The Saronic Gulf Islands pepper the great waterway south of Athens like colourful stepping stones to the wider Aegean world.
The most accessible islands of the group, Salamina, Aegina and Angistri, are just a short ferry-hop from the mainland. Salamina, the most accessible, is too easily dismissed as a mere suburb of Athens; yet this historic island boasts quiet rural areas and a few modest beaches to fit the island idyll. Next comes brash and cheerful Aegina, just an hour south from Piraeus by hydrofoil, while near-neighbour Angistri is a genuine holiday island, but with reassuring corners of tranquillity, even in high season.
Further south again is Poros, a popular weekend escape for Athenians, yet still within a few hundred metres of the Peloponnese and with a peaceful hinterland. Next comes the Saronic diva, Hydra, where tiers of pastel-hued houses rise majestically from a harbourside that is always bustling with life. Deepest south of all is pine-scented Spetses, nudged up against the mainland also, yet with an alluring sense of escape from the mainstream.
There are decent beaches on all of the Saronics, with Angistri and Spetses having the best of the bunch. The islands do not boast a great number of architectural glories, although Aegina’s Temple of Aphaia is a premier site. If beaches and ancient sites are not your sole interests, then the Saronics offer authentic and rewarding Greek island experiences within easy reach of Athens.
Getting There & Away