We start our journey in Alimos, a seaside settlement south of Athens. It’s a mere stone’s throw away from some of this city’s best sights, so we recommend arriving a few days early and using that time to explore a city the locals call Athina (Αθήνα).
If you stay in the centre of Athens you’ll only be a 20 minute taxi ride away from Alimos Marina and the start of your journey, so don’t worry about getting sidetracked. There are a number of beautiful 4 and 5 star hotels in Central Athens including the aptly named Central Athens Hotel, the Hotel Metropolis, and the Herodion Hotel, all of which offer stunning views of the Acropolis.
You can enjoy the view from the terrace as you eat your breakfast, before setting out for a summer hike to see this historic building for yourself. After a day of sightseeing, descend those Acropolis steps and enjoy some local fare in one of the city’s many tavernas. Greek food is famous all over the world, but Athens is a diverse and multi-cultural city, so if Hellenic cuisine isn’t your thing then you’ll be able to find something that is.
If you fancy something a little less tiring (climbing those Acropolis steps is no mean feat) we recommend taking a tour of the local museums, parks and galleries—a plethora of which you’ll find in Central Athens. After you’ve explored the art and culture of one of the world’s oldest cities, pay a visit to the Olympia Theatre, which hosts opera and ballet performances, or the Megaron, where you can be serenaded by Greek musicians.
And why not finish the day with a true Athenian treat? The IceRoll Monastiraki is also located near the centre of Athens and serves a host of delicious, freshly made ice cream treats that will have you salivating all night. It also does take-out and stays open until the early hours, so you can grab a box of goodies and take them back to your hotel room for a midnight feast.
Once you’ve rested for the night then it’s time to wake up nice and early and book a taxi to Alimos Marina on Athina’s coast. This is where your Greek Odyssey begins.
DAY1 – ALIMOS TO AEGINA – 17,8 miles
Once the arranged transport picks you up and takes you to Alimos Marina then our voyage begins in earnest. And once you’re familiar with the boat and its crew then it’s time to set sail for Aegina.
It’s a relatively short journey of just 18 nautical miles, but that’s more than enough time to soak up some of that glorious Greek sunshine on the sundeck, or to get lost in the majesty of the turquoise water below. When you land in Aegina it’s time to explore the first island on your trip, one that often serves as both the first and last port of call for sailing trip in the Saronic region.
Like most Greek islands, Aegina is steeped in myth and legend. Its name comes from the Greek myth of Aegina who gave birth to Aeacus, a mythological king of the island, and is said to be the great-grandmother of the warrior Achilles. It also played a major role in the real history of Greece, and signs of this history remain even today in the Church of Theotokos, the Agios Nektarios Monastery, the ruins of Palaiochora and the Temple of Aphaia.
Speaking of which, after you’ve enjoyed a big meal why not drop by Mourtzis Traditional Sweets in Panayioti Irioti. This is a traditional Greek sweet shop that is packed to the rafters with delicious local produce, from natural Greek honey and Greek spirits to jars upon jars of chocolates, nuts, dried fruits, and more.
Aegina is a small island with a laid-back vibe and a methodic pace. There’s no need to rush, no need to panic—everything is in walking distance, the locals are pleasant and friendly, and the shopkeepers either understand English, or are well versed in the multilingual art of pointing, gesturing, and smiling emphatically.
Now your island odyssey has taken on a more ambient atmosphere as you stare at the clear skies and bathe in the silence of this historic town.
DAY2 – AEGINA TO ERMIONI – 33,8 miles
After a breakfast of your choosing (from smoked fish, capers and sparkling wine to pastries and a cup of coffee—anything goes) it’s time to set sail for Ermioni, which is about 34 nautical miles away from the island of Aegina.
It’s the longest journey of the trip, but those miles will fly by as you plan your itinerary for the tiny town of Ermioni. This town is much smaller than Aegina and has a population to match, but that population explodes during the tourist season, so don’t be surprised to encounter a wealth of cultures and languages as you step offshore.
This is the perfect time to spend a day on the beach. There are more things to do in Ermioni—it has tavernas, museums, and cultural sights—but it’s best known for its calm beaches. There are also some water sports to partake in, and if you have a need to explore then you can set off for the ancient ruins just a short hike away.
DAY3 – ERMIONI TO SPETSES – 10,7 miles
After a short stay in Ermioni on Day 3, you’re up bright and early on day 4 for a trip to Spetses, which is just 10 nautical miles away. The short journey will provide you with ample opportunity to catch-up on your modern Greek history.
Spetses played an integral role in the Greek War of Independence. It provided a hideout for refugees escaping the Turkish invasion and was also the home of Laskarina “Bouboulina” Pinotsis, one of Greece’s best-known heroines.
You can learn more about “Bouboulina” in the island’s official museum, which is actually located in the heroine’s old mansion, and there is also a statue of her in Spetses town. You explored some ancient Greek history in Athens and Aegina, it’s only fair that you explore some modern Greek history as well.
Spetses is an affluent island with some great bars, cafes and tavernas. Some of the outdoor restaurants provide panoramic views of the island and the sea, and you can also find plenty of delicious cocktails and Greek spirits.
DAY4 – SPETSES TO HYDRA – 15,7 miles
After a day of feasting on local history and culture in Spetses, it’s time to set sail again for Hydra, an island that was voted the best in all of Greece in 2007, and one that attracts scores of domestic and international tourists every season.
Many non-Greeks know “Hydra” as a monster with multiple heads. This monster is actually said to have resided in Lerna, and gets its name from the ancient Greek for “Water”, which is where the island of Hydra also gets its name.
This island is awash with natural beauty, making day 4 the perfect time to go for a hike. But you can leave your walking boots back in the boat because the island’s horses will do all of the work for you. Harriets Hydra Horses gives tourist a horseback tour of the island and caters for experienced riders as well as newcomers. You can hop on the back of a giant stead and stride proudly around the perimeter of the island, or you can straddle a donkey and go old-school.
Hydra is small, but there’s a lot to see and do and you’ll never want to leave.
DAY5 – HYDRA TO POROS – 12,3 miles
After a late start, it’s time to cover the 12 nautical miles that will take you to Poros, a town that is split in two. Poros consists of two islands that are connected by a bridge. Sphairia is where the town center is located, and Kalaureia is where you’ll find the majority of its residents.
This island is covered in natural fauna and is the richest and most naturally diverse island you will encounter on this journey. In ancient times it served as a key island in Roman and Byzantine trading routes, before becoming an important strategic point for the Venetians and the Greek revolutionaries.
The Temple of Poseidon will give you some insight into this island’s history. It’s steeped in history, and it also provides some gorgeous views of the Peloponnese. This is where the great orator Dimosthenis is said to have killed himself after failing in a revolt against Alexander the Great.
The Archaeological Museum of Poros will provide even more insight to the island’s history, and after visiting here you can head back to the beach to enjoy the drink, food, and history, while conversing with the tourists and locals.
Don’t worry if you’re not feeling up to a cultural day-trip, just rest, relax, and put your feet-up—you’ll get more than your fair share of culture and history on Day 6.
DAY6 – POROS TO ALIMOS MARINA – 29,1 miles
This is the final day. Grab yourself a hearty breakfast on the boat, toast your fellow adventurers with a glass of sparkling wine or orange juice and then head back to the South of Athens.