Swimming and Watersports
In Athens, swimming is not a sport, it's a national pastime and an international phenomenon considering that it is the leading Mediterranean capital to be awarded the most "blue flags*" for its beaches. The coast is so close and the summer days so long, that many Athenians will head for a swim even after a long day's work. Die-hard swimmers can be found bathing as early as March and as late as November. The tram and public buses take you to nearby paralies or the organized beaches of Faliro, Alimo, Kalamaki and Glyfada in less than an hour. Most organized beaches provide lounge chairs and an umbrella and require a nominal entrance fee. Water skiing, jet skiing, parasailing, hangliding and paragliding are also on offer as are the fun banana boat and tube games that have kids screaming with delight! Beach volleyball and paddle ball are a given and enjoyed most of all by the local crowd.
Snorkeling and diving lessons or tours can be arranged and are usually offered at the many beaches along the coast and in the prefecture of Loutraki, about 1.5 hours away from Athens.
* The Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label awarded to 35 beaches and marinas that meet strict criteria regarding cleanliness of the sea and the coast, good organization and safety, as well as the protection of the coastal environment.