Walking in Athens (Part 2): From Lycabettus Hill to Strefi Hill

Lycabettus Hill

A forest in the heart of the city, it is considered by Athenians one of the most favourite places for hiking, resting and relaxing in the different cafes and restaurants operating there. According to mythology, goddess Athena wanted her temple in Acropolis to be closer to heaven. One stormy night she went to Mount Penteli, and took a large rock with the purpose of placing it on the exesting rock. As she transported the rock, two black birds approached her, bringing her bad news regarding something she had to take care of immediately. In her rage and haste, the rock fell in the centre ofAthens. The rock , which is 278 meters high, is located in the centre of Athens. In ancient times the hill was covered by lush vegetation and on its top stood a temple dedicated to Zeus. By the time Athens was liberated from the Turkish occupation, Lycabettus Hill had no trees at all. Reforestation started in 1880 and was completed in 1915.

Best sights of Lycabbetus Hill

The view of the city

Don’t miss the view of the Acropolis and of the entire city extending up to the sea. You will also enjoy walking along narrow paths all the way to the top of the hill.

Lycabettus Theatre

An open -air theatre built from 1964-1965 by the architect Zenetos at the site of an old mine following the recommendation of the Greek actress A. Synodinou, for performances of ancient drama. It has a capacity of 3000. In the summer cultural events arestaged here, attracting music and theatre fans.

Agio Isidoroi

If you want to go by car, there is only one road leading to the top of the hill. If you want to walk there are a multitude of footpaths. You may also use the funicular, which operates daily from the crossroads of Aristippou Street and Ploutarchou Street. (Kolonaki).

 

Neapoli

Neapoli is encompassed by Lycabettus Hill and the Mavromihali Street. It is, after Plaka , the oldest neighbourhood of Athens (Neapoli menas New Town) . Neapoli and Exarhia were developed in 1860. The first residents were mostly students. The area is situated near the University and the Polytechnic. Later it became a favourite residential neighbourhood of artists. At Asklipiou is the remarkable neoclassical church ofAyios Nikolaos Pefkakion (1895). Facing Lycabettus Hill, is an area on a steep incline, with pedestrian zone, lined with trees and steps leading to the central roads (among others, Solonos Street, Asklipiou Street, Ippokratous, Sina, Massalias and Delfon Street) where you will find, among others,a multitude of cafes, small bookshops, antique shops.

 

Exarhia

An old Athens neighbourhood , with a special charm. It is Known as a residential neighbourhood of students and artists, with a Bohemian character, contrasting with the “worldly” Kolonaki Square. In the past few decades, a series of reconstruction works have considerably upgraded the area. A multitudie of important neoclassical, eclectic and modernist buildings are preserved. Following the renovation works, the neighbourhood attracted a new generation of residents. Go for a walk in the pedestrian zone of Themistocleus Street (From Themistocleus Square to Kallidromiou Street) and other pedestrian zones of the area (among others, Valetsiou, Methonis and Eresou Streets), a quiet area, and rest in a cafe, bar or traditional taverna.

 

Best sights of Exarhia

Exarchia Square

Is the central square of the neighbourhood. It is a busy square, with a vivid nighlife. You will find here a multitude ofcafes and small, trendy bars and two open-air-cinemas, offering unique entertainment in the summer. Also, in the neighbourhood streets apart from the many restaurants and cafe-bars, one would find unique shops which selling clothes, old records, books and hand-made jewellery.

Strefi Hill

Strefi Hill is located in the vicinity ofExarhia Square, and despite of its relatively small size (approximately 12.5 acres) it forms a green oasis in the densely built city. It was planted with trees in the decade of the 1920 ‘s, until then it was uesd as a quarry. Nowadays one will find here sport facilities, ouzo bars, an open-air theatre made of stone, and at the top you may enjoy a panoramic view of the city. To get here, you take Kallidromiou Street, a beautiful street, with neoclassical mansions and small popularcafes and bars, (from Emm. Benaki Street to Deliyianni Street).

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