When you think of Greece, the first places that might come to mind are the whitewashed homes on the island of Santorini or the breathtaking sunsets in Mykonos. Of course there’s Athens, but that’s just for history buffs, right? While Athens is the epicenter of ancient empires and civilizations, which naturally results in a city brimming with history, it’s also home to the longest coastline of any European capital. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly vacation spot or a luxury getaway, the beaches near Athens have a little something for everyone.
1. Astir Beach
Best for: Luxury accommodation and amenities
If you’re looking for a lavish experience, look no further than Astir Beach, located just forty minutes from Athens. It’s open at a price, so if you’re willing to pay the steep entry fee (18 euros on the weekdays, 28 euros on weekends), you will be welcomed with food and drink service, massages, showers, and even beach chairs with buttons for additional requests.
The higher entry fee consequently results in a much less crowded beach compared to some of the others, which can often be worth it during the busy summer months. Astir Beach is also home to the ruined temple of Apollo Zoster, which serves as a wonderful reminder that you are in fact still sunbathing in one of the oldest cities in the world.
2. Megalo Kavouri Beach
Best for: Budget travelers
Kavouri, meaning crab, is a beautiful coastal region located just forty minutes from the city center. Here, you’ll find two beaches: Mikro Kavouri and Megalo Kavouri. While both are beautiful, Megalo Kavouri is great for anyone on a budget due to its free entry. The shallow water combined the myriad of open space makes it a great place for families, too. There are plenty of small cafes and restaurants nearby, so go ahead and use the money you saved on the entry fee for some delectable Greek cuisine.
Megalo Kavouri can be reached by public bus, but be sure to get there early as this beach gets very crowded in the summer months.
3. Yabanaki Beach
Best for: Outdoor adventures
A quick, 45-minute drive from Athens will land you in the lively beach town of Vari. SUP lessons, windsurfing, beach volleyball, water skiing, banana rides and even a bouncy castle are among the 20+ seaside activities offered on Yabanaki Beach. The affordable entrance fee of 5 euros during the week includes two sunbeds and one umbrella. The entrance fee increases by one euro on weekends and does not include the sunbeds or umbrella, but those can be purchased for an additional fee. Children under six are free and students, the elderly, and children aged 7-12 receive a reduced rate of 3.5 euros.
4. Kakia Thalassa Beach
Best for: Families
Considered to be one of the cleanest beaches in the Attica region, Kakia Thalassa is the perfect beach destination for families with children. The two beaches that comprise Kakia Thalassa are separated by a small peninsula with a church on top. The beaches are secluded from large waves and wind, which makes it much easier to keep track of the little ones.
If you make the one hour drive to Kakia Thalassa, be sure to check out the Cave of Kitkos as well. Dating back to prehistoric times, this off-the-beaten-path site provides a fun and educational experience all in one.
5. Cape Sounio Beach
Best for: Sunsets
If the deep, turquoise water isn’t enough to lure you to this seaside paradise, the sunsets will. It’s location at the tip of the pensinsula makes Cape Sounio the perfect place to take in the sorbet colored skies at dusk.
Cape Sounio Beach is roughly 78 km (49 miles) from Athens city center, making it far less crowded than some of the other beaches located closer to Athens. This makes it a great place to enjoy a peaceful day/evening away from the hustle and bustle that Greece can be during the peak season.
Cape Sounio is also home to the Temple of Poseidon. Originally constructed in 600 B.C., the current structure was rebuilt in the 5th century B.C. Soaring high to the sky, the Temple of Poseidon was first built to honor the god of the sea and as a way to protect the city from neighboring regions. Today, it serves as a beautifully preserved piece of architecture and history that demands appreciation by all those who pass by. The Temple of Athena is also within walking distance from the beach, although not much remains of the actual structure. With that being said, it’s still a valued piece of history and does offer a great view of the Temple of Poseidon and the Aegean Sea in the distance.
Image credits: Astir_Beach_-_Photo_by_Sven_
Author: Hannah Fitzpatrick
Hannah is a freelance writer and blogger who has a deep passion for travel, mindful living and people. Originally from Upstate New York, she’s had the opportunity to live in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and most currently, Maryland. She recently crossed country number 16 off her bucket list and is always devising a plan to fulfill her perpetual wanderlust. When she’s not busy writing or traveling, you can find her enjoying the great outdoors with her husband and puppy, exploring her local community or honing in on her photography skills.