One spot in Greece that you may never have heard of is the Athens Riviera. Cynics may call it nothing more than a slick marketing device, but the Athens Riviera refers to a hotel-laden area on the Saronic Gulf coast outside Athens, heading south along the coast of Attica.
Why Should I Go?
The Athens Riviera is a dramatic stretch of Greek coastline usually considered to be in the Vouliagmeni suburb area, but then most of Greece has a great coast. It's a nice way to get close to the water and stay away from the bustling city of Athens. Glyfada and Faliro are usually thought of as the northern terminus of the "Riviera," with Cape Sounion marking its southernmost point. In between, there are many beaches and places to stay, including the beaches at Voula and Vouliagmeni, known for its spring waters and offering several hotels. The area beneath Cape Sounion—also called Cape Sounio—is a popular yacht marina but also has several upscale hotels on shore.
Where Can I Stay?
The Westin Hotel chain is one of the main promoters of the Athens Riviera, and it's not hard to figure out why. They have a handful of hotels there, including the Astir Palace group and a new W Hotel which opened in 2008. Local Greek hotel chain Grecotel offers the Cape Sounio up on the cliffs. The Grand Resort Lagonissi claims to be the only "luxury waterfront resort" on the Athenian Riviera but some of the above hotels would dispute that.
While hotels provide the best option for most travelers wanting to enjoy this beautiful area of the Saronic Gulf coast, there are also some alternative lodgings such as local places offered on Airbnb, small pensions, and room rentals.
How Do I Get There?
Driving yourself in Greece? If you are tired of the congestion in Athens itself, the coastal route is a beautiful drive and gives maximum flexibility to check out beaches and view spots along the way. Head toward Glyfada on the E75 out of Athens, then follow the coast down to Cape Sounion. This route will take you by Voula and Vouliagmeni, Lagonissa and Saronidi. With careful timing, you can catch the famous sunset from Cape Sounion. For the return route, there is the option to cut over and go back past the Athens International Airport and then on back into Athens itself.
Plan Your Own Trip
With a little research, you can book your own day trips around Athens and Short Trips Around Greece and the Greek Islands. You can also book your own trips to Santorini and day trips on Santorini. One thing to note: the Greek airport code for Athens International Airport is ATH.