Moni Kaisarianis

Monastery in Athens

Image by Marissa Tejada Lonely Planet

Nestled on the lower slope of Mt Hymettos east of the city, the beautiful 11th-century Moni Kaisarianis is maintained as a well-restored archaeological site. The walled 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.

Although the monastery itself is a destination only for serious Byzantine buffs, its location in a large forest park, popular with hikers and bikers, makes the trip a nice break from city noise and traffic. 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.