Just south of the hustle and bustle of central Athens lies one of the city’s most treasured assets: a sun-drenched strip of coastline that stretches from Piraeus—the capital’s busy port—to spectacular Sounion, at the southernmost tip of the Attica peninsula. Easily accessible by car, bus or light rail, this “Athenian Riviera” is a “must-sea” for anyone wanting to enjoy Athens to its fullest. From shopping to eating, the area offers discerning visitors much to do year-round, but—like most things in Greece—is best enjoyed from the late spring to early fall, accompanied by a trip to the beach.
Here are some of our favorite things to do in the area:
Begin your morning with a stroll through Flisvos Marina in Palaio Faliro, not too far from Athens’ city center, featuring a majestic Mediterranean esplanade lined with fine dining and shopping venues. Pull up a chair in a waterfront café and take in the sights and sounds of the mega-yachts floating lazily in the morning hours while you enjoy your morning coffee.
Then it’s on to late breakfast (try the Greek style scramble, that is, if you can make it there before 13:00!) or early lunch in style at Kitchen-Bar, just south of Flisvos. A mixed grill for two (perhaps washed down with one of their signature cocktails) will help you build up your strength for the busy day ahead.
Next, climb back in the car and follow the coast farther south until you reach the Astir Palace, one of Greece’s most well-known and celebrated beachfront resorts, occupying its very own wooded peninsula. Spend a few hours lounging by the resort pools or venture down to the rocky coast to catch some rays or paddle out from their exclusive beach. Need a bit more indulgence? Check yourself into the Arion Spa for a day of deep relaxation while you stare out at the sparkling Aegean.
Once you’ve fully decompressed in Arion, stop by the Vouliagmeni Lake Natural Spa Waters, just across the street for a refreshing dip in nature’s own spa. The water in Vouliagmeni Lake is a combination of seawater and underground thermal springs, giving it uniquely therapeutic characteristics. If you’re feeling ambitious, sign onto any number of the Lake’s activities and classes, including Yoga, snorkeling and aqua aerobics.
Afterwards, continue down the coast to catch one of Greece’s most inspiring sunsets at the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion. Constructed around 440 BC atop a rocky cliff—battered for millennia by the crashing washes of the Aegean—ancient Greek mariners used the temple to make offerings to the Greek god of the sea, in hopes of safe passage over water and many safe returns to harbor. It is also the site where Aegeus, King of Athens, was said to have jumped to his death upon seeing the black sail of a returning ship and incorrectly assuming the death of his son Theseus (hence the name “Aegean” Sea). Today, the ruins of the temple are one of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations and one of its most exclusive locations in which to live (don’t forget to check out some of the mansions lining the hills while you’re there).
If you’re like us, you’ll probably end your day on the coast searching for an excuse not to leave. Balux Café has you covered. Make a stop at this swanky seaside bar and nightclub in Glyfada as you make your way back up to the city for late nights snacks and spirits. With a bar this well stocked, you could spend hours trying to figure out what to order. We’ll save you some time: get the mastiha-infused “Spring Power” cocktail, for a true taste of the Athenian Riviera.