Guide to the islands of the Saronic gulf

saronicThe Saronic islands located very near to the noisy Athens and they are considered the ideal destinations for those who want to avoid long sea voyages, but also seek more economical holidays.

It is a fact that the Saronic gulf still surprises us. But it is also a fact that if you stay for a few days in Athens, for a summer vacation, you will find everything here, next to your door! Green nature, small sizes, cosmopolitan hangouts and romantic corners, naval states, picturesque fishing villages and clean beaches.

So when everyday life in the capital becomes unbearable and the urban environment resembles a “jungle”, perhaps the breaths of coolness are not so far away. Take the Metro, get off at Piraeus and choose the ship for the destination of your choice.

Aegina

aeginaThe beautiful Saronic island has now been established as a seaside suburb of Athens. Without having to drive, within 40 minutes you will drink your coffee in the port of Aegina! The ticket costs 13 euros with the speedboat and 8-9 euros with the simple ferry. the first governor of Greece (1826-29).

In five minutes from the port you will go to the important archeological site of “Kolona” where the temple of Apollo dominates at the top of the hill. At the roots of the ancient fortified hill there is a good beach for your swimming. On the road to the village of Perdika (you can also go by bike that you will rent from the city or by car!) Unfold the beaches of Marathon and Aeginitissa where you will find taverns by the sea.

From the picturesque fishing village of Perdika depart boats for the nearby island of Moni with the cleanest shores of the Saronic Gulf. At dusk, make sure you are at the lighthouse in Plakakia to enjoy the beautiful sunset.

Agistri

agistriThere are not many vehicles on the island as the distances are short. A local bus connects the villages and the beaches. So here too the car is rather unnecessary exit. On the coastal front that connects the two villages of Skala and Mylos there are all services, restaurants, cafes and sandy organized beaches.

For quieter beaches you will choose the dives from the rocks in the nearby settlement of Skliri (100 meters from the port of Skala). The scenery on the secluded but not lonely beach of Halikiada is completely different, where you will go following a steep path.

If you have time, take a walk to Aponisos to see the beautiful sunset, swim on the small beach and drink your ouzo in the tavern that looks like it came out of the 1960s.

Hydra

hydraDespite the cosmopolitan atmosphere that prevails, the famous Hydra will win you over with its simple self, the romantic mood that exudes every corner of it and will travel you through time in the way it knows. Vehicles are not allowed on the island. Only donkeys and sea taxis (at hefty prices) serve transportation.

Three days is enough to see most of the parts of the island and to be enchanted by its old-fashioned charm. To get here you will need a sea trip of about 90 minutes and the cost of the ticket is 28.50 euros.

Of course, the historic naval city almost monopolizes the interest with the captains’ mansions, museums, but also its simple island houses decorated with stained glass windows and bougainvillea.

At sunset all roads lead to the point “Castle”, an amazing spot to enjoy the sunset. The walk, always on foot, to the picturesque coastal villages of Mandraki, Vlycho and Kaminia is pleasant.

Methana

methanaThe shortest access to Methana is by ferry from Piraeus, although ferry services are not as frequent as for other islands. However, the sea voyage does not last more than 2 hours and the ticket costs 12.5 euros.

Of course you can come to Methana by road and via Corinth-Epidaurus (180 km). The port of Methana with the verdant island of Agioi Anargyroi where remnants of cyclopean walls are still preserved compose a charming landscape. The waterfront is pleasantly landscaped with taverns and ouzo lined up. A short distance away is the neoclassical building of the hot baths. Without a doubt the small beach of Limnionas is the best of the peninsula.

To the southwest you will find Vathi, one of the most authentic fishing villages of the Saronic Gulf, and a short distance the expansive beach Paliokastro, paved with dark sand. Then an asphalt road will take you to the village of Kameni Chora which is hidden behind the black volumes of lava.

Poros

porosThe city of Poros is one of the most well-preserved in the Saronic Gulf and you will spend enough time to enjoy it. From the waterfront the uphill will take you to the Clock, a reference point for the city, from where you will enjoy the view of the Poros Channel, Galatas and the port.

West of the Naval Station stretches the shores of Mikro and Megalo Neorio. The pine-covered beach “Cove of Love” is beautiful and has natural shade. Next is the sandy beach in front of the old Russian Naval Station.

To the east of the city, the exploited Cανte d’Azur erases its expansive sea shore and immediately after the popular Askeli. It is clearly more idyllic on the beach “Monastiri”, with its sandy arch shimmering in the pines.

Salamina

salaminaIt is the closest island to the Saronic Gulf to Athens and at the same time the largest in area. Salamina does not claim laurels in the tourist events, but it always stays there, for a quick excursion, for a swim in clear waters, for an ouzo with friends.

It would be good to come here by car. The journey takes just 15 minutes by ferry from Perama and the cost of a driver and vehicle is about 6 euros. Although many fires break out every year, a large part of the island is covered with dense pine forests, while it also has important archeological sites. Salamis was left in history from the famous naval battle that took place here in 480 BC. between the united fleet of the Greeks and the Persians.

The city of Salamis, known as Koulouri, is a modern city with a lot of traffic and intense commercial activity. While particularly pleasantly landscaped is the waterfront where there are cafes and fish taverns with reasonable prices.

What better and cleaner beaches you will find in the southwestern part of the island. Here the pines, the rocks and the small sandy beaches compose wonderful images reminiscent of Halkidiki. To mention the beaches of Giala, Kolones, Kanakia, Saterli.

Spetses

spetsesThe beautiful pine forest, the shiny sandy beaches, the stately naval state, the abundant choices in food and entertainment are just some of the reasons we would suggest you to go to Spetses for the weekend. The ferry from Piraeus to the Saronic island of Spetses takes about 2.5 hours to the island (46 nm) and the ticket costs 38.5 euros. Road access via Peloponnese is relatively arduous, for this reason the island is not recommended for a one-day getaway.

The heart of Spetses beats in Dapia, the small port. From here you will stroll in the narrow alleys with the island houses, you will go to the Clock, you will see the traditional City Hall building or “Chancellery” as the locals call it, you will visit the “House of Bouboulina” and the homonymous square. Famous for its romantic beauty, but also extremely busy is the long walk to the Old Port and the traditional shipyards. It should be noted that in Spetses there are no cars except motorbikes, horse-drawn carriages and a few taxis.

As for beaches, you will definitely not have time to try them all during the weekend. However, it is worth looking for the popular beach of Agia Marina, the shores of Kouzounos, Xylokeriza, Agioi Anargyroi and Agia Paraskevi.