Close to the capital of Athens, these islands located in the Saronic Gulf, are your best choice if you have a few days vacation. The Saronic gulf which is ideal for sailing because of the various directions the wind is blowing and the islands which are 20 to 40 nautical miles from Athens can offer you not only weekend solutions but also an alternative for Autumn or even a Spring vacation. You’ll never get bored on these islands all year round. Lots of natural beauty, clean sandy beaches and even small deserted islands to explore, for great swimming, scuba diving or even fishing. Visit them even on your way to the Aegean Sea to get an idea you might need later on for other types of vacation.
This group of islands is named after the Saronic Gulf, which defines the eastern side of the Isthmus of Corinth. The ones that lie in the gulf, namely Salamis, Aegina, Poros, and Angistri, are also the closest islands to Athens and to its port, Piraeus, while the ones that technically lie between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf, off the northeastern tip of Peloponnese, are Hydra, Dokos, and Spetses and are also included in the complex.
The Argosaronikos islands are one of the busiest tourist destinations with easy access as they are very close to the port of Piraeus and the coast of the Peloponnese.
Aegina is the largest island of Argosaronikos and the closest to the port of Piraeus, while Spetses, Poros and Hydra are farther but the distance between them is small. The islands have wonderful beaches ideal for summer excursions and not only.
Whatever of the Saronic Islands and visit, be sure to enjoy your every moment there as each has its own distinct beauty and magic.
All islands have frequent and daily connections to the port of Piraeus, thus offering visitors the opportunity to take excursions and weekends.
Aegina is just 1½ hours from Piraeus and attracts many visitors who arrive even for a one-day excursion. Aegina (Egina), famous for its pottery, is covered with pistachio trees. Its beautiful green villages are surrounded by pine forests. It has many fish taverns, bars, cafes, picturesque beaches and is ideal for family holidays. Eleven kilometers east of the harbor and the capital of Aegina is the temple of Afaia , an ancient goddess and protectress of the island, perched on top of a hill.
Methana is connected with a narrow strip of land with Argolida and is offered for peaceful holidays during the summer months.
At a distance of 3 nautical miles west of Aegina is the lush and verdant island of Angistri with its crystal-clear water and picturesque settlements. It has daily connections with Piraeus and Aegina. The word Poros means passage in Greek. And it is also a fitting name for this island.
Another quiet island located near the Peloponnese is Poros. The small fishing village of Galatas with the beautiful sandy beaches, the Zoodochos Pigi Monastery and the magnificent lemon grove create on the island a tranquil setting for relaxing and carefree holidays.
Salamis is historically noted for the decisive victory of the ancient Greek navy against the mighty and much larger Persian force in the Battle of Salamis, causing the proud King Xerxes I to retreat. The island is the largest of the whole group with a large port, Paloukia, while its main town has the same name.
Due to their proximity to Athens, Aegina, Poros, and Agistri are ideal for a quick getaway when one is in the capital since they fall short neither in beaches and natural beauty nor in nightlife.
Further to the South, beautiful Hydra is separated from the Peloponnese by the narrow Hydra Gulf. The visitor to this wonderful island is charmed ‘by first sight’ upon entering by boat its picturesque crescent-shaped harbor and main town, known simply as Hydra Port.
The harbor is lined with a variety of shops and galleries, restaurants, and bars, while around it, amphitheatrically built, is the splendid town with its unique traditional architecture, the remains of its fortifications and the old naval families’ mansions. No motor vehicles are allowed in the entire island, so transportation is mainly provided by water taxis and donkeys, especially among the narrow steep stone streets leading uphill in Hydra Port.
Like Hydra, Spetses too has a long historical naval tradition and both islands have played an important role during the Hellenic Revolution of 1821 which ended the four-century Ottoman rule on the Greek nation. The prosperity of the island between the 17th and 19th centuries is especially evident in the charming architectural character of its port Dapia, with its elegant mansions and traditional ‘captains’ houses’ adorning the picturesque promenade. Motor vehicles are severely restricted on the island, so transportation is generally carried out by horse carriage, water taxis, scooters, and bicycles. However, the inhabited area is compact and lovely for walking.
In Spetses, traditional neoclassical buildings will bring your mind in the old days of the island’s history. The green pine trees on the island and the towering pine trees stretching everywhere attract visitors who love the tour.
The Hydra is an island of unique beauty that every visitor should visit. It maintains its traditional character and it is not allowed to drive the vehicles. Walking in Hydra you can admire the traditional buildings of the island, which is an ideal destination for an escape from the daily stress of the city.
The Argosaronic Islands attract hundreds of visitors each year. Due to their small distance from the port of Piraeus, they are ideal for those who wish to make one-day excursions, small toboggans on weekends or holidays for more days.
During your holidays you can also visit more than one island, as some are connected.