Only a few kilometers from the center of Athens, much of Attica’s coastline, from Mikrolimano in Piraeus to Sounio, is currently a construction site as the bold project to rejuvenate the spectacular seashore area is now under way.
The coastline known as the “Athens Riviera” is 70 km (43 miles) of beautiful scenery, clear waters, white sand beaches, marinas, hotels, villas, apartments, amusement parks and restaurants.
The aim of the reconstruction of the area is to attract more foreign visitors all year round and attract new residents from Greece and abroad. The Greek Ministry of Tourism is making a special effort to make Athens a city break destination, ideal for short breaks throughout the year.
The proximity to the incomparable beauty of the Saronic Gulf is undeniably the area’s greatest attraction. What has been missing until recently is the appropriate infrastructure, and that is now being created.
Five separate investment projects aim to transform the area, with the most ambitious plan turning the former Athens airport at Ellinikon into a vast luxury complex.
With construction expected to begin in late 2019, the eight-billion-euro investment by a conglomerate of Greek and foreign investors will transform the vast area where the Ellinikon airport once stood.
In addition to a 2,000-acre city park, there will be a casino at the center of a luxury hotel complex, along with shopping centers, residential complexes and playing courts for various sports.
According to a study by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, the Ellinikon project is expected to increase annual tourism by one million travelers; 40,000 workers will be put to work in its construction, and 10,000 full-time employees will be needed for its operation.
The Ellinikon development is also part of a general privatization policy, which is a requirement of Greece’s bailout program.
The regeneration of Faliro Cove is already in the works, with the area from across the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center all the way to the Peace and Friendship Stadium now fenced off. This is part of an enormous project funded by the Greek state and the EU which aims to connect the city of Athens with the sea.
Α vast seaside grove will be planted along the coast comprising some 3,500 trees and 200,000 bushes. Sporting and recreational facilities, as well as restaurants, will be added later for funding the operation and maintenance of the park.
The Alimos Marina is the third project which will help to revamp the waterfront along the Athens Riviera. Formerly owned by the city, the Alimos Marina is to be privatized, and is currently in the second bidding phase.
The marina is the largest anywhere in the Balkans, boasting a capacity of about 1,000 boats, with 50 slips for yachts over 25 meters in length. By far the most popular Greek marina, Alimos comprises 171,000 sq.m. (1,840,628 square feet) of land area and 250,000 sq.m. (2,690,977 square feet) of water.
Asteria in Glyfada was one of the hot spots of the Greek and international elite in the 1960s and 1970s. This seaside resort in one of Athens’ most prestigious and popular seaside suburbs was the backdrop of many Greek movies of the era.
Last year, the company Grivalia Hospitality bought eighty percent of the vast tract of land surrounding the old resort, and there are plans to revive it. An area comprising 285 acres is to be the location of a new a five-star 400-room hotel, called the Asteria, which will operate year-round.
After the new hotel becomes a reality, restaurants and other luxury amenities will be added to the surrounding areas.
Only a few kilometers away, there is the famous Asteras Vouliagmenis resort, soon to be renamed the “Astir Palace Vouliagmeni.” Right on the shoreline of the wealthy suburb of Vouliagmeni, the luxury resort now belongs to the Four Seasons Group, which provides luxurious accommodations to the Greek and international elite.
The new and improved luxury resort is scheduled to open its doors in the Spring of 2019. On the edges of a lovely 75-acre pine forest, the resort boasts two hotels, Arion and Nafsika, with a total of 234 luxury rooms and suites and sixty-one bungalows.
The stunning resort also offers three private beaches, eight gourmet restaurants, lounges and bars, upscale stores, and a spa inspired by the teachings of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates.