Hello traveller! In this article we are going to talk about one of the most beautiful and visited places in Athens, Mount Lycabettus. Located 277 metres above sea level, from here you can enjoy the best views of the city:
Do you want to…
- find out how to get to the top of the hill (all options)?
- learn about the mythological history of this amazing mountain?
- find out the prices and timetables of its famous cable car?
Looking for something specific?
History and Mythology
Like many other beauties of nature, Mount Lycabettus must also have its mythological origin…
You probably already know that Athena (daughter of Zeus by the way) was the patron goddess of Athens and that, therefore, the Acropolis of this city is mostly dedicated to her, well then:
This goddess wanted to make her Acropolis the largest and highest hill in the city, as it could not be otherwise, and for this she was transporting a giant rock that she was going to deposit in that place. However, after receiving some bad news, our dear Athena slipped the giant rock before reaching its destination;
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Now you are wondering something…
Well that’s right, that giant rock that Athena was carrying is what we know today as Mount Lycabettus. Moreover, it is believed that during the classical period in Greece, there was a temple here dedicated to Zeus himself…
I will tell you that this place has not always been as green, lush and beautiful as we see it today:
During the Ottoman invasion of Greece, which by the way lasted almost 4 centuries, it is said that the natural undergrowth of the mountain disappeared completely, turning Lycabettus into a mere rocky hill….
It is true that by the 19th century, once Greece had regained its independence and then handed it over to Germany, Mount Lycabettus left much to be desired. It is for this reason that between 1880 and 1915 a major reforestation project was carried out, with very positive results.
What does the word Lycabettus mean?
The name of this hill is quite curious:
The term “lycos” (or λύκος rather) means “wolf” in Greek, so the full word “Lycabettus” means “where wolves roam“.
Remember the word Lycanthrope, which is composed of “lycos” (wolf) and “anthropos” (man).
It turns out that in ancient times, Mount Lycabettus served as a refuge for these wild animals. In fact, they were so influential that Aristotle’s school, located nearby, was named “Lykeion“. Which means “the house of the wolves” and it is a word we still use today…
The Lycabettus Cable Car
The Lycabettus funicular or cable car is a very interesting option to climb the hill, and there are many travellers who ask us about it, so we are going to solve all the doubts:
The price of the funicular is 7.5 euros per person, including both the ascent and descent. On the other hand, you also have the option to use it only to go up and pay 5 euros.
I think this is NOT an economical price, especially if you are travelling with your family. So I’ll share with you some alternatives…
The funicular is open from 9:00 am to 2:30 am, while the frequency of service is every 30 minutes. At peak times such as before and after sunset, the frequency is higher.
Also, due to the large capacity of the vehicle, you won’t have any crowding problems.
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How to find the cable car
This point is even more important than the previous ones, as many people are unable to find the funicular…
The station to go to is at the foot of Mount Lycabettus, facing the Kolonaki district. Specifically, this place is on the corner of the streets called “Plutarch” and “Aristippou”. With this information you should have no problem finding the funicular.
Maybe you have in mind that the funicular will give you a beautiful view on the way up, but people are quite disappointed in that respect… But don’t worry, the good views are at the top.
I’m telling you this so that you can also consider other options, so that you can save a little money if you want to. Anyway, here is a link with more practical information about the funicular.
Other ways to get to the top of the Licabetus Hill
Climbing the Licabeto hill by funicular may sound interesting (and it is), but it is not the only option. Let’s take a look at the others:
- On foot.
If you like walking or the mountains, that’s all there is to it, you’ll find the climb very rewarding. However, I would like to warn you of two things: summer in Athens is very hot, so be careful with that; and if you decide to walk up, do it from the south as the path is much more direct and you will find the top much easier.
The closest metro station to the top of the hill is “Evangelismos“, on the blue line. But if you want to pay for a metro ticket per person, depending on how many of you there are, you might want to take a taxi…
- By taxi.
I think this is the best option to get to the Lycabettus Hill, as long as you do NOT want to walk up. Taxis should ALWAYS cost less than 8 euros, from almost anywhere in the city;
It is important to stress this, as there are many taxi drivers who take advantage of tourists to make more money…
Tips for travelling by taxi in Athens:
- Always make sure that the driver turns on the taximeter, and if not, let him know.
- There is no extra fare for carrying luggage, just as they cannot inflate the price for entering or leaving the airport (neither the port).
- I recommend using the “TAXI BEAT” app, which works just like UBER and is very practical.
What is on Mount Lycabettus?
The Lycabettus Theatre
Many people don’t know it, but there is a large theatre on the Lycabettus hill. It was built in 1964 with the purpose of hosting plays belonging to the “Greek tragedy”, I mean the theatrical genre that arose (and was very popular) during antiquity.
The architect who designed this open-air amphitheatre was Takis Zenetos, while the initiative for this work is attributed to the Greek actress Anna Sinodinou. Today it still hosts musical events and other theatrical performances, especially during the summer, and has a capacity of 3,000 people.
Interestingly, the theatre was built next to an old quarry also located on Lycabettus Hill.
St. George’s Church
The Church of St George, or Agios Georgios in Greek, is that white building that can be seen at the top of Lycabettus Hill from almost anywhere in Athens.
It is a small orthodox chapel built in the 18th century, which is still in use today and can also be visited as a tourist. Also of note is the huge bell tower in front of the church, built in 1902 thanks to a donation from Nicholas Thon (a wealthy man who had been a member of the court of King Otto I);
Views and sunset
Given that Lycabettus Hill is the highest point in Athens, it’s no wonder that it can offer breathtaking views of the entire city:
The Acropolis of Athens, the Parliament in Syntagma Square, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Panathinaiko Olympic Stadium are just some of the features visible from the top of Lycabettus Hill. What’s more, they are all illuminated at night, which brings us to the next point…
The best time to visit Mount Lycabettus is just before sunset.
If you don’t know your way around (which I’ll explain later), it’s best to climb the hill while there’s still daylight. However, the views from Mount Lycabettus are much better at night, and from here you can enjoy the most beautiful sunset in Athens.
If you are travelling as a couple, you have to know that there is no place in the whole city more romantic than this one. Highly recommended, especially for the sunset.
And if you are travelling with friends, Mount Lycabettus is also a great place to have a beer while enjoying the views. At the top of the hill there is usually a man selling soft drinks and other alcoholic beverages, usually twice the usual price, but they will be cold and worth it. Another option would be to bring your own drink…
Thank you very much for reading this far, we hope this information is helpful and that you enjoy a great holiday in this city. We also invite you to leave us any doubts or questions in the comments box, we promise to answer them as soon as possible!
We would also be delighted to have you on one of our free tours.
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