Sailing Holidays in Saronic Islands
The rocky and partly volcanic Argo-Saronic Islands, lie just in front of the mainland and most of them are only a short sail away from the Athenian Coast. Saronic Gulf is the best destination to combine a short stay in Athens and a sailing holiday in the beautiful nearby islands.
Aigina is the most fertile island of the group, famous for pistacchio plantations and has a rich history including one of the finest ancient temples in Greece. Tiny Agkistri is often treated as a little adjunct to Aigina, but it’s a lovely place, ideal for swimming and complete relaxation.
The three southerly islands - green Poros, tiny, car-free Hydra and upmarket Spetses -are very special and have and every island has a character of its own. Given their proximity to Athens and their beauty, the Argo-Saronics Islands are hugely popular destinations, almost becoming city suburbs at weekends and with significant expat populations.
More than any other group, these islands are best out of season and midweek, when visitors (and prices) fall dramatically and the port towns return to a quieter, more provincial pace. You will also notice a significant difference between Hydra and Spetses, the remotest of the islands, and those closer to Athens since they’re accessible only by hydrofoil and catamaran rather than the cheaper conventional ferries, what makes them market wise more expensive and exclusive.
The islands were not extensively settled until medieval times, when refugees from the mainland established themselves here, adopting seagoing commerce (and piracy) as livelihoods. Today, foreigners and Athenians have replaced locals in the depopulated harbor towns; windsurfers, water-taxis and yachts are faint echoes of the massed warships, schooners and kaïkia once at anchor.