The 17 Most Beautiful Beaches Within Easy Reach of Athens, Greece

| Greece Newstart / Unsplash
Konstantina Pyrnokoki

Travel Writer

Athens is rarely associated with beautiful beaches and clear, emerald waters. Yet the city of rich ancient history, the Acropolis and the picturesque Plaka neighbourhood is also surprisingly close to a number of superb beaches that are well worth your visit.

Some in the Attiki region and others in the nearby Corinthian Bay or the Argo-Saronic Gulf, the following beaches guarantee a refreshing break away from the city. From Kape’s hidden, rocky paradise to Mylokopi’s exotic emerald waters, neither is too far from Athens.

1. Glyfada Beach

Natural Feature

Aerial view of clear blue sea and Glyfada Beach in the light of the setting sun, Greece
Dimitris Chapsoulas / Unsplash

A short tram ride away from the centre of Athens is pebbly Glyfada Beach. Its proximity to the city makes it one of the busier options on this list, but don’t let that put you off. It’s long, wide and there’s room for everyone, between the shaded sunloungers for hire and free-for-all areas. The water is as crystal clear as anywhere along the Aegean coast, and there’s even a guy who walks back and forth along the shore selling ice-cold beers. Recommended by Anna Kambourakis

2. Schinias beach

Natural Feature

Dog on the shore with tree in the background, Schinias National Park, Greece
Genny Dimitrakopoulou / Unsplash

What if you could swim in tranquil waters right next to a lush pine forest? Schinias beach, in the historic town of Marathon, invites visitors to unwind on its verdant terrain before taking a dive in shallow, crystalline waters. Just over an hour’s drive from Athens – Schinias feels nothing like a city. And while the unspoiled part of the beach is ideal for relaxation or endless hikes among the trees, Schinias’ long shoreline also boasts hotels, beach bars and a variety of water-sport activities to choose from.

3. Mylokopi

Natural Feature

A red car parked on a beach, Mylokopi, Greece
Fotis Fotopoulos / Unsplash

The exotic Mylokopi isn’t easy to get to, but it’s well worth the effort. Roughly an hour and a half away from Athens, in the Corinthian Bay, the beach can be accessed by car. You can either drive there or get to the town of Loutraki by KTEL, and then rent a car or take a taxi for the rest of the ride. The sage on the surrounding rocks, along with the spectacular green-blue colour of its waters, give Mylokopi a tropical look. The beach doesn’t have any sun loungers or beach bars, so remember to come fully prepared with your own umbrella and water or snacks, or stop by Loutraki town to get everything you need.

4. Avlaki

Natural Feature

people climbing up a rocky cliff, Avlaki, Greece
Christina Terzidou / Unsplash

Avlaki is known for its broad shoreline, its light-blue waters and white, smooth sand surrounded by abundant nature. Avlaki has plenty of sun loungers, umbrellas, and beach bar. Be sure to arrive early, though, as it is frequented by people from all over Athens and those sun loungers can go within the blink of an eye. But once you find that perfect spot, the beach’s laid-back vibe guarantees you won’t be leaving any time soon.

5. Erotospilia

Natural Feature

Erotospilia stands out for its perfectly clear waters, semi-pebbled white sand and the feeling of exclusivity you get once you reach its short shoreline. Formed by a little cove, the beach gets quite busy at the weekend, attracting a variety of visitors along with couples, from spirited teenagers to families. A limited number of umbrellas and trees provide some much-need shade, while there is also a small beach bar. You can access the Porto Rafti area by KTEL (intercity) bus – about a one-hour ride from the centre of Athens – and take a taxi to Erotospilia.

6. Kape Beach

Natural Feature

Kape Beach, located in the village of Legrena in Sounio Cape – roughly a 90-minute ride from Athens by KTEL – remains one of the best well-kept secrets, beach-wise, among Athenians. The beach’s astonishingly turquoise waters might make you feel like you’re vacationing on a secluded Greek island. Grab a snack from the canteen at the top of Kape’s cliff before following the numerous steps that will lead you all the way down to the beach. Kape is best avoided on the weekends when it’s super busy, while you should bring an umbrella as there is practically no shade.

7. Kakia Thalassa

Natural Feature

About an hour away from the city centre by car, Kakia Thalassa – meaning “bad sea” in Greek – is actually one of the best beaches in the Attiki region. It’s partly organised, with sun loungers, umbrellas and changing rooms, while the other half allows visitors to lie freely on the sand by the beach’s milky emerald waters. Kakia Thalassa is perfect for families or beach-volleyball and beach-paddleball enthusiasts. During the weekend, it is extremely busy so get your spot early.

8. Althea beach (Skalakia)

Natural Feature

The cosy beach of Althea, about a 45-minute drive from Athens, emerges as a little oasis by the side of the road. From the beach’s small parking lot, follow the steps down to the beach and you’ll find yourself in a secret haven of clear waters and pure nature. Bus 122, available every 30 minutes, will also get you there if you opt for public transport instead.

9. Psatha beach

Natural Feature

With pristine, light-green waters and a seemingly infinite shoreline, the pebbled Psatha beach has to be the finest option in the Corinthian Bay, as far as dreamy, clean waters go. Primarily accessed by car, Psatha is bound to impress you with the serenity that emits from the pine forest, and its beauty that echoes that of an Aegean island. The beach comes equipped with sun loungers and beach bars, but there’s plenty of space for you to throw down a towel and lie on the pebbles instead. For food, grab a bite to eat at one of the nearby taverns.

10. Aponisos

Natural Feature

If you’re looking for a quick day trip away, the island of Agkistri in the Argo-Saronic Gulf is roughly a 60-minute ferry ride away from Athens’s main port, Piraeus. This islet’s most precious jewel is the shingle beach of Aponisos, a peaceful paradise with pool-like waters. The beach is ideal for snorkelling, or go for a relaxing swim instead – taking in the majestic views of the pine trees and the gentle warmth of the sun rays.

11. Edem Beach

Natural Feature

With restaurants, cafes, showers, changing stations and a kids’ playground on hand, this well-equipped beach, just 7km (4mi) from the city centre, makes for an ideal family day out. A row of towering palm trees gives it that riviera feel, and there are sunloungers to rent. But none of this would matter if the quality of the sand and water were not up to scratch – but, luckily, this beach is postcard-perfect on both counts. Recommended by Anna Kambourakis

12. Riviera Beach

Natural Feature

Cupping the calm waters of Piraeus Harbour, this small, stony beach has an authentic neighbourhood feel. It’s where locals head after work to sink a couple of cold beers, catch up with friends and watch the gleaming yachts cruise into the port. There are sunbeds available to rent from the cafe, which also serves coffee, cocktails and snacks, and if you’re feeling adventurous you can swim over to the tiny islet of Koumoundourou for a Robinson Crusoe moment. Recommended by Anna Kambourakis

13. Votsalakia Beach

Natural Feature

Just a hop and skip down the shore from Riviera Beach, Votsalakia is the hands-down favourite among Piraeus locals. As well as the gorgeously soft sand (in contrast to the pebbles of its neighbour), there are tennis and basketball courts right behind the beach, and an outdoor cinema for sunset screenings. There’s a wheelchair ramp into the sea for those with mobility issues, and a cute cafe serving everything from coffee and breakfast to cocktails and dinner. Recommended by Anna Kambourakis

14. Akti tou Iliou

Natural Feature

Yes, this private beach does charge an entry fee, but you get what you pay for: diamond-dust sand, beautiful olive tree-shaded gardens backing it and a stylish tiki-style bar and restaurant where the drinks are brought to you. The water is the blue of a Bombay Sapphire bottle, and views out towards a planted promontory of trees adds to the feeling of seclusion, despite the fact you’re less than 7km (4mi) from the city centre here. Recommended by Anna Kambourakis

15. Freatida Beach

Architectural Landmark

In a sheltered corner of the Piraeus coastline, where the shore meets the harbour wall, this is a no-frills, locals-only kind of spot. It’s not that there’s any rule against visitors, but you won’t find many other tourists here. There are a couple of cafes close by for takeaway drinks, but you might want to pack a picnic in case you get peckish. The major upside, however, is plenty of space to stretch out among the pebbles and dramatic views of teetering buildings along the cliffs to the west. Recommended by Anna Kambourakis

16. Mpati Beach

Architectural Landmark

On the coast of the Palio Faliro neighbourhood, Mpati is one of the easiest city beaches to get to because of its proximity to the Mouson and Edem train stations. This is where you’ll find middle-class Athenian families depressurising after work or escaping the inner-city heat at weekends. The sand is soft and clean, there’s volleyball and tennis, and it shares a playground with Edem Beach to the east. Recommended by Anna Kambourakis

Agios Kosmas Beach

For pint-size paddlers (and their parents), this shallow pool-like bay is perfect. Opposite the Agios Kosmas tram stop, 20 minutes south of the city centre, it’s loved by locals for this reason – and for the fact that it’s close to a go-karting track. There are no facilities to speak of, so bring plenty of water and something to eat. In the evenings, it turns into a bit of a hang-out for young Athenians, who gather there to wait for the nearby nightclub to open its doors. Recommended by Anna Kambourakis

To discover more stunning beaches in Greece, check out our guide to the best beaches on Santorini.

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