Unforgettable on Athenian Riviera

download-7Both public and private beaches line the Riviera’s 48km stretch of coastline, many of which have met the stringent quality standards to earn Blue Flag accreditation. The privately operated, stylish beachside venues feature luxury sunbeds, volleyball courts and gourmet dining options. Astir Beach has one of the highest admission fees on the coast; regulars pre-book their lounge chairs. The well-appointed Baluxis the choice for all-day relaxation thanks to the plush beach loungers set on the sand. At the Yabanaki VIP section, guests enjoy special attention at a private lounge complete with cocktail and sushi bar service.

The public, state-run beaches are just as beautiful without admission fees to worry about. Amenities like umbrellas or loungers – if available – cost a few euros. Limanakia is perfect for those seeking to dive off the rocks into the crystal-clear water. Mikro Kavouri is a picturesque rocky beach with a great lookout point to enjoy views of the Saronic Gulf. Thymari beach is a local favourite known for its shallow turquoise sea.

Relaxing at Anavissos

Athenians head to the Riviera beach town of Anavissos for two things: windsurfing and great seafood. Beaches here are less crowded, the water is extra clean and the scenery beautiful. Anavissos is home to a variety of simple fish taverns with dining areas overlooking the sea.  For traditional Greek dining, join the locals at the authentic Ta Pefka (facebook.com/tabernapeuka).

Therapeutic waters of Lake Vouliagmeni

Almost hidden off the main beach road, Lake Vouliagmeni’s (limnivouliagmenis.gr) entrance is easy to miss but that would be a mistake. It’s named after a Greek word for ‘sunken’, and legend has it that a lost city fell into the deep lake which is bordered by a huge limestone cave. Managed as a stylish resort, its 24°C therapeutic waters boast mineral properties proven to heal various skin problems, rheumatism and arthritis.

Shopping in Glyfada

The US airbase may have closed years ago, but the businesses that once catered to American families in the upmarket seaside neighbourhood of Glyfada are still thriving (it helps that some of the remaining residents include millionaires and celebrities). Glyfada’s downtown area is an energetic shopping hub where boutique stores are sprinkled between cafes, eateries and bars.

 

Sailing the Riviera

The Athenian Riviera is the Greek capital’s hub for sailing, and the several harbours along the coast are the starting point to explore fantastic coves and islets or go on a day trip to nearby Saronic Gulf islands such as Aegina, Poros or Hydra. The most popular harbours to set off from include Flisvos, Agios Kosmas, Alimos and Glyfada. For day cruises and boat hire, try yachts-sailing.com in Paleio Faliro.

Open-air cinema at Flisvos Marina

Some of the most impressive yachts in the Mediterranean dock at Flisvos Marina (flisvosmarina.com), whose pedestrian promenade is the destination for a relaxing stroll, a fancy cocktail or a great meal with a perfect sea view. Also nearby is the Cine Flisvos (cineflisvos.gr), one of Athens’ classic open-air cinemas which operates under the moonlight by the sea every summer.

Cape Sounion’s Temple of Poseidon

Cape Sounion is the southernmost tip of greater Athens, where the ancient Greeks built the inspiring Temple of Poseidon in honour of the god of the sea. Perched high on the rocky headland jutting out over the Saronic Gulf, the gleaming marble columns once welcomed the ancient Athenians home as they sailed back into the Aegean Sea. Today, Cape Sounion is one of the most coveted spots on the Riviera to admire the sunset.

Fine dining on the Riviera

In addition to their gastronomic delights, the finest restaurants on the Riviera feature incredible sea vistas.  President Bill Clinton and Hollywood celebrities Sean Connery and Leonardo Di Caprio have all enjoyed the seafood specialties at Ithaki (ithakirestaurantbar.gr). World-renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa brings magnificent flavours from Japan to the Riviera at Matsuhisa, set on a prime spot on the Astir Palace Resort complex.