Moni Kaisarianis


Nestled on the lower slope of Mt Hymettos east of the city, this beautiful 11th-century working monastery is maintained as a well-restored archaeological site. The monastery itself is a destination only for serious Byzantine buffs, but its location in the large Kesariani Vyrona Forest, a park popular with hikers and bikers, makes for a nice break from urban Athens.

The walled monastery complex, dotted with cypress trees, has a central court surrounded by a kitchen and dining rooms, the monks' cells and a bathhouse. The domed main church was built atop foundations of an ancient temple, and classical columns support the dome. Most of the preserved frescoes date to the 17th and 18th centuries. Double-check opening hours by telephoning. Dress appropriately for a religious venue.

To reach the park take bus 224 from Plateia Kaningos (at the north end of Akadimias) to the terminus. From here it’s about a 30-minute walk through the park to the monastery.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Athens attractions

1. Koutouki Cave

1.99 MILES

This cave is not particularly large, but the winding path goes past some interesting formations and the whole place is tinged rust-red from iron deposits…

2. National Sculpture & Art Gallery

2.09 MILES

While the National Gallery is being rebuilt, a small portion of the collection is on display at the National Sculpture Gallery, in the former royal…

3. Vorres Museum

2.79 MILES

This hodgepodge of a museum is set on a rambling 32-hectare estate, once the home of Ion Vorres. Vorres migrated to Canada as a young man, but built his…

4. National Gallery

2.84 MILES

Greece’s national art museum has been closed since 2013 for rebuilding; it's not set to be completed until around 2022. In the meantime, a portion of the…

5. The Runner

2.86 MILES

Thousands of jagged sheets of glass piled on top of each other create the dynamic shape of this striking sculpture of what really does appear to be a…

6. War Museum

3.03 MILES

This relic of the junta years is a stark architectural statement of the times. But its displays of weapons, maps, armour and models from the Mycenaean…

7. Byzantine & Christian Museum

3.05 MILES

This outstanding museum, based in the 1848 Villa Ilissia, offers exhibition halls, most of them underground, crammed with religious art. The exhibits go…

8. Hellenic Children’s Museum

3.06 MILES

At this centre, activities encourage children's development and engage the imagination. Exhibits are in Greek only; some activities are suitable for non…