Glyfada Travel Guide

Glyfada

Gateway to the Athens Riviera and the Apollo Coast—which stretches from Pireaus south to Cape Sounion's famed Temple of Poseidon—Glyfada is loved for its palm-fringed coastal promenade lined with parks, beautiful villas, golf courses, shopping, dance clubs, and seaside dining spots. In the 1960s this was the place to be, back when Jackie Onassis could be seen flexing her credit card here (her villa was just to the north). Even today, it's easy to see why this busy suburb is often dubbed the Hellenic Hamptons; it's essentially where the Athenian nouveau riche come to spend their pay checks on designer wear. Most flit in and out on day trips; however, come summer, things change as the area straps on its six-inch dancing shoes and lets loose, offering its fahionistas somewhere to show off their latest purchases in a slew of in-the-know pop-up nightclubs.

Most activity here tends to fall around the shopping streets of Kiprou and Grigoriou Lambraki, where its café-restaurant-bars provide ample opportunity to swap espressos for espresso martinis as night falls. In part, the modern reputation of the area dates back to an old U.S. air base that was built in the 1930s, just to the north. Its soldiers engendered a local fondness for Americana, from burger restaurants to drive-in movies, while their money propped up the early boutiques. The base closed in the 1990s, but even now it is still causing ripples in the area, with multi-billion-dollar plans to build a luxurious model city on the abandoned site. Given it covers an area the size of Monaco, it could transform the coast all over again, but whether such plans survive the global downturn will be seen. Certainly, the Athens Riviera is not giving up its reputation for extravagance any time soon.

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