21 Beautiful Free Beaches in Athens
Athens is one of the few major cities in the world that boasts a coastline of beautiful beaches — and many are free.
Free Beaches in Athens
Not many travelers know a whole beachside community exists just a short drive from the city center. On a sunny summer day, spending time on the Attiki coast is just like spending time on a Greek island.
This area, informally called the Athens Riviera, is known for its palm tree fringed promenades, beautiful seafront neighborhoods and excellent Greek beaches. In fact, many of the beaches are accredited with a coveted Blue Flag.
Many Athenian beaches are privately managed, Greeks refer to them as being “organized,” which means there is an admission fee. However, many are public “unorganized” beaches without an admission fee.
21 Beautiful Free Beaches in Athens
This is a list of beautiful free beaches in Athens that you can enjoy without an entrance cost. Note that you would pay for sunbeds and umbrellas. The cost for such rentals typically start at €4 and up, per chair. Sometimes, you just have to order a coffee or drink from a beach bar or taverna that owns those seats, and the seat is yours for the day!
Votsalakia Kastellas, Piraeus
Athenians living in the Athens port city of Piraeus are within walking distance to this beach. It is reachable by foot from Pasalimani, right after the Castella neighborhood marina. For more on the highlights of this area of the city check out my post: Top 10 Things to do in Piraeus.
Tip: Not a good area if you are looking for beach parking.
Edem Beach, Palio Faliro
It’s not the most impressive beach and the waters aren’t always so clear as I’d like them to be. (Mind you, I have become a beach snob since moving to Greece.) Edem beach, however, is one of the easiest free beaches in Athens to get to via public transportation. It is pretty charming if you have never been to a Greek beach. For tourists without much time, Edem is just right for a quick pleasant swim in the sun. It gets its name from the taverna that’s set right by the water. The beach is steps from the tram stop named after it. From Syntagma, enjoy a 30-minute ride down to the Edem stop.
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Elliniko Public Beach
Elliniko beach is a sand and pebble beach located off Poseidonos avenue. Reachable by tram. Follow the path to the overhead foot bridge and signs for Akrotiri then follow the signs to Elliniko Public Beach. There is a food truck that sells snacks and drinks nearby.
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You can also easily take public transport to Agios Kosmos beach, a pretty stretch of sand and pebbles on the Athens coast. Take the tram to 2nd Aghiou Kosma /2η Αγίου Κοσμά. Entrance is from the Poseidonos avenue foot bridge.
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Vouliagmeni Public Beach
Vouliagmeni is an Athens Riviera town known for its summer hot spot venues and luxurious hotels. The private beaches can be pricey so they are rightfully the ritziest in town. However, you can enjoy the beautiful sea here for free at the Vouliagmeni public beach. Also, just opposite the luxury Astir Beach is a nice small public beach that is free as well. There are some umbrellas and sunbeds for rent.
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Liminakia is a rocky patch of coves and caves on the Athenian Riviera’s shore. Between Vouliagmeni and Varkiza, it can only be reached by a short hike from the beach road, and it’s a popular summer spot for the gay community. Sunbathers prefer to stretch out nude over the rocks. When it’s time to swim, they love to dive and jump off the rocky crags into the amazingly crystal clear blue-green waters.
Tip: Bring some food and water. There’s shade in the late afternoon. There are sea urchins so do be careful not got pricked!
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Before the Kavouri beaches you’ll find Agio Nikolao Kavouri which is known for its nice sand and for its views.
When you make it to the town of Kavouri, which is located 20 km south of Athens, you’ll find two beaches. There is Mikro (small) Kavouri and Megalo (large) Kavouri. Kavouri means crab, if you are wondering…
Out of the two crab beaches, Megalo Kavouri is the free beach. There are many taverns, the seabed is shallow, which makes it ideal for families. It can get crowded.
In Koropi, you can swim for free at Loubardas Koropi. The bay is protected during windy summer days in Greece. You can find this beach on 33rd km Av. Sounion. Three kilometers down on the 36th km Av. Sounion you can find another nice free beach called Agios Dimitrios Koropi.
After passing Grand Resort Lagonissi, you find the free Pefko beach. Located at the 41st km Av. Sounion, it used to be a “hidden” kind of place. Nowadays, it is quite popular. It is a smooth sand and pebbled beach. There are beach beds and umbrellas for rent here.
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Located on the 46th km Av. Sounion, its name means black stone in Greek. The beach has been awarded a Blue Flag for its clear water many times. Enjoy the same crystal clear waters in a “hidden” cove located another mile up the beach road. After you park, find a path that leads down the rocks to a secluded beach that will make you feel like you are on a secluded island.
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The name of this beach translates to thyme. Thimari is one of the prettiest unorganized beaches on the Athens Riviera and is located close to Anavissos. Pass the town sign for Palea Fokea on the 54th km Av. Sounio and you’ll reach it. Access to it is easy; a few steps lead you down the sandy beach. Its location protects it from the summer winds. Thimari’s clear shallow sea is perfect for a relaxing swim.
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Legrena beach is a sandy beach about three km west of Cape Sounio, sitting on its own nice little cape and full of rocky coves. It’s popular for diving.
Tip: There is no shade so bring an umbrella.
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Sounio Beach in Cape Sounio
This sandy beach is just a few hundred meters from the Temple of Poseidon (a stunning archaeological site) and 70 km from Athens. Cape Sounio can get pretty crowded in the summertime. There are many fish taverns nearby. Stick around for the amazing sunsets.
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Also consider heading to another free beach in Athens in the Sounio area called Pasalimani beach which is on the 72nd km of Av. Sounio, usually it is pretty empty in some parts.
Anavissos is my go-to beach resort area. I love the clean waters and sandy beaches. In general, I find the area calm and relaxing. Windsurfers also love this area. It’s fun to watch them in the distance. You’ll find the beaches at the 52nd km Av. Sounion.
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About two kilometers from the port of Rafina you’ll come upon a red cliff bordering a sandy beach. The name of the beach, however, means little red marina. There’s a camping site in the area. You’ll find Kokkino Limanaki after the main square in Rafina. Take the Kiprion Agoniston road and at the end of the road you’ll find more signs to the beach.
Loutsa is on east coast of the capital and is home to some of the most popular free beaches in Athens. It’s considered one of the not-so-clean beach areas, but it is still quite pretty. Also, there are a lot of buzzing cafes, eateries and people watching to keep you busy.
Agios Nikoloas beach is one beach that is quite popular. Take Marathonas and turn right at Kallitechnopolis; after six kilometers, you’ll reach it.
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Schinias Beach in Marathonas
Schinias beach is a long stretch of sandy beach on the Athens city coast, located on Marathon Bay. The area is 45 kilometers from Athens. There are many tavernas and cafes along this stretch of road. Driving to Schinias, you’ll find the organized private beaches first. After the private beaches, you’ll find the public free beaches of Athens. Kavari beach is a popular free entrance option, awarded a Blue Flag.
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Tip: Lots of access to sun beds and umbrella rentals, too.
To get to Schinas via bus you can take one of the orange KTEL buses that leave from Pedio tou Areo (Plateia Viktorias metro stop) in central Athens at 7:30 am and stop at 6 p.m. They stop at Ampelokipi and Ethniki Amyna metro stations before heading to Marathonas. Last bus back leaves Marathonas at 8:30 p.m.
Getting to the Free Beaches in Athens
If you are driving, you can reach the better free beaches of Athens with ease. They are simply a farther distance from the city center. Just follow the road out of Athens and take the beach road which takes on a few different names: Leoforos Poseidonos, Leoforos Konstantinos Karamanli road as well as Leforors Athinon Sounion. In Greek, leoforos means road. If you’re not driving, simply take the tram (up to Voula), buses or taxis.
Also, beware of returning beach traffic. The beach road gets packed as folks head back home for night. Cars come to a crawl. This begins in the late afternoon.
Free Beaches in Athens: Best Time to Go
The beaches tend to be packed during the weekends. Many Athenians head out early to grab a good spot on the beach. If you are looking for sunbeds with umbrellas or shade from a beach tree, for sure you should head out before noon. Even by noon, places can be packed. I guess it’s safe to say, the early bird gets the worm!
Which Athens Beach Should I Go To?
In my opinion, the farther east you go from Athens, the better the beaches – private or public. My personal favorite is Anavissos. As aforementioned, northeast of Athens, in Marathon, you can check out some nice places. Also, your ideal Athens beach depends if you want sand or rocks, and if you prefer shade or not.
When it comes to choosing from the free beaches in Athens, I have to say, there are so many to choose from. There’s even more when you consider the private beach options.
In fact, I am sure I left off some public beaches or hidden places I haven’t found yet. Are there any free beaches in Athens you’d like to add here? Please comment in the comment box below…
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