Introducing Saronic Gulf Islands
The Saronic Gulf Islands (Νησιά του Σαρωνικού) dot the waters nearest Athens and offer a fast track to Greek island life. As with all Greek islands, each of the Saronics has a unique feel and culture so you can hop between classical heritage, resort beaches, exquisite architecture and remote escapism.
Aegina is home to a spectacular Doric temple and ruined Byzantine village, while nearby pine-clad Angistri feels protected and peaceful outside of the booming midsummer months. Further south, Poros with its forested hinterland curves only a few hundred metres from the Peloponnese. The Saronic showpiece, Hydra, is a gorgeous car-free island with a port of carefully preserved stone houses rising from a chic history-charged harbour. Deepest south of all, pine-scented Spetses also has a vibrant nautical history and pretty town architecture plus myriad aqua coves only minutes from the Peloponnese.
Beyond its bustling port, Aegina (eh-yi-nah; Αίγινα) has the seductive, easygoing character of a typical Greek island but with the added bonus of more than its fair share of prestigious ancient sites. Weekending Athenians spice up the mix of laidback locals and commuters who use the island like an Athens suburb.