Beaches 07-18-2004 16:38

Organised beaches for seaside lounging in holiday mode, beach clubs that get the adrenaline pumping with water sports and high-amp music, remote beaches offering a combination of idyllic location and views of archaeological monuments, sheltered beaches for family enjoyment... The coast of Attica is the entire Greek coastline in miniature, and its shores offer countless places to swim. In recent years they have not only been welcoming Athenians on weekdays and weekends, but have been enticing them to spend their holidays there as well.

Athens is one of few European capitals that can boast of the extent and variety of its beaches. Their popularity took off during the '60s and '70s when rich Athenians holidayed there and Greek movie starlets lounged on the beaches showing off their explosive bikinis. The immense development of tourism in the Aegean islands led to a gradual decline, but in recent years Attica's beaches have been regaining their former status. Clean, glamorous, cosmopolitan, with a host of facilities and new roads that bring them closer to the city, they offer us hours of pleasure on hot summer days.

For your convenience, we have divided Attica's beaches into two major categories: the organised beaches, where admission buys you a variety of facilities 鈥揺ven a massage in special installations鈥 and the free beaches. Their short distance from the city centre is an obvious plus for the first category, while the impressive recent renovations assure a high standard of accommodation 鈥 at a price, naturally. Most of these beaches are located in southern Attica. They include the former organised beaches of the Greek National Tourist Board, now privatised, and the organised beaches of Attica's big hotels and seaside resorts. The changes, which begun in 2002 in anticipation of the Olympic Games, are progressing in stages and are scheduled to be completed this summer (2004). Competition for public favour is keen, and luckily the winners in any case are the people of Athens, who are now able to enjoy good swimming and well-appointed beaches within easy reach of their office.

The free beaches (by far the majority) do not charge admission, but take a different toll of the user: that of greater distance and weekend traffic jams 鈥 but it's the only way to enjoy beaches reminiscent of the Aegean islands. At these beaches, you either come prepared with your own beach umbrella or stake a claim to the tree that provides the most shade. As for a sunbed, you have the choice between a rock in a secluded cove or a comfortable recliner at a beach bar listening to powerful beats. Free beaches are everywhere along the length of the Attica coastline. The choice is yours!

Although most of these beaches are located near busy holiday resorts, they present a very different image on weekdays from weekends. Naturally, on July and August weekends even the most secluded beaches are flooded with people trying to escape the hot sun and find a holiday atmosphere close to home; and even more so this year, when Attica is expecting thousands of foreign tourists for the Olympic Games.

Source:The official website of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games


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