So,you have finally decided to visit Athens,the historic capital of Greece,but there is not enough time to catch a boat to a renowned Greek island..No worries!Just a 40-minute drive away from Athens lies Sounion , a beautiful place that has all the charm of a Greek Island. Lots of insider tips are included in this post,since I have been visiting this vacation spot for the last 15 summers.
Grab your beach towels and rackets and head to this shore, if you don’t feel like paying for sunbeds and want to finally try beach tennis. This place is not a magnet for tourists,so you will enjoy an excursion popular among locals. On weekends it gets crowded , so for the ultimate experience, I recommend visiting it midweek. Ice-cream and coffee are served 50 m away from the beach,so no need to carry extra things with you.Recommended for all ages.
- : On windy days(mostly north wind) the sand can get pretty annoying so prefer the nearby cove(the distance is easily covered on foot) named ”Vamvakousis Ormos”. For directions to this beach ask the Vamvakousis bakery(mentioned below) or simply click here.Please note that there are rocks instead of sand underwater so you have to be a little bit careful.
- All locals agree that sunrise – watching from Asimakis Beach is a must and worth the all-nighter.Brace yourselves ,though,that you will probably not be alone, since young people chill almost every night at the beach till 6am
A few moments before sunrise in Asimakis
This magic spot(no address,click here for location)is perfect for jumping off cliffs ,so it’s not recommended for sun-bathing .You will most likely be alone ,as only few locals know this hidden-spot.After jumping off(there is a level with no height at all ,a 2-meter level and a 4-meter level for the brave ones) you will be rewarded with swimming in the crystal blue sea. Even if you decide not to jump,the view of the Aegean Sea and the Temple of Poseidon(mentioned below) is spectacular . Recommended for people with no physical problems,because the access is kinda difficult.
Most tourists in Cape Sounion visit this beach due to the breath-taking view of the Tempe of Poseidon and the nearby taverns and restaurants.Two sunbeds with one umbrella cost 10 euros but one side of the beach is sunbed free-thus there is no cost.Perfect for everyone living in the Aegeon Beach Hotel or Cape Sounio Grecotel Exclusive Resort ,because the beach can be reached on feet in under 5 minutes.
Temple Of Poseidon
Probably the hallmark of Cape Sounion, Poseidon’s temple is famous for its Ancient Greek architecture and its magnificent view towards the Aegean Sea. Sunset from this spot is described as one of the best(-if not the best) of Athens riviera,so don’t forget to pay a visit there at around 8 pm in the summer and snap some amazing photos.Afterwards there are plenty of choices nearby for drinks and food.Note that there are lots of travelling agencies based in Athens,which organize day-trips to Poseidon’s Temple.
Grab breakfast from Vamvakousis Bakery (famous for its chocolate”tsoureki” ).A great Italian restaurant named Stavento with excellent pizzas is located just next to the bakery ,but since you are in Greece, you should also try greek food. Locals prefer Ilias Tavern ,next to the Poseidon’s Temple,as well as the fishtavern Foros ,10 km away from Sounio. Don’t miss out on ”Xwriatiki”-Greek Salad and Kalamaraki . Accompany your lunch/dinner with Ouzo or Raki ,the typical greek alcoholic drinks,but keep in mind they both have a 40% v/v alcohol concentration.
Don’t expect a vibrant nightlife in Sounion – locals tend to chill at the beaches and plazas – , Cape Sounio Grecotel Bar ,however, is perfect for drinks under the moonlight with view towards the Temple of Poseidon.
If you want to try the famous Souvlaki , head to Lavrio,a nearby city and specifically to Xristos and order a ”Pita-gyro apola” with french fries. Lavrio,in general, has a wide range of nigtlife and food choices and most Sounion residents ride there for their grocery shopping and night-outs. (Check out Roloi Bar and Arte Italiana for the best ice-cream )
Insider Tip: In summer at around 4-5 am every day,Vamvakousis Bakery sells just-baked ,warm products(croissants,”bougatses”, cheese-pies etc) and most times over 10 people wait impatiently to taste the freshly baked delicacies,something you really should’t miss out!!
You can either reach Sounion by car ( around 40 minutes from Athens) or by a bus (KTEL) if you don’t possess a car.The duration of the journey with a bus, is a little bit longer – around 1.5 hour- due to bus stops. Organized trips from Athens are also an option , but I always suggest travelling on your own, it is way more fun!
Best Time to Travel to Sounion :
A visit to Poseidon’s Temple is appropriate all year long . If you want to enjoy the beautiful beaches , however , the best season for you is June-September. July would be the best month, because the water temperature is perfect and tourism is not at its peak in the area yet,as opposed to August.
Summer Weather :
Temperatures range from 20-35 degrees , so wear shorts and light clothes (avoid black colour). Have a jacket with you in the evening, because it is pretty windy and always wear sunscreen from 11am-6pm.
If you are visiting for a few days and you have a tight budget , stay at Saron Hotel just across Asimakis Beach . Aegeon Beach Hotel or Cape Sounio Grecotel Exclusive Resort are excellent hotels but keep in mind they are more expensive. If you wish to stay for more than 1 week ,try AirBnb , you can find so many beautiful houses with amazing view and at a good price.
Prices in Sounion are a little bit more expensive than Athens , but Sounion is still cheaper than an average European city.
Visiting Sounion is perfect for couples who seek romantic views and deserted places , as well as for familys; kids will love the beaches and parents will enjoy relaxing under the sun. I would not recommend Sounion to young people who want to party hard , but it will be the perfect choice for youngsters who love chilling and exploring not crowded places.