What’s the best way to get an overview of a city – find a vantage point! Fortunately, Athens has a city mountain, the Lycabettus, which is simply wonderful for this.
At 277 metres, Lycabettus is the highest elevation in the centre of Athens. Greek mythology reports that Athena brought this mountain to the city to build a protective wall for the Acropolis. She found a suitable place and dropped the mountain there. Could have been like that or… the legend is believed that the goddess Athena carried a boulder of the Penteli mountain into the city to build her acropolis. At the same time she carried the infant Arechtheas on her back and half the mountain fell to the ground. The Lycabettus was born. Today, in any case, the Lycabettus is a popular viewpoint in Athens.
How do I get to the Lycabettus?
There are 2 ½ ways to get to the top of the mountain.
The ½ way does not go all the way to the highest point of the mountain. If you are travelling by car, there is a fairly large car park a little below – about halfway up. From there, you have to climb further on foot.
The most beautiful path is definitely the footpath up to the summit. Thanks to a law that prohibits any building on the hill, the slopes of Lycabettus are still lined with pine trees in which countless bird species nest. The path leads steeply uphill through a forest, partly with some steps, and you need some stamina to reach the top. From time to time there are viewpoints from which you get your first impressions of Athens. You can already see the Acropolis, the ancient Olympic Stadium and the port of Piraeus and can imagine how beautiful the view must be from the top.
Those who are not so good on foot have the option of taking the funicular up the mountain. The lower station is at the corner of Ploutarchou and Aristipou streets.
Tickets are available directly on site. If you want to pay by card, you can buy tickets at a vending machine. We paid €10 per person for the ascent and descent (as of 2023). Of course, it is also possible to buy individual rides.
The ride was not very spectacular, as it leads through a tunnel the whole time.
Only the oncoming train was visible during the short ride. Those hoping for a beautiful view should rather walk. We found it quite pleasant to ride up because of the heat. Although we also had a ticket for the downhill ride, we spontaneously decided to walk down to the valley.
Reached the top
Finally arriving at the summit, we get off the funicular and leave the mountain station.
Stairs lead us through the outside area of the restaurant. A quick glance at the menu tells us that if you want to eat here, you pay the “local bonus”. The food is a lot more expensive than in the small restaurants in town. On the other hand, there are some seats with a fantastic view, where other visitors don’t constantly walk past and you can sit in peace.
Arriving at the viewing terrace, we first stand in front of the small Saint George’s Chapel with its freestanding bell tower. A cute little church that you can also visit from the inside.
Even though there were not so many tourists in the city in May, I found it quite crowded on the viewing platform. I had previously read in many reports that the Lycabettus is one of the less crowded tourist spots in the city. Okay, against the crowds on the Acropolis this may be true, but the size of the visitors’ terrace is rather small and fills up more with each arrival of the funicular. To get to the very front of the viewing platform, for an unobstructed view of the city, I needed some patience. But it was worth it!
The visibility was quite good and the view over the greater Athens area impressive. What a sea of white houses and what a maze of streets! I had not imagined the city to be this big.
You can’t miss the Acropolis! What a beautiful view of the city’s most famous building. With our camera, we were able to get a little closer to the temple complex and even spot the countless visitors there.
When we changed our line of sight a little from the Lycabettus, I spot the Pan-Athenian Stadium, where the Olympic Games were once held.
In the background I could even see ships on the Saronic Gulf. If the view is really good, you should even be able to see the island of Aegina.
It was definitely worth it to visit the Athens City Hill. The view is unique!
Those who like it a little quieter should climb the mountain in the early morning hours or at dusk. Nature with its birdsong and chirping cicadas is wonderfully relaxing, and the viewing platform is also a little quieter at this time. The view over Athens at this time is simply beautiful!