The Peloponnese’s east shoreline and the islands dotting the Argolic & Saronic Gulf waters are popular tourist destinations in close proximity to Athens. Salamina, Aegina, Agistri, Poros, Hydra, and Spetses can offer their visitors memorable experiences that include views of beautiful land & seascapes, impressive archaeological sites, museums, stately homes, picturesque villages and wonderful beaches.
The island of Aegina is one of the most popular tourist destinations as it is the closest island to Athens (only 16.5 nautical miles from the port of Piraeus).
According to myths, the island took its name from a nymph - daughter of the river God Asopos - whom Zeus fell in love with and took with him to the island! From 11/1/1827 until 3/10/1829 Aegina town was the temporary capital of the newly founded Greek state. It was during that period when Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias had impressive neoclassical mansions built to house his headquarters, which are well worth a visit.
Agistri is a small pine-clad island opposite larger Aegina Island, washed by crystal-clear waters; it’s a popular destination for all those keen on outdoor sports such as hiking, cycling, sailing, kayaking or horse riding. The place is ideal for those of you who wish to take a break from your daily routine, and enjoy some peace and quiet, long walks in the countryside, great food and lovely beaches.
Since ancient times, Megalochori (the island capital) has been a safe haven for ships which carried goods and supplies to its harbour. Over the ages, Agistri shared the history of neighbouring Aegina Island. Legend has it that it was part of the kingdom of Aiakos of Aegina, and it is believed that modern-day Agistri was ancient Kekryfaleia, known to have been an ally of Aegina during the Trojan War. There are three villages on the island: Megalochori, Limenaria, and Skala. Visit them, get to know the local traditions, and taste delicious local dishes. Stroll along the island’s picturesque little alleys, visit the traditional coffee houses and the windmill.
Tip: Most ferries will allow the free transport of a bicycle. So, why not take your bike to Agistri and discover the countryside and villages at your own pace!
Hydra, built in the shape of an amphitheatre on a slope overlooking the Argosaronic gulf, is one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Traditional stone mansions, narrow cobblestoned streets, secluded squares and above all the banning of cars and the use of around 500 donkeys as means of public transportation, explain the reason why Hydra preserved its distinctive atmosphere through the passage of time.
The island experienced exceptional economic growth in the past thanks to its great naval and commercial activity. The Hydriots contributed significantly also to the 1821 War of Independence as their powerful fleet participated in crucial sea battles. It is rather impressive the fact that such a tiny island is the birthplace of five Greek Prime Ministers!
The town of Poros is built in the shape of an amphitheatre over two hills. In antiquity Poros consisted in fact of two islands, Spheria and Kalavria, but the last explosion of the Methana volcano in 273 BC radically changed the morphology of the area. Spheria was cut off from Methana, and in this way Poros took its present-day form. Lush pine trees vegetation, crystal clear beaches, a lively waterfront adorned with shops, cosy cafes and restaurants, a picturesque capital (it has been declared protected settlement) with grand traditional mansions and picturesque cobbled streets, as well as a wide selection of entertainment venues are the ingredients of this quiet, yet cosmopolitan, destination that attracts visitors from all age groups.
Spetses, an island boasting a long naval tradition, is famous for its significant contribution to the 1821 War of Independence. It was here that the revolution flag was raised on 3rd April 1821. The island has managed to retain its individual traditional character thanks to its well-preserved grand captain mansions, still bearing eloquent witness to the island’s glorious past. The picturesque old harbour and Dápia, a tourist and commercial centre where the heart of the island’s entertainment beats, are the trademarks of the town of Spetses.