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Mountains
Parnitha National Park
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Mount Parnitha is a mountain range in Attica Prefecture, 30km far from Athens and it covers an area of 300.000 acres. The central mountain has been declared a National Park; its core covers an area of 38.000 acres and the surrounding zone is 212.000 acres. It is one of the 234 greek areas that belong to Natura 2000 network and one of the most significant biotopes for bird species. The Greek Ministry of Agriculture has officially identified the area as a place of unique natural beauty.

The tremendous fire that burst in 2007 changed radically the Park since 37.000 acres of forest were burnt down. As a result 16 protected zones were set in the area by a Presidential Decree.

 

Geography

Parnitha National Park has got a unique and rough geomorphology. It is composed by an extensively large mountain range with many peaks that exceed the 1000m in height. The area consists of sedimentary rocks mainly slates (at the gorges and the valleys) and lime stones (at the peaks). The area’s geology favors the springs’ creation. There have been recorded 45 springs of continuous flow, the most known of which are Kithara and Agia Triada. Although no rivers cross the park, there are many streams like Agia Triada, Houni and others. Finally, there are many caverns and chasms mainly at the west and southwest part.

 

Flora and Fauna

Parnitha hosts more than 1100 plant species. Its biggest part is covered in fir and pine trees. Other plants that grow here are: pines, planes, walnuts, willows, yews, wild roses, black pines, arbutuses, myrtles, phryganic vegetation and many more. There has been recorded a rich variety of wild flowers too, such as cyclamens, peony violets while its red tulip, white peony and red lily are rare endemic species. The area is known for the numerous mushrooms and the fine tea variety that grows here. In a nutsell, the vegetation is divided into three zones; the lower with phrygans, low bushes and pine trees forest, the middle with pine and fir trees and the upper (at the mountain peaks) with bushes and herbs.

Parnitha National Park is significant for the fauna species that live here too. There have been recorded 42 mammal species like badgers, squirrels, jackals, foxes, hares and the known European red deer. Moreover the area is a natural habitat for various invertebrates (amphibians and reptiles) and many bird species such as short toed eagles, golden eagles, hawks, vultures, eagle owls, owls, blackbirds and rock partridges. These are only few of the 131 bird species that fly at the sky of Parnitha.

The National Park hosted many more species which have been extinct due to human activity. Among them were the grizzly wolf, the brown bear and many roes.

 

Recreational Activities

Visitors can enjoy various activities in the core and the wider area of Parnitha National Park to familiarize with the mountain, the springs, the gorges and the forests.

Two Mountaineering Clubs have created an extensive paths’ network that covers the entire mountain. Moreover they have created a series of special areas where amateurs and more experienced climbers can practice their favorite hobby. For further information on the paths and the climbing spots contact these two local Mountaineering Clubs.

Mountain Bike is another lovely sport that visitors can enjoy through a network of bicycle paths (a heritage of the 2004 Olympic Games). The most interesting route is Metohi- St Georgios- Tamilthi.

 

National Park’s Regulations

On top to any industrial and settling activities, many others are not allowed inside the boundaries of Parnitha National Park. There have been developed only mild financial enterprises that belong to the primary section (stock breeding, agriculture, forestry, etc) with only exception the operation of the Casino in Parnitha.

Whoever wishes to visit the Park mind that fire lighting, trees cutting, plants uprooting, hunting, camping, stock breeding and other are not allowed in the core area. Offenders will be punished according to the law regulations. The Forest Service in Parnitha provides any information to visitors.

 

Accommodation

Visitors of Parnitha National Park have got 3 accommodation options; either in the luxurious Hotel Regency Casino Mont Parnes or in one of the two mountaineering shelters (Bafi and Flambouri).

 

How to reach the area

On a private vehicle you can approach the area easily from many spots of the Park’s peripheral zone. In order to reach the Park’s core, follow the road Metohi-Agia Triada or take the cable car railway that reaches the Casino.

The urban bus 714 (Vathis square-Parnitha) can take you to the National Park. Monday-Friday it stops to the cable car railway whereas at weekends it reaches the Casino.

 

Useful numbers

Forest Service: +30 2102434061-3, E-mail: daspar@otenet.gr

Casino: +30 2102421234

Bafi: +30 2102469050, +30 2102403556, mob. : +30 6973407471

Flambouri: +30 2102464666, +30 2116875018, mob. : +30 6972256215

Athens Mountaineering Club: +30 2103238706

Acharnes Mountaineering Club: +30 2102464666

Casino (Longitude: 23° 44΄12΄΄, latitude: 38° 09΄07΄΄)

Bafi (Longitude: 23° 43΄37΄΄, latitude: 38° 10΄03΄΄)

Flambouri (Longitude: 23° 44΄48΄΄, latitude: 38° 09΄41΄΄)

Cable Car Railway (Longitude: 23° 44΄28΄΄, latitude: 38° 08΄14΄΄)