From the hilltops: Athens in a new light

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From the hilltops: Athens in a new light

Venture off the beaten track to Mount Lycabettus, Philipappos Hill or the Kastella neighborhood, and discover some amazing views of Athens and surrounding areas.

From the hilltops: Athens in a new light

Another viewpoint from the top of Mount Lycabettus

Legend tells us that when Athena brought a boulder to strengthen the fortifications of the Acropolis, two black crows appeared in the sky, as bad omen. Surprised, the goddess dropped her block of stone which then formed into Mount Lycabettus. This myth explains the presence of the highest of the seven Athenian Hills. In fact, the Greek capital is a lot more than just the Acropolis, however iconic it may be.

At a height of 277 meters, Lycabettus offers an unrivalled view of the entire city as far as the Port of Piraeus. To admire Athens, earn yourself some brownie points and climb up on foot: after all that effort your reward will be even greater. From Kolonaki Square, this thirty-minute walk leads you through stepped back streets and continues along little tree-lined paths. If you prefer to save your energy for other activities, a funicular railway will take you in three minutes to the summit, where stands the stunning white-walled Saint-George Chapel, built in the 19th century.

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From the hilltops: Athens in a new light

A rural walk and view of the Gulf of Aegina

Later in the day, make a beeline for another unique viewing point: the Hill of the Muses, aka Philopappos Hill. Set off from the church of Agia Marina and drink in the rural surroundings all the way to Socrates' prison, a maze of rooms carved into the rock. During the Second World War, items from the Acropolis and the Greek National Archaeological Museum are said to have been hidden here. The shade of the pine trees offers the perfect location for a picnic and then a snooze, lulled by birdsong. Resume your hillside climb, which takes you to the ruins of the Sanctuary of the Muses. Still today, artists leave offerings on a small stone cairn. At the top of the hill the Philopappos Monument takes center stage.12 meters high, it was built in the 2nd century in honor of this Roman consul and official. In the evening, the setting sun sets the landscape ablaze, and the Acropolis is lit up.

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From the hilltops: Athens in a new light

A well-deserved rest at the top of Profitis Hill

In the residential neighborhood of Kastella, right next to Piraeus, Profitis Ilias, another hill, is also worth a visit. On the way, wander through the maze of narrow streets and hidden stairways surrounded by palm trees and lush vegetation. When you arrive at the summit, be sure to order yourself an iced coffee on the terrace. Take in the view of the small port of Mikrolimano, where hundreds of small colorful caïque fishing boats bob up and down, and beyond that the Gulf of Aegina, shimmering in the Mediterranean light of Athens.