It was a sunny day and Jonathan was resting his knees, so I went for a stroll up Lycabettus, the hill we can see from our terrace. Our view is blocked in part by a large communications antenna, but on the walk over, I could see the hill very clearly. It’s the highest point in Athens, about 900 ft above sea level, and offers views in all directions over the city.
Paths wind up the broad base of the hill, and as soon as you leave the sidewalk, it looks like a country trail. The path loops upward, providing lots of places to appreciate the view and catch my breath.
A series of stairs leads you to the cafe that overlooks the Acropolis. It’s a beautiful spot and on the day I visited there were very few people there. Another set of stairs continues to the top of the hill and the Chapel of St. George. Visitors can enter and have a look around under the watchful eye of a caretaker. He’s probably keeping an eye on the large silver icon of St. George and the Dragon.
The view from the top of the hill is the big payoff. The breathtaking view of the Acropolis extends all the way to the sea and the Peloponnese beyond. In the late afternoon sun, I could even see the roof of the Niarchos Cultural Center shimmering in the distance. (It’s a distinctive building in Piraeus, miles away.) The Acropolis is such an imposing monument; it made me think about what life must have been like in Athens at the peak of the Greek Empire, so long ago.
If you can get enough of looking over the ruins from above, the rest of Athens is spread out around the hill. Miles of buildings stretch into the distance, broken only by the occasional grove of trees. High hills in the distance remind me of Greece’s history of independent city-states protected by the mountains around them.
I spent some time looking at spectacular Athens, enjoying the day.
The walk was uphill, but it was not difficult. I took about a half hour each way going up and down, varying my route to see more of the surroundings. It is also easy to visit the hilltop without a hike. The Lycabettus Hill funicular will take you to the top in just a few minutes from Kolonaki. I plan to make a second visit that way, just to see the view on the ride up!