They’re open and waiting for us. With bars, pools, cafes, children’s playgrounds, installations for beach volleyball and water sports, the organized beaches of Attica hope to reward those of us who will spend our holidays in Athens this year with high-quality amenities. Apart from Athenians, thousands of tourists who are in town for the Olympic Games will also visit the beaches of Attica. At a conservative estimate, Varkiza beach alone is expected to attract more than 500,000 bathers. High prices Since the organized beaches are no longer run by the State but by private owners, whoever wants to enjoy them has to pay a stiff price, whether or not they make use of all the facilities. The price hikes seen all over Greece in recent years have also hit organized beaches, where the price of admission ranges from 4 to 15 euros (at Astera Vouliagmeni at the weekend), while the cost of a deck chair and umbrella, when not included in the admission fee, ranges from 2 to 6 euros. Products on sale at beach canteens are even pricier. Coffee costs 2-4 euros and soft drinks 1-3 euros, while a small bottle of water goes for between 0.50 and 1 euro. Admittedly, in many cases admission fees have not risen since last season, mainly as a result of pressure exerted by municipal councils. The amenities on offer this year at the organized beaches of Attica have definitely been upgraded. At the First Voula beach, for instance, there is a playground with slides and swings for children to the rear of the beach, a second beach volleyball and foot volleyball court where tournaments will be held, with admission free to bathers. And from June 12 there will be a special cafe with a giant screen where fans can watch the Euro 2004 matches and the Olympic Games. Deck chairs and umbrellas cost 6 euros, in addition to the admission fee. There is also a free car park with space for 350 cars; the beach itself holds 10,000 people. Under 24-hour guard The Varkiza beach, now called Yabanaki Varkiza Beach Park, hopes to attract crowds of visitors with its cabanas, self-service restaurant, seaside ouzeri, swimming pools, cafe, walking tracks, sea sports, stores, playground and five exhibition areas. Varkiza beach also has 24-hour security, lifesavers in attendance, a first-aid station, and full access for people with special needs. Admission is 4 euros, and deck chairs and umbrellas cost another 4 euros. Alimos beach has new installations this year, and it provides first aid, security, lifesavers, two bars and a restaurant. Admission is 4 euros.