The Argo-Saronic islands are a group of islands located in the Argolic and Saronic Gulf in the Eastern Mediterranean and only a couple of hours away from Athens. Due to their geographical position, they make for an excellent spot for yachts but they are also exceptionally well sheltered from strong winds and offer ideal sailing conditions.
Its numerous attractions include attractive beaches, traditional architecture, and beautiful nature. For visitors that prefer to have it all, they offer an authentic Greek island hopping experience while being conveniently located next to Athens. The islands of the Argo-Saronic Gulf are mentioned in Greek mythology but more recently, played an important role as naval bases. The archipelago consists of the islands of Aegina, Salamina, Poros, Hydra, Spetses, Agistri, and Dokos.
Take a day to explore Athens, the capital of Greece and the cradle of democracy, before you set sail. Visit the Acropolis of Athens, occupying the top of a hill overlooking the city and boasting classical temples of the Parthenon, Erechtheion, and several others. On your way down, take a look at the Dionysus Theatre and visit the Museum of Acropolis. Spare some time to explore Plaka, the most picturesque neighborhood of Athens and a famous shopping area.
DAY1 – ATHENS – AEGINA – 17,9 miles
After boarding the sailboat at the Agios Kosmas marina near Glyfada, we set sail towards the island of Aegina, up to an hour away by yacht. On our way, the historic island of Salamina comes into view. There, Greeks defeated the Persian fleet in 480 BC, shortly after the epic battle at Thermopylae where 300 Spartans held their ground against the same enemy. After the Battle at Salamina, Persians retreated from Greece. Today, the island is an industrial area with factories and shipyards.
Aegina Island used to be the capital of Greece from 1826 to 1828, during the Greek War of Independence against the Turks (1821-1832). Agia Marina is a village located on the northeastern coast, offering panoramic views of Athens. Sheltered in a bay and surrounded by hills, the village is a destination for tasty food and attractive landscapes fans. Here you can experience traditional Greek music as Agia Marina transforms from a peaceful daytime village to a lively nightlife spot in the evening.
Athena Aphaia, an ancient Doric temple, overlooks Agia Marina and its bay from the vantage point 300 meters above sea level. It is one of the finest remnants of antiquity in Greece, dating from the 5th century BC. Columns over 5 meters tall were used to support the frieze and tympanum, whose depictions illustrated the scenes from the Trojan Wars. Find exhibits from this locality at the Archaeological Museum in Aegina Town. Agia Marina Beach is a sandy beach featuring clear waters and water sports, such as parasailing and canoeing.
Souvala, located on the northern side of this Saronic island, is a sandy beach famous for cold and hot springs. Near the beach is a traditional fishing village with taverns and bars. The waters of Souvala Beach are shallow, ideal for children. Aegina Town, full of neoclassical structures from the 19th century, is the main seaport located northwest of the island. Narrow streets abound with vendors selling pistachios, the main product of Aegina. Travelers who like to eat fish should visit the fish market.
DAY2 – AEGINA – POROS – 15,6 miles
From Aegina, we cruise past the coastline of Peloponnese, towards Poros, one of the best islands of the Saronic Gulf, for a yacht excursion.
Its hospitality facilities, coves, and nature are just a few of the reasons why this is an excellent choice. The beaches of Megalo Nerio, Mikro Nerio, Russian Bay, and Kanali on the southern side of the island and Vagionia on the northern are just some you should discover.
For fans of archeology, a visit to the Temple of Poseidon, on the road from Poros Town to Vagionia, makes for a good excursion. You can access the site in less than half an hour by car from Poros Town. Note, however, that only the remains of the temple exist today.
The charming neoclassical town teems with flowers, vines, and narrow streets. For great views of the surroundings, especially during sunset, climb a vantage point marked by a white clock tower. Poros Island boasts lush greenery and amazing beaches with crystal-clear waters, but there is also plenty of nightlife for visitors.
A few kilometers northwest of Poros Town is Love Bay, a small beach surrounded by pines. Since many people visit this organized beach, anchoring there early or late during the day may be the best option. Another excellent beach of Poros Island is Askeli, east of the town. The long sandy beach features sunbeds and parasols, a beach-volley court, taverns, and stores. Watersports such as water skiing and banana boating are available, too.
Anchor your yacht at Monastery Beach further east to visit the nearby Zoodochos Pigi Monastery, located in a pine forest. The monastery is the resting place of many Greeks who fought for independence from the Turkish Empire in the 19th century. Monastery Beach is a gem of Poros nature, encircled by hills and abundant with pine trees. It is a sandy beach with sunbeds and a great diving spot. Water sports are also available on this beach.
DAY3 – POROS – HYDRA – 12,3 miles
From Poros, we set sail to Hydra – a distance of approximately 12 nautical miles.
Where Poros features greenery, Hydra is a barren rock. However, this elongated island shelters coves easily accessible by a boat, some of which teem with vegetation. The main town is Hydra Town, built on the hillside and featuring paved streets and stone structures. Riding a donkey is what you should try here since the residents don’t use motor vehicles.
The town has a marina overlooked by a bastion and its 18th-century cannons. You can find some top diving locations in the Saronic Islands around Hydra, including a shipwreck from the 23rd century BC. Besides daytime, you can practice nighttime diving here. Fans of history should check out the Historical Archives Museum. It exhibits a wide range of printed items and artifacts from the 19th-century Greek Independence War and the 20th-century world wars.
Villages of Kaminia and Vlychos, featuring organized and family-friendly beaches, are a short donkey ride from Hydra Town. Kaminia is a long, sandy beach offering views of Peloponnese. Vlychos is a bit farther, with sunbeds and parasols on offer. Upon return to the town, you may wish to enjoy the nightlife in the area adjacent to the marina.
For visiting Bisti and Agios Nikolaos beaches, which are in the southwestern part of Hydra Island, better use your chartered yacht. Both are pebble beaches edged by hills. Bisti Beach occupies a cove flanked by tall trees on the northern side of Hydra. To reach Agios Nikolaos, which is at the base of high hills and accessible only by boat, you need to sail to the southern part of the island. Both beaches feature sunbeds and parasols.
DAY4 – HYDRA – SPETSES – 15,8 miles
Spetses is the westernmost island of the Argo-Saronic archipelago. The journey from Hydra to Spetses will take you past small islets next to the Peloponnese coast. Many travelers consider its secluded beaches the most beautiful in the Saronic Islands. Spetses Town, located in the east, features elegant mansions built during the Middle Ages. Spetses island was among the first to contribute its ships for the Independence War, and the Armata Festival, taking place in September, commemorates the event. Biking around Spetses to access its beaches is a popular leisure activity. The town is a traffic-free zone, with only motorbikes allowed to enter.
As you enter Dapia Port in the town, you will see a few old cannons and a beautiful stone mosaic depicting an octopus. Near the port is the Bouboulina Museum, housed in the house of Laskarina Bouboulina, the heroine of the Independence War (1821-1832). The top attraction of Spetses stages guided tours in English exhibits period furnishings and memorabilia and traces the life of Laskarina. Agios Nikolaos Church is another top attraction of Spetses Town, recognizable by its tall bell tower made of marble. It features an elaborate interior, arches supported by Doric columns, and a courtyard featuring exquisite mosaics similar to the one at Dapia Port.
DAY5 – SPETSES – METHANA – 32,6 miles
On the fifth day, we start sailing northward toward the peninsula of Methana, wedged between the islands of Poros, Agistri, and Aegina. Methana is actually a volcano that had risen from the depths of the Saronic Gulf and merged with Peloponnese. The main point of interest of the peninsula is the spa town of Methana, located in a bay surrounded by hills. Note that you may sense strong smells as you draw near to the port because of thermal spas. Sailing around the Methana Peninsula reveals magnificent scenery with palm trees, undergrowth, steep volcanic hills, and villages occupying viewpoints and the coastline.
Hiking the slopes of nearby Methana Volcano is among the top activities on the peninsula. As you advance uphill, increasingly spectacular scenic views of the Aegean Sea and Peloponnese will keep opening before you.
Relax in the baths of Methana and try some Greek food
Greek salad, tzatziki, grilled cheese, homemade wine on the table in the restaurant town of Methana in the Peloponnese in Greece.
DAY6 – METHANA – AGISTRI – 12,5 miles
The less-visited island of Agistri is the next destination in our Argo-Saronic sailing route.
Located west of Aegina and only 5 nautical miles north of Methana, it abounds with attractive coves, pine forests, and traditional Greek villages. Skala and Megalochori are the main villages of this Saronic island, both located in the north. Each of them has a marina, while Skala is a tourist resort offering various facilities. Both settlements are ideal bases for sailing around Agistri, with buses connecting them to the best beaches.
Skala Beach is an organized sandy beach with a beautiful church in its background. South of Skala is Halikiada, a naturist beach at the base of a hill, easily accessible from the sea. Dragonera is a pebble beach encircled by green hills, located on the western side of the island, near Megalochori.
Further south, in the southwestern part of Agistri, Aponissos is an organized, pebble beach featuring verdant greenery. If you don’t mind climbing, sail across the small channel to the adjacent Dorousa Island and climb to the Profitis Ilias Church. Take exceptional photos of Agistri, Aegina, and much of the Saronic Gulf from there.
After exploring all the island has to offer, we will head back to Aegina for the night.
Agistri island is well known island in Saronic Gulf. It is very popular tourist attraction with many clear water beaches and nice picturesque villages.
DAY7 – AGISTRI – ATHENS – 20,7 miles
Leaving Aegina behind, we set sail for Athens and the port of Piraeus. This will be our last stop to conclude our 7-day Saronic islands experience.
The port of Piraeus is a modern, bustling seaport that offers its visitors the opportunity to visit some of the most popular landmarks in Athens. The Temple of Poseidon at Sounion and Cape Sounio is not only an important archeological site but also offers spectacular views over Attica Bay. To get there, you can take an excursion by coach or taxi from Piraeus harbor, which will allow you to enjoy this panoramic view as well as explore ancient ruins on your way back down again.