The southern suburbs of Athens invite you to travel to the big blue – here the summer never ends
A few kilometres outside Athens, the urban landscape gives way to a unique seaside resort. This gorgeous stretch of coastline with its green-blue water, organised beaches and rocky coves is teeming with five-star resorts, spas, esplanades, marinas, windsurfing and sailing. Combined with the ideal climate, the Athens Riviera makes you feel as if you’re on an endless summer holiday.
Your excursion to the southern suburbs begins from Faliro and reaches Sounion. The tram connects Athens – from Syntagma Square – with the southern suburbs, and is a leisurely way to get to the coast. Route T3, which reaches from Faliro until Voula, is the most enjoyable way for you to get to know the coastline. Along the way, you’ll encounter seaside neighbourhoods and destinations full of temptations for you to stop and check out: Alimos, Glyfada, Voula, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza, Lagonissi, Saronida, Anavyssos are all perfect for swimming or a stroll, with shopping, dining and more.
In this corner of Athens you’ll find organised, emerald water beaches, and rocky coves perfect for a swim. There is certainly no shortage of inviting sand or Blue Flag awards on stretches of coast like Eden Beach at Mavro Lithari, the beaches at Anavyssos, Varkiza, Asteras Vouliagmenis, Kochilia in Lagonissi and many more. Five-star resorts with spas, esplanades, palm trees, sea sports, sailing and even golf at the modern Glyfada Golf Club await you. Traditional tavernas and gourmet restaurants serve freshly caught fish. The beat goes on at numerous beach bars and exclusive nightclubs where you will dance until dawn, barefoot on the sand. Here the sun shines bright and the laughter rings out loud all year round.
If you are a sailing enthusiast, the Athens Riviera has many marinas from which you can set sail for beaches and villages in the Peloponnese (Loutra Oraias Elenis, Korfo, Epidaurus), Sounion – cruising by Athens’ cosmopolitan beaches – as well as the islands near Athens, in the Saronic Gulf. Fully-organised marinas in the area can be found in Flisvos, at Faliro-SEF, in Alimos, Glyfada and Vouliagmeni. An overnight excursion to the nearby Temple of Poseidon in Sounion, especially when there is a full moon, is a majestic experience.
On the tip of this unique coastline, you’ll find Cape Sounion, where you’ll admire the Temple of Poseidon – one of the most significant monuments of Ancient Greece, and one of the most important attractions in Athens. The energy of the landscape is indescribable and has inspired myths and legends. This is where Aegeus, king of Athens, jumped to his death, mistakenly thinking that he’d lost Theseus, his only son, to the Minotaur in the labyrinth. Every evening the sun’s rays play hide and seek between the marble columns, then dance down to add a sparkle to the sea below.
And finally, when night falls, you’ll enjoy the coast’s nightlife: in Alimos, Glyfada, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza the beach bars are filled with people enjoying their cocktails, dancing until dawn and making summer memories. Welcome to the Athens Riviera, where summer never ends.
The Most Popular Attractions in the Athens Riviera
1. Temple of Poseidon
A visit to Sounion is more than just an excursion, it is an ethereal journey. When you get to the Temple of Poseidon, situated at the top of the cliff at Cape Sounion, you leave the crowds behind and become one with the gods. Feel the energy of this landscape, drenched in the same light as in ancient times. A place of myths and legends: this is where Aegeus, king of Athens, jumped to his death, mistakenly thinking that he’d lost Theseus, his only son, to the Minotaur in the labyrinth. And here, at Attica’s southernmost tip, the Doric Temple of Poseidon was built (around the same time as the Parthenon, 440 BC), standing proudly above the sea that the god adored. Sounion is the first and last sight for mariners and it is without doubt a vision that will stay with you forever.
This port is unlike any other. Lavrio has a 4,000-year-old mining history. Discover the 19th-century mining works, ruins of the steam-powered laundry and the ancient silver-mining tunnels. Admire the industrial building complex of the former Compagnie Française des Mines, in what is now the Technological and Culture Park, which belongs to the National Technical University of Athens. Visit the palm-tree grove and Mineralogical Museum, housed in a building from 1875. On the way to Sounion, near the village of Kamariza, you’ll encounter ‘chaos’, an impressive geological phenomenon of vertical cliffs in shades of grey and orange, with a depth of 55m.
3. Limanakia Vouliagmenis
Find your own private limanaki (cove) and dive off the rocks into the crystal-clear water.
4. Lake Vouliagmeni
A miracle of nature: emerald waters that remain at a temperature between 20 and 29 degrees Celsius, embraced by red rocks. These natural hot springs with labyrinthine underwater caves were formed by the precipitation in what was once, in prehistoric times, a huge cave. It has been declared a natural monument and belongs to the pan-European network of protected Natura 2000 areas.
5. Suburban beaches
The star beach of the Athens Riviera is the sophisticated Asteras Vouliagmenis, with its luxury sunbeds, volleyball courts and myriad dining options. Since 1959, it has been considered the beach to see and be seen on. Other great beaches spanning the coast are Loubarda, Agia Marina, Iliopoulos, Mavro Lithari, Eden and Saronida.
Sailing enthusiasts will be able to discover numerous coves and bays by boat near Athens. The many organised marinas in Attica are the perfect starting point. You can find marinas in Zea, in Flisvos– considered to rival that of Monaco – in Faliro-SEF, Alimos, Glyfada and Vouliagmeni.