Lycabettus Hill, the highest point in Athens at 277 meters (909 ft), is one that provides the most inspiring panoramic views of the city.
Legend tells us that Athena was carrying this huge boulder to the Acropolis in order to raise her temple of the Parthenon closer to the heavens. However, whilst on her journey with this builder, two blackbirds appeared in the sky, and told Athena that they predicted bad news for her. In a fit of anger, Athina dropped the boulder, and left it where it fell.
Looking along the skyline of Athens, this huge rock does seem slightly out of place, but is one from where visitors to the city can visit to appreciate the stunning views on offer of Athens, stretching out over the sea. On a clear day, one can even see the nearby island of Aegina towards the south.
In ancient times, the position of Lycabettus was considered well outside of the boundaries of Athens. As recently as the 19th century, Athens was merely a cluster of houses around the Acropolis. However, during the last few hundred years, the city has grown considerably, taking in with it, regions as north as Kiffisia, and as south as Piraeus.
During the Ottoman era, Lycabettus was totally deforested. It only recently got back its beautiful cypress and pine trees towards the end of the 19th century. Crowning the summit is the small white washed 19th century chapel of Saint George, which celebrates its name day on the 23rd April. There is also a cafe and restaurant at the top, where you can enjoy a meal or drink, though be prepared that the prices will be slightly higher than similar facilities in the city, though the views on offer here cannot compare to anywhere else in the city.
Getting to the summit of Lycabettus Hill can be either easy or difficult, depending on how adventurous you are feeling. You can reach the top by foot, via the path and entrance on Loukianou Street, though there are other paths which you can ascend from. Though at the beginning, the journey by foot can seem quite easy, be warned that it does not stay this easy for too long.
If planning to walk to the top, remember to wear practical footwear, and also, avoid walking to the top during the peak of the summer heat. Also take a bottle of water or drink with you, as the journey can be quite tiring and physically demanding. It would be best to start your journey after 5pm to avoid the hot summer sun.
Alternatively, there is a funicular railway that can take you on a short journey to the top. This departs from the corner of Plutarchou and Aristippou Streets, and operates from 9.00am to late at night during the summer season. The funicular runs approximately every 10 minutes, and costs 7 Euros ( which includes the return trip down ). An interesting journey to and from the summit would be to travel upwards via the funicular train, but then walk back down again.
For those with a car, you can also drive up Lycabettus and park your car in the car park next to the open air theatre near the summit. This theatre is often used throughout the summer months for theatre plays and music concerts, and generates a tremendous atmosphere at such events.
Lycabettus is a beautiful place to visit during the early evening, where you can watch the sunset over the city, and then watch the dazzling stars slowly appear in the night sky. Be sure to bring your cameras, as there are some simply stunning views on offer, and from here you can look down on the city, and point out all of the other famous sits of the city, such as the Parthenon and the Olympic Stadium.
Any visitor to Athens should try to visit Lycabettus Hill as much as a visit to the Acropolis and Parthenon. The experience will be one that you will always remember, and if you are brave enough to journey upwards by foot, even all that more rewarding.
For your information, there are several ways in English that the name of Lycabettus Hill can be written. These include Lykabettos, Lykavittos, Lycabettos, Licabettos and several others. They all relate to the same hill though, so rest assured that you won't be making a journey up another hill with the similar name.
Lycabettos Hill is always open. Day time visiting is easier in terms of reaching the top, though at night, you can enjoy some amazing night views of the city.
Entrance Fee / Prices:
No Admission Fee
The funicular that takes you up and back down costs 7 Euros per person. The price is the same even if you use the funicular one-way.
Lycabettos Hill is accessible by car or foot, and there are several places where you can start your visit. There is also a funicular railway that operates during the day.
Top Sights in Athens
- Ancient Agora
- Areopagus (Hill of Ares)
- Filopappou Hill
- First Cemetery of Athens
- Hadrian's Arch
- Hadrian's Library
- Hill of the Nymphs
- Kerameikos Cemetery
- Lycabettus Hill
- Lysicrates Monument
- National Gardens
- Panathenaic Stadium
- Roman Agora
- Syntagma Square
- Temple of Olympian Zeus
- Tower of the Winds