According to Greek legend, the name Attica comes from the four Attic tribes of the region that were unified into a single state by Theseus, the powerful Athenian king at the time. This powerful union would become the birthplace of some of the greatest minds, visionaries and artists for western civilisation and democracy.
Attica has helped create and shape western culture as we know it today. Highlights of this can be witnessed throughout the region with the plethora of important and fascinating museums and archaeological sites, as well as the festivals, events and performances that all pay homage to its incredible legacy.
With a history spanning over 6,000 years, Attica offers visitors a unique chance to visit the best of the old and new worlds. In the region’s beating heart, and the country’s capital, Athens boasts ancient monuments, fascinating architecture, and modern masterpieces dotted amongst chic and contemporary venues. While the breathtaking coastline, famously dubbed the Athens Riviera, that runs from Piraeus to Sounion is genuinely the stuff that myths are made of. With an eclectic mix of beaches offering amenities, first-class marinas, fishing harbours, 5-star hotels and luxury accommodation, exclusive restaurants and nightclubs, water sports clubs, secluded coves, and even golf clubs and outdoor cinemas, the Riviera certainly has something for every mood and every taste. The coast route also has paved paths that are perfect for walking and biking, so any stop-off can become a chance to explore the breathtaking region.
Starting around Attica’s southeastern tip, the coastal road winds through tourist resorts such as Lagonissi, Saronida and Legrena before reaching Sounion, giving visitors a spectacular offering rich in Greek history, picture-perfect hillside villages, quaint seaside towns, and beautiful beaches.
In Sounion, you will find the impressive Temple of Poseidon – the last piece of the ancient Athenians’ homeland. Constructed entirely of marble, this tribute to Poseidon cuts an impressive figure across the Aegean skyline, especially at sunset. As the sun descends into the sea, blankets of pinks, mauves, blues and oranges engulf the sky and the temple, creating a truly unforgettable skyscape.
Here, visitors can experience an authentic Greece with undisturbed beaches and secluded coves, as well as traditional cuisine prepared with fresh, local produce.
Heading back up the coast towards Athens, the bustling little resort of Varkiza is a water sports enthusiasts’ paradise. With azure waters, impressive coves, and a breeze that perfectly complements windsurfing, Varkiza is a perfect weekend escape just a short drive south of Athens.
Another Athens suburb that sits along the Riviera route is Vouliagmeni. Those looking for a more decadent vacation scene need not travel too far from Athens because Vouliagmeni has been known for its jet-set glitz and glamour since the ’60s. Unlike the slow rhythm of the south, discerning travellers can indulge in elegant yachts, stylish locals and top-quality dining and accommodation options, all just 30-mins outside the city centre.
Famed for its thermal waters from the Vouliagmeni lake, Astir Beach and playing host to high-octane celebrities, Vouliagmeni boasts its own marina, yacht club, and 6th-century BC Temple of Apollo Zoster ruins.
A few miles up from Vouliagmeni lies Voula, home to two amazing beaches with amenities and the Riviera’s biggest beach clubs. This cosmopolitan beachside destination boasts wine bars, gourmet restaurants, and even a five-star butcher shop that turns into a club after hours. Also appealing to families by day, this scenic suburb has a variety of modern amenities and activities and is a blue flag beach accessible to persons with disabilities.
Continuing North, we find the beautiful and fashionable Glyfada. Considered one of Athens’ most elegant districts due to its sandy palm-fringed beaches and vibrant commercial centre, Glyfada is a true gem on the Riviera. Just under 20 mins away from the centre of Athens, this suburb attracts the young and wealthy from the capital thanks to the host of International designers, local boutiques, jewellery stores and galleries that have made this their home. Loved for its waterfront boulevard with seafood tavernas, fine dining restaurants and stylish cocktail bars and clubs, those arriving by boat can simply moor up at one of the town’s marinas to enjoy a weekend away from the city.
Located closest to Athens, yet away from the hustle and bustle of the city, is Faliro, Flisvos Marina. This town continues to be popular with Athenians escaping the summer heat as it offers incredible panoramic views of the Saronic Gulf and a wide range of activities to suit all ages and tastes. Its trademark is its marina – a mega-yacht destination that infuses a cosmopolitan flair into the area. Flisvos Park, on the other hand, is ideal for leisurely strolls and carefree bike rides. Beautiful coasts, recreation parks, playgrounds, shopping centres and stylish restaurants are there to keep up your carefree summer mood!
Alternatively, the Athens Riviera and the islands of the Saronic Gulf can be explored by boat. Beautiful and accessible marinas to dock your yacht can be found in Zea, Flisvos, Faliro, Alimos, Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, and all of the surrounding islands. Travelling by boat allows you to soak up all the local sights and delights whilst enjoying an alternative view of the area.
To find out more about Greece and the Athens Riviera, visit www.visitgreece.gr.