Others jumped into cars and battled clogged roadways.
The death toll soared on Tuesday morning with a Red Cross official reporting the discovery of 26 bodies in the courtyard of a villa at the seaside resort of Mati.
Video footage showed inhabitants fleeing the fires by vehicle, with several buildings and homes damaged, as the region of Attica - where Athens is situated - declared a state of emergency.
"I saw the fire move down the hill at around 6:00 pm and five or ten minutes later it was in my garden", said 60-year old Athanasia Oktapodi.
Her home is surrounded by dry pine trees.
A state of emergency was declared in parts of Athens, the country's capital, as coast guard boats headed out in an attempt to rescue dozens of people trapped on beaches by fire.
Fire service spokesperson Stavroula Maliri raised the overall death toll on Tuesday to 74 from an earlier count of 60.
Authorities were trying to evacuate inhabitants, Tzanakopoulos said early Tuesday, while searches for further victims continued.
"I personally saw at least 100 homes in flames", said Evangelos Bournous, mayor of the Rafina-Pikermi area.
As world leaders including Pope Francis pledged their solidarity, Athens said 308 engineers will arrive on site by Wednesday to assess the damage.
"For a tragedy to visit a family in this way must be truly awful", he said.
At least 80 people have died in the flames, with over 200 injured and dozens missing. They lost sight of the shore and became disoriented.
"We are dealing with something completely asymmetric", Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said. He announced three days of national mourning.
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Over the two days, 47 brush and forest fires broke out across Greece, with a lot of them quickly extinguished, the fire department said.
Hundreds of people ran to beaches as gale-force winds fanned the flames.
In the north of the country, more than 300 firefighters, five aircraft and two helicopters were mobilised to tackle the "extremely difficult" situation, Athens fire chief Achille Tzouvaras said.
Firefighters stand on a cliff top where burned trees hug the coastline in Mati east of Athens, Tuesday, July 24, 2018.
Near the town of Marathon, several residents fled to safety along the beach, while some 600 children were evacuated from holiday camps in the area.
Officials raised the possibility the blazes could have been started deliberately by criminals out to ransack abandoned homes.
The cause of the current blaze was not immediately clear and an Athens prosecutor ordered an investigation into it.
Fires in 2007 on the southern island of Evia claimed 77 lives. They are expected to arrive in Athens today.
Sweden is experiencing an unprecedented drought and temperatures have reached their highest in a century.
Meanwhile, in Finland's northernmost Lapland province, fires have ravaged woods and grassland close to the border with Russian Federation.
Norway, which experienced its hottest May temperatures on record, has also seen several small fires.
Other northern European nations have been struggling to contain forest fires as the temperature shows no sign of dropping. "The fire appeared very quickly", Sravrinidis told the AP.