National Gardens

Top choice gardens in Mets & Pangrati

The former royal gardens, designed by Queen Amalia in 1838, are a pleasantly unkempt park that makes a welcome shady refuge from summer heat and traffic. Tucked among the trees are a cafe, a playground, turtle and duck ponds, and a tiny (if slightly dispiriting) zoo. The main entrance is on Leoforos Vasilissis Sofias, south of parliament; you can also enter from Irodou Attikou to the east, or from the adjacent Zappeio Gardens to the south.

On the east side of the park, along Irodou Attikou, are guardhouses staffed by evzones, the traditionally dressed Greek soldiers who can also be seen at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in front of parliament. It's interesting to see them here, just around the corner, carrying out their rituals alone and away from tourist cameras.