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Saronic Islands – Island Hopping, Beaches & Accommodations
Not far from the capital of Greece, Athens, the islands located on the Argo-Saronic Gulf are very different from one another. They are a unique destination in Greece, and they can all be easily visited during your holiday.
The island of Salamina is located in the northern area of the region, very close to the port of Piraeus. Aegina, another Saronic Island, is a beautiful destination with a rich history and plenty of places to discover. Agistri is a lovely quiet destination, often overlooked and underrated.
On the southern area of the cluster, travelers will find the exclusive Hydra and Spetses and Poros, the greener of the three, quite popular among the Athenians.
Here is your guide to the beautiful Saronic Islands of Greece!
How To Get To The Saronic Islands
The only way to reach the islands in the Argo-Saronic Gulf is by boarding a ferry in the Port of Piraeus. They usually leave from gates E8 and E9 every morning. Some ferries allow you to board your car too (at an extra price). Especially in summer, the ferry rides can be overcrowded, so booking the trip in advance is always a great idea.
Salamina is the island of this group that is closest to the port of Piraeus… so much so that many locals will even discourage you from swimming on the island’s coasts!
However, despite this negative opinion, there are, in fact, many things to explore and discover in Salamina. Also known as Salami, this is the largest island in the Saronic Gulf. Endowed with impressive natural beauty, the island features a magnificent cultural legacy and unique examples of Byzantine architecture.
Significant archaeological discoveries have brought to light an imposing Mycenaean Acropolis as well as a Sanctuary in honor of God Dionysus.
But the most famous trait of the island is that it was also the theater of the great Battle of Salamina in 480 BC, which put an end to the Persian attempts to conquer the country.
On the island, pay a visit to the beautiful Monastery of the Panagia Faneromeni, a complex from the seventeenth century, which houses critical religious paintings and icons.
Beaches In Salamina
The island has a few lovely beaches to explore, the best ones located on the southern coast.
Kanakia is a big pebbled beach with crystal clear waters and a small port. Another good beach to visit in Salamina is Peristeria, which offers good amenities for a perfect day of swimming and sunbathing. Kaki Vigla is one more organized beach worth seeing on the island.
Where To Stay In Salamina
Aianteion Bay Luxury Hotel & Suites is a fantastic place to stay in Salamina. The hotel features a restaurant, bar, a shared lounge, and a picturesque garden. Perfect for those traveling with kids, the hotel offers family rooms, room service, and a delicious continental breakfast.
Located about an hour from the port of Piraeus, Aegina is a popular destination for Athenians who want to escape the city whenever the weather is pleasant enough for a weekend at the beach.
Among the different things to see in Aegina, the main town is undoubtedly an ideal place to start exploring the island. The seaside promenade features beautiful hotels, restaurants, and fish tavernas, and it is an excellent place for an evening walk after visiting some of the beaches on the island.
The island is also home to some unique ancient buildings, including the Temple of Aphaia, one of the most famous archeological sites in Aegina, and the best-preserved Classic temple all over Greece.
The Tower of Markelos is another construction worth a visit. This miniature castle dates back to the nineteenth century and was the seat of the first Greek government after the country’s independence.
Aegina is also famous for its top-quality pistachios, and the delicious seafood served in the many fish taverns located all over the island.
The Best Beaches In Aegina
Agia Marina is probably the most crucial seaside village in Aegina, popular among tourists and locals. The settlement features beautiful, family-friendly, sandy beaches, shallow and safe for small kids.
Perdika is another fishing village in Aegina, probably the most picturesque settlement on the island. From the port of Perdika, it is possible to board a small boat and reach the beaches on the islet of Moni in under 10 minutes.
Marathonas is another ideal beach you can visit in Aegina. It’s about 5 kilometers from the main capital of the island, and it features the widest shores on Aegina.
Where To Stay In Aegina
Golden Star Praxitelous is a family-friendly accommodation in Agia Marina. It offers self-catering accommodation just one kilometer from the Temple of Aphaia.
The complex features air-conditioned apartments with a TV and a kitchenette, some with a balcony or a patio.
Located only 55 minutes from Piraeus and just a stone’s throw away from the island of Aegina, Agistri is a small paradisiac destination in the Saronic Gulf with a green landscape and stunning turquoise seas.
There are four different settlements on the island: Megalochori, Limenaria, Skala, and Metochi. All of them offer perfect features for a beautiful summer holiday destination.
The island combines lush pine woods with incredibly safe sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, a quiet atmosphere, and a vibrant nightlife that attracts young crowds from the mainland.
Agistri has managed to escape mass tourism, and it can perhaps be considered as an authentic romantic destination not far from the capital of Greece.
Skala is the most important center on the island. It features not only beautiful beaches but also a modern architectural development, plenty of bars, and cafes that young Athenians often visit during their weekends away on Agistri.
Overlooking Skala, it is possible to visit Metochi, a quarter built on the slopes of a hill, once the most important village on the island. From this area, you will be able to admire the most stunning views of the coast of Agistri.
Another traditional place to explore on Agistri Island is Mylos, a picturesque traditional village with just a small beach that can often be overcrowded during the weekends.
The Best Beaches In Agistri
Dhragonera Beach is a fantastic rocky coast with inspiring landscapes. It might not be the best place to swim or sunbathe, but it is definitely worth a stop during sunset if you are interested in landscape photography. The views of the sea from this beach are genuinely spectacular.
Aponissos is a tiny and relatively shallow lagoon with warm waters, perfect for small kids. There are some rocks on one side of the beach where the water can be cooler and where swimming might be more rewarding.
Perdika is another fishing village in Aegina, probably the most picturesque settlement on the island. From the port of Perdika, it is possible to board a small boat and reach the beaches on the islet of Moni in under ten minutes.
Marathonas is another super beach you can visit in Aegina. It’s about five kilometers from the main capital of the island, and it features the widest shores on Aegina.
Where To Stay In Agistri
Valisaras Hotel is a good place to stay in Agistri for families and groups of friends. The place is located in Skala, allowing guests to reach the most popular areas on the island in virtually no time.
The hotel is close to Skala’s sandy beach and just a 5-minute walk from the restaurants and local taverns. Most rooms are on the fringe of the island’s extensive pine forest, and many offer sea views.
This beautiful and small island is located in the heart of the Saronic Gulf, quite close to Aegina and Agistri. The island is only an hour ferry ride from the Port of Piraeus, making it a popular destination, primarily for weekend getaways from the Greek capital.
The main town of Poros stands perched on the slopes of a hill, overlooking the Aegean and the opposite Galata. The Center of the activity on the island, Poros Town, is a picturesque settlement featuring hotels, shops, cafes, restaurants, and traditional tavernas.
Poros is located quite close to the rest of the Saronic Islands, so it is an excellent place to start your island-hopping experience in Greece. You can combine a stay in Poros with visits to Aegina, Agistri, and Hydra, for the most authentic Saronic experience.
Along the seaside promenade, do not miss a stop at the Archaeological Museum of Poros and many of the fish restaurants and bars. If you’re looking for a fantastic panoramic view of the island, reach the Roloi Tower in Poros Town.
Most of the hinterland is quite deserted, except for several forgotten villages. Here, the terrain is covered in pine trees and olive groves, ad vines.
When spending time in Poros, do not miss the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon, located in the heart of the ancient settlement of Kalaureia. From here, it is possible to admire the breathtaking views of Aegina Island.
The Best Beaches In Poros
The sandy beach of Monastiriou can be described as the prettiest beach on the island; however, it is often not overcrowded and can be a dreamy destination for families since the shore is relatively shallow, safe, and protected.
Askeli is an important settlement and beach with a touristic vibe to it. Visitors love to spend their time in the many seaside bars and cafeterias after a day practicing water sports, including sailing, kayaking, and immersion.
Where To Stay In Poros
Villa Dolphins is a convenient, budget, and family-friendly place to stay on the island.
The hotel is only 180 meters from Askeli Beach, amidst a lush garden with a pool and bar bistro. It features self-catered accommodation, daily maid service, and free WiFi in all areas. Dining options include a restaurant and snack bar. Guests can choose to enjoy their breakfast on their balconies. An important feature? Breakfast for children is available for families.
Arguably the most famous of the islands on the Saronic Gulf, Hydra is a beautiful destination equally ideal for a one-day escape from Athens or for a one-week long holiday.
Exclusive, elegant, and unique, the main feature tourists love from Hydra is that no vehicles are allowed on the island. Only donkeys, some horses… or your own feet!
Easy to visit in a day or two, this tiny gem in the Saronic Gulf is a popular destination in the Greek Island scenario. Hydra has long been defined as one of the most appealing islands in the country. For years, it has been visited by exclusive characters from Greece and abroad, attracting personalities such as Leonard Cohen or Sofia Loren.
The island is certainly not among the cheapest destinations in Greece, but it is not difficult to save some money if you organize in advance and book your accommodation with plenty of time.
The main town of Hydra features impressive mansions that used to belong to wealthy local families, most of them located along with the amphitheatrical port of Hydra. Some of these homes have been transformed into museums, while others are some of the island’s most exclusive boutique hotels and apartments.
The Best Beaches In Hydra
There are not many sandy beaches on the island, most of them featuring small pebbles instead. The waters, however, are often shallow and crystal clear.
Mandraki is one of the beaches closest to Hydra Town. Here, visitors can rent windsurfing equipment and practice different water sports.
Towards the west of Hydra, it’s possible to visit the small beach of Kamini, an amazing shore with pebbles, but probably not the best place to swim for families with kids.
Kastello, instead, further down the road leading to the west of the island, is a better option for kids. Still pebbled, the waters are shallow and with safe access to the sea.
The biggest beach on the island is Agios Nikolaos. There is sand mixed with pebbles and some trees offering shade. Since this beach is not close to the island’s port, hiring a taxi boat to visit the beach is a good idea.
Where To Stay In Hydra
Glaros Guesthouse is a beautiful place to stay in Hydra, with quite an affordable night fee compared to other accommodation on the island. Located only fifteen minutes from the Port of Hydra, it features units with air conditioning, a kitchenette with kitchenware, and an electric kettle. There are several traditional restaurants, bars, and shops within a short walking distance from the property in the area.
Laid-back and charming, Spetses is the southernmost island on the Saronic Gulf.
Among the things to do on the island is to visit its highest point, Profiti Elias, about 291 meters over the sea. A curious fact about the island is its name, which the Venetians named “Isola delle Spezzie,” or the island of spices, due to the fragrant herbs that have always characterized the mountains of the island.
With Hydra, Spetses is one of the favorite islands close to the Athenian coast, chosen by Greek and foreign tourists for short and long holidays in Greece.
Spetses has a cosmopolitan atmosphere style, and it can be reached both from the port of Piraeus and the coast of the Peloponnese.
Today, Spetses Town is the most important of the settlements in the Saronic Islands, home to beautiful apartments and villas and luxurious hotels and vacation rental homes.
Among the things that tourists love to do when visiting Spetses, shopping comes first since there are some very exclusive shops and boutiques on the island. Spetses is also known for its mouthwatering restaurants, bars, cafeterias, top beaches, and a few historical places to see.
One of these places is The House of Bouboulina, a local heroine during the Independence War. This legendary widow used to lead her fleet, playing a vital role in the country’s independence.
The Best Beaches In Spetses
Kaiki is one of the island’s top beaches, which can be reached on foot from the center (20 minute-walk) or by boat from the port of Spetses.
On the western area of the island, the beach of Zogieria is another popular beach made of different rocky bays. Probably not the most family-friendly beach on Spetses, this bay is very scenic and ideal for solitary swimmers.
Agia Paraskevi is a wide bay that mixes sand and pebbles. The beach is calm and relaxing, seldom overcrowded, and with minimal amenities.
Agii Anargiri is Spetses’ most popular beach, a long and protected bay perfect for families with small children. Some steps not far from the beach lead visitors to the small Bekiris Cave that both adults and kids love to explore.
Where To Stay In Spetses
Kastro Hotel is a small family hotel set in a former abandoned mansion dating back to 1830. Today, this small, refurbished paradise offers modern accommodation with every comfort just 300 meters from the port. The place is ideal for a few days but equally comfortable for a long-term holiday.Share