Friday, 12 July 2013

Athens Kifisia Greenspace Running Route

Click here for route map
Length 5 km (3.1 miles), terrain: light hills (62 meter gain)

NOTE: Try running in the early mornings to beat the heat.

Athens Routes List:
Athens Kifisia Greenspace Run
Athens Kifisia Scenic Loop
Athens Ancient Sights Run

For more running routes, see the Route List

Kifisia is such a pleasant area, with tree-lined streets and nice houses everywhere. But the sidewalks are narrow and are often blocked by trees and cars. So if you want to get out into some open space with a lot of nature and wide trails, try this route. It seems to be the most popular place to run or walk in town.
In the grounds: nice getaway!
We will be running through the Institute of Agricultural Sciences property along Kifisia Avenue at the south end of town, across from Kat Hospital. The property is full of a network of trails, and it is a wooded paradise.

We'll start the route in a central location, at the Kifisia metro station, with beautiful Kifisia Square across the street.
At Kafisia Station: run that way!
With your back turned to the station, turn right and run south along Grigoriou Lampraki Street. You'll go uphill a bit, then the street curves to the left, past a church and some apartments. This street has a moderate amount of traffic.

You will run past a big open lot on the right just before coming to Kifisia Avenue.
Entering Kafisia Avenue
At Kifisia Avenue, cross the street at the crosswalk and turn right to run south. This is a loud street, but we only have to run down it for about 200 meters.

As soon as you see the entrance for the Institue of Agricultural Sciences, turn left and run up the driveway past the gate-house. The whole institute seems to be abandoned, and is only used by runners and walkers, as far as I can see.
The Institute entrance: turn left here
Just past the gate-house, turn right to run on the sidewalk along the building. Just past the building, you will be in the institute's wooded grounds. With every step, the traffic noise will get softer.

There is a huge network of trails in there, and all of them are unmarked. So, it is really hard to explain exactly where/when to turn. The idea is to do a clockwise loop of the grounds, which are about a kilometer wide and a kilometer long.

Note down where the sun is located. If you are running in the morning, the best time to do this route, you will be running towards the sun in the east at the beginning.

At first, follow the paved path as it curves to the right behind the institute building, going past the agave plants.
Turn left here at the red fire hydrant
Then basically follow the left-branch that heads east at the red fire hydrant, which soon turns into a gravel trail.

Many other trails will branch out to both sides, but just keep heading east on the main trail. You are heading through small pine trees and bushes, going across a small valley.
Trail in the institute grounds
It will end after a while, where you turn right and then follow the new path as it curves back east again.

Eventually, if you managed to follow the same trail as me, you will come to a spot with some buildings behind a stone wall to the right.
Turn right here, at the wall and buildings
Turn right here and run southwest along this edge of the grounds. There are apartment buildings lining the other side of the wall, and you will be in an olive grove.

When you almost reach the southern edge of the grounds (apartment buildings in front of you), turn right and head back towards the western edge, along Kifisia Avenue. The traffic will be audible again.
The southern limit of the run: turn right here
Before you get too close to the loud street, turn right and head back northeast towards the entrance, where you entered earlier. You will be going uphill through this section.

Once you are on the paved path, you will soon see the agave plants again, where you turn left and exit the grounds.

Now just follow the same way back to the train station as you came.

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