The proximity of Athens to the coast offers a great opportunity to combine beach activities with a city holiday. Travelling by taxi from a downtown hotel willtake only 30 minutes to find some excellent facilities. Much of Athens closes down during the heat of August (though not those relating to tourism) and many people head to the coast for the cooler air, therefore you find the resorts very busy at this time. The season is short, with many hotels opening in May and closing again in September.
The closest resort to the city is Glyfada, only 12 km from the city. Its proximity to Athens makes it extremely busy, especially on weekends and it lies very close to the approach to the old airport, which in the past resulted in a lot of aircraft noise.
About 20 km away is Voula, a little less crowded than Glyfada. Vouliagmeni is 5 km further south, and a haunt for the local Athens jet-set because of the spa situated at the sulphur lake that gives the resort its name. There are a number of luxury hotels situated here. Each of these resorts has a Greek Tourist Board-approved beach with changing facilities, food and watersports. There is a small entrance fee. You'll find a full range of sports offered, from tennis, windsurfing and waterskiing to snorkelling and diving and it is fair to say that the underwater world so close to the capital can be disappointing.
The Saronic
islands have a longer season-stretching from April to


October. Aegina and Spetses are very well-organised with regard to watersports and beach activities, but if you want to relax on the beach it may be better to spend at least one night on Spetses as it is a 2-hour boat trip from Piraeus. Spetses is the island of John Fowles’ book “Magician”.

Weekend and summer sailing is very popular with Athenians as the crowded marinas such as those at Pireaus testify. Tournaments occur regularly throughout the summer and even the children have their own league competitions. Several companies have boats to rent- with crew or "bare" if you have a skipper's certificate. Contact the Hellenic Sailing Federation, Odos Xenofondos 15, for more details.

There is an 18-holegolf course at Glyfada.

Football (soccer)
Football is a national obsession for the Greeks and Athens' teams (Panathinaikos, Olympiakos and AEK Athens) feature prominently in domestic and European competitions. The season runs from September to May.

Athens Race course can be found at the bottom of Syngrou Avenue where racing takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Plans have been drawn up to re-develop the course as part of the Athens 2004 Olympic Program, so make enquiries with your hotel before making the journey out to the course.