Rome was famously built on seven hills, and many cities, old-world and new, have followed suite, or at least claimed to. Wherever you are in the world, there’s nothing like the view of a city from up on high. The view, of course, is always better when you have to earn it. Here are seven of our Yeti favorite city mountains.
The grandaddy of them all, the view of Athens from the Acropolis is arguably better than the view of the Acropolis from Athens. You can see the city sprawling as far as the eye can see, and it’s a peaceful place free of traffic, motos, and ouzo.
Bonus: Spend the day up here and, in true Greek style, learn to play the bouzouki.
The highest peak in Brisbane is located in the western suburbs. You can, of course, bus or drive to the top, but for the industrious there is a pleasant two-hour climb. It’s worth the climb. The views of the city are remarkable, there is an (admittedly overpriced) restaurant and giftshop, there are nearby waterfalls and biking trails, and there are some great Botanical Gardens at the base of the mountain.
Bonus: If it’s dusk, and you have peeping tom tendencies, look for the plethora of parked couples on the side of the road.
Not related to either the famous leader or the debauched millionaire, this extinct volcano reveals a smashing panorama of the city, from Edinburgh castle to the Firth of Forth. Dotted with small lochs, this windy hill was recommended by Robert Louis Stevenson “for magnitude, [it’s] a mountain in virtue of its bold design.”
Bonus: Your wee dram of whisky will taste extra nice after the climb.
World Peace Pagoda
This hike will take you through monkey-infested forests and up to a bird’s eye view of the lake, Phewa Tal. The Pagoda itself is a striking building, but the views down to Nepal’s second biggest city, hugging Phewa Tal, are stupendous. There are a few cafes here, and you can get a boat ride back to the town.
Bonus: On a clear day, you can see the mighty Annapurna range from up close and personal.
Another extinct volcano, this one is home to parks, reservoirs, playgrounds, statues, and ancient trees. Though Mt. Tabor is not enormous, there are enough trails to hike for a few hours. It’s especially worth visiting in the spring or autumn, when the blossoms and changing leaves, respectively, really stand out. The view of downtown Portland is nice; equally so is the view of Mt. Hood in the other direction. It’s Portland, so wherever you come down from the mountain, there will be food carts and microbrews close by.
Bonus: For one glorious day in the summer, you can attend an adult soapbox derby. This is an all-day event with prizes for the fastest and most creative vehicles. Pack a picnic and a jug of sangria and rest beneath a tree while observing cars that look like an origami swan or a functioning basketball court.
There are no shortage of mountains in Seoul, but Achasan is certainly the easiest to climb and is well-situated for views of the city and the Han river. This can be a short, one-hour hike, or you can add a few hours and include a famous cemetery or another couple of mountain peaks in your afternoon jaunt. However, try to avoid hiking in the summer to see through the haze.
Bonus: Do as the Koreans, and bring a bottle or two of makgeolli, a grain wine (about 7 percent alcohol) that seems to be as necessary to hiking as boots or poles.
Nestled in the heart of Wellington, New Zealand, Mt Vic. boasts views of the beautiful harbor, the compact but character-filled Central City, and the, uh, quirky (read: fairly hideous) Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand. If you do get the chance to visit Mt Vic., make sure you look out the window on your way up (or, better yet, walk!)– the Victorian era villas and cottages are as much a part of the hill’s appeal as the panoramic views.
Bonus: The keenest, luckiest of observers have been known to spot hobbits. So pay attention.