Beaches Near Athens

Athens is not really known as a "swimming" destination, but if you spend several days in the city and find yourself craving the waters of the Aegean, here is a concise guide of places to swim near Athens. As a rule of thumb, the further away you drive from Athens toward Sounio, the better the chances of finding a good beach (clean, not crowded, with crystal clear water).

The bus or the tram will take you as far as Voula. To reach some of the better beaches you would need a car. The road all the way to Sounio (Leoforos Poseidonos) is a good and scenic one, with ample space for cars. You could get far with a moped, but the trip would not be very comfortable.

The organized beaches would cost you about 8 Euro or more per person, and in exchange you will get all the amenities to make your stay comfortable (although in some you might still have to pay extra for the umbrella and sun bed). If you don't want to pay, don't despair, there are many more free places to swim than paid beaches. Many are lined with umbrellas and sun beds which will cost you anywhere from 4 to 8 euro. If you still don't want to pay for that, you can buy your own parasol (about 15 euro) from the myriad of shops that line the beaches, and you can pick your own spot in the sand.

The following beaches are in "order of appearance" as you drive away from Pireas toward Sounio with a few comments to give you an idea what to expect when you get there. As always, my beach reports reflect my own subjective impression of the beach. If you know of a good beach near Athens, or if you've had a better experience, email me and I will include your report here for the benefit of other travelers.

Palaio Faliro

Palaio Faliro
Palaio Faliro Beach

Palaio Faliro (Paleo Faliro, Παλαιο Φαληρο) is not a beach worth swimming at. What passes as a beach are several narrow strips of brown sand crowded next to the coastal "Poseidonos" highway.

There are always several desperate people bobbing around in the water, but most stay on the sand. Every time I visited, there have been visible garbage floating on the surface of the water. To compound the negatives, it's hard to find parking near the beach and the road noise does not contribute to a positive beach experience.

Distance from Syntagma (center of Athens): ~8 km, or 10-15 min by car.

Map of beaches near Athens

Alimos (Akth tou Hliou)

Alimos Beach
Alimos Beach (Ακτη του Ηλιου)

Ακτη του Ηλιου, in Alimos is a large pebble beach right before Grlyfada. It is organized with parasols, sun beds, bars, showers, toilets, and changing booths. It is completely surrounded with a visible net that creates a border in the water around the beach. Being right in the metropolitan area, the water quality is nowhere near the quality of beaches farther away from the capital, but it is always packed with bathers, and the municipality makes a good effort in keeping it free of trash.

Distance from Syntagma (center of Athens): ~10 km, or 15-20 minutes by car.

Map of beaches near Athens

Glyfada

Glyfada beach
Glyfada Beach

 

Glyfada has a few sand (more like construction sand) beaches within walking distance from town, none of which seemed very inviting when I visited in June 2011. The water is very similar to the nearby Alimos beach, and you would have to put up with the boats that sail in and out of the nearby harbors.

Distance from Syntagma (center of Athens): ~15 km, or 20-25 minutes by car.

Map of beaches near Athens

Voula

Voula Beach
Voula Beach

Voula is a large area, but as you leave Glyfada, there are three or four little sandy coves where you can have a pleasant swim. It is still too close to the city and too close to the main road, but the little tree buffer makes this a more pleasant beach than nearby Glyfada. This is as far as the tram would take you.

Distance from Syntagma (center of Athens): ~16 km, or 25-30 min by car.

Map of beaches near Athens

Kavouri

Kavouri Beach
Kavouri Beach

You will have to turn to your right (as you drive south toward Sounio from Pireas and Glyfada) and drive straight ahead for about five minutes before the city turns into pine hills. You will not find any signs guiding you, but you will see on your right hand side the crowds packed in the first pleasant sandy beach near Athens. It's proximity to the city makes it very crowded, but the water is clean and if you don't mind the crowds, you will probably enjoy Kavouri beach.

Distance from Syntagma (center of Athens): ~25 km, or 30-35 minutes by car.

Map of beaches near Athens

Vouliagmeni & Astir Vouliagmenis

Vouliagmeni Beach
Vouliagmeni Beach (Across from Astir Beach)

After turning west from Poseidonos Highway toward Kavouri, you will see on your left hand another road leading to some of the most affluent areas of Athens. The road splits at the coast. To your right you will find the luxurious (paid) Astir Vouliagmenis packed with all the celebrities of Greek media. I haven't been to it, but I understand it is the most organized beaches in Greece.

Right across from Asteras Vouliagmenis is another small beach, with clear water and a pleasant atmosphere. To the north you will find another very larger and well organized beach. Both of these beaches are worth swimming at.

Distance from Syntagma (center of Athens): ~28 km, or 30-35 minutes by car.

Map of beaches near Athens

Varkiza (has two other organized beaches "Do it" and Yevanaki", and Vari

Varkiza Beach
Varkiza Beach

Varkiza rocky beach
One of the rocky coves used for swimming near Varkiza

Continuing down Poseidonos Highway toward Sounio, after the turn toward Kavouri and Vouliagmeni, you will find several beaches in Varkiza. Two large organized ones (Do It, and Yavanaki) and a couple of free others. They are all nice albeit as crowded as Kavouri, and Vouliagmeni.

If you continue on the same road toward Sounio, you will quickly find yourself outside of town, in a pleasant coastal highway (still Poseidonos Highway) with many tiny coves down the rocky shore. They are no beaches there, but the waters are clean and bathers find a spot on the rocks for sunbathing. You have to park high up on the highway (there are parking areas) and walk down precarious footpaths and cement stairs.

The road from Varkiza all the way to the end of Vari is filled with these little coves (four or five of them) and in the weekends, they are packed with bathers. The further you drive, the less crowded they get.

Distance from Syntagma (center of Athens): ~25 km, or 30-35 minutes by car. About 30 km to Vari.

Map of beaches near Athens

Agia Marina (after tunnels "Mojito Bay", beach named Loupanta), Kropia, and Lagonisi, Saronida, Palea Fokea, Mavro Livadi

Agia Marina Beach
Agia Marina, Loupanta Beach (Mojito Bay)

Palaio Faliro
Mavro Lithari Beach

 

Like I mentioned, the drive on the rocky shore is scenic, and at one point you will pass through a small square tunnel. Right after the tunnel, there are several nice beaches (some visible from the highway) in the Agia Marina area.

The first one is sign posted as "Mojito Bay" (top photo on left) but it's real name is Loupanta beach, and it's a good place to swim.

Soon after Loupanta beach and after Agia Marina, there is another nice beach named Kropia, and a little further down the road the Lagonisi area is sprinkled with sandy beaches worth visiting (some of them are organized with sun beds and parasols, some empty) all the way through Saronida.

Palea Fokea is a nice beaches. It is wide and not too crowded, right at the edge of a small town, and the nearby Mavro Lithari beach (bottom photo on left) is a very pleasant one with the feel of a small island.

Distance from Syntagma (center of Athens): about 40 to 45 min by car. Palea Fokea 45 km

Map of beaches near Athens

Anavyssos, Thymari Beach, Legrena, Sounio beaches

Thymari Beach
Anavyssos Beach

Thymari Beach
Thymari Beach

Sounio Beach Photo
Sounio Beach

A little to the south of Palea Fokea, Thymari beach (top left photo) is one of the least crowded swim spots, in contrast to wide sandy beach of Anavyssos that draws windsurfing crowds. Further to the south the beach at Legrena and the three sandy beaches of Sounio (bottom left photo) are well worth the trip to swim.

Distance from Syntagma (center of Athens): Anavyssos 35 km, Thymari 48 KM or about 60 min; Legrena 110 min; Sounio 60 KM or 75 minutes by car.

Map of beaches near Athens

Map of Beaches near Athens


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