The world has many beaches worthy of a vacation, but few have the combination of activities, history, and dazzling blue allure that Greece offers. We fell in love with the water surrounding the Greek isles on past adventures, and learned quickly which beaches offer the best experiences. More specifically, we learned which Athens beaches offer engaging, memory-making activities fit for a Greek god. If Greece is in your future, please make time for an afternoon – or an entire day – at one of these astoundingly beautiful beaches; we promise you’ll have no regrets.
Take a leisurely swim, then play beach volleyball at Akti Vouliagmenis Beach
Twenty-five minutes south of Athens (by car) is the idyllic Akti Vouliagmenis Beach. Here, swaths of white sand, dotted with umbrellas, look out at the blissfully blue sea where weekenders splash, stroke, and dive. What’s more, the Vouliagmenis Beach Club is docked alongside, parks abound, and beach sports can be seen feet from the water. Bring a volleyball or reach out to the Beach Club about possible games – it’s a nice way to break up the sun-soaked naps by the water.
There are also plenty of restaurants along the shore, including the seafood-savvy Forty Restaurant; the inventive, quasi-Greek En Plo (steak and spaghetti are spotlighters here); and just off the eastern shore, Waffle House homemade ice cream hut – complete with homemade waffle cones – draws in children by the gaggle.
Surf some wind at Karavi Schinias
A full-blown beach and water sports club, Karavi Schinias has so much going on you could spend days here – and that’s not even counting the hours lounging in the sun. About 25 miles northeast of Athens, the club includes volleyball courts, beach bars, restaurants, loungers, and countless other amenities. For our money, though, this is the best spot to take windsurfing lessons. Getting out on the water is dependent on the weather, though, so be sure to check in advance; beginner windsurfing requires calm winds and is usually best enjoyed earlier in the morning. Check the Karavi website for full details.
Go scuba diving off the Athenian coast
The best (and most accessible) spots for scuba diving near Athens are directly southwest of the city – about 15-20 minutes away. There are different gradations of dives, however. For advanced dives off the Piraeus peninsula, consider Seals Diving Center – many of their dives are designed for experts or advanced divers. BIG BLUE Watersports and Marathon Divers Club, however, are nice alternatives for folks looking for beginning scuba diving lessons in the Aegean as well as a variety of other sports – like jet skiing and boating.
A pro tip, though: Many eager beginner divers want to go too quickly. Take it easy and listen to your instructor; you’ll be glad you did.
Sip a cocktail while the kids splash at Eden Beach
Linked to a posh resort hotel, Eden Beach is the place you want to go when the kids need water time and you need an adult beverage. Oh sure, there are indoor and outdoor pools, and yes there’s waterskiing, and absolutely there is a place for you to swim like a fish but… isn’t it time you just relaxed and got some peace and quiet? The good news is, you can take the kids where you feel most comfortable – a confined pool or out by the beach. Meanwhile, you can snag a bevy from Il Centro Pool Snack Bar or EverHeights Pool Snack Bar or – okay, they have a few bars. Just sip, unwind, and let the kids go nuts. You’ve earned it. (And did we mention that exhilarating, glowing sunset you can see in the distance every night? Wow.)
Admire the Temple of Poseidon while reading “Antigone” at Aegeon Beach
Caption: Soak in the sun while Poseidon watches over you. (Source: Aegeon Beach Hotel Facebook)
If you want the perfect blend of history and relaxation, head to Aegeon Beach, about an hour south of the city on the Cape of Sounion. Tucked next to the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon, the beach is the perfect spot to sun yourself while reflecting on the ebb and flow of history – and spying the horizon beyond crystal clear waters. Away from most of the maddening crowds, Aegeon is the perfect place for calm – and, if you’re in the mood, a good book. Might we suggest one of the dramas of Greece’s own Sophocles?