Lycabettus Hill, Athens
Athens abounds with hills, and many are so barren they surge upwards and unpopulated out of the cityscape. Of all these hills, the standout is Mount Lycabettus, rising like a limestone fist from below. Its base is think with pine forest, and at its summit stands the whitewashed chapel of Saint George. The twin peaks at the top of Mount Lycabettus can be reached with the help of a funicular, which climbs up from the suburb of Kolonaki.
Mythologically the hill was created by Athena, when she accidentally dropped the limestone mountain she had planned for the Acropolis. The name itself is of legend, drawn from the Greek word for wolves "lycos", after the wolves that were believed to have stalked its forested paths.
There are seven hills in Athens, the Acropolis is the most famous but Lycabettus is the tallest one.
Oh, what sweet memories I have from this hill! I used to live in close distance so many times I went up there just for the sunset over the city. Don’t miss the chance and spend some hours to visit the hill. You can climp the stairs and follow the path from top of Ploutarchou street, I always walk up even during high heat, from Evangelismos station it’s 8-10’ to the periphery road and then you just follow the path to the top (about 15-20’ more). There are benches along the way to make a break and enjoy the view (pic 5).
But most visitors (non greeks) take the funicular from the upper edge of Ploutarchou street in Kolonaki(15’ walk from Syntagma or take metro Evaggelismos metro station). The funicular was built in 1965, runs daily 9.00am-01.00am and the return ticket costs 7euros. Each vagon can host 34 people and the ride takes only 3’ but it runs through a tunnel so don’t expect any view during the ride.
The hill that goes up to 277m above sea level (or 227m above the city) and is great for wonderful views over the city of Athens (and Acropolis of course) and on a clear day you can see far away to the sea!
According to greek mythology Lycabettus was a rock that Athena (goddess of wisdom and justice) carried with but it dropped off her hands when a crow brought her bad news, since then crows became black! Lycos in greek means wolf so many claim it was named because there were wolves living here.
It is also a nice spot for concerts because there is an open air amphitheatre where many artists give performances every year (I have seen Ray Davies, Paco de Lucia, Nick Cave, Dream Theater, Blackmore’s Night and so many others…) You can see it at the back side of my first photo
At the top you can visit the chapel of Agios Georgios (built in the 19th century over a previus byzantine church Profitis Ilias). It’s an one-aisle basilica dedicated to St.George, his figure can be seen in more than one icons inside. Pic 4 is an aerial photo I took this morning along with some of the interior (the old lady that was cleaning the church wasn’t very happy about this)
There is also a restaurant/café on your way up. If you see Lycabetus hill from a distance during the night you will notice the lights on it but it’s also nice during the day because it’s covered with pine trees. The hill can be seen from numerous corners in Athens but one of my favorite ones is its mirror on a modern building (pic 2) opposide Academy of Athens at Panepistiou street (5’ walk from Syntagma)
And a small video from my last visit here:
Address: city center
Directions: Walk up the hill from Kolonaki or use the funicular from Plutarchu street
This is one of the best viewing spots in Athens. As it is the highest point in Athens, you get a bird’s-eye view of the nearby Acropolis and the whole city of Athens. We went during the day, but I think the terrace of the restaurant on the top would be a very good place for a romantic dinner. There is also an open air theatre where performances are pretty regular, so check on events during your stay.
There is a charming, small Chapel of St. George that is worth a visit for the beautiful mosaics and other art inside.
It is possible to walk up the hill, but that wasn’t an appealing option to my 77 year old legs. We took a taxi and the driver did not understand that I wanted to go to the funicular, so he took us as far as cars can go. I was still a very steep and not short hike up the hill. We took the funicular, or “teleferic,” back down.
Almost 1000 feet tall, this is the highest point in Athens and gives a 360 degree view. The ascent is by walking (45 minutes), bus, driving or funicular. At the summit is the 19C Chapel of Agios Georgios which replaces an older building. Nearby stands a military flag where a short sunset ceremony is held daily. Just below the summit is a fine restaurant rand and lower there are cafes and large open air theater used in the summer for popular concerts. On the Eve of Easter, night-time observances are held on the side of the hill.
In a distance the church of St. George (19th century) looks like a fairytale castle perched on top of the hill which is at the highest point of Athens.
It is a pleasant morning or afternoon walk, and I take the pathway from Kolonaki leading up the hill.
The view is breathtaking. Admire the dazzling city of Athens spread out below.
St. George is a very popular church and I cannot believe a tourist would leave the country without climbing out here either with the funicular which is open the whole year round 19 hours daily. Those who love walking can go on foot. Personally I recommend this because you can take several photos on the way up.
The way up is quite easy and pleasant with some benches on the way.
Don’t forget to carry a bottle of water along and avoid going on foot through the park after it gets dark just in case somebody is out there watching.
I have heard of times that persons had been robbed. However it is fun going up the hill in the day time and more pleasant if you have a friend with you.
While visiting St. George on the Lycabettus hill, I dropped by the Saint Isidori little church with the cave and shrine.
It is the little church where we had our wedding ceremony years back and after so many years it was very touchy for me. People were gathering and the bell was ringing while I made my way up the little church in the cave.
This little church is very close to the large parking lot of the Lykabettus theatre. It was a concert night and people were gathering as I was walking towards it. There is a leading sign showing the way.
If out there, do drop by. It is worth visiting!
We arrived Athens at about 2 PM. We headed to the hill to get a general view of the city as we were only staying for 3 nights.
We took the teleferic to go to the top but we took the stairs to get down. The hill has a panoramic view of Athens and the views are just spectacular and like no other!
There is a nice church over there too.
Definitely a must and one of the main highlights of our trip.
Directions: It isn't really easy to get there. The easiest way is to get a taxi.
This is one of the sites in Athens where you get the best view over the city. How do you get up there? Take the metro untill Evangelismos stop, get out and go left untill you see a road on your right, then cross and go up. Continue going straight on untill the steps begins, then you'll have to do 196 of them, fortunatly there are some seats to rest on the way. At the end you find the funicular that will take you up the holl and back for 7€.
The funicular leaves any 30 minuts.
If you do njot want to walk much take a taxi to the funicular.
Reaching this vantage point feels like a pilgrimage in itself!
If you decide to go by metro (and why not - the stations are cool!), come out of the station, turn left and walk about 3 minutes till you see a road on your right. Turn here and keep walking for a good 15 minutes, up this gently sloping road. After a while you'll see the imposing hill, so you'd figure out how to reach it! Then you start climbing these stairs, with some roads running across it at certain intervals. Keep going... it may seem you'll never get there, but persevere!
You'll finally see signs for the funicular! That's when you can breathe a sigh of relief ;-) The frequency of the ride is every 30 minutes, costing 12 EUR per person for the return trip.
Another way (easier, but no fun!) is just taking a taxi right to the top. The route taken will be a winding road reaching the top!
Views from the top are great. Wait for sunset & see the city before you, all lit up. Spot the Parthenon on Acropolis hill, and see if you can tell where the sea port is!
There is a lovely restaurant up here, and a church bell tower.
Directions: From Syntagma take the blue metro line to ****.
Then you walk & walk, and climb & climb till you see the funicular cabin (marked Teleferik).
From the top you will get excellent views of the city, and can clearly see how far Athens spreads.
The Acropolis and other hills stand out like green islands in a sea of concrete, encircled by the distant mountains.
You can get up the hill by using the funicular (which is in a tunnel, so no views from here) or you can walk up. It runs every half and hour or so from Odhis Aristipou (you'll need to climb hill and/or steps to get there).
You could also walk up. There is a snake-like paved path from near the funicular entrance (to the left, as you face the funicular). With hindsight, I should have chosen to take the funicular up and then walked down.
On top of the hill is a restaurant (you have to walk through its patio area from the funicular) and on the very top is the chapel of Ayios Yeoryios. It's whitewashed, and pretty, but not very old........probably dates from the 19th century.
It's worth a wander up the hillif you have the time to spare (and it could be very romantic at night, I suspect) but it was quite busy when I visited in early April. Don't expect to have the summit to yourself!
Directions: Lycavittos Hill. Walk up from Platia Kolonaki (or elsewhere......I took the Metro to Evangelismos and walked from there) or take bus 060 to the funicular.
Athens being hilly, there are several points where you can get superb view of the city. One of them is the Acropolis Hill and the other is Lycabettus Hill, a sharp limestone rock climbing 277 metres above sea level. The birds-eye-view from the top is incredible and covers Mount Parnetha in the north, the Acropolis Hill crowning the city centre and further south all the way to Piraeus and the Saronic Gulf.
Perched on the cliff is the small white church of Agios Georgios, which is beautifully lit in the evening. There’s also the Lycabettus open-air theatre, which hosts various theatrical performances and concerts during the summer, as well as the classy Orizontes café-restaurant where you can have some coffee and enjoy the view. The fastest -and hassle-free- way to reach the top is to take the two-minute ride with the funicular. The starting point is the corner of Kleomenous and Ploutarhou streets in Kolonaki. If you’re set on doing it on foot, it’s best to start from Loukianou street.
In our on-going efforts to always be lost, we thought we were heading up Lycabettus Hill after we came down from the Acropolis. Whereever we were at that time, it was a pleasant walk-about, and it is just as well we were lost, as we found our way to the proper hill as the sun was setting, which is THEE time to attack Lycabettus. For the wimpier bunch (just teasing...), there is the funicular to ride up, but it really is not a difficult walk. The worst part was the 10,000 steps we walked up to get to the base of the hill -- THAT I could have done without (but I sure wasn't going to let on to my daughter!) The trail up winds back and forth, so it is a gentle climb, and provides many opportunities to stop and look over the view. Once you get to the top, there is a gorgeous view of the Acropolis, Athens, and the sea. Again, if you can do it at sunset, you won't regret it. And the walk down is really easy!
Address: Corner of Kleomenous and Ploutarchou Streets
Directions: Take the Metro; Evangelismos exit
Lykabettos is the highest point of Athens. On the top of the hill there is a church, Agios Georgios. On the eve of Easter Sunday there is a candlelit procession that goes down from this church.
From Kolonaki you can go up to Lykabetos Hill. There is a funicular that makes it easier.
Mount Lycabettus is a hill which can be seen from everywhere in Athens. It rises 277 meters above sea level and is the highest point in the city that surrounds it. Pine trees cover its base, and at its peak you may see the 19th century Chapel of St. George.
Lycabettus appears in various legends. Popular stories suggest it was once the refuge of wolves, possibly the origin of its name (which means "the one (the hill) that is walked by wolves"). Mythologically, Lycabettus is credited to Athena, who created it when she dropped a mountain she had been carrying for the construction of the Acropolis after the box holding Erichthonius was opened.
You may watch my high resolution photo of Athens on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 37º 58' 18.48" N 23º 43' 40.65" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Mount Lycabettus.
Lykavittos Hill reaches 910 feet above the city. It is the highest one! You can climb on top on foot or use the funicular (about 5 euro per ride up and down).
Besides the wonderfull view on top you can have lunch or dinner in a cafe. There is also a little white chapel on top that was built on site of the byzantine church in 19th century.
I spent unforgettable couple of hours on the hill...