Athens Riviera

AKA the Apollo Coast (map), is a superb coast with plenty inlets, bays, and beaches that stretches along the Saronic Gulf for some 70 km, from the Piraeus port and the quaint suburb of Faliro to the southernmost point, which is Cape Sounio. It has SW orientation, which means that many incredible sunsets characterize it, as here the sun shines bright 300 days a year.

Cosmopolitan Faliro and Glyfada both feature ms promenades by the sea, marinas, traditional taverns aside stylish restaurants and bars, playgrounds, as well as enticing shopping areas and vibrant nightlife. Faliro is also home to some exquisite patisseries while Glyfada hosts Archelon, a Sea Turtles Protection Society.

Heading further towards the South, the urban settlements get spearer. Vouliagmeni, for instance, consists of an enchanting series of bays, peninsulas, and beaches amidst pine greenery. There you can enjoy relaxing moments bathing in its calm waters next to some Ancient sites – such as the Apollo Temple -, or visit the astonishing natural lake of Vouliagmeni, which lies “sunk” (Vouliagméni meaning sunk) in the remains of a huge limestone cave fed by lukewarm springs of thermal waters. Or simply, sip a signature cocktail, taste an ice cream or have a dinner in one of its many top-notch seafood restaurants.

Varkiza is the next sea town you encounter and its great sandy beach within its large bay with South orientation makes it just as delightful. Thanks to the security of its setting, many professional athletes but simple Athenians as well train or practice your favorite water sport here.
Further down the coastal road, you drop into several wonderful creeks and beaches, among which picturesque Agios Nikolaos, with its strip of sand connecting the land to a small rocky peninsula with the small white chapel of Agios Nikolaos, dedicated to the saint who protects the seamen and mariners. The area is ideal also for diving, thanks to the clear and safe waters and underwater attractions such as shipwrecks, cars, and planes lying on the sea bottom, caves, reefs and sea life.Thesouthern you get the most secluded beaches you can find. After the sea villages of Saronida and Fokea, the last 20 kms before reaching Cape Sounio are dotted with secret coves, nice sandy shores and islets. You can enjoy rejuvenating swims in the crystal clear sea of Legrena before making your way to Sounio and the jaw-dropping Temple of Poseidon, dating back to the 5th AC century. There you can admire perhaps the most beautiful sunset in the whole area, and then taste some unique sea dishes in a local tavern, sipping a glass of ouzo.

Few km north of Sounio, on the western coast of Attica region, lies the small town of Lavrio. Once an important industrial center famous for its mines since Ancient times, Lavrio is today a pacific holiday resort with a nice marina and some nice fish restaurants.
Mesogea, which means “middle land” in Greek, is the inland of Attica region. The first significant settlements date back to the Aecheans and the Mycheneans and relishes of the past are scattered across its territory. Once a mainly rural area with many plantations (grapes, figs, pistachio nuts, olives, tomatoes, etc. ) throughout its fertile plain and livestock (especially sheep), today is partly incorporated into Athens city. It is a very sunny, warm and dry area, with the average annual temperature hovering around 18-20 degrees Cº.Relevant points of historic, archeological and symbolic interest include:

  •  The archeological site of Marathon, including striking Ramnous in the North East;
  •  Τhe Sanctuary of Artemis and the archeological museum in Vravrona in the East;
  •  The Byzantine monasteries and chapels of Mt. Ymettus and the plain of Mesogaia;
  •  Τhe Ancient silver mines of Lavreotiki far in the South.

The area was well known in the Golden Era of Athens for its superb wine. The same grape varieties (e.g. Savvatiano), along with new ones, can still be found today, with several wineries producing exquisite wines with remarkable taste such as famous retsina. You may also want to try the top class figs and pistachio of Markopoulo, the olive oil or typical bread rusks. Finally, the region is home to some skilled craftsmen and artisans mainly working the clay and the marble.

If you are passionate about nature and sports, you will certainly enjoy a horse ride among the vineyards and the pistachio camps, or trekking or bicycle tour in the pine-covered hills of Sounio National Park.

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