The smart money typically seeks the sandy shores of the storied Greek isles, but there are also numerous lovely beaches in and around Athens. The following are few of my favorite destinations along the Apollo Coast.
1. Astir. For travelers willing to drop a little coin, the beach at Astir has everything a sun-worshiper could hope for, including cabanas, umbrellas, beach-chairs, showers, restaurants and cafes, and even an ancient Temple to Apollo.
2. The Varkiza Coves. Possibly my favorite places to swim and snorkel anywhere in Attika are the coves at Varkiza. A great place to cliff dive (caution, there have been fatalities over the years), this spot used to be virtually unknown to tourists. These days, however, it’s advisable to restrict your visitations to weekdays.
3. Loutsa. The beach at Loutsa is similar to the nearby beaches at Avlaki, Vavrona, Porto Rafti and Rafina. Its singular distinction is its proximity to the airport. Let the uninitiated and the uninformed wile away the time during layovers of flight delays doing crosswords and sudoku while you soak up the sun on the beach or swig retsina in one of the nearby tavernas.
4. Schinias. Located within striking distance of the burial mound at Marathon and the ruins of ancient Ramnous, the shallow waters at Schinias are warmer earlier in the season and later into the winter than many other beaches. There is also a selection of tavernas amid the pine trees above the sand that are open year-round.
5. Porto Germanos. Naturally, the most pristine waters to be found on the Apollo Coast are also among the furthest from Athens. The lovely little burg of Porto Germanos is home to a truly beautiful stretch of shore, as well as nearby ruins and pine groves.