Athens' Riviera Recaptures its Former Glory This Summer

The re-launch of the iconic Astir Beach brings Athen's Riviera back to life.

When Astir Palace opened in 1958, it quickly became a destination for film stars, politicians, businessmen, and artists. Just fifteen miles outside of Athens, it gained a reputation as being accessible yet exclusive and creating a luxurious Athens Riviera experience. During its heyday, it featured three hotels, eighty-four bungalows, a water-skiing center, and cabanas along the beach. Tony Curtis, Frank Sinatra, Bridget Bardot (with her famous pink bikini), Francois Mitterand, Rudolf Nureyev, and Jackie Onassis were all common sightings along the beach and in the hotels.

But, over the years it fell into disrepair and the glamour set moved on - until now. More than 60 years later, the beach is reopening after a substantial renovation to reestablish Astir Beach and Athens as a luxury destination.

"Our vision is to re-establish Astir Beach as an international luxury beach club destination in the Mediterranean region evoking the glamour and excitement of its legendary heritage," Maria Daniiloudi, Head Of Marketing of Astir Palace Vouliagmeni S.A., said. "As Athens continues to rise in the eyes of international travelers, we want to encourage them to discover Astir as a premier city beach break."

Bringing an Iconic 60s Beach into the Present

The new Astir Beach is developing just 13 luxury villas (as opposed to the original 80+) and also on site, new to both Athens and Greece, is the Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel.

Astir Beach bar
Courtesy of Astir Beach Bar

The activities at Astir Beach have expanded to now include high-end shopping and wellness/fitness from Holmes Place. Visitors can shop boutiques such as Apres Ski, MYA, and Parthenis, or relax while taking yoga classes, beach workouts or just spending the day at the spa.

The beach also has a membership program called "The Key," in which locals and regular guests can purchase Gold or Black Cards with varying benefits such as unlimited access to the beach, access to the membership lounge and free parking.

Updating the Classics

The history of Astir Beach is impossible to get away from and though there have been a number of changes, the things that make the destination iconic are still there, but with a little twist.

The new Astir Beach Bar is modern in design, but still features the classics of cocktails and cabanas. Guests and visitors have the option to sit at the bar or book a cabana for the day, just like in the old days. Similarly, high-end cuisine is still a mainstay of the resort. Nice n easy Seaside serves elevated Mediterranean fare, while Matsuhisa Athens serves up the famous Nobu cuisine with an ocean view.

Temple Apollo Zoster
Getty/Birute

Renovations to the Astir peninsula have not dwindled the protection and preservation of Temple Apollo Zoster. Discovered by orphans playing at the beach in the 1920's, the resort built around the temple ruins that are believed to be the birthplace of Apollo and his sister Artemis, and dates back the 6th century BC.

Athens' Riviera Recaptures its Former Glory This Summer | Culture