Outside Athens and its seemingly near-endless sprawl lies Attica. Parts of Attica are an idyllic oasis, untouched by sprawl and overcrowding. Many of its attractions are what people come to Greece for but often go further afield in search of golden sand beaches, archaeological sites, Byzantine monasteries, and churches—taken together, Attica is the spiritual heartland of ancient and modern Greece. Archaeological sites abound across this, some of the most storied lands of antiquity. On the east coast are beautiful golden sand beaches.
It was this land that was the basis of Athenian wealth in antiquity. Athens was a large city-state – well endowed with marble and silver.
The plain of Marathon was where the Athenians once repulsed the first Persian invasion. Piraeus, the port of ancient Athens and the key to the Mediterranean today, is part of this story.
Some of the best highlights of the region are not frequented often by foreigners. The idyllic sites of Eleusis, Brauron, and Rhamnous are excellent options outside of Athens.
One better-known site is at Sounio, where the majestic and well preserved Temple of Poseidon has been a beacon for mariners for centuries. Today, it is a beautiful spot for a sunset and a later evening swim followed by some ouzo.
The monastery of Dafni is also an exciting site just outside of the city. The Byzantine era’s crowning achievement, the monasteries are still visited today owing to their ornate mosaics and elegant stonework.
While the summer in Attica can be intense, the climate is ideal for growing crops. In the midlands of Attica, this means grapes and delightful retsina.
Mount Parnitha provides a plethora of memorable walks and offers super views of Athens from its summit.