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The Best Beaches in Athens

Combine a city break with a seaside sojourn in the Greek capital

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A bird's eye view of the turquoise sea and white sand with parasols at Glyfada Beach, Athens, Greece

It’s no secret that Athens boasts an embarrassment of riches when it comes to history and culture - after all, it's known as the cradle of Western civilisation. One of Athens’ other prime selling points, though, is its proximity to the beach - so after ticking those all-important museums and archeological sites off the list, you can head straight for the sun lounger. With so many stellar seaside options on offer, trying to choose a spot for a swim in the midst of your city break can seem like a mammoth task. Fear not: we here at Plum Guide have scoured the Athenian Riviera to find the very best sandy strips, ensuring your hybrid city-beach trip to the Greek capital goes off without a hitch. Here are the very best beaches in Athens.

Akti Vouliagmenis

An aerial view of waves lapping onto the sand at Akti Vouliagmenis, Athens, Greece

An aerial view of waves lapping onto the sand at Akti Vouliagmenis, Athens, Greece

​​Akti Vouliagmenis (meaning Vouliagmeni Bay) lies just 12 miles from downtown Athens, but feels a world away. This wide beach is beloved for its soft golden sands, and is a great place to set up camp for a day at the seaside - not least because of the abundance of umbrellas and sun beds. You will need to pay a small fee to enjoy the beach, volleyball, and basketball courts. In addition to the paddle-perfect shallows, the playground and park space make Akti Vouliagmenis a firm favourite for families. For a swim with a difference, make the most of being in Vouliagmeni, and take a bonus dip in Limni Vouliagmenis (Vouliagmeni Lake) - whose mineral waters are reported to have healing properties.

Towards the Acropolis, Plum Guide home in Athens, Greece

Towards the Acropolis, Plum Guide home in Athens, Greece

Edem Beach

Waves in the blue sea by the sand at Edem Beach on a misty day, Athens, Greece

Waves in the blue sea by the sand at Edem Beach on a misty day, Athens, Greece

Fancy a quick swim after an afternoon of sightseeing? Edem is your best bet if you’re on a tight schedule. The closest beach to Athens’ city centre, this long, sandy stretch is easily accessible by tram - and it's free to enter. If you’d rather not get your towel sandy, sun loungers are on offer to take your beach jaunt up a level, while a number of bars and restaurants can satisfy any cravings for freddo espresso (Greek iced coffee) or horiatiki (Greek salad). If the idea of being by the sea is more appealing than being in it, the promenade from Paleo Faliro, near the Flisvos marina, is a popular route for a stroll.

Dionysus, Plum Guide home in Athens, Greece

Dionysus, Plum Guide home in Athens, Greece

Varkiza Beach

A small cave in the blue water at Varkiza Beach, Athens, Greece

A small cave in the blue water at Varkiza Beach, Athens, Greece

To feel like you’ve truly escaped the city (despite only having travelled 12 miles), make a beeline for Varkiza. ​​One of the southernmost beaches on the Athens Riviera, Varkiza is a top choice among the best beaches in Athens for its relative peace and quiet, clean sands, and clear waters - as well as being a haven for Athenian windsurfers and water skiers. Here you have the option to chill out in a cabana at chic beach club Yabanak - complete with pizzeria, sushi bar and spa. Or, find a secluded spot in one of the small coves that adjoin the bay.

Hearts & Minds, Plum Guide home in Athens, Greece

Hearts & Minds, Plum Guide home in Athens, Greece

Astir Beach

A bird's eye view of parasols organised on the sand by the water at Astir Beach, Athens, Greece

A bird's eye view of parasols organised on the sand by the water at Astir Beach, Athens, Greece

For a taste of Mykonos within a stone’s throw of central Athens, Astir Beach ticks a lot of boxes. This exclusive beach club is set on the Laimos peninsula, backed by pine trees and lapped by pristine waters - it's also in the well-to-do suburb of Vouliagmeni. The ultimate Athens luxury beach experience, Astir is so much more than just a beach - expect food and drinks delivered to your bed, waterside yoga, massages, and even a selection of designer boutiques. As you might expect, this high level of service is reflected in the prices - but who can put a price on the unparalleled people-watching you’ll get to enjoy? In any case, it’ll be cheaper than a trip to Mykonos. Pro tip: pre-book your sun lounger and umbrella to be sure of getting a spot.

City Styx, Plum Guide home in Athens, Greece

City Styx, Plum Guide home in Athens, Greece

Glyfada Bays

Sand and gentle waves in front of a tall green hill at sunrise at a beach in Glyfada, Athens, Greece

Sand and gentle waves in front of a tall green hill at sunrise at a beach in Glyfada, Athens, Greece

Strictly speaking, Glyfada is a string of bays rather than a single beach. The good news is that they are all a cinch to get to from central Athens, courtesy of the city tram, and all within strolling distance of the happening restaurants and bars of central Glyfada. All that’s left to decide is whether you’d rather have a laid back afternoon on the shingle at Glyfada Beaches A or B, or perhaps enjoy a touch of luxury on the comfy beds at sandy Asteras Beach, in southern Glyfada. Beyond the beaches themselves, Glyfada’s waterfront is home to charming marinas, an open-air swimming pool, a drive-in cinema, and even the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre.

Sounio Beach

Waves glistening as they roll onto the sand at Sounio Beach, Athens, Greece

Waves glistening as they roll onto the sand at Sounio Beach, Athens, Greece

Though perhaps not technically in the Greek capital itself, it would be remiss to speak about the best beaches in Athens without mentioning those in and around Cape Sounion. Just over an hour by car from Athens, the popular sandy beach of Sounio lies a mere few hundred metres from the Temple of Poseidon - meaning visitors can indulge their inner history enthusiast, and bask in the Greek sunshine from the comfort of a sun bed, all in the same afternoon. For a beach experience slightly on the “wilder” side, though, we recommend heading slightly west to the petite but pristine KAPE beach (with a clifftop beach bar and excellent sea vistas) or the unspoiled (and usually uncrowded) sands of Legrena Beach.

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