Antiquities galore, contemporary culture, scintillating nightlife and fantastic food: there’s something for everyone in Greece’s cosmopolitan capital that’s continuously reinventing itself.
The tallest of the capital’s seven hills, Mount Lycabettus towers over Athens, offering 360-degree views all the way to the encircling mountains and the Saronic Gulf, plus, of course, the Acropolis and the centre of Athens.
Rising to 909 feet, it’s possible to reach the summit by cable car, driving or walking (if you’re up for a challenge). The 19th-century Chapel of St George crowns the top of the hill, a neat whitewashed building that’s impossible to miss from below.
Next to the chapel, the upmarket Orizontes restaurant makes a great place for a long, view-filled lunch.
While you’re there
Ask at the chapel or restaurant for directions to the hard-to-find church of St Isidore, dating from the 16th century, hewn into the rock of the western slopes. It’s the legendary location of a secret passage that allowed the Greeks to escape during a Turkish siege.
Getting there & doing it
Mount Lycabettus is straightforward to visit independently, but going with a guide offers an insight into the history of the peak – along with insider knowledge of the best viewpoints and photo spots. Tours run in the day and in the evening, easily arrangeable through your hotel.
The pine-wooded peak is reached via a cable car (teleferic) at the corner of Ploutarchou and Aristippou streets (it takes about 3 mins).
The cable car runs every half an hour (more frequently in summer). If you have a car you can drive to the top where there’s a parking area, with a five-minute walk to the summit.
If you’re walking up/down, there’s a paved walking path to the top: walk uphill at Ploutarchou Street to the right as you face the cable entrance and follow the signs. It’s a tortuous climb with winding stairs near the top, not to be undertaken on a hot summer’s day. The walk takes between 60-90 minutes, depending on your pace. A better idea is to take the funicular up and walk back down.
When to do it
The cable car runs all year round, but it gets very crowded (and extremely hot) during the summer months, when there can be long queues (avoided I you walk up/down of course). Avoid going on cloudy or wet days, when the views will be severely restricted.
If you’re dining at Orizontes, book a table for sunset. As the sky darkens and the city’s lights come up, it’s a wedding proposal kind of experience.
Destination guides including or relevant to this experience