Attica (Attikí), the region encompassing the capital, is not much explored by tourists – only the great romantic ruin of the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Soúnio and the beaches immediately outside Athens are at all well known. The rest, if seen at all, tends to be en route to somewhere else – the airport or the Peloponnese or to the ports of Rafína or Lávrio.

At first sight the neglect is not surprising; the mountains of Imittós, Pendéli and Párnitha, which surround Athens on three sides, are progressively less successful in confining the urban sprawl, while the routes out of the city are unenticing to say the least. Yet a day-trip or two, or a brief circuit by car, can make a pleasant and rewarding break, with much of Greece to be seen in microcosm within an hour or two of the capital. There are rewarding archeological sites at Eleusis and Ramnous as well as Soúnio, and beaches almost everywhere you turn, though none remote enough to avoid the Athenian hordes. Combine a couple of these with a meal at one of the scores of seaside psarotavérnas (fish restaurants), always packed out on summer weekends, and you’ve got a more than worthwhile day out.

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