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Plan Your Trip to Athens: Best of Athens Tourism

About Athens
In Athens you get the best of both worlds: a modern city with old-world charm and the natural beauty of Greece just beyond. Once the centre of ancient civilisation, Athens has so much history to discover—from ruins to still-intact treasures. You can’t skip the top hits: the Acropolis, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the Parthenon are musts (and worth battling the crowds). Once you’ve crossed those off your bucket list, though, you can really get into the heart of the city—with its neverending hum of activity from the local no-frills tavernas to hip new restaurants and bars, all set against old stone buildings and cobblestoned streets. If you need to get away from it all, take a drive down the coastline or check into a beachside resort. There’s so much to do in Athens, and we’ve got the best recs down below.

Travel Advice

Essential Athens

How to do Athens in 2 days

All the historic stops plus sleek art galleries and a cool food scene
Read on

My favourite beaches in Greece

Life is always better on the beach. That’s what I’ve discovered over the last 30 years of travelling across Greece in search of the perfect seaside paradise. The secret is to find one that’s just right for you. Thankfully, Greece is blessed with hundreds to choose from, and these are the nine I love the most.
Maria Paravantes, Athens, Greece
  • Falassarna Beach
    Think turquoise waters and powder soft sand. On the island of Crete, Falassarna is perfect for swimming, walking, sunbathing, or chilling. (Nudists have their spot, too, on the far side.) Umbrellas and loungers are available for rent. For food, head to the tavernas behind the beach. Parking can get crowded, so arrive early to find a spot or take the bus. Early morning is the best time to swim—the waves can get rough after 11 a.m., but it’s still wonderful.
  • Voidokilia Beach
    On the mainland in Messinia, Voidokilia is a natural wonder. The omega-shaped beach is set right next to the serene Gialova Lagoon in the middle of the Messinia plain with green-blue waters and silky sand dunes. It’s a drone-lover’s delight, and it’s also ideal for children, picnics, swimming, and snorkelling. Bring some form of shade, snacks, and water, as there are no facilities nearby. Hikers and nature lovers can wander beyond the dunes. They won’t regret it.
  • Banana Beach
    For swimmers, families, and beach sports fans, Banana Beach on Zakynthos is the place to be. It has beachside tavernas, sea sports, and sunbeds and umbrellas for rent—all against a stunning backdrop of golden sands and crystal-clear shallow waters. But it can get loud, so for some quiet, go before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Parking is free, but one of the beach bars also offers complimentary transportation from various points on the island: Look for the “yellow bus.”
  • Petani Beach
    Soak up the sun and swim to your heart’s content at this secret beach on Kefalonia. You’ll find sunbeds and umbrellas on one side and a free, laid-back area with a bar on the other. It’s pebbly at some points, so bring water shoes. The tavernas dotting the shore are perfect for ouzo, fresh seafood, and amazing views. It’s hard to find parking, so get there early. And a note that it gets crowded in late July and August.
  • Xi Beach
    An endless stretch of brick-red sand and shallow waters makes Kefalonia’s Xi Beach one of the most interesting spots in Greece. Sunbeds, umbrellas, and water sports are on offer on one side of the coast. But if you head past the white cliff toward the centre, you’ll feel like Robinson Crusoe. It’s ideal for children, seniors, and sun-lovers. Best of all: It’s easy to get to and usually has very calm waters.
  • Tristinika Beach
    If you’re holiday-making in Northern Greece, head to Tristinika on the island of Halkidiki. This seaside haven wins over nature lovers, families, and camping fans with its powdery sand and welcoming waters in all shades of blue. It’s a great place to swim, sunbathe, read a book, or simply take in the soothing view. A trendy beach bar offers drinks, finger food, and great music. Don’t leave before watching the sun dip into the sea.
  • Katergo Beach
    One of Greece’s wildest beaches, secluded Katergo on the island of Folegandros is accessible only by boat or with a brave hike. Pack essentials like water, snacks, and a hat. The azure waters have a steep drop-off but are perfect for snorkelling and swimming. Adventurous and mellow types (and even some nudists) frequent this isolated beach. Before you go, ask the locals about the weather, because it often gets too windy to enjoy.
  • Manganari Beach
    This pristine beach on Ios has velvety sand and serene waters—perfect for relaxation and for getting a genuine Greek island feel. Two tavernas offer food and drink, but it’s not a party vibe. In fact, it’s so untouched that it’s frequented by goats at sunrise. You can get there by car (it’s 40 minutes from Ios Chora), but I recommend taking the bus, which drops you off in the morning and picks you up in the evening. Best time to visit: June or September.
  • Chorefto Beach
    On the mainland, forest meets the sea at this breathtaking beach at the foot of Mt. Pelio, which is worth the tedious drive. Chorefto’s mix of grainy white sand and deep crystalline waters makes it perfect for swimmers and snorkellers, but it can get choppy and dangerous. Limited parking is available, so arrive before 10 a.m., especially in July and August. If you’re into hiking, take the path toward Agioi Saranta, and you’ll be rewarded with another awesome beach.

Browse collections

All about ancient Greece

Museums, ruins, archaeological sites, and more

Mezze and more

Where to find the best authentic Greek food

Just beyond Athens

Day trips and tours to take nearby

For a drink or two

Cocktail bars around the city

Make it a museum day

From ancient art to modern galleries