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4 To Know: Destination Resorts Near Athens, Greece

Who says the islands get to have all the fun? The lush Peloponnese peninsula is home to some of Greece’s best beaches, most of its archaeological sites and a number of stand-alone resorts that are worth an entire trip unto themselves. At these four top properties in and around Athens, travelers can get the feel of an island vacation, without ever technically leaving the city.

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Amanzoe

With its 38 private pavilions, each with a private pool, plus two additional pools and three restaurants, Amanzoe sits atop an olive-covered hillside, ensuring a full view of the sea (not unlike the view that the gods enjoyed, looking down on Mt. Olympus). There’s an expansive, 9,350-square-foot spa offering Watsu therapies, yoga and treatments based on Hippocrates’ holistic methods, and, just under four miles away, is a private beach club, with three more pools, kayaks and sailboats. (You can get there via complimentary shuttle any time you like, or ride down on a mountain bike, available to guests). For off-site adventures, the buzzy resort town of Porto Heli is 10 minutes away; the stunning ancient amphitheater of Epidaurus is less than an hour’s drive (the archaeological site also hosts performances during the Epidaurus festival every summer); and the island of Spetses is a 10-minute sail away. Excursions, including cruises and visits to working farms and apiaries, can also be arranged.

Related: Greek Island Matchmaker

Costa Navarino

This double-resort complex in the southwestern Peloponnesian region of Messinia is home to both the family-friendly Westin and the even more luxurious Romanos, which has two 18-hole golf courses designed by Bernard Langer, an on-site water park for children and a spa inspired by Greek mythology. But none of them are visible from the long, sandy beach below. That’s because the entire complex is built with the surrounding environment in mind—from the garden-covered roofs that aid in heating and cooling the property to the observatory, from which you can admire the surrounding landscape. There’s even a falconer, who stands by the lavish breakfast buffet with his bird to keep other high-flying friends from dive-bombing your breakfast. Activities include bike trips, bird-watching, scuba certification near a WWII shipwreck and hikes above the unforgettable Voidokoilada beach that culminate in lavish picnic dinners. The archaeological sites of ancient Olympia and Messini can be reached by car in under two hours.

Four Seasons Astir Palace

The newly opened Four Seasons resort in the refurbished Astir Palace, the legendary hotel on the Athenian Riviera that has been frequented by everyone from Brigitte Bardot to Barack Obama, is just 30 minutes from central Athens and its historic sights. The 75-acre property encompasses three sandy beaches (one of which holds both a seaside outpost of Athens’ beloved Nice N Easy restaurant and the ruins of a temple to Apollo), many coves, a marina for yachts, a spa with a hydrotherapy center inspired by ancient Athens and nine restaurants, including Matsuhisa Athens. Venture off the property to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and thermal springs at nearby Lake Vouliagmeni, or take a 45-minute drive along the coast to Cape Sounion to catch the sun setting into the Aegean, turning the Temple to Poseidon pink.

Kinsterna

This intimate 27-room, 18-acre resort is known for its unbeatable view of the Aegean—and of Monemvasia, the rock citadel that rises from the water, Greece’s answer to both the Rock of Gibraltar and Mont Saint-Michel. But there’s also a spa with a hammam and jacuzzis both indoors and out, an L-shaped infinity pool and a restaurant with views of Monemvasia (and a menu made up of local produce and free-range meats, fish from the waters below and some wines from the on-site vineyards). Depending on the time of year, guests can participate in the grape harvest, olive oil pressing, tispouro distilling or soap-making. Year-round, there’s bread-making, wine-tasting, hiking paths, donkey rides, cycling, culinary tours and weaving (or browse the weaver’s work in the boutique and the antique shop on site). You’ll definitely want to venture across the causeway to storm the castle of Monemvassia and eat the local leek pie at Marianthi’s taverna. Some of the earth’s bluest waters can be found just 45 minutes away by car at a lovely series of beaches on Elafonissos (“deer island”), near the submerged city of Pavlopetri. Sailing excursions to the Jurassic cave of Kastania are also an option.

Related: Growing Up Greek: Interview with Town & Country‘s Stellene Volandes

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized trip to Greece.

— Eleni Gage

– Indagare on May 8, 2019

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