Ask a local resident which is the best beach in the Athens metro area and odds are that they will answer, “Astir Beach in Vouliagmeni”. I mention metro area, because many Athenians choose to go well beyond Vouliagmeni when it comes time for them to hit the beach.
Astir Beach is a part of the Astir Palace complex which is one of the most famous resorts in all of Greece. The resort is going under major renovations this summer and will not be open, but the beach is fully operational.
The beach and hotel have a very rich history and for years have been known as a place to ‘be seen’. Obama stayed at the Astir Palace in the fall of 2016 right before they closed for renovations.
What makes this beach so special?
I’ll be honest and say the reputation probably plays a role in why some people choose this beach over others. It is thought of as the premier destination for a day at the beach in Athens. Besides all of that glamorous jazz, it truly is a nice beach.
The beach is 100% sand, which I can not say about any other beaches in Athens. Sure, they all have sand, but also pebbles and rocks once you get into the water.
Beyond the swimming area, you see lush green vegetation atop red rocky landscape that tumbles into the blue sea.
My husband made the comment, “I didn’t realize how much I disliked the music at the other beaches until I came here and there was no music.” Maybe this is another reason why people prefer this beach. Far too often the beaches in Athens will pump the music during the day as if it is a foam party during spring break in Mexico. In reality it is a bunch of families and people trying to relax and perhaps read a book.
Astir is much more chilled with no music being played across the entire beach. The restaurant, 40, is the only place you will hear music coming from.
With an advanced ticketing system, Astir only admits 1,000 people a day.
This beach is popular with families because the water is shallow for a good distance into the swimming area, so kiddies have lots of room to play near the shore. There is a lifeguard on duty at all times and the water is very clean and clear. The protected bay faces out to sea and the swimming area is roped off.
Beach goers can use the app Plazz to reserve their sun-loungers in advance. The price is higher than you pay at the entrance, but you are guaranteed a spot and you can even pick out your exact chairs on a map. Reserved chairs are 30€ during the week and 50€ on the weekend. You also receive a bottle of water and the use of a towel when you are in the reserved section.
On the entire beach (not just in the reserved section) all of the chair sets have a nice little box/table in the middle and a call button for service.
There are two full service restaurants on the beach. 40 near the entrance and TGI Fridays on the far end. Both places have an extensive menu with all sorts of options. On a recent trip, my husband ordered chicken and waffles at 40 and it was fantastic. The dish probably doesn’t exactly fit into the ‘beach food’ category, but he enjoyed it very much and I enjoyed the one small bite I was allowed.
The restaurant 40 caters to all of those who prefer to order and eat on the beach.
At Astir Beach you can rent jet skis and participate in numerous water sport activities, such as tubing and water skiing.
How do I get to Astir Beach?
If you are coming from anywhere on a metro line, get off at Ellinko and take a taxi (less than 10€). Same goes for tram– get off at the terminal station in Voula and take a taxi from there (around 5€).
If you are driving, parking will not be easy. You will find parking eventually, but you may have to walk more than you want to on a hot day. As with all beaches in Athens, the earlier you go- the easier it will be to find parking.
Is it worth the price?
It all depends on what you are looking for. If you want a peaceful, beautiful environment without a lot of teenagers making noise all day, then yes- this beach is for you. Make a day of it and really enjoy the golden sand beach surrounded by natural beauty, with excellent service available at the touch of a button.
If you are a local and have never been, check it out at least once. Same goes for visitors, splurge a little- you are on vacation!