Get your sneakers on and head to the top of Mount Lycabettus! This mythical hill, famous among mythology enthusiasts, offers a breathtaking view of Athens and its surroundings.
Follow the guide!
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Mount Lycabettus in a nutshell
Legend has it that Athena, the goddess who protected Athens, was tasked with building an impenetrable citadel. She carried a giant rock from Mount Pentelicus, located north of Athens, but was distracted by a nightingale’s song and accidentally dropped it.
The rock became the hill of Lycabettus (Λυκαβηττός / Lycavittós in Greek), which means “hill of the wolves” in ancient Greek because it used to be populated by wolves.
A brief history of Lycabettus Hill
Throughout history, Mount Lycabettus has served different purposes:
In ancient times, the hill was a sacred place dedicated to the cult of Zeus, the king of the gods of Greek mythology. Athenians also worshiped Pan, the god of shepherds and flocks, on the slopes of Lycabettus.
During the Byzantine period, Mount Lycabettus became a refuge for Christian hermits who established monasteries and chapels there. These hermits sought solitude and tranquility to meditate and pray, away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
In the 19th century, the St. George chapel was built, which now stands at the top of Mount Lycabettus. This small Orthodox church is dedicated to the patron saint of soldiers and is a pilgrimage site for both the faithful and visitors.
During World War II, Mount Lycabettus played a vital role in defending Athens against enemy air attacks, as an anti-aircraft gun was installed there. This gun is still visible today and serves as a reminder of the hill’s tumultuous past.
Today, Lycabettus remains an iconic site in the Greek capital, attracting numerous visitors who are eager to discover its history and admire the breathtaking view it provides of the city.
At an altitude of 277 meters, Mount Lycabettus is the highest point in Athens, offering a 360-degree panoramic view of the city and its surroundings.
Although covering only about 0.2 square kilometers, Lycabettus Hill holds special significance in the urban landscape of Athens due to its central location and height.
Covered by a lush pine forest, Mount Lycabettus provides a peaceful haven in the midst of the city, essential for local biodiversity and providing refuge to numerous species of birds and insects.
Each year, thousands of tourists and locals alike visit Mount Lycabettus to take in the panoramic view, explore its history, and stroll through the pine forest. It is one of the most popular destinations in Athens to admire the sunset over the city and the Saronic Gulf.
Visiting Mount Lycabettus in Athens
Reaching the Summit of Mount Lycabettus
To reach the summit of Mount Lycabettus, there are several options available:
If you enjoy hiking and want to immerse yourself in nature, Captain Ulysses recommends taking the pedestrian paths that wind through the lush pine forest.
There are several routes to climb on foot, with the most popular one starting from Aristippou Street, located in the Kolonaki district. The ascent usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your pace and fitness level.
Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring water, especially during the hot months.
By Cable Car:
If you’re not up for climbing Lycabettus on foot (Captain understands!), you can take the cable car to the top.
The journey takes about 3 minutes, providing a unique view of Athens through the large windows of the cable car.
The cable car operates daily, usually from 9 am to 2 am, with a departure every 30 minutes.
It is accessible to people with reduced mobility, but please note that some pedestrian paths and areas at the summit may be difficult for wheelchairs and strollers.
By Taxi or Rideshare:
If you prefer to drive to the top, you can opt for a taxi or rideshare.
What to See on Mount Lycabettus?
During your visit to Mount Lycabettus, don’t miss:
St. George Chapel:
This small whitewashed Orthodox church is a true architectural gem. Built in the 19th century, it is dedicated to the patron saint of soldiers. Inside, you can admire religious icons and delicately painted frescoes.
Monument to the Heroes of the Greek War of Independence:
Located on the slopes of the hill, this monument pays tribute to the fighters who fought for Greece’s freedom during the War of Independence (1821-1832).
World War II Cannon:
This anti-aircraft cannon recalls the hill’s tumultuous history during the global conflict. It is still visible at the top and testifies to the site’s military past.
On the side of Mount Lycabettus is an open-air amphitheater that regularly hosts concerts, theatrical performances, and dance shows.
Finally, don’t miss the breathtaking view of Athens, the Saronic Gulf, and the surrounding mountains. It’s an awe-inspiring experience!
At the top of Mount Lycabettus, you will find a cafe-restaurant where you can refresh yourself, have coffee, or lunch while enjoying the panoramic view.
The cable car runs from 9 am to 2 am, departing every 30 minutes. St. George Chapel is open every day, although the opening hours may vary depending on religious ceremonies.
🕐 Best Time to Visit Mount Lycabettus? 🕐
If you’re visiting Athens during the summer, it’s best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat. Be sure to bring enough water, and Captain recommends wearing a hat or cap. Le Capitaine vous recommande aussi de porter une casquette ou un chapeau.
Access to Mount Lycabettus is free. However, there is a fee for the cable car. The price of a round-trip ticket usually ranges between 5 and 7 euros for adults and between 2.50 and 3.50 euros for children.
You can purchase tickets at the ticket office located at the cable car’s departure station.