Be daz­zled by Athe­nian Riviera magic

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - CLASSIC BEAUTY -

Tick off the Parthenon, then while away an idyl­lic fort­night un­wind­ing and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ‘is­land magic’ with­out hav­ing to ever step foot on a ferry, writes Amanda Dar­da­nis

Gly­fada, about 25 min­utes’ drive from the city cen­tre, the Riviera catch­ment ends at Cape Sounion, on the tip of the At­tiki penin­sula.

In be­tween lie dra­matic an­cient tem­ples, fer­tile min­eral lakes and panoramic moun­tain hikes. Beau­ti­ful beaches with blue-flag cer­ti­fied waters and bang-on-the-sand fish tav­erns shar­ing post­codes with buzzy “Mi­ami-style” clubs and Nobu, the world’s most recog­nised Ja­panese restau­rant.

Hap­pi­est of all, there are the sum­mers that stretch for five months – 150 con­sec­u­tive Ground­hog Days of bril­liant skies and vir­tu­ally no rain. Tick off the Parthenon, then ef­fort­lessly while away an idyl­lic Riviera fort­night with­out vis­it­ing the same place twice. Athe­nian beaches come in two modes – free and pri­vate. Beach purists can go na­tive and head for the jut of coast be­tween Vou­liag­meni and Vark­iza fa­mous for its many free swim­ming coves.

Look for where all the young Athe­ni­ans have parked their cars by the side of the par­ali­aki (coast road) to dis­cover un­adorned swim­ming coves straight out of The Big Blue.

Else­where, the comeli­est coastal stretches have been pri­va­tised into paid beaches and leisure com­plexes. Av­er­age en­try prices are about 8 ($12) –

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