Well, by now I am worn out planning our trip to Europe. I have Paris and Rome planned out, but need help with Athens (can't look anymore or I will go cross-eyed). We will be arriving in Athens mid May-coming in on a Thursday morning and leaving on Monday morning. This will be the last leg of our two week trip in Europe (Paris, then Rome) before we fly back home by way of Paris. I know we will be tired by then so Athens will be our chill out time. The only site I really want to see is the Acropolis. I don't care to make any long drives to see any other sites (will save that for a Greece/Turkey only trip in the future). I would like to see an islandbut is it possible to get to one REALLY close from Athensshop a little, eat, stroll around, stop at the beache, then get back the same day? If that is not possible-are there any good beaches in Athens that we could chill out at/sunbath/people watch? We are staying in the Plaka area. Thanks...Alanna from Houston...
Mid May is a little early for hanging out at the beaches. Hate to be discouraging but there really no sandy beaches around Athens. And the good island are too from Athens for an easy day trip. If you are really looking for some place to relax for a few days Athens is not it. Why not fly to one of the major islands like Santorini or another with an airport and truly relax in a very different atmosphere than your big cities. Save Athens for the next Greece/Turkey trip.
Hydra is only a couple of hours from Athens/Piraeus by Flying Dolphin and is a good place for a short visit. No cars are allowed so it retains much of it's 'traditional' appeal.
Lee offers a good suggestion for an island but when you stated not wanting a long drive, Hydra would still be a six to seven hour total trip for you and another long day.
Hmmm...bummer. So would it be possible to take a short drive out of Athens to a decent beach? Not two or three hours away, but maybe an hour drive? Would it be advisable to rent a car to do that? We both have international driver's license (and we drive in crazy Houston traffic daily). Not too keen on flying to an island...we will be doing too much of that already... An hour boat ride I could handle, not sure about 2-3 hour boat ride. Thanks...Alanna from Houston...
The island of Aegina is just an hour from Athens (or 30 minutes on a Flying Dolphin). You can read how to make this trip on http://www.greektravel.com/lesson1/ . Here's another link for you http://www.aeginagreece.com/. It looks like a pretty little island. I've never visited this one, so can't vouch for it personally, but I think it'd be fun for you to have the experience of taking the ferry and wandering around here.
You don't even have to go to an island to find nice beach! Just get a TRAM (like a modern streetcar) from S.E. corner of Syntagma Square, the tram stop on Amalias Avenue. Ride =35-50 minutes. My savvy Greek friends say "1of my top beach choices near Athens is Asteria Beach in Glyfada" Directions = "Take Tram marked 'Voula', in 50 mins exit at Kolimvitirio stop, walk about 8 mins. cross Poseidonos Ave, enter Asteria beach , lovely Balux cafe, u can relax on couch seats in sunshine, have light lunch, nice shopping, back on tram in 1 hour." NOTE: ask hotel where to buy a tram ticket, probably at kiosk by tram stop. NOTE #2, when u order something at a Greek Cafe, waiters (unlike in US) NEVER press you to move on; they leave u alone till u are ready.
Thanks so much Janet and Charlene. The little island of Aegina is perfect. Exactly what I was looking for. This island boasts a Temple of Apollo, a Temple of Athena, and a Monastery. There are also a couple of lovely beaches and a fish market in the little town of Aegina. I am going to give this one a try on the Dolphin boat everyone has been talking about. I am also going to that little beach Janet's friends mentioned. Asteria Beach. Here is a link to several of the popular beaches-mentions Asteria. http://www.athensinfoguide.com/beaches2.htm So I think that has taken care of my days in Athens...Acropolis, island, beach! Done. Enjoy..and thinks again to all those wonderful RS posters. Alanna from Houston.