If Glyfada is all about credit cards and consumer bustle, Vouliagmeni showcases another side to the Athens Riviera. This classy seaside residential suburb is Athens's most prestigious summer address; and while you might buy your clothes up the road, this is where you take them off to relax. There are no shopping streets; no loud bouzoukia nightclubs. Restaurants and cafés double as bars later in the evening, but not until you've polished off a hundred euros' worth of boat-fresh seafood, and even then it's a laid-back, cocktail-driven affair. Vouliagmeni is all about being seen, usually on as expensive a private beach as possible, which is where the Astir Palace comes in. Back in the 1960s, just as the rest of the Riviera was taking off, the Astir complex was hosting the great, the good, and the plain filthy rich on its five-star shores. A recent takeover and multi-million-dollar rejuvenation proves little has changed, with its Laimos peninsula setting still the envy of all who visit. But you don't necessarily need oil money to enjoy this area, and great, affordable beaches and some of the best dining in Attica are a fine consolation until your penny stocks finally pay off.
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Gray-stone houses with red-tile roofs cling to the steep slopes of Mt. Parnassus, the highest mountain in Greece after Mt. Olympus, to form...
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