8 Reasons to Visit Beautiful Vravrona Archaeological Site in Athens

posted in: Ancient Greece, Athens | 2

Updated January 4th, 2022 by Travel the Greek Way

Vravrona is an unspoiled, fertile, historical, small settlement near Athens and Athens International Airport at Spata.

Vravrona is the natural continuation of the Athens Riviera on the east side of Attika.

There are many things to do in Vravrona Greece:

  • an impressive archaeological site and its museum
  • the 5th century Christian Basilica & the 15th-century church of Saint Georgios
  • an important Natura 2000 protected wetland with Erasinos river
  • an easy but most picturesque 8 km hike by the sea
  • a small island with a tiny church and a minuscule windmill, you can actually swim to
  • the Vravrona Frankish Tower
  • the Koutouki cavern in Paiania village
  • and most importantly have a tasteful meal at a Greek traditional seaside tavern!

Where is Vravrona in Athens?

Vravrona Athens (also known as Brauron, Brauronia) is a small historical settlement and natural seaside paradise, located in the eastern Attika, only 38 km from Athens. Vravrona today is a popular Athens beach resort and one of the beach destinations in Athens.

In ancient times, Vravrona was a sacred area, celebrated on account of the worship of Artemis Brauronia. At the inner end of the bay of Vravrona lies its significant archaeological site and the Temple of Artemis.

Vravrona was one of the 20 original regions that constituted the ancient Athens City – State.

Who was Artemis Brauronia goddess

Artemis, daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo, was the virgin goddess of wild animals, hunt, vegetation, and chastity.

In Vravrona, Artemis Brauronia was also the protectress of pregnant women approaching childbirth, women who had recently given birth, and children. For this reason, women dedicated their expected baby to her, and later also their clothing.

The clothes of women who died in childbirth were dedicated to Iphigenia. But who was Iphigenia?

Iphigenia: Trojan War Sacrifice

According to Greek Mythology, during the Greek army preparations in Avlida city against Troy, the goddess Artemis demanded the sacrifice of Iphigenia to let the Mycenean fleet sail. Iphigenia was Agamemnon’s daughter, the Greek General of the whole army.

Agamemnon, torn between his love for his daughter and his responsibility as a general, lied to his wife that she should send Iphigenia from Mycenae to Avlis to marry her to Achilles. When Achilles realized that he was used and that Iphigenia was going to be sacrificed, he was furious against Agamemnon.

At the time of the sacrifice, Artemis decided to spare Iphigenia’s life, and according to Euripides, she became a priestess of Artemis.

Vravrona Archaeological Site

Vravrona Athens Greece aerial archaeological site
Aerial view of the Archaeological site

The excavations at the Vravrona site have revealed remains of a Mycenean Acropolis (1600-1200 BC) which prove the important Middle Helladic and Mycenaean past of Vravrona.

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Artemis worship in Vravrona dates from the 8th century BC and her sanctuary was built in the 6th c BC. The Temple stopped operating around 3rd c BC when it was buried in mud after heavy floods and the area was generally abandoned.

The most important ancient monuments that you can see today are:

  • The big Doric stoa
  • The Doric temple of Artemis
  • The temple or heroon of Iphigenia
  • The sacred spring, the bridge over the Erasinos river
  • The palaestra and the gymnasium.

Greek Orthodox Christian Churches

The ancient ruins (Mycenean & classical) coexist with the few remains of an ancient Christian basilica of the 5th century, and a small lovely church dedicated to Saint Georgios from the 15th c.

I find the coexistence of various religions in Greek archaeological sites, really fascinating. For instance, in Athens Plaka, the Roman Agora also houses a mosque which has been turned into a museum, and nearby is a Greek Orthodox church.

Vravrona Archaeological Museum

The museum is small but quite remarkable in the sense that it houses magnificent exhibits that were found not only in Vravrona but also in Anavissos, Perati, and other parts of Attica. Among the most exquisite exhibits are the marble heads of girls, statuettes of sitting boys and their toys testify to how they spent their free time in ancient Athens.

The Archaeological Museum of Vravron stands at a distance of 200 meters from the archaeological site.

You can check here the official site of the Greek ministry for the Archaeological sites for ticket and hours of operation information.

Vravrona Wetland and Natural Environment

Vravrona is ideally located in a close-by wetland ecosystem and the Erasinos river, the valuable source of the wetland’s rich biodiversity. Several species of fish, terrapins, snakes, eel, and frogs live in its waters while its reedbeds are nesting sites for 176 local and migrating bird species (Source: Ornithologiki. gr).

As expected, it attracts bird-watchers, thankfully not too many to destroy the peacefulness of the place. Some of the all-year-round breeding species include long-legged Buzzard, Little Owl, Sardinian Warbler.

Hiking Route of Vravrona Bay

The easiest way to hike the area is by starting from the Museum of Vravrona and walking either towards the coast and the Erasinos estuary or to the archaeological site and the main part of the wetland.

Vravrona Greece wetland with trees and small forest hill

After the visit to the Archaeological Site of Vravrona and the adjacent wetland, you continue the dirt road by the sea towards Chamolia. At about 1.3 km the dirt road becomes a trail that ends up in the small settlement of Nea Vravrona.

In Nea Vravrona you walk for 1,5 km on the main road and you find Chamolia’s beach. If you walk the trail during an off-season period, it will be just you, the birds flying high, the odd brave swimmer, and the occasional car or bike passing you by. Blissfully quiet.

Chamolia beach in Vravrona
Chamolia beach

The Chamolia beach has tiny gulfs and nooks, and if it is a sunny day, the sunlight will reflect in the beautiful crystal clear Aegean waters.

On the seaside part, you will come across the Panagia (Holy Mother) Church.

Vravrona sandy beach with Panagia church background

After the church walk for about 1 more km and you will get to the sandy beach of Small Chamolia, a remote, unorganized beach surrounded by a small series of pine trees that offer their shadow especially in the hot summer months.

You can swim here and return to the Vravrona area hiking the seaside this time.

The total round-trip is 8 km, an easy level with only 100 m elevation gain if you visit the nearby hills right across the seaside.

What else can I visit in Vravrona?

There are the two pretty neighboring seaside villages of Artemida (or Loutsa) and Porto Rafti that you can explore.

A bit further from Vravrona, you can find Rafina port for Cyclades Greek islands hopping of Andros, Ios, Tinos, Mykonos, Paros, Santorini, and Heraklion Crete.

Frankish Tower of Vravrona

The Vravrona Tower is easily reachable through the local dirt road. The tower is one of the five still-standing Attica towers which date from the 12th/13th century.

The tower was built by the Franks in the period when the Burgundian family of De LaRoche was the rulers of the Duchy of Athens, in the 13th century.

The towers – vigils were used to warn the inhabitants in case of pirate raids, a frequent possibility in medieval times. The roof of the tower was also used as a control spot for the estate’s cultivated fields and it was probably used as a residence as well.

The Villa Vravrona Tower & Suites is located less than 100 m from the Vravrona Tower with garden and pool suites overlooking the Tower. Check it out in Booking.com here

Cave Koutouki Paiania

Cave Koutouki is the most imposing cave of Athens Attica with a richness of stalactites and stalagmites formation.

It can be found in the Paiania Athens area on the Hymettus mountain at 510 m height and it is a half an hour drive from Vravrona Tower. Paiania was the birthplace of the philosopher Socrates.

The Koutouki cave is at least 2 million years old but was never inhabited by humans or large animals alike because it was hermetically sealed for all those years!

The cave was first discovered in 1926 when a wandering sheep fell in the cave from a ground opening. Thankfully, the sheep wasn’t seriously injured but instead started bleating as loud as its small lungs allowed it, alarming the shepherd who tried to rescue the stressed animal but couldn’t find the entrance of the place.

The shepherd had to ask for help to bring the adventurous sheep back on the ground, and by digging for the entrance the imposing cave was first discovered. According to the local stories, the sheep rescue digging team was astonished by the spectacular cave formations.

The cave features a single huge central chamber, measuring 60 x 60 m., and a passageway of around 350 m. The temperature inside is around 17C.

Today the visit is made from an artificial entrance that was built to facilitate access. It is open every day from 8.30 am-2.30 pm.

How to get to the cave: Better use your own transport as the public bus leaves you 4,5 km far from the cave.

What else can I visit in east and south Attica?

The Sounion Cape with the Temple of Poseidon and watch the stunning sunset.

The Marathon Lake, the Dam, and the archaeological site of Marathon

The Schinias beach and wetland, walk under its pine forest and swim to its endless sandy beach. Schinas is one of my childhood holiday beaches and I have a lot of fond memories from the area.

Seaside Taverns in Vravrona

The restaurants in Vravrona Greece are going to satisfy all your culinary expectations from your Greek vacation. As a general rule, fresh fish, seafood, and vegetable dishes are a great choice for seaside areas like Vravrona.

Would you like to taste affordable Quality Greek Food in the area you live? Check out my Small In-house Quality Shop with deals from the Amazon Store.

How to get to Vravrona

There are many ways to reach Vravrona, from any location in Athens. Athens International Airport is only 15.8 km / 9.8 miles and buses are connecting the airport with Vravrona.

By bus/trolleybus: The closest bus lines are 304, 316, and 323. Check the routes and the official timetables on OASA Telematics.

However, the easiest, fastest, and most convenient way is to rent/use your own car.

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Where to stay in Vravrona

You can stay in a Vravrona beach hotel for an extra day or two. It is a great opportunity to relax in front of your bay hotel under the sun or if you have an explorative mind, you can rent a car and delve into the east Attika region. Some suggested accommodation ideas from Booking.com are:

  • Hotel Dolce Athens Attica Riviera – a fantastic hotel on the Vravrona seaside, with all kinds of amenities, like spa, swimming pool, gym. Enjoy the fine decorated rooms, excellent customer service and the stunning views at the breakfast.

Message from Evgenia

I hope you have enjoyed my post on Vravrona! If you need local help with organizing your visit, please send me an email at info@travelthegreekway.com and I will get back to you with ideas. Until then stay safe and travel the world!
Evgenia
Travel the Greek Way

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2 Responses

  1. Fred

    Not very far from Rafina where I’ve been several times for ferries to Andros. And I had no idea there was so much to do around there!

  2. Evgenia Mataragka

    Hi Fred and thanks for the comment! Indeed Rafina is only 8 km far and I totally agree with you, Vravrona is a hidden gem.