What to do in Athens: Go up on Lycabettus Hill
After our visit to Piraeus, we spent the remaining days in the heart of the Greek Capital. And, to take a better look at all the incredible places to visit in Athens, we went up on Lycabettus Hill, the highest point of the city. Therefore, when you’re wondering what to do in Athens, go up here. You’ll soon get some inspiration on what to visit next!
Together with the Acropolis and Philopappos Hill, Lycabettus Hill is a great place to view the entire city of Athens. In one gaze, you can see from the center of Athens all the way to the coast, in Piraeus.
Find out how to get to Lycabettus Hill
In order to get to the top of Lycabettus Hill, you can climb on a circular path by foot. However, on hotter days, you may prefer the funicular, at least for going up, as there is no shade on the path.
The stairs to Lycabettus Hill
However, even if you decide to go up with the funicular, don’t think you won’t have to climb at all. You still have a lot of stairs to face up to the ticket office of the funicular!
Warning against Uber
When arriving at the entrance of the ticket office at the base of Lycabettus Hill, we saw a warning against Uber, taped on the window of a phone booth. We aren’t sure if it was a real warning, from a concerned citizen, or a fake one placed by their competition.
By searching at home, I only discovered that Uber no longer exists in Athens in the way we see it everywhere. Instead, it is an app used for getting taxis. This isn’t unique in Europe, it’s the same in Dublin, for example. And it’s not unsafe, and quite user-friendly.
Getting your tickets for the funicular
When you go inside the gift shop at the base of Mount Lycabettus, make sure you have cash on you, as they don’t accept card payments for the tickets.
Once you have your ticket, you can wait to go on the next ride up. It doesn’t really matter where you sit inside, as you’ll only see the lights inside the tunnel. However, if you enter the wagon first, you’ll be able to sit down. That’s kind of the only advantage.
Taking the funicular to the top of Lycabettus Hill
Though short, the funicular ride is quite interesting, even though all you see is the inside of the tunnel it climbs through. This, I must admit, was a bit disappointing, as I had thought we’ll get some nice views during the ride.
But it was nice enough, and it was in the shade, saving us from a climb in the heat. And, if you wish to learn more about the funicular built by The House of Metaxa on Mount Lycabettus, I suggest you watch the following video:
What to do at the top of Lycabettus Hill
At the top of Mount Lycabettus, you will get to see all of Athens. You can also visit the Greek-Orthodox church on the peak or an open-air amphitheater a bit lower on the Hill.
There are also restaurants and cafés where you can enjoy a drink or a meal while looking at the beautiful city of Athens. For us, one of the covered terraces proved very useful in taking cover from the rain, while sipping on some Mythos.
What to do in Athens after visiting Lycabettus Hill
If you’re wondering what to do in Athens after walking or taking the funicular down Mount Lycabettus, you’ll find yourself quite close to the National Gardens. You can get there by taking the bus as my parents did. Or you can go on foot, as Mathieu and I did. And, in the end, we arrived kind of at the same time. The difference is that we got to see a bit more on the way, such as the Panathenaic Stadium.
The Panathenaic Stadium
The only stadium in the world built in white marble, it was the site of the first modern Olympic Games (1896). Nowadays, the Panathenaic Stadium hosts ceremonial events and live music concerts.
The Zappeion Megaron
Used as an exposition and conference hall today, the Zappeion hosted the Olympic Games in 1896 and in 1906. Throughout its history, it also hosted many events related to the Greek cultural identity, in general.
The neoclassical mansion has a symmetrical plan, built around a circular atrium in its middle. The atrium is spectacular, with two-level arcades with an Ionic colonnade on the ground floor and caryatids on the top level.
The changing of the guards in Syntagma Square
Depending on the day and time, you could also head out to the nearby Syntagma Square (Consitution Square). Here, you will find the Hellenic Parliament, the Presidential Mansion, and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded by a special unit of the Hellenic Army, known as Evzones or Tsoliades, or the Presidential Guard.
Every Sunday, at 11 am, people gather to Syntagma Square to watch the official changing of the guard. You can see the guards change every three hours, actually, but the shift is less ceremonial in the rest of the times.
During our family trip to Athens, my parents went several times to admire the guards in Syntagma Square. Mathieu and I, however, preferred having a glass of wine on one of the nearby terraces instead.
Anyway, there are lots of things to do in Athens. You just have to read a bit and choose what suits you as a traveler. Or you can just go with the flow when you get there, I’m certain you’ll stumble upon some great stuff. 🙂