Athens is one of the few cities in Europe where you can swim all year round. From urban beaches to rooftop pools, these are our top tips for keeping cool in the city. Just don’t forget to lather on that sunscreen.
Easy Access Beaches
Akti tou Iliou (Sunset Strip)
This private beach is easily accessible on the tram, which chugs slowly from the Neos Kosmos metro to the seaside and along the coastal strip from Faliro to Voula. While not the ideal beach for clear water swimming, its proximity to the city makes this a great quick getaway, if only to relax in a sunbed with a drink from one of the lively beach bars. The wet park—a floating playground of giant inflatables—is fun for kids.
Travel time: 40 minutes from Syntagma.
Transport: From Syntagma Square: A2 bus, stop "4th Kalamakiou". Or metro to Neos Kosmos, then tram, stop “Zefyros”.
Cost: €6 on weekdays, €8 on weekends, free for kids under 5, €3-4 for 5-12 years, €3-4 over 65.
Asteras Glyfada Beach
This sandy bay in Glyfada is equally popular with families and fit young things. There’s a beach volleyball and soccer court, but the trump card is Balux, one of Athens’ most popular beach bars. Come for cocktails, pizza, and sushi, by the pool or on the beach. There’s a library and games room if you want to stay out of the sun. And did we mention a shady play area for the kids?
Travel time: 45-55 minutes from Syntagma.
Transport: Tram, A2 bus, stop “Kolymvitirio”.
Cost: Entrance to the complex is free (though you'll pay about €8-10 for the luxury of a sunlounger, depending on time of visit).
The fanciest destination on the Athens Riviera, the Four Seasons-managed Astir Beach is like a trip to St Tropez (with prices to match). Twenty kilometres from the city centre, you’ll find the plushest sunbeds, water-sports and beach volleyball courts, a spa, and world-class bars and restaurants, all on a clean Blue Flag beach. On top of the hefty entrance fee, you pay extra to book an individual sunbed (the ‘front row’ sells out fast), which includes complimentary beach towels and a bottle of water. Worth the splurge.
Travel time: 60-70 minutes from Syntagma.
Transport: Metro line 2 to “Elliniko”, 122 bus, stop “Apollonos”.
Cost: €80 on weekdays for a front-row umbrella with two loungers in high-season and €70 behind rows; €160 on weekends if you want to be in the front row and €140 behind. Regulars know to book their loungers on-line here to avoid disappointment.
This bright-green lake was formed when the roof of a cave crumbled. Its mineral-rich water, a constant 22-29 degrees Celsius year-round, has healing properties. And you get a free spa treatment from the little fish that come to nibble at your dead skin. There’s a refined restaurant serving modern Greek cuisine, playground, good snorkelling, and aqua aerobics classes.
Travel time: 55 minutes from Syntagma.
Transport: Metro line 2 to “Elliniko”, 122 bus, stop “Limni”.
Cost: €15 on weekdays, €18 on weekends and holidays. Kids under 5: free. You can preebook your ticket or upgrade it during your visit for one of the special areas at Lake Vouliagmeni; Prive Area, Wooden Area, Double Day-Beds. Find out more about your options here.
An iconic Athenian swimming hole, this isn’t your typical beach. In fact, it’s a small cove enclosed by rocks, with wooden decks and a rickety canteen selling drinks. It feels more like a Greek island hideaway than a city beach. Watching buff locals dive off the rocks is a thrill in itself.
Travel time: 60 minutes from Syntagma.
Transport: Metro line 2 to “Elliniko”, 122 bus, stop “A Limanakia”, or “Limanakiapetalo”.
Apollon Beach at Divani Apollon Palace
Whether you're looking to water-ski, wakeboard, paddle board or to smoke some Shisha from a nargile brought to your sunbed, the experience at this hotel beach is five-star. Divani Apollon Palace & Thalasso is a mere half hour drive from Syntagma Square. The beach's sandy shore and refreshing waters are the perfect spot for a day in the sun for the entire family or for a romantic Greek-island feel. There's a full menu to choose from, in case you get peckish, and waiter-service is available to your spot under the umbrella at the touch of a button.
Travel time: 20-30 minutes (car or taxi), 45-60 minutes (public transport).
Transport: Metro line 2 to “Elliniko”, 122 bus, stop Ag. Nikolaos.
Cost: Low season May 15 - June 30: €24 on weekdays - €30 on weekends (set). High season July 1 - October 31: €30 on weekdays - €36 on weekends (set).
City Centre Swimming Pools
What could possibly be cooler than a sky-high beach on a city rooftop? It’s got Insta-brag written all over it. Mavili Beach is a new Cycladic-inspired summer pop-up that transforms the roof of the Alexandros hotel in groovy Ambelokipi into an urban oasis between May and October, complete with a sand-fringed pool, whitewashed stone walls and a bougainvillea-draped taverna. You’ll pay accordingly for entrance into this stylish watering hole. Flex the plastic a little more and you can retreat to your own VIP beach cabin with a mini-bar and flat screen TV.
Travel time: 20 minute walk from Syntagma.
Transport: 7 minute walk from Megaro Mousikis, Metro Line 3 to “Doukissis Plakentias”.
Cost: €30 per person for a sunbed weekdays; €40 on weekends (towels, sunscreen, coffee or juice and small water included).
Colourful and quirky, this downtown hotel between Omonia and Monastiraki is exactly what its name promises. The rooftop pool is definitely not of Olympic dimensions, but the view is quintessential Athens, with the Parthenon poking out between aerials and apartments. Relax on the wooden deck with an ice-cold beer and a side of truffle and thyme fries, or sign up for a morning yoga class. Open from 10.00-19.00 every day.
Travel time: 10 minutes from Syntagma.
Transport: Metro line 3, stop “Monastiraki”.
Cost: €20 (includes coffee and a towel.)
St George Lycabettus
Located on the slopes of Lycabettus hill, this swanky rooftop pool club offers poolside massages, BBQ Mondays, sunset yoga sessions, and the perk of the best view in town, in one of Athens’ most upscale neighbourhoods. Open daily 9.00-20.00.
Travel time: 20-minute walk uphill from Syntagma.
Transport: On foot or by taxi.
Cost: 28€/1 Pax - 43€/2 Pax on weekdays, 33€/1 Pax - 53€/2 Pax on weekends. Kids up to 3 enter free of charge; 3-12 years pay half price.
The rooftop pool of the Divani Caravel looks onto the Parthenon and Lycabettus hill. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the coastline, maybe even as far as Aegina. Bamboo tables, potted cacti, and minimal décormake for a refreshing break from the city’s hubbub. Open daily 10.00-19.00.
Travel time: 30-minute walk or 10-minute taxi ride from Syntagma.
Transport: On foot or by taxi.
Cost: €30 on weekdays, €40 on weekends.
No rooftop vibes at this hidden gem of a downtown pool; but the smart wooden deck and white bamboo sunbeds are surrounded by elegant neoclassical homes. Just below leafy Philopappou hill, close to the Parthenon, this is a perfect little oasis after clambering up to Athens’ most iconic attraction. Open daily 8.00-19.00.
Travel time: 15 minutes from Syntagma.
Transport: Metro line 2, stop “Acropolis”.
Cost: €15 on weekdays; €20 on weekends.
The tallest hotel in Athens, the President is good value and well-placed. But the ace up its sleeve is the pool on the 21st floor. Up here, it’s hard to believe you’re in the heart of a city of almost four million people. The ethnic-inspired bar-restaurant hosts DJ sets and pool parties after dark. Pool open daily 10.30-19.00.
Travel time: 15 minutes from Syntagma.
Transport: Metro line 3, stop “Ambelokipi”.
Cost: €20 on weekdays, €30 on weekends