Mount Lykavittos: An Athens Mountain to Hike and See
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Mount Lykavittos [Grk: Λυκαβηττός, also sometimes referred to as Mount Lycabettus] prominently rises straight out of the center of Athens and is completely surrounded by the city. At over 900 feet high, the twin-peaked, and pine-covered hill is the highest hill in Athens and is visible from all over the city.
What awaits visitors at the top of Lykavittos certainly makes the rather arduous hike/climb well worth it. The hill’s one peak is capped with a marble paved observation area with a restaurant, and the gorgeous whitewashed Chapel of Saint George. Its second peak across the way has a modern open-air theatre that has hosted several prestigious concerts of all sorts.
You can walk to the top of the hill by way of winding paths from the posh neighborhood of Kolonaki. The hill is surrounded by the neighborhoods of Kolonaki on the one side and Exarcheia on the other. The neighborhoods, especially Kolonaki, creep up the sides of the mountain and multiple, increasingly steep, flights of stairs take you from one street to the next.
If walking to the top does not sound like your idea of a good time, a funicular can also take you to the summit. For no charge, Lykavittos offers views of Athens that are second to none. At the top you are rewarded with a magnificent view of the Acropolis, and on a clear day you are able to see past the port of Pireaus to the Saronic Gulf and the islands beyond. It is also the perfect spot to watch the sunset, while the entire city, and especially the Acropolis, is completely illuminated below.
The 360° panoramic view of Athens from Mount Lykavittos is the perfect vantage point to see many landmarks and important sites around the city. You can clearly see the Kalimarmaro Stadium (used for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896) in Pagkrati, the Acroplis, Syntagama Square and the Parliament building as well as the 19th century neo-classical ‘Trilogy’ of buildings (The National Library of Greece, The Academy of Athens, and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens) on the edge of the neighborhood of Exarcheia.
The view from Lykavittos is one that is truly worthy of being from Athens’ highest hill. If anything were to give you an appreciation (or maybe just startling realization) of just how massive the city of Athens is, Lykavittos is definitely the thing to do it.
How To Get There
The closest metro station to Mount Lykavittos is the Evangelismos station. The top of Mount Lykavittos can be reached on foot via a path from the intersection of Aristippou and Loukianou Streets in Kolonaki. It can also be reached by way of the furnicular at the end of Ploutarchou and Aristippou Streets also in Kolonaki.
Word To The Wise
The restaurant and cafe at the top are very overpriced, wait until you descend the mountain before grabbing a bite to eat or drink—after all Kolonaki is reknown for its stylish and lively cafe scene.
This post was written by GreekBoston.com