Welcome to the Greek version of California: the southern suburbs of Glyfada, Voula and Vouliagmeni, three of the coolest Athens' neighborhoods. Here, the temperature is a few degrees warmer than the 'reported' Athens' weather; people stay mostly outdoors and tan, play beach volleyball, SUP or even swim on a sunny day (the month is irrelevant!); the main attire is beachwear, flip flops, funky t-shirts and hoodies, shorts, trainers and Juicy Couture track pants! An all-year beach paradise only a half hour drive from Athens' main tourist attractions, Greek landmarks and the Athens 'must see' spots of the Acropolis, Plaka and Monastiraki; and -in our opinion- one of the best places to live in Greece (if not in Europe), all year round!
Don't expect to join a sightseeing tour or a food tour in this area - unless you are in the mood to drive a further half hour for a day trip to the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion. As you can imagine, residents of the southern suburbs are outdoorsy, laid back people who enjoy the simple things in life, like a beautiful sunset and the sea view, and will seize every opportunity to get out, party, drink, eat and exercise on a sunny day (to say the least). And since these neighborhoods are dominated by locals we are here to share with your our insider's guide to Glyfada, Voula and Vouliagmeni; because, dear travelers, your travel experience in Athens would be incomplete without a visit to this part of the Athens Riviera. So, without further ado, here are a few of our favourite spots and most unique things to do in Athens, down south!
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Where to Drink Coffee
If you haven't noticed by now on your holidays in Greece, Greeks are very proud of their coffee culture (that includes catching up with friends for a good 2-3 hours over a freddo cappuccino, frappe or a good old Greek coffee!). So, if you want to blend in with the locals, be prepared to participate! Do it like a Vouliagmenioti (aka a Vouliagmeni resident!) at the all-time classic (if not 'cult') Aqua Marina or like a Glyfadioti (yes, a Glyfada resident!) at Soleto. For those who want to sip their coffee a stone's throw from the beach, try the hidden spot at Lasithi cafe in Kavouri, En Plo in Vouliagmeni, Vive Mar in Voula or -last but not least- Balux House Project in Glyfada where you can combine it with a swim or a healthy brunch.
make the most of your visit to athens - join fun walking tours!
Where to Eat Like a Local
Here you will find a few of the best restaurants in Athens (along with one of our favourite bakeries in town, the good old Tasos and his famous cheese pie!)! Try Yi in Glyfada, one of our favourite restaurants that serve healthy food in Athens; George's Steak House in Glyfada's 'Biftekoupoli' (aka 'meatball-land!') for meatballs, Greek salad and fries (what else?!); Sardelaki and To Barbounaki in Glyfada for fish meze; the Greek restaurant Louizidis in Vouliagmeni for traditional Greek food or Kebabtzidikon To Gnision in Voula for the best souvlaki and kebap in the neighborhood (also one of the best things to do with kids). If you're looking for quirky and authentic things to do , take a detour to Vari's 'Vlahika', close to Voula, on your way to the Athens' airpot (where 'colourful' Greek tavernas are lined-up) for Greek bbq by the fireplace in Tsolias or fish at Babis. When it's time for dessert, there's one place you need to be: the Waffle House in Vouliagmeni, one of the best places to eat ice cream in Athens.
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Where to Party
The best spots for Athens nightlife (including rooftop bars, party nightclubs and Athens' gay friendly bars) are in the city centre without a doubt; however the area has some very interesting choices, like Pere and Holy Spirit in Glyfada, or MOOUU if you want to grab a drink after your mouth-watering steak from their steak house next door. In the winter time, legendary nightclubs in the area -such as Island- are closed down, but there's still a charm sipping a cocktail with a sea-view even on a rainy day (or night) in Vouliagmeni marina's Moorings and Matsuhisa Athens inside the cosmopolitan Astir Palace Resort, with a bite of some of the best sushi in town.
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Where to Exercise (Run, Wwim and Relax!)
It's nice to grab a good meal and a drink (or two) but like true 'Californians' the residents of Athens' southern suburbs like to stay fit! The area has a few of our favourite spots to run in Athens, like the promenade from Voula, all the way to Kavouri and the Vouliagmeni peninsula (passing by the Astir beach and Astir hotel) or the track hidden in Kavouri, behind St George's Church! Once you're done with all the running and stretching and want to pamper your muscles, head to the Thalassotherapy Spa inside the Divani Hotel in Kavouri! On a warmer day, you can head to the top Athens' beaches of Vouliagmeni or even Vouliagmeni Lake, one of the most quirky things to do in Athens on a fall or winter day.
The south is full of fun things to do so make your visit to Athens count and spend a few hours (if not days) by the sea...!
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