If you are looking for an unspoilt, fertile, historical, small settlement near Athens and Athens International Airport at Spata, then you will be spoilt for choice in Vravrona East Attica. Vravrona is considered part of the Attica Riviera.
There are many things to do in Vravrona Greece and visit:
- an impressive archaeological site & its museum
- a 5th c Christian Basilica & the 15th c 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 have a tasteful meal at a Greek traditional 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 12 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, the 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 realised 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.
Ancient Literature Note: Euripides, an ancient Greek play writer, wrote “Iphigenia In Aulis” tragedy play in 410 BC. You can find a full translation in English of the Iphigenia in Aulis here.
Vravrona 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 with a Π – shaped portico
- 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 religious 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 birds 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. For more details on birds in Vravrona visit the website Greece Birds Tours here.
The Settlement of Vravrona is very close to Aegean seawaters and its surrounding countryside is very fertile and green laden with vineyards, pistachio trees, pine trees and olive orchards.
The whole area of Vravrona is a charming place, ideal to stroll and explore all its cultural and natural abundance.
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.
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.
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.
After the church walk for about 1 more km and you will get to the sandy beach of Small Chamolia, a remote, unorganised beach surrounded by a small series of pine trees that offer their shadow especially in the hot summer months. You can have a 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 is there in Vravrona?
There are the two pretty neighbouring 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.
Small Island Vraona
On Vravrona seaside, right across the Nautical School of Vravrona lies the picturesque islet Vraona surrounded by wonderful green clear waters. There is the tiny little church of St. Alexander and an even smaller windmill on the islet. On its backside, there is a small beach.
Frankish Tower of Vravrona
coordinates: 37.913794, 23.956809 at 84 m above sea level
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 were 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 tower has 3 floors and a roof with 18 ramparts. On the hill around the tower were also excavated findings dating back from prehistoric times.
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
Stunning Photographic Album of the Vravrona Tower can be found on a personal blog here
Cave Koutouki Paiania
Cave Koutouki is the most impressive and 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 were 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.
Photographic Album of the interior of the cave can be found on the pdf from Georgios Primpas here.
Today the visit is made from an artificial entrance that was built to facilitate access. It is open every day from 8.30 am-14.30 pm with an entrance fee of €2 or reduced at €1.
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 is there in east and south Attica?
- The Sounion Cape with the Temple of Poseidon and watch the stunning sunset from there or book a private 5-hour tour here (Olive Sea travel) with pick-up and drop-off service included
- The Marathon Lake, the Dam and the archaeological site of Marathon or book a private tour here organised by Olive Sea travel with pick-up and drop-off service included
- 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 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 of thumb, fresh fish, seafood and vegetables are a great choice for seaside areas like Vravrona.
After your full day of delightful wanderings in the Athenian countryside, you can indulge yourself in one of the recommended by TripAdvisor website on Vravrona taverns.
What to wear in Vravrona
What you will be wearing during your visit to Vravrona, highly depends on the time of the year and on how many of the activities you will get involved in.
Some of the garments that I really like myself wearing are:
- Gorgeous german swimsuit, you can see it on the Ulla Popken site here or a bikini here
- A cool white cotton shirt with a cat cartoon, you can see it on the Newchic site here
- A casual cotton loose tank (I prefer it in white), you can see it on the Newchic site here
- Ultra-comfortable Viakix hiking sandals, you can see them on the Amazon site here
- And lastly, for your sun protection, a cute wide-brimmed hat found on the Amazon site here
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 there are buses 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.
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:
- Markella’s House, an independent charming house offering breakfast
- Hotel Dolce Athens Attica Riviera
- Artemida Hotel, Seasabelle Hotel near Athens Airport
- Savva’s Surf House Artemida
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