A trip to the Lykavittos, the 277m high city mountain of Athens, should not be missed because of the overwhelming view over the Greek capital.
The best view over the capital of Greece with its numerous sights is offered by the striking Lykavittos, also called Lycabettus. At 277 metres, the pyramid-shaped local mountain of Athens is the highest elevation in the city centre and surprisingly little frequented by tourists.
PICTURES: Lykavittos in Athens
In ancient Greece, Lykavittos hardly played a role. In former times, the hill was inhabited by wolves, which is still indicated by its name (Mountain of the Wolves). It was not until the 20th century that it was planted with trees and gradually developed into an excursion destination.
On the way to the Lykavittos
The climb to the top of Lykavittos begins at Kolonáki Square in the neighbourhood of the same name. Located between Lykavittos and Syntagma Square, the Kolonáki district is Athens' poshest office and business address. This is hardly comprehensible in the narrow canyons of houses with dense traffic, but nevertheless law firms and international fashion labels of the luxury class line the narrow pavements.
Start at Kolonáki Square
Kolonáki Square in the neighbourhood of the same name is the prime address for Athens' well-heeled to see and be seen. The prices in the cafés testify that you are dealing with the city's upper class here. International newspapers proclaim cosmopolitan flair in an almost blatant manner.
If you want to climb Lykavittos, you don't have to spend long here. You can quickly find the bus stop of line 60, which leads to the summit of Lykavittos. The footpaths up the mountain also start here, as does the funicular railway, which the Greeks call "teleferík".
The journey by bus or train only takes a few minutes, on foot it takes half an hour on winding paths through idyllic nature. But this includes several breaks that you are sure to take in order to take in the ever-increasing panoramic view of Athens.
St. George's Chapel on the Summit
At the highest point of Lykavittos, surrounded by a viewing platform and a café, sits a whitewashed little church dedicated to Saint George. The Orthodox chapel of Ágios Geórgios was built in 1834, despite its much older appearance, and its interior is decorated with elaborate Byzantine frescoes.
Panoramic view from Lykavittos
From the terrace in front of the church you have probably the most spectacular view in all of Athens. Amidst the snow-white sea of houses, the hill of the Acropolis is enthroned, wonderfully illuminated at night. The slender, solitary columns of the Temple of Zeus and the Panathenaic Stadium are also easy to make out. Beyond, the city stretches across the Saronic Gulf to the Peloponnese, where the sea glistens in the distance.
On the other side, the view falls over the mountains towards the north and the open-air theatre from 1965, where concerts and theatre events take place in summer. For dreamlike photos and overwhelming impressions, you should definitely plan more than a few minutes on the Lykavittos!