One of the best things about Athens is that you can actually have a Greek vacation without leaving the country's capital. The city has a number of organized and non-organized beach heavens that will make you feel you have escaped to a Greek island. Some of the most popular beaches include:
Yabanaki beach in Varkiza is the longest organized sandy beach in Athens and quite affordable. The beach features bars, restaurants, cafés, sports, even massage to keep you there till late at night (have you ever considered a night swim?)
- 34 km away from the center
Schinias Beach provides the best alternative for those who want to combine fun with relaxation, and luxury in a friendly environment. This earthly paradise is considered to be the “Ipanema of Athens”. For several decades now, this beach has been attracting the most “active crowds” of Athens. It hosts some of the best windsurfing and beach volley events in Greece, while it is the ideal destination for sports regardless of weather conditions.
- 45 km northeast from downtown Athens
- Blue flag award for many consecutive years
Kavouri, one of the best and most expensive places in Athens, is a wonderful seaside region that is situated quite close to the center of Athens. Kavouri beaches are very good choices for swimming, sunbathing and summer sports, like racquetball and beach volley. There, you can find local fish “tavernas” and cafes, as well as tracks for jogging and running under the pine trees before diving into the sea.
- 20 km from the city center
- Cosmopolitan mood
With its name literally meaning “love-cave”, this exotic beach attracts bohemian types of tourists and locals, who usually rush to this beach for a short and cool dive. This small cove with its beautiful sandy beach, its amazing waters and its mysterious caves has been one of the favorite destinations of many helpless romantics.
- 43km from downtown
- Best to visit on weekdays to enjoy your own private cave
Eating in Athens
Eating out in one of the traditional tavernas is a must for any visitor. These serve tasty Greek dishes (made from meat, seafood and vegetables). The Greeks usually have appetizers (mezedes) before the main course; these mouth-watering appetizers are varied and can constitute an opulent meal. A good place for sampling mezedes is the Psirri and the Gazi districts, where there are several tavernas located on the small streets of these areas. Numerous Greek chefs have rediscovered various regional cuisines and added a dash of sophistication to simple traditional dishes. Athens offers a selection of excellent seafood restaurants. Dinner at one of the traditional fish restaurants in Mikrolimano, the picturesque fishing harbour in Piraeus can be a very enjoyable experience. Athens also has a range of sophisticated eateries offering Michelen Star-awarded, world-class cuisine. Dinner at these restaurants does not come cheap, but the prices are actually quite affordable when compared to those at similar restaurants in other European capitals.
Athens boasts a large selection of ethnic restaurants featuring international cuisine, such as Italian, Polynesian and Japanese, ranging from informal eateries to gourmet restaurants.
They say even during the economic crisis the nightlife of Athens rivals that of New York, London and Paris and maybe surpasses those cities. You certainly won't find so many bars, discos and clubs in one place like you will in Athens. The majority of the nightlife is in central areas like Psiri, Gazi, and Kolonaki, but all areas have their fair share of trendy lounges. There are also cosmopolitan bars on the top floors of numerous hotels affording panoramic city view.