"Parko Illission", aka "Illisia Park", aka "Illissia Wood"

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.
Agios Charalambos and Agia Varvara churches, Illissia Park, Athens, Greece

Illissia Park, Athens, Greece
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.
View towards Ymittos Mountain, east of Athens,  Illissia Park, Athens, Greece
View towards Lykavittos Hill (Athens center)
A couple of playgrounds can be found on the northern border of the wood.
There is no cafeteria or other attraction here, other than the wood itself. It does provice a much welcome relief in the sweltering summer heat but you won't regret having a bottle of water with you in either case. There are two playgrounds at the northern edge: one at the border with Ymittou & Alkaiou Street and another one to the west, inside the park. Even if it looks kind of rough and unwelcoming, the wood seems to be safe and with at least a minimum level of upkeep by the city's services.

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People who stay at one of the nearby hotels (Athens Hilton, Divani Caravel, Best Western Illissia Hotel) might want to take a walk here, if they're longing for a touch of nature in the middle of metro Athens but shouldn't expect to be blown off by the beauty of the place (unless you feel inspired by the photos above!)

It took us about 1 hour to walk around the eastern part of the wood (the one circumscribed by Ionos Dragoumi, Diocharous, Efroniou and Ymittou streets).
Closest Metro Stations: Megaro Moussikis Station (Athens Concert Hall) and Evangelismos Metro Station.

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