Mark is originally from Baltimore, Maryland and now is happy to spend as much time as possible on the Athens Coast. He shares some of his favorite spots with us and his incredible drone images taken of the Coast.
What brought you to Greece?
I married a Greek and have been visiting Greece for over 25 years. Our plan has always been to one day move here. We’ve been spending most of the last 4 years here.
Why do you choose to live along the coast (versus other areas in Athens)?
I love Athens, all of it, and although I often crave the frenzied disarray of Athens center, as I’ve become older, I’ve grown to prefer the slightly less chaotic, more laid back neighborhoods along the Athenian Riviera. As one travels south from Palio Faliro to Varkiza, the vibe of the neighborhoods becomes increasingly less Athenian and more and more Greek Island village. The traffic thins, the density of apartment buildings decreases and the amount of trees and green increases.
Although the area does get fairly crowded on weekends during the summer months, the breezes, the proximity to the sea, and the constant “καλοκαιρινές μυρωδιές” will remind you that you truly are in paradise.
Which is your favorite beach and why?
Ακτή Βουλιαγμένης. I believe to be one of the best beaches in Attica. Affordable (€1 during off season, €4 during peak season), well maintained, clean, sandy, free wi-fi, with a beautiful view of most of Laimos, Vouliagmeni. I really love this beach off season as there is plenty of available parking and free beach chairs.
What is your favorite area to spend time in during the day and why?
I run. There is no better running route in my opinion than the route from Vouliagmeni to Glyfada. Much of it is along a paved trail which hugs the Saronic Gulf. Sunset runs are particularly beautiful. If you’re feeling particularly motivated and brave, start in Varkiza.. there is no trail, so you must share the road with the Greek drivers, but the winding, elevated route affords unparalleled views of the mountains, sea, and coastal Greek islands.
And after a run… coffee. Specifically a frappe.. “ένα φραπέ μέτριο, χωρίς γαλα” is probably the first Greek I ever learned and is a perfect way to cool down after a long run. No one, in my opinion, makes better iced coffee than the Greeks.
Notos, in Voula and directly on the water is a perfect spot to enjoy a frappe while watching the ever changing blues of the Saronic Gulf.
Tripia Barka. Sit directly on the beach in Megalo Kavouri any time of day (early morning and sunset are my favorites) and order a drink. They also have great fresh seafood and meat dishes.
For a night out, which area do you prefer and why?
A night out?? Doesn’t happen for me so much anymore, but I’d personally recommend Vouliagmeni for such an occasion. Great restaurants either directly on the water, or across the street in the center of town.
I prefer fast, simple food as opposed to some of the more expensive options in Vouliagmeni. Zaxos is a fast, consistently good option. The food is great, service is quick and the price can’t be beat.
Looking to fill a calorie deficit after dinner? The Waffle House in Vouliagmeni. Waffles, with ice cream, need I say more?
For a coffee or drink after dinner, head across the street to some of the clubs which line the sea. En Plo offers a great environment.
Island Club, down the road a bit between Vouliagmeni and Varkiza offers a bit more, with great dining, drinks and DJ’s, again, all with great views of the Athens coast.
Do you have any tips for someone who is a new resident on the Athens Coast?
Spend some time getting to know each area of the Athens Coast. I’d recommend beginning in Flisvos. Here exists a new, modern complex with shops, cafes and tavernas. Walk past the yachts, grab a drink and enjoy the views overlooking Piraeus. Next, hit Palio Faliro. A paved walkway filled with pedestrians, bicyclers, locals, tourists, and refugees is a great way to spend an evening. I love diversity. Here you will hear Greek spoken for sure, but also Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, etc.. Get a grilled corn on the cob and take a walk along the coast.
Work your way down the coast to Alimo, Elliniko, Glyfada, Voula, Vouliagmeni, Varkiza. All beautiful, each with a distinct feeling, but all quintessentially Greek.
What should the rest of the world know about the Athens Coast?
It’s easy to reach from Athens center!! If you are planning on visiting Athens, take a day or two and stay on the coast, you won’t be disappointed. There are many great hotels, and a stay along the coast will add another dimension to what will already be an incredible experience.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I love sweets. Greece is a great place if you share a sweet tooth with me. Some of my favorite places;
Circa in Voula for really good loukoumades, fried dough balls covered in honey, cinnamon and walnuts.
Κρέμα & Φύλλο Ζαχαροπλαστείο in Voula for Ekmek, a dessert made with kataifi with syrup topped with custard and cream. Not to be missed!!
Αρτοποιϊα Ο Μυλοπόταμος in Voula. I know that the French are responsible for Mille-feuille, but the Greeks do a great job too. Although it’s not always available, when it is, this place makes some of the best.
Ζαχαροπλαστείο Κωνσταντινίδες in Glyfada also makes an incredible Mille-feuille.
Follow Mark on Instagram @Ahh_Gotcha