Boasting countless places of archaeological and cultural interest, Attica does indeed get points for being so compact practically spoiling visitors for choice. Schinias, a reserve of great natural beauty, stands out as the jewel in the crown. At just 45 kilometres from Athens, the 1380-hectare coastal reserve is part of the Natura 2000 network and comprises six ecosystems bound together by the all-encompassing force of water, in its fascinating journey from the springs to the sea, through an elaborate system of streams, small ponds, and marshes.
Apart from the once-in-a-lifetime experience of roaming the actual grounds of the Battle of Marathon, the coexistence of different ecosystems ensures that visitors get the unique chance to admire biodiversity in all its magnificence. The pine forest on the dunes between the wetland and the sea; the junipers and rare endemic flowers on the almost virgin peninsula of Kynosoura; the ponds formed by the Makaria spring; the endangered bird species nesting among the reeds in the flooding marshes of the wetland; the orchid and water birds of the Lake Stromi; and the underwater meadows of Posidonia in the bay of Schinias are only some of the highlights. And, even though a pilgrimage to such marvels is a standalone reason for visiting the site, activities around the reserve also include bird watching, swimming, and water sports.
Olympic Rowing Center
Built for the 2004 Athens Olympics, the Center hosted all the rowing events of the Games. With an overall length of almost 2,250 metres and a capacity of 14,000 spectators, it is one of the most typical examples of growth effort in the midst of crisis. In the aftermath of the Olympics, it was one of the many purpose-built facilities to fall into disuse with the sole exception of rowing and kayaking championships, or periods of use as training grounds for Greek national teams.
However, March 2011 saw the dawn of a new era for the Center, as the Marathon Rowing Kayaking Academy was created in order to promote these sports in the wider region of Attica, and make the most of the state-of-the-art premises.
Benefiting from a premium location within the National Reserve at Schinias, the development now includes accommodation options, a restaurant, and fitness facilities, so as to provide an inclusive package of services to visiting athletes and teams, while the grounds are also used for other sports events, such as the triathlon, swimming, and cycling.