Be dazzled by Athenian Riviera magic
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) –