I’ve heard it all, pouring into my apartment through the windows. Breathless, red-faced exasperation sometimes far less politely expressed than others, “We can do it!” or “We’re almost there!”-style encouragement reminiscent of an adrenaline-high reality TV show, nasty bickering that veers families or couples to the verge of breakup (“Why did I listen to you?” or “I can’t take this anymore!”) and even conspiracy theories (“the Greek state does this on purpose so that tourists hire guides to take them around!”).
People of all ages, shapes and fitness levels rasp for water and yelp in agony, dragging their heels, half-bent over, drenched in sweat and miserable at the prospect of having just climbed around 200 steps to finally reach Aristippou St, yet their higher ‘mission’, the church of St George, still feels so very, very far away.
You see, I live just a few short minutes away from the Athens Teleferique, aka cable car or funicular, a two-wagon shuttle that takes around 200,000 visitors a year up to the top of Lycabettus hill so that they can admire the city from 277m high. I hear tourists speaking every language under the sun in the above-mentioned scenarios, and more because there is no proper signage for finding the place.
I often find myself popping my head out of the window to offer directions (fortunately I’m multilingual as much as I’m compassionate) and sometimes even emergency water.
Address: Aristippou 1, Kolonaki. Tel: (+30) 210 7210 701.
Hours: Daily, between 09:00 – 02:00.
Ticket: €10 (for both going up and the return).
Frequency: Every 30 minutes.
Metro Station: Evangelismos (blue line).
The Teleferique is not accessible to individuals who are wheelchair bound or have walking difficulties as there are steps at the exit where the cable car stops.
Mind you, even the savviest locals don’t have a clue where the Teleferique is located, because if they’ve ever been it was probably when they were six and their grandfather took them to the hill for a scenic outing. I just know because I live right by it. And it’s time the world finds out too (so they stop bothering me as I’m trying to work!).
How to find the teleferique aka Lycabettus Cable Car Easily
It’s actually not that hard to reach, but as it’s evidently wrapped in an (I repeat, exasperating) mystery, Greece Is will happily provide clear instructions, all necessary info and even a map!
1. Go to Kolonaki.
2. From Marasli St: If you’re going by metro, get out at Evangelismos and walk straight up all of Marasli. You’ll note that from Xenokratous St and up, Marasli turns into stairs. Keep walking all the way straight up to the very top and you’ll reach Aristippou St. Once here, turn left, walk five minutes ahead and you’ll arrive at the Teleferique, where there is a tiny square.
3. From Ploutarchou: Parallel to Marasli is Ploutarchou. Again, from Xenokratous St and up, this road turns into steps. Walk all the way to the top and you’ll arrive exactly across the Teleferique. As you reach the top on your left-hand side, you’ll also find Veranda Café, saviour-stop serving refreshments, snacks and ice cream.
4. From Loukianou St: Head all the way up to Aristippou St and turn right on the pedestrian road. Keep walking straight until you reach the Teleferique (three minutes away). TIP: If you’d rather walk up to Lycabettus (sometimes in a group some like to walk and others to take the cable car), continue up the steps leading into Lycabettus and walk up the broad steps on the right. These will lead you up towards Prasini Tenda café/restaurant and if you keep going up on the path and stairs around it, up to the Church of St George.
5. If you prefer to drive to Aristippou or avoid stairs, go up Aristodimou. The sidewalk has a few steps but there is also a road.