderful place to wander around for a stroll, as well as several other sections like the botanic gardens and small zoo, where adults and children alike can enjoy themselves and relax.
Creation of the National Gardens
The National Gardens and the Botanical Museum were created in the 1840s, under the direction of Queen Amalia, the wife of Otto, the first King of Greece. The gardens were developed in combination with the Royal Palace, which was near completion at the time.
During the development of the gardens, thousands of plants were brought by cart from all over Greece, as well as from as far as Italy. Workers at the time, planted and landscaped the gardens, and today remain as the gardens were originally planned. When the gardens were being developed, several Roman antiquities were found amongst the land, and these can also be seen today around parts of the gardens.
Inside the gardens you can find a large duck pond, literally brimming with ducks, whose population has increased dramatically over the years. And with such beautiful surroundings, who could argue with the ducks wanting to live here permanently. Sitting around the duck pond, relaxing in the shade and watching the birds is a very relaxing way to spend a lazy afternoon.
There is also a small zoo inside the gardens, but don't expect to see any elephants or giraffes here. Mainly you will see a huge variety of birds, goats and monkeys. However, though this may not be a zoo in the sense most of us think of a zoo, it is quite a unique distraction, especially for the kids.
Botanical Museum and Garden
The National Gardens cover an area of approximately 40 acres. The Botanical Museum in the gardens was previously a small pavilion. Today, you can wonder amongst the plants and other wildlife, as well as seeing some works of art such as photographs, drawings and drawings.
There is also a children's library nearby where you can find a selection of games and books in various languages. For the children, there is also a small play area where the kids can play amongst themselves, leaving the adults to relax for a brief moment. For a drink or light snack, there is also a cafe in the gardens.
Map of the Athens National Gardens
Below you will find a map which shows the location of the National Gardens in Athens. Click on the map image below to load the Google map.
National Gardens Opening Hours:
From sunrise to sunset.
National Gardens Entrance Fee/Ticket:
No Admission Fee
The National Gardens are located in the heart of Athens next door to Syntagma Square. There are entrances to the gardens on Amalias Avenue, Vassilissis Sofias Avenue and from the Zappeion Megaron.
Top Sights in Athens
- Ancient Agora
- Areopagus (Hill of Ares)
- Athenian Trilogy
- Filopappou Hill
- First Cemetery of Athens
- Hadrian's Arch
- Hadrian's Library
- Hill of the Nymphs
- Kerameikos Cemetery
- Lycabettus Hill
- Lysicrates Monument
- National Gardens
- Panathenaic Stadium
- Roman Agora
- Syntagma Square
- Temple of Olympian Zeus
- Tower of the Winds