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The Saronic Islands, otherwise known Argo-Saronic Islands, is a Greek archipelago that was named after the Saronic Gulf where they are located. Situated just off the Greek mainland, the primary inhabited islands are Hydra, Aegina, Spetses and Poros. They might be an easy day trip from Athens with boat rental Greece, but any one of them would be worth to stay longer in.
All of the islands have a rather different style: Aegina has the stunning temple of Aphaea, Hydra is small and traffic-free, Poros is green and close to the Peloponnese mainland, and Spetses being stylish and its town being the largest in the Saronic group of islands. Any of these islands would be a good choice for sailing holidays Greece, however, considering that every tourist has their own preferences.Along with the four islands, there is also Salamina, which is the island closest to Athens. It is almost considered a suburb, although it not a place that many visitors would pick to visit for the holidays. If you plan to visit on a day-trip from Athens, there are fast ferries from Piraeus. Spetses is the furthest island, taking about two and a half hours. Aegina, on the other hand, is just less than an hour away.
Short introduction of the Saronic Islands
Aegina. Aegina’s name means “Pigeon Island,” which was dubbed by its early Phoenician settlers. The town of Aegina is an elegant place, usually packed with Athenians on holiday for the weekend. It has many elegant mansions that testify to a rich past because of its maritime trade. Today, the island takes its money from tourism and pistachio nuts, and its visitors enjoy the mansions, churches and other historical buildings.
Hydra. The island of Hydra is very popular during the summer, so it is best appreciated during off-season. It is a small, barren, rocky island, with its main town clustered around the harbor. This is a fascinating island and an attractive town, although its cramped nature means lack of accommodation and severe overcrowding during July and August. By Greek island standards, Hydra is expensive, and its selection of art galleries and chic boutiques have a different face compared to the other Greek islands.
Poros. Poros Island is almost a part of the Peloponnese, separated by a narrow channel from the mainland. It is this channel that gave the island its name; “poros” means “a passage,” and small boats go back and forth all day in it, taking people between the town of Poros and the mainland town of Galatas. From here, visitors can catch buses to places like Nafplio and Epidavros, so Poros is a great base for a few days. The island is also an easy and common day trip from Athens, with regular ferries form Piraeus.
Spetses. Just like Hydra, Spetses grew very rich because of its maritime trade between the 18th and 19th centuries. This trade resulted to the grand houses still seen around the town, most of which are now owned by wealthy Athenians, which they use a holiday homes and weekend residences. Spetses is also quite fashionable, and is smarter in feel compared to the more rowdy Poros, but minus the imaginative elegance of Hydra.