The Athens Riviera - A Guide to the Best Beaches of Athens

A Guide to the Best Beaches of Athens

Most people think of the Greek islands when they are considering their optimal beach experience, but the reality is that greater Athens, sometimes referred to as the Athens Riviera, can go toe-to-toe with some of the finest beaches in Mykonos, Milos, or Crete. Below is everything you need to know to enjoy a day by the sea near the nation’s capital.

Getting Started: Organized, Unorganized, or Partially Organized

To get the most out of your beach experience, you’ll want to decide if you are looking for an organized or unorganized beach.

Organized beaches offer sunbeds and umbrellas and are usually connected to a cantina, taverna, or restaurant. In the Athens Riviera, these beaches typically charge a fee—either an entrance fee or a fee for sunbed usage. On top of that, you’ll pay for any food or drinks you order.

Unorganized beaches have few or no amenities. The benefit is they are free and less built up. The disadvantage is that you need to bring all your own gear—umbrellas, chairs, food, drinks, towels, and so forth. Some unorganized beaches don’t offer a bathroom or place to change, so keep that in mind.

Partially organized beaches fall somewhere in between. They may offer umbrellas but no sunbeds. They may have a cantina but no bathroom.

To Reserve or Not to Reserve: Securing Your Sunbed

Should you favor organized beaches, getting a sunbed will become a topic of consideration. In the summer months, the popular beach clubs sell out of sunbeds and if you arrive in the late morning to early afternoon, you may not find an available lounge chair.

Some beach clubs offer you the option to book online, but you may pay double (and sometimes more) to have the peace of mind of having a reserved bed. Many locals choose to just show up and take their chances. It's a question of personal preference and budget.

Getting There

From Athens center, you have the option to drive, take public transportation, or go by taxi. Get more information about public transportation here.

Finding the Beach for You

As a general rule, the Athens beaches become more beautiful as you head away from the capital. The nearby beaches of Alimos are considered mid-range but more convenient to the city center. Vouliagmeni’s beaches are about double the distance from the city center but offer some of the cleanest water and most beautiful seasides you’ll find in the area.

A Guide to the Beaches of Athens

If convenience is your priority, head to the beaches of Alimos, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from downtown Athens.

Akti tou Iliou, is a group of beach clubs featuring Bolivar Beach Bar, Akanthus Summer Club, Nalu All Day cafe, and more. These clubs are located side by side, offering a festive vibe and a well-organized experience. 18-year veteran Bolivar Beach Bar is known for its international DJ dance parties and its comfortable beach facilities with easy access to Athens.

Cost: Entrance fee of €6 + €2 for sunbed rental on weekdays, €8 + €4 for sunbed rental on the weekends.

About 10 miles (17 kilometers) from Athens center lies Voula, an upscale, mainly residential town with a beautiful coastline.

Athines by the Sea is an organized beach in Voula offering a relaxing experience at reasonable prices. Featuring clean, clear seawater and well-organized amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas, a bar, and restaurant, this club is popular with Athens locals.

Cost: Entrance fee of €6 during the week, €8 on the weekend. €20 extra for a sunbed and umbrella set for two people.

Along the coast of Vouliagmeni, about 12 miles (20 kilometers) from Athens center, lie some of the best beaches and coastlines in the Athens Riviera.

Kavouri Beach in Vouliagmeni has a sporty vibe and is a favorite among locals for racket, beach volleyball, and generally relaxing. This is one of the best free beaches with the added advantage of being near a row of quality seaside tavernas. Come for a dip in the sea and stay for a late afternoon lunch.

Astir is widely considered to be one of the most exclusive luxury beach experiences in greater Athens, and if cost is no issue, this is a great choice. Set next to the Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel, this stylish beach club attracts a glamorous clientele, so don’t be surprised if you see Greek television personalities or politicians here. Featuring several restaurants, designer boutique stores, and full shower/changing facilities, you can easily spend an enjoyable day at Astir. Be sure to stay until dusk as this beach has one of the best sunsets in town.

Cost: 2 sunbeds + umbrella = €60 on weekdays, €100 on weekends. Expect to pay more if you pre-book.

If you like the idea of a quality organized beach, but Astir is outside your budget, head across the street to Akti where you’ll find a more community-based vibe on a friendly beach featuring racket, beach volleyball, and a regular Sunday swim called WeSwim. With a more diverse crowd than its exclusive next-door neighbor, you can expect to see all types at Akti. Part of the attraction is the reasonable price for this Blue Flag beach.

Cost: An entrance fee of €10 during the weekend and €15 per person on the weekend. Sunbeds are offered for free on a first-come, first served basis.

If chic boho is what you seek, head to Krabo Beach at Kavouri, just north of Astir in Vouliagmeni. This minimalist, elegant beach club was designed by co-owner and architect Yiangos Agiostratitis. Featuring understated earth tones, the space has a light, airy feeling. Krabo offers a quality restaurant and has an unhurried, laidback vibe. This is also one of the few dog-friendly beach clubs you will find.

Cost: Free entrance, but expect to pay €50 for a set of two sunbeds + umbrella (more if you reserve in advance).

Lake Vouliagmeni is not technically a beach, but this natural lake with thermal waters is another idyllic spot to spend a day by the water. Set beneath stunning cliffs and lush vegetation, this unique destination is a great choice for anyone who wants to avoid the sand but hopes to spend a day cooling off.

Cost: Entrance fee of €15 during the weekdays, €18 on the weekends. Free sunbeds upon entrance.

Located about 15 miles south of Athens center, past the Vouliagmeni beaches, you’ll find Vari and Varkiza, two premier areas in the Athens Riviera.

If water sports are your thing, Yabanaki, part of Varkiza Resort Beach Park, is worth a visit. This beach club is home to Yasurfaki, a water sports school offering standup paddle board rentals, windsurf lessons, and various other water sport options. The beach club is large, attracting a diverse crowd, and with its wide array of offerings, including a beachwear store, beach volleyball courts, and more, it is easy to pass a fun-filled day here.

Cost: Entrance fee of €7.50 on weekdays, €8 on weekends. Sunbeds start at €10 per set of two on the weekends. Sunbeds are free during the week.

If you don’t mind driving a bit further and want to combine beach going with a trip to ancient ruins, head to Kape Beach or Paralia Sounio about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Athens center. These beaches offer crystal clear water, a relaxed vibe, and easy access to the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio.

Kape Beach is an unorganized, free beach with pebbles versus sand. It's a bit of an adventure getting there but if raw beauty is what you seek, this is a picturesque choice.

If you want something a little easier to navigate, head to Paralia Sounio (Sounio Beach), an organized beach with two quality tavernas nearby. While you’ll lose a bit of the natural beauty of Kape Beach, the amenities might make it worth it, and this beach offers a great view of the Temple of Poseidon.

Cost: €20 for a set of two sunbeds + umbrella on weekdays, €30 on weekends.

While most people head south for the best beaches near Athens, there are also some very respectable beaches in the north. Nea Makri, located about 24 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Athens center, has some great seaside offerings.

Schinias and Marathonas are long, sandy beaches in Nea Makri. Set side by side in front of a pine forest, they offer crystal clear, shallow water, making it easy to wade far in without swimming. Both beaches offer organized and unorganized options and are popular with families and water sports enthusiasts alike.

In Summary

As you can see, there is a wide spectrum of beach-going options near Athens and even if you don’t island hop, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy an amazing day at the sea near the nation’s capital. Kalo banio!

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