The Acropolis of Athens is one of Europe’s most iconic sights, firmly on the itinerary of many tourists travelling Europe. It sits on a plinth high above the city and is visible from various points of Athens. But perhaps the most striking view of the Acropolis is from afar atop one of the Athens hills.
While viewing the ancient complex definitely merits a visit in its own right (see my post on it here), in my opinion, the most remarkable view of the Acropolis is when viewing from afar. This gives the clearest view, too, unhindered by any trees or buildings. Not only is this the best view for the Acropolis, but it facilitates the best photo opportunities too. So, this blog post is intended to show you my two favourite hills to climb in Athens to get the best views and photos of the Acropolis.
The first hill I ascended was Mount Lycabettus. Being one of the tallest points of Athens at 300 meters above sea level, the summit gives clear 360 degree views across the city. The closest metro station is Panepistimio Station on the red line followed by an approximate 10 minute walk to the base.
There are two ways to reach the top. You can take the funicular for 7.50 Euros return or you can walk, as I did. The walk affords fantastic views across the city as you rise, and it is free! Stopping for photo stops, allow approximately 25-30 minutes for a strong walker. It is a steep walk and people with mobility issues may find it difficult to manage it.
The best time to visit in terms of the view is at sunset. This was when I timed my visit. The sun sets in the direction behind the Acropolis, making for excellent photo opportunities. However, most other people have this idea too! Therefore, it is best to check the time of sunset and get there at least an hour in advance to secure a good spot as it can become busy.
At the top, there is a small Greek church which you can enter and look around and there is a café too. I did not use the café so I cannot vouch for its quality or pricing.
Mount Lycabettus does provide excellent views of the city due to its height. Also, it affords a view of the sun set behind the Acropolis. However, it is rather far away from the Acropolis and therefore, a good zoom on the camera is useful. For those of you wanting a closer view of the Acropolis from a vantage point, climb…
This was my favourite place to view the Acropolis in Athens and the point where I took my best pictures, some of my favourite travel pics I’ve snapped to date. It is a keen photographer’s hot spot and many brochure, website and postcard photos have been taken from here. A trip up this hill should definitely be put on the itinerary.
The best metro stop to use is probably either Monastiraki or Akropoli. Walking from either of these stops gives good views of the Acropolis as you walk. If you visit during the evening, walk from Monastiraki as the walk there takes you along an avenue filled with street entertainers and stalls selling souvenirs.
There is no funicular or transport to take you up the hill, but it is far less steep that Lycabettus and is a much kinder walk. When I visited, there were far fewer tourists than at Lycabettus and the space is much bigger and more open. It is free to climb the hill, but there are no amenities.
The view from the top affords excellent views across the city. The star attraction is the view out across the Acropolis, with Mount Lycabettus reaching into the sky behind it. I visited at sunset again (I love my sunset views!) and the orange of the setting sun cast a bronze-like light upon the Acropolis. Take a packed meal or a snack and a drink and take your time with the view.
Do be careful, especially with children, as there are some sharp drops around with no railing. If you go near the edge for a photo, bear this in mind.
If you go at sunset, stick around until it starts to get dark. This way, you can see the Acropolis lit up too. Be mindful when you leave as there are no lights along the path. The path does not go near the steep drops though.
In my opinion, Mount Philopappus affords the best view of the Acropolis from a vantage point. It is much closer to the Acropolis and offers clear, unobstructed views.
Have you climbed either of these, or did you find a good view of the Athens skyline? let me know your thoughts and experiences by commenting below.
Thanks for reading and happy travels.
The photos used here were taken and are owned by myself.