20 Best Things to Do on the Athens Riviera

Heading south from the Greek capital you will come across a stunning coastline known as the Athenian Riviera. Here you will discover fabulous bars, fine restaurants and luxurious resorts, not to mention some of the city’s best beaches, tailor-made tours and designer shopping.

With neighbourhoods such as Cape Sounio, Faliro, Alimos, Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, Voula, Kavouri, Varkiza, and Lagonissi side by side, this is the ideal spot to enjoy a luxurious getaway.

Explore Pireaus

A gateway to Greece for those arriving or departing by cruise ship to the islands, many people merely transit Piraeus, the starting point of Athens Riviera. You should make time to explore the cafés at Zea Port offering views across the Saronic Gulf and luxury yachts moored; it’s the perfect place to unwind and sip on your Frappe or Freddo. Here you can dine at the Michelin star seafood restaurant Varoulko, also make sure to check out the Hellenic Maritime Museum; Kastela and Mikrolimano have a great range of traditional Greek dishes too. 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to Do on the Athens Riviera

Visit Lavrio Town

On the other side of the Riviera peninsular, you will find Lavrio, a smaller and prettier port town, filled with luxurious yachts and lots of locals and international visitors walking across the busy harbour. For a cultural experience, head to the small Archeological Museum and the Mineralogical Museum that showcases the area’s once famed mining district; several mines can be found in the surrounding villages. 

Swim at one of the Beach Inlets

Athens Riviera is the most popular place for swimming in the Greek capital. You will find the beach inlet of Limanakia along the coast road to Vouliagmeni; explore the small coves and deep blue waters reached by walking down rocky paths.  The second inlet in this area features Lefteris’ Canteen, an authentic spot to have a coffee and treat. Windsurfers head to Anavyssos beach where there is also a playground, beach volleyball court and a stretch of sun loungers and umbrellas.

Spend an Entire Day at a Beach Bar

The beach bars on the Athens Riviera are super glamorous and you can arrive here from the early morning and stay for sunset and sunrise! Some of the most popular are Balux Seaside Cafe in Glyfada. Yabanaki in Varkiza is great for water sports (from SUP and windsurfing to wakeboarding and banana boat rides for kids). The House Project is great for families; you can rest assured kids will be entertained for hours on end here.  

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to Do on the Athens Riviera

Check out the Famous Astir Palace 

For the most upmarket experience, lounge at the newly renovated and reopened Astir Palace in Vouliagmeni, where the luxurious services are second to none. The Astir Beach Club is one of the most exclusive organised beaches of the Riviera. Set along 900 feet of coastline, it offers beach beds and cabanas, massage therapists, sports such as paddleboarding and yoga classes, designer Greek shopping boutiques, and attentive food and drinks service at your beach bedside. There’s also a selection of fine dining restaurants, including Italian, a modern Greek tavern, Latin American Grill House, a seafood restaurant, as well as a golden-age glamour, exclusive cigar lounge. 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to Do on the Athens Riviera

Take a Dip at Lake Vouliagmeni 

For an unforgettable swimming experience, head to Lake Vouliagmeni. It’s a natural spa lake with fresh spring and seawater where the water is warm in summer and winter, making it a popular spot year long. Here you can also have a natural pedicure as it’s full of garru rufa fish—also known as the Dr Fish that nibble off dead skin. 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to Do on the Athens Riviera

Visit Cape Sounio and the Temple of Apollo 

A visit to Sounion is a must when you are on this side of the world. Here lies the Temple of Poseidon, at the top of the cliff; one of the most significant monuments of Ancient Greece and a cornerstone of history. Here you’ll see the ruins of the 6th century B.C. Temple of Apollo. Built in 444 B.C. atop the headland to honor the sea god. Locals and overseas guests visit Cape Sounion and the Temple at sunset to catch one of the most spectacular images.

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to Do on the Athens Riviera

Savour Farm to Table Dishes

For something completely different, Margi Farm, in the countryside of the Riviera at Kalivia, 13 miles from Vouliagmeni beach, showcases fresh vegetables and herbs, grown to provide produce that is used by the chefs to create fresh and organic dishes. Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees it’s available for private or group bookings and giving people the chance to experience authentic farm life and organic Greek dining in a beautiful natural rural environment. Each menu is carefully selected and based on the vegetables in season, from farm to fork.

Cruise the Athens Riviera in a Vintage Car 

For an unforgettable experience, drive a classic car on the coastal road of the Athens Riviera and take in the magical scenery. Offering transfers and tours to popular destinations along the Athenian Riviera, there is a unique collection of classic cars to choose from at Odeego’s fleet, which consists of classic cars of the 1960s and 70s, which have been fully restored and available for tours. 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to Do on the Athens Riviera

Eat Your Way Around Athens Riviera

There are so many great options and some of the standouts are Krabo in Vouliagmeni; while Matsuhisa Athens serves Nobu’s signature sushi and for great Italian check out Mercato. If you like to rub shoulders with the rich and famous, head to Island- here you will surely spot international designers, artists and athletes. For one of the best views and great food, make your way to Helios. One of the area’s most loved spots, which frequently serves some of the world’s leading A-listers on their visits to Athens is Ithaki in Vouliagmeni’s Laimos. While Moorings, in the same location, is another must. We also recommend Kastelorizo in Varkiza, Ark, Sardelaki and Mezze in Glyfada and if you are in the mood for something sweet don’t miss the waffles and ice cream at the famous Waffle House.

Shop Till You Drop 

The southern district is well-known for its chic shopping strip in Glyfada, where you’ll find a wide range of boutiques and concept stores such as SOHO-SOHO, Ensayar,  with a range of jewellery, sandals, high-end fashion; as well as international stores such as Tommy Hilfiger, Zara, H&M and Pull&Bear. 

Explore Athens Riviera with an Archaeologist

Bespoke travel specialists such as Alternative Athens can take you to Cape Sounion in a chauffeured limo for a sunset date with Poseidon’s mighty temple, or to another historical site nearby, accompanied by an archaeologist who will reveal the rich history of the area. 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to Do on the Athens Riviera

Sail the Athens Riviera

Admire the Athens coastline from the deck of a luxury catamaran on a private half-day or full-day cruise with Sailing Athens, while you swim or snorkel the day away in clear blue waters along the way.

Eat Freshly Caught Fish by the Sea

Milos at Sea—a new venture from the world-famous seafood restaurant—will take you on a culinary odyssey aboard a 113-foot yacht. Dine on freshly caught fish, enjoy a cooking lesson and wine and cheese tastings, and work off all the delicious meals paddle boarding or kayaking.

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to Do on the Athens Riviera

Take a Helicopter Ride Over Athens Riviera 

Get a different perspective on the Athens Riviera on a helicopter tour with Athens Heli Tours. The epic landmarks and glittering beaches look even more spectacular from the sky. 

Spend a Day at Stavros Niarchos Cultural Centre

In Kallithea, you will find the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, a new state of art facilities and a landmark of cultural exhibitions within Athens. It includes the brand new facilities of the National Library, the National Opera and the Park that hosts various performances and events- a great spot for families. 

Walk Along Flisvos Marina

Either you just want to walk around or enjoy a coffee and sweet at one of the many cafés along Flisvos. It’s particularly pretty at night and here you will come across a wonderful open-air cinema- make sure to catch a movie here if time permits. 

Make the most of Alimos

Alimos is a great place to spend a day. Here you can enjoy a swim at one of the organized beaches and have coffee or drink at the popular Nalu café or Bolivar beach bar. If you are lucky you may even get to see a free concert as both beach bars are known to host a range of local and international artists. 

Insights Greece - 20 Best Things to Do on the Athens Riviera

Watch the Sunset at Balux The House Project 

One of the most beautiful and popular places in Athens Riviera is Balux, which received a makeover a few years back and has now become a spot where you can spend endless hours relaxing, eating and drinking with friends. It’s also perfect for families as there are so many kid-friendly options here. 

Dive off the Rocks at Vouliagmeni

Choose your favourite spot and dive off the rocks at Limanakia, located at the base of the coastal road of Vouliagmeni in the direction of Varkiza! 

Greece’s 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Greece, with its rich history and culture, boasts a wide variety of monuments and archaeological sites. So it comes as no surprise there are currently 18 Greek monuments and areas given the distinction of being UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In the list, 16 are cultural sites and two (Meteora and Mount Athos) are mixed, listed for both their natural and cultural significance. Currently, there are also 14 sites on the tentative list, all of which have been nominated and waiting to be added! 

Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae 

The Temple of Apollo Epikourios—a World Heritage Site since 1986—is one of the most important temples of Antiquity and sits in the mountainous region of Andritsaina and Figalia (Bassae). It is one of the best-preserved monuments of classical antiquity and an evocative and poignant testament to classical Greek architecture. The temple was built at the height of the Greek civilization in the second half of the 5th century BC (420-400 BC). 

Archaeological Site of Delphi

In Ancient Greece, Delphi was Greece’s most sacred place and was considered to be the navel of the world. The pan-Hellenic sanctuary of Delphi, where the oracle of Apollo spoke, was the site of the omphalos, the ‘navel of the world’. Blending harmoniously with the superb landscape and charged with sacred meaning, Delphi in the 6th century B.C. was indeed the religious centre and symbol of unity of the ancient Greek world.

Acropolis, Athens 

The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit and civilization and form the greatest architectural and artistic complex bequeathed by Greek Antiquity to the world.

Mount Athos

This is the spiritual capital of the Orthodox Christian world, consisting of 20 monasteries and approximately 2000 monks. An Orthodox spiritual centre since 1054, Mount Athos has enjoyed an autonomous statute since Byzantine times. The ‘Holy Mountain’, which is forbidden to women and children, is also a recognised artistic site.


A region of almost inaccessible sandstone peaks, monks settled on these ‘columns of the sky’ from the 11th century onwards. Twenty-four of these monasteries were built, despite incredible difficulties, at the time of the great revival of the eremetic ideal in the 15th century. Their 16th-century frescoes mark a key stage in the development of post-Byzantine painting.

Paleochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki

Founded in 315 B.C., the provincial capital and seaport of Thessalonika was one of the first bases for the spread of Christianity. Among its Christian monuments are fine churches. Constructed from the 4th to the 15th century, the mosaics of the rotunda, Saint Demetrius and Saint David are among the great masterpieces of early Christian art.

Sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidaurus

In a small valley in the Peloponnesus, the shrine of Asklepios, the god of medicine, developed out of a much earlier cult of Apollo (Maleatas), during the 6th century BC at the latest, as the official cult of the city-state of Epidaurus. Its principal monuments, particularly the temple of Asklepios, the Tholos, and the Theatre – considered one of the purest masterpieces of Greek architecture – date from the 4th century.

Medieval City of Rhodes

The Order of St John of Jerusalem occupied Rhodes from 1309 to 1523 and came under Turkish and Italian rule. With the Palace of the Grand Masters, the Great Hospital, and the Street of the Knights, the Upper Town is one of the most beautiful urban ensembles of the Gothic period.

Archeological site of Mystras

Mystras, the ‘Wonder of the Morea‘, was built as an amphitheatre around the fortress erected in 1249 by the prince of Achaia, William of Villehardouin. Reconquered by the Byzantines, then occupied by the Turks and the Venetians, the city was abandoned in 1832, leaving only the breathtaking medieval ruins, standing in a beautiful landscape.

Archaeological Site of Olympia

The site of Olympia, in the Peloponnese, has been inhabited since prehistoric times. In the 10th century B.C., Olympia became a centre for the worship of Zeus. The Altis – the sanctuary to the gods – has one of the highest concentrations of masterpieces from the ancient Greek world.


According to Greek mythology, Apollo was born on this tiny island in the Cyclades archipelago. Apollo’s sanctuary attracted pilgrims from all over Greece and Delos was a prosperous trading port. The island bears traces of the succeeding civilizations in the Aegean world, from the 3rd millennium B.C. to the palaeochristian era. The archaeological site is exceptionally extensive and rich and conveys the image of a great cosmopolitan Mediterranean port.

Monasteries of Daphni, Hosios Loukas and New Mini of Chios

Although geographically distant from each other, these three monasteries belong to the same typological series and share the same aesthetic characteristics. The churches are built on a cross-in-square plan with a large dome. In the 11th and 12th centuries they were decorated with superb marble works as well as mosaics on a gold background, all characteristic of the ‘second golden age of Byzantine art’.

Insights Greece - Greece's 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos

Many civilizations have inhabited this small Aegean island, near Asia Minor, since the 3rd millennium B.C. The remains of Pythagoreion, an ancient fortified port with Greek and Roman monuments and a spectacular tunnel-aqueduct, as well as the Heraion, temple of the Samian Hera, can still be seen.

Archaeological Site of Aigai Vergina 

The city of Aigai, the ancient royal capital of Macedon, was discovered in the 19th century. It is located between the modern villages of Palatitsia and Vergina, in Northern Greece (Region of Hemathia). At Aigai was rooted the royal dynasty of the Temenids, the family of Philip II and Alexander the Great.

Archaeological Site of Mycenae and Tiryns

The archaeological sites of Mycenae and Tiryns are the imposing ruins of the two greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilization, which dominated the eastern Mediterranean world from the 15th to the 12th century B.C. and played a vital role in the development of classical Greek culture.

Historic Centre with Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse on Patmos island

The small island of Pátmos is where St John the Theologian wrote both his Gospel and the Apocalypse. A monastery dedicated to the ‘beloved disciple’ was founded there in the late 10th century and it has been a place of pilgrimage and Greek Orthodox learning ever since. The fine monastic complex dominates the island. 

Old Town of Corfu

The three forts of the town on the Ionian island, designed by renowned Venetian engineers, were used for four centuries to defend the maritime trading interests of the Republic of Venice against the Ottoman Empire. The mainly neoclassical housing stock of the Old Town is partly from the Venetian period. As a fortified Mediterranean port, Corfu’s urban and port ensemble is notable for its high level of integrity and authenticity.

Archaeological Site of Phillippi 

The remains of this walled city lie at the foot of an acropolis in north-eastern Greece, on the ancient route linking Europe and Asia, the Via Egnatia. Founded in 356 BC by the Macedonian King Philip II, the city developed as a “small Rome” with the establishment of the Roman Empire in the decades following the Battle of Philippi, in 42 BC. Later the city became a centre of the Christian faith following the visit of the Apostle Paul in 49-50 AD. The remains of its basilicas constitute an exceptional testimony to the early establishment of Christianity.  

Source: whc.unesco

Cover image @Greeka

Exploring Delphi, Greece’s Second Most Popular Archaeological Site

Did you know that after the Acropolis, Delphi is the most popular archaeological site in Greece?

Located at the foot of Mount Parnassos, within the angle formed by the twin rocks of the Phaedriades, lies the sanctuary of Delphi, which had the most famous oracle of ancient Greece. In fact, Delphi is regarded as the centre of the ancient world.

Due to its close proximity to Athens (just over two hours drive) Delphi is an ideal spot for a long weekend getaway from the Greek capital. This historical site not only offers incredible cultural experiences, you are also in for an adventurous trip, with some fabulous spots to eat and drink.


The archaeological site of Delphi includes two sanctuaries, dedicated to Apollo and Athena, and other buildings including the Treasury of the Athenians, the Theatre, the Stadion, and the Castalian Spring- which are all must-see sites.

Visitors arriving from Athens first encountered the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia – that is, Athena who is before the Temple of Apollo. Outside its walls spread the settlement of Delphi. Within the walls were the famous Tholos, the symbol of Delphi today, and the remains of three temples dedicated to the goddess. Outside and around the two sanctuaries are the remains of the settlement and cemeteries of Delphi, which developed mainly in the Classical and Roman period.

Insights Greece - Exploring Delphi, Greece's Second Most Popular Archaeological Site

Temple of Apollo 

All that remains of the Temple of Apollo, the most important building in the Sanctuary of Apollo, are the foundations. It was built on the same location three times and featured columns, sculptures, and statues inside. The present Temple of Apollo, built in Doric style in the fourth century BC, preserved the ground-plan of the earlier sixth-century-BC Archaic temple and re-used the old column drums, but the detailing is typical of the late-Classical period. It is here, in the adyton (inner shrine) that the Pythia (priestess) would sit and utter the words of the Oracle, sent to her by Apollo and interpreted by the priests.

Modern Museum

The  Archaeological Museum, which presents the history of the Delphic Sanctuary in 14 rooms, provides for another profound lesson in Delphi’s political, religious and social history. Lying between the ancient site and the modern town of Delphi, the archaeological museum displays a fascinating collection of finds from the site, including friezes, statues, votive offerings, and stele. Exhibits are displayed in chronological order and arranged across the 14 rooms. There is also a café and a gift shop. Tip: Make sure to check the museum’s opening times ahead, as hours can vary.

Historical Monasteries

On the western slopes of Mount Elikonas, just outside Distomo village (15 km from Delphi town) is the Holy Monastery of Osios Loukas (Saint Luke). The large walled complex contains two adjoining churches, one of which is the 10th Century Church of the Theotokos, dedicated to Panagia, Virgin Mary. Adjoining it is the Katholikon cathedral, built in 1011. A bell-tower, monastic rooms and a little store selling religious items are also located in the complex.

Adventurous activities

From the fresh, mountainous air to the incredible caves, springs and ancient paths, Delphi is the ideal spot for hiking, paragliding, rock climbing and mountain biking. There are many tours that are organised here throughout the year or you can of course, adventure out on your own and explore the wonderful surroundings.

Visit the Pretty Town

The gorgeous little town of Delphi (population of around 2,000) is now home to a range of hotels, guest houses, restaurants and shops. It was established in 1892, when the village of Kastrí, which had grown up on the site of the Temple of Apollo, was moved to a new position one kilometer west to allow excavation of the ancient site. This is a good base for exploring the surrounding area.

Before You Leave
Check out the picturesque town of Amfissa, which is at the foot of Delphi. Here you can enjoy the endless olive groves and walk along the paved streets, admiring traditional stores and cafes, with locals who are ready to welcome you with authentic delicacies.
Cover Image via landways.com