Best for Easy urban escapery.
What By far Athens’ nicest public beach, and its cheapest, too (€4 [$5] Mon–Fri; €5 Sat–Sun). Where Upmarket-ish neighbourhood Vouliagmeni – 20km outside Athens.
Go for Swimming and the local, low-key, non-touristy vibe.
But don’t miss The excellent, Athens-style iced-coffee frappés from one of the snack bars.
Oh, and don’t forget Nearby Lake Vouliagmeni has natural thermal springs. It’s 22ºC, even in winter.
Best for Five-star service.
What Athens’ priciest destination beach (€30 Mon–Fri; €50 Sat–Sun), beloved of 1960s starlet Brigitte Bardot, still holds all its gilded, jet-set glam.
Where Within the luxe Astir Palace Resort (20km outside Athens).
Go for Total indulgence. Book a west-facing, four-poster cabana for a spectacular sunset.
But don’t miss Orloff Spa on the beach does an amazing massage.
Oh, and don’t forget The resort’s hip Matsuhisa restaurant comes care of Nobu Matsuhisa. Yep, that Nobu.
Best for Families.
What A tree-lined stretch of sand with shallow waters ideal for little ’uns.
Where Varkiza – take metro line two from Syntagma to Elliniko.
Go for Water sports like windsurfing and wakeboarding and more family-friendly banana rides. Entry is decent, too (adults €5 Mon–Fri, €6 Sat–Sun; children 6–12, €3.50; under 6, free). But don’t miss The kalamaki kotopoulo (chicken skewers with lemon mayo) at nearby Zaxos would be worth 10 times the schlep.
Oh, and don’t forget There’s a bouncy castle on the beach, too.
Best for Ancient ruins. What Resort with two ace beaches – one pebble, one sand – in the shadow of the hilltop ruins of the Temple of Poseidon (the ancient Greek god of the sea).
Where Cape Sounio Grecotel Resort on Attica peninsula, an hour’s drive from Athens.
Go for Spacious swimming and fantastic views across the bay.
But don’t miss The 2,500-year-old ruins: entry to the Temple of Poseidon, with 15 Doric columns, is €8.
Oh, and don’t forget The archaeological site closes at sunset.
Best for Out-of-town island adventures.
What Some of the Greek isles can be done in a day. Aegina is the easiest, and probably prettiest, too.
Where Take a morning hydrofoil from Piraeus to Aegina then a bus to Marathonas Beach. Total time: 55 mins.
Go for Local fare: entry is free if you lunch at any of the beach tavernas.
But don’t miss Locally grown pistachios. Grab a bag at the port.
Oh, and don’t forget You can stay the night: Rastoni Guest House (rastoni.gr), set in a pistachio-tree garden, is a fine choice.