Beachgoing comes at a price

It’s midday Wednesday at Alimos Beach. People are swimming in the clear water, fit youngsters are working up a sweat playing beach volleyball and racketball, while others are sipping an icee or a chilled beer at the cafe on the shorefront. A few people are reading under beach umbrellas. It doesn’t take long to slip into a relaxed, carefree frame of mind, and feel that your holidays have already begun, without your realizing it. But you’re just 10 minutes away from your office. Just a few years ago, Poseidonos Avenue was nightclub territory. Clubbing was what brought the southern suburbs of Athens to life. Since the waters of the Saronic Gulf got cleaned up and organized beaches went into operation, the beaches alongside Poseidonos are crowded all week long and it’s hard even to find a spare deck chair to lie on. Services The range of choices has widened, but prices have also shot up as more services are offered. A four-member family whose trip to an organized beach includes refreshments from the cafe or bar might pay 50-60 euros, while a couple would shell out up to 40 euros for the same. The beaches that once belonged to the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) were handed over to the Tourist Development Company, which then leased them to private operators. The beaches of Alimos, Voula 1 and 2, Varkiza, Asteria in Glyfada and Aghios Cosmas charge admission ranging from 4 to 10 euros (on weekends). Most beaches have raised their prices since last summer, which has not been popular. But there are still beaches for all budgets. For those who want a bit of luxury at the seaside, Astera Vouliagmeni and Lagonissi charge 12 and 15 euros respectively at the weekend and 8 during the week, while parking costs a bit more at 9 and 6 euros respectively. Entrance fees at Alimos, Aghios Cosmas, Voula, Vouliagmeni and Varkiza are more affordable: 4-5 euros. Umbrellas and deck chairs cost extra. At Alimos they are free on weekdays, but it costs 5 euros to hire two deck chairs and one umbrella over the weekend. Refreshments cost more or less the same at most beaches: 50 cents for small bottle of water, around 2 euros for coffee, 1.50 for a soft drink and 1.60-1.80 euros for a cheese pie. «Around 1,000-1,500 people come to Akti tou Iliou at Alimos on weekdays and on Sunday there may be more than 3,000 visitors,» Constantinos Vignos, managing director of the company that runs the beach, told Kathimerini. «Public Works Ministry teams regularly take samples of the water and found it to be less polluted than at other beaches.» Organized beaches, which are open from early morning till late in the evening, offer services such as a lifeguard on duty, first aid, cleaners, toilets and changing rooms, and some employ security guards. They have sports facilities, restaurants or cafes and Varkiza even has a water park. Those who insist on free beaches – either on principle or for financial reasons – have the choice of beaches from Varkiza southward as far as Cape Sounion, or the Mesogheia beaches, including Porto Rafti, Oropos, Kalamos and Nea Makri. These locations are popular with families. Apart from being free, they are often relatively quiet, but visitors are advised to bring their own umbrellas and refreshments, as not all have canteens. Security guards in flip flops? Banks, big firms, public services and the Athens metro all boast security guards; now even beaches have them. More state and private police than ever before are at the service of vacationers and beachgoers. Managers of organized beaches claim that security guards are essential if their paying customers are to feel safe. Theft at the seaside is nothing new, especially on free beaches. Police patrols are beefed up at busy times because professional thieves lose no opportunity when beaches are crowded. The police advise beachgoers to take precautions. They suggest taking as little as possible to the beach and leaving one person to guard our belongings while the others swim. They also advise against leaving possessions on view in the car, where they tempt potential thieves.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.