Saronic Islands: Art Galleries & Tranquil Bays

Arguably the most beautiful archipelago in Greece, the partly volcanic Saronic islands are named after the gulf in where they lie, just off the Greek mainland and a short distance from Athens. Explore Athens by day and retreat to the tranquillity of island life by night. Salamis is only 2km from the main harbour of Athens. With a gorgeously rugged, mountainous landscape, this area is ideal for hiking, especially up its mountain, Mavrovouni. The south of the island is covered by pine forest, unusual for western Attica, and the scent carries across the water on the breeze.

Perhaps start at the island of Aegina and see the Temple of Aphaea, once part of an equilateral holy triangle of temples, including the Athenian Parthenon and the temple of Poseidon. Hydra, known for its rugged hillsides and forested valleys is the place to head for peace and serenity. With virtually no light pollution at night, you will feel like you have stepped back in time. Hydra Port has a charming crescent-shaped harbour, plenty of excellent restaurants, a lively market and pretty galleries to while away an afternoon. From here it’s a quick sail to fabulous sunsets and empty seascapes.


When to go:

April – end of October

High season:

July – August

Highlights

1

Artists, intellectuals and yachtsmen are all drawn to pine-scented Spetses, renowned for its island parties and great restaurants

2

Take your walking boots to Aegina, home to a spectacular Doric temple and ruined Byzantine village

3

Anchor in one of the pretty, azure coves of tiny Angistri Island, but bear in mind a couple of the beaches – Halikadha particularly – tend to be clothing-optional!

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