The tallest of Athens seven hills, Mount Lycabettus pretty much begs to be climbed. The mountain is visible from almost anywhere throughout the city, and offers Athen’s most outstanding views!
Whether you’re an avid hiker or not, with 360° panoramic views over Athens and the Acropolis, there’s no better vantage point while exploring Greece’s Capital. Though the word Acropolis means summit of the city, Mount Lycabettus sits almost twice as high as the Acropolis. When the Acropolis was built, the mountain sat outside of the city limits.
My second time in Athens, I was keen to explore places I hadn’t been to before. After a little bit of research I found the Mt Lycabettus hike and I was sold. Views over the Acropolis? I couldn’t exactly say no. Being our first day off of our flight from Sydney, my friends and I were very keen to stretch our legs and hopefully aid our jetlag.
🚶 Getting there;
It the peak of Summer, getting up early was the best option for the hike. We started from our accommodation near Monastiraki Square, and google maps said it would take about 45minutes. Most visitors opted to start the hike from the bottom of the mountain, but with Athens being relatively flat we found it easy enough to walk everywhere.
To get there you can go by the Metro – the closest stop being Evangelismos on the Blue Line.
From Monastiraki Square we ended up just walking our own route through the markets and up towards the hill. It took longer, but it was more scenic that way. We reached the bottom of the mountain on the Westerly side, and followed the bush trail up to the road. There weren’t any signs, but we just kept heading upwards.
Once we reached the Wedding Chapel by Saint Loudas Thaddaios we stopped by the benches to take a few photos. At first we thought the Chapel stairs was the way up, but we spotted some faded graffiti telling us to keep walking down the road. Just a little further around the corner we could see the start of the trail.
☀️ The Mountain Trail
The initial portion of the walk so far was among shrubs and trees, it was relatively easy. Once we reached the mountain trail it was all zig-zagging stairs. The stairs are laid out at such a low angle it’s very close to being a ramp, but because of this it takes longer, and hits the legs hard! This part of the route is exposed with little to no coverage – so I would recommend wearing a hat and stocking up on some sunscreen. As well there are no stops along the way to get water, so bring some along with you.
It’s not a difficult walk, but it is quite steep and prolonged – particularly in Summer. This portion of the walk can really take as long as you’d like it. Some people ran to the top which took about 10-15minutes, others took their time and walked up in about half an hour. Let’s just say you’ll definitely be appreciating the cool wind at the top.
Me and my friends were pretty surprised with how LITTLE people we saw here. We were visiting in the peak of Summer, and expected crowds, but from the trail we could see that almost every tourist possible was crowded on top of the Acropolis. We only passed a family, and a few solo hikers on our walk, all just as shocked as we were.
🚡 If you don’t feel like walking…
These travellers also told us about the cable car. At this point we were kind of laughing that we hadn’t even known about it. It turned out that most of the people at the observation deck had just gotten the €7 return cable car up (
and by cable car, I really mean a funicular that travels about 3minutes through a dark tunnel). You could access the cable car from the Easterly side at the bottom of the mountain, but we were enjoying the exercise.
The cable car runs hourly every day until midnight. In busier seasons it can run as often as every 10-20minutes depending on the day and the crowd.
📷 The Observation Deck
At the top we were welcomed to a large open observation deck. As well there was the bright white chapel – Agios Georgios (Saint George) of the 18th Century. It was quite small, but as well as something to look at it also provided some shade. The deck also had a few benches and low walls that you could sit on.
From the viewing area in front of the Chapel there were views unlike any me or my friends had seen before. We could look out over the Acropolis, the Parthenon, Syntagma Square, the Temple of Zeus, The Panathenaic Stadium, and even over to the ocean and the Port of Piraeus. It was from here we ended up planning the rest of the day – we could see how far away everything was to each other and we mapped out our day. It was the perfect place to start our journey in Athens and get our bearings.
After a short while we walked back down and headed home. Under the Chapel we noticed there were a few options for food and drinks. There were the fancier restaurants with open aired seating to a few food stalls that provided takeaways.
Would you climb Mount Lycabettus? Let me know below!