The region around Athens features warm weather year long and unspoilt Mediterranean landscapes, topped with worldclass attractions, a sophisticated nightlife and beaches with crystal clear waters. Thus, make Athens and Attica suitable for outdoor activities.
The Apollo Coast
…or Athens Riviera, is a superb coast with plenty inlets, bays and beaches that stretches along the Saronic Gulf for some 70 kms, 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 it is characterized by many wonderful sunsets, as here the sun shines bright 300 days a year.
The area of Vouliagmeni 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 seatown 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 their 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.
The southern 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 special sea dishes in a local tavern, sipping a glass of ouzo.
Few kms 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 sheeps), today is partly incorporated to Athens city. It is a very sunny, warm and dry area, with the average annual temperature hovering around 18-20 degrees Cº.
The area was well known in the Golden Era of Athens for its superb wine. The same grape varieties (e.g. Savvatiano), along 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 horseride among the wineyards and the pistachio camps, or a trekking or bicycle tour in the pine-covered hills of Sounio National Park.
Some small, charming islands can be reached within an hour or little more from the Greek capital.
A ferry connects in no more than one hour the port of Piraeus to Egina island. A holiday resort for many Athenians, Egina features some beautiful beaches, the Ancient Temple of Aphaia, as well as some exquisite world-renowned pistachios and nice seafood. It is particularly worth riding its coastal road on a bicycle, so as to explore it in full tranquility. Right next to Egina stands small Agkistri, which is characterized by its pine forests and its clear waters.
Kea, or Tzia, is the first Cycladic island you encounter, only 20 kms far from Cape Sounio. It features a charming chora, Ioulida, a Temple dedicated to Athena Karthaia and quaint shores _DSC4309that make it a popular destination among Athenians, yachters and tourists. It also boasts a large oak forest, the last as big preserved in the Cyclades! Haze the exquisitely crafted lodgings, taste its renowned thyme honey, its delicious grilled meat and cheer with a glass of wine on the shore at Vourkari.
Petalioi islands, stretching between the east coast of Attica and the south tip of the island Eubea, are reached from Porto Rafti. Mainly uninhabitated, they provide the perfect setting for dives and swims in perfect solitude.
BEYOND ATHENS HIGHLIGHTS
- Horse ride in the Attica country side and visit on horseback prestigious wineries where to taste Retsina and other excellent local wines and food specialties
- Trekking and bike ride in Mediterranean sceneries
- Botanic tour and collection of wild herbs
- Scuba diving in the reefs, caves and shipwrecks around Athens and nearby islands
- Beach volley training and game with former Greek champion
- Wind surf and kite surf trainings with Greek Slalom and Formula champion
- Sounio Coast by sea-kayak
- Wine tours in Attica
- Greek healthy food open-air workshop
Contact the organizers at Beyond Athens if you like to learn more about packages and offers, at: +302291022953, or through their contact data below.
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