For years the Athenian Riviera was left to its fate, yet over the past few decades it has been getting better and better with a run of characterful seaside towns, villages and beaches. Here, you can experience the kind of island magic that many people come to Greece for without ever having to set foot on a ferry.
So, as Athenians ourselves, we’ve decided to make a list of our favorite 10 beaches around the city. We’ve featured some hidden ones, some that are linked to frenzied nightlife, as well as some that would suit families or campers, in an effort to cover the needs of any traveler.
After all, official data shows that more than 3.3 million tourists will be visiting Athens this summer – and as the temperature can climb up to 45 degrees Celsius, a lot of them will be desperately looking for some nice beaches to cool off.
Alimos beach – 11km away
Alimos beach is most famous for its fine sandy beachfront, located in close proximity to the city centre. It is very well connected with the local transportation and can be found 11 km south of Syntagma Square in the center of Greece’s capital.
This means, of course, that Alimos beach is crowded most summer days – Athens is a city of more than six million, and all those people desperately want to cool off during the hottest summer days. Yet thanks to its size, there will always be enough space to set up an umbrella and do some sunbathing!
Cape Sounion beach – 65 km away
Let’s go a little bit further this time: 56 kilometers away from Athens city center, to Cape Sounion, as it is truly an amazing site that should not be missed during your vacation in Athens.
The sight of this splendid rocky promontory rising out of the Aegean is one of the best in Athens. At its highest point one can see the Temple of Poseidon, which was originally constructed in around 600 BCE, and rebuilt by Pericles in 440 BCE following its destruction by the Persians in 480 BCE.
The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion is a must-see for travelers to Athens, and luckily for them there is a really nice beach located a few hundred meters away from the Temple’s entrance. If you want to spend the night, there are also numerous luxury and budget hotels nearby!
Vouliagmeni lake – 23km away
The Lake of Vouliagmeni is a natural lake 12 m deep, and a perfect gem along the Athenian Riviera. It is located a few meters from the sea: many people prefer to take a dive in its crystal-clear and extremely cool waters instead of the Aegean Sea’s salty ones.
Vouliagmeni lake is a wonderfully relaxing place to visit during a hot summer day. You can enjoy a swim in its beautiful cool waters before getting a drink from the nice cafe right at the edge of the lake. You can even have your wedding there, and rent the whole place out if you can afford it!
Limanakia – 23km away
Vouliagmeni lake and the beach of Limanakia, meaning “small ports” in Greek, are separated by the seaside road that connects the city of Athens with Cape Sounion, mentioned above. And by the way, this route makes for the best possible seaside road-trip in the Attika region.
A visit to the Lake means that you can also take a dive in the Aegean Sea simply by crossing that road. Limanakia is not an actual beach: rather, it is the rocky edge of the land on which Athens is built. However, as it is easily accessible, many Athenians head there to cool off simply by jumping off the small rocks to the cool waters of the Aegean and then climbing back up. Please remember that you can only do that when the waters are calm, as a heavy sea will make climbing up very dangerous.
Legrena beach – 64 km away
Legrena is the last beach before reaching Sounion, and the Templae of Poseidon lies a few meters further down the road. The beach is located 60 km southeast of Athens and 3km west of Sounion, and for many meters surrounded by a protected cove.
This beach is totally disorganized, but one of the cleanest in Athens and quite unspoilt. There are many taverns and cafeterias in the wider region, where you can enjoy a coffee or a delicious meal by the sea. It can get a bit crowded on weekends but it’s perfect during the week days.
Vouliagmeni beach – 23km away
Close to Vouliagmeni Lake and Limanakia lies the sandy beach of Vouliagmeni, one of the best-organized beaches which offers all types of beach facilities.
Tennis and volleyball courts, a play area for children, a water slide, individual cabins and a restaurant are some of the features that make the area famous among Athenians. Nightclubs can also be found there, and on weekends there are plenty of chances to come across an open beach party so you can have a beer, dance with laid-back locals and experience a summer night in Athens.
Schinias beach – 45km away
Schinias is one of the most beautiful and best organized beaches on Athens’ north-east side. It has a sandy coast, clean waters and it is surrounded by lots of watersports centres for the adventurous type of a traveler. It is a wonderful long, curved beach, ringed by pines.
Its natural beauty receives is definitely one of the reasons why many Athenians visit, especially during the weekends. Also, windsurfers highly recommend Schinias beach since the winds over its waters are often strong.
Psatha beach – 60km away
In contrast to the beaches we’ve seen so far, Psatha lies on the west side of Athens. It is a 2.5 kilometer long beach with nice sand and free access; the beach is situated below the mountain Pateras, giving it a fascinating view of Corinthiakos Bay and the thick pine woods on the mountain.
Although it’s an hour’s drive to reach this beach from Athens, as a traveler must drive up the mountain and then back down to the beach, the whole road-trip there offers some of the best scenery in Attica..
Accommodation facilities are available quite close to the beach and visitors will have the chance to taste fresh fish and sea food at the area’s taverns, at the same time enjoying the view of the sea and the mountain across.
Porto Germeno – 60km away
Porto Germeno, a beach close and quite similar to Psatha, is the real name of the ancient settlement of Aigosthena, which in antiquity used to be the port of Megara at Corinthiakos Bay. Porto Germeto is also a long beach, located 60 kilometers west of Athens’ city center.
The beach is not very organized, but it is pretty popular and often busy. This is especially true on weekends, when local residents come to enjoy the sea.
The waters on this side of Athens are spectacular and island-like, making Psatha and Porto Germeno the best beaches for anyone who loves crystal-clear, cool waters. They are also the most family-friendly beaches in Attika.
Kokkino Limanaki beach – 27 km away
Finally there’s Kokkino Limanaki: a narrow and beautiful beach close to Rafina, the second most popular port in Athens.
This tropical beach is surrounded by steep cliffs and has crystal-clear water. Its name means Little Red Harbor, due to the colour of the cliffs that enclose it. Near this creek you can find a blue and white sign, indicating that it hosts one of the few camping sites in the area.
Since Kokkino Limanaki is situated 1.5 km away from the port of Rafina, a traveler could easily hop on a ship and head to the islands of Andros or Evia. They’re each about an hour away from Rafina.
Written by: Nikos Patsiouris