Stretching south from Greece’s capital, the Athens Riviera (also known as the Athenian Riviera) is quickly emerging as a summer hotspot to rival the Greek Islands. Come summer, Athenians leave the city in droves to kick off their heels in luxe beach clubs and sip wine in waterfront bars.
We’ve just added the Cape Sounio Grecotel to our books for visitors to the Athens Riviera. This gorgeous hotel is perched by the water for fabulous sea views, with a collection of smart restaurants and fabulous line-up of rooms, villas and bungalows. Sound like your brand of raki? Here’s a few ideas on how to fill your days…
What to do
The southernmost stop on the Riviera, Sounio is a part of Greece steeped in myth and legend, and is home to one of the country’s most important archaeological sites. History buffs can get their teeth into the Temple of Poseidon, the soaring shrine to the gods perched 200 feet above sea level, believed to have been built around 440 BC.
Under an hour’s drive north from Sounio is star-studded Glyfada, a postcard-perfect coastal town that pulls in celebrities and well-heeled Athenians for its fabulous boutique shopping, nightlife and restaurants. Look out for the Balux Café, a glass-fronted leisure complex packed with restaurants, entertainment and even a beach club.
Day trips from the Athens Riviera
Sounio is also the Riviera’s sailing capital. You’ve got pretty harbours within easy reach for yachting out to the Saronic Gulf, where you can sail around half-hidden coves and tiny islets.
If you’re curious about Greece’s famous capital, it’s around an hour and a half to Athens, where you can experience its vibrant art scene, and check out ancient sights like the Acropolis. The city is connected to the coastal suburbs by tram – an experience in itself. Take route T3 for the best views of the coastline (with stops at the likes of Glyfada, Vouliagmeni and Anavyssos).
Beaches on the Athens Riviera
Despite its proximity to the capital, the beaches of the Athens Riviera have flown under the radar of most visitors to Greece. Within 10 miles of Athens are spectacular Blue Flag beaches and chic seaside resorts with mountain backdrops. If you’re staying in Sounio, the beach is just a few minutes’ walk from its famous Temple of Poseidon, and features calm, perfectly clear waters.
If you’re interested in exploring the coast, white-sand beaches dot the Riviera like diamonds. Beach clubs are big business here; privately-owned and plush, they tend to offer luxe loungers, dining and waiter service for an admission fee. If you’re serious about your beach time, it’s worth the 45-minute journey to Vouliagmeni Beach. One of the jewels of the coast, it’s been a favourite sun-and-sand spot since the 1950s and has everything you need for a beach day, with plenty of good options for lunch and entertainment for kids.
Drinking and dining
In summer, the Athens Riviera is a magnet for city slickers looking to make the most of the long, warm evenings. There’s a Greek Island-feel, and beach clubs, cocktails bars and even open-air cinemas sprinkle the seaside resorts, with Glyfada taking the lead for celeb-spotting and champagne-sipping long into the night.
The nightlife in Sounio tends to be local. The seafood restaurants here are fantastic, so do as the locals do and take a stroll down to the waterfront for a sundowner at a local taverna, before picking a restaurant for freshly netted fish, mezes and a warm welcome. Try local favourite Marida for red mullet and fresh lobster.
If you’ve caught the sailing bug, it’s never been easier to plan a Greek Island multi-centre. From Sounio, you can visit the chic islands of Mykonos and Santorini, known for their picturesque whitewashed buildings and boutique hotels. We can book ferries and arrange all the details, and with convenient timetables and private transfers, it’s easier than you might think. Read our luxe guide to Greek island-hopping for more inspiration.