Bask in some of Greece’s historical and cultural islands
Home to several Greek gods and goddesses, Greece is a full of history, culture, heritage and beauty. From the capital city, Athens, there are numerous islands where visitors can spend a day or two to experience local life and soak up some island fun.
About a two-hours boat ride from Piraeus, Hydra is a small island that takes you to a world away from the busy cities of wherever you came from. Lined with cobble paths, motorised vehicles are forbidden on the island. Getting around the island is pretty easy, you can either walk around, hop on to trusty donkeys, or take a water taxi—small boats that either take you to the other side of the island or to nearby islands.
The island has been a hub of art and for artists from all over the world. With the waterfront 18th century villas, chic cafes and restaurant and the various museums, Hydra is an art institute for many. The island has a way of soaking up the worlds trendy aesthetics and making it its own.
Despite having not much to do in the island, its laid back nature compels visitors to stay for a couple days, strolling the entire island in a slow pace. Even though its very nearby Athens, it is definitely a world away.
Despite being one of the more popular island destination out of all the Saronic Islands of Greece, there isn’t much of a crowd you have to squeeze your way into. The lively nature of the island is what makes Aegina so attractive, from its historical temples and churches to its delectable specialties.
A land part of Greek mythology, Aegina was once briefly the capital of Greece and was a rival of Athens. Like Athens, history can be found throughout the island. From the Church of Agios Nektarios and Monetary of the Holy Trinity to the grand Temple of Aphaia, one of the most complete temples in Greece.
If monument hopping isn’t really your thing, you can always soak up some vitamin D at the islands many beaches. Marathonas beach is the nearest to Aegina town and is also less crowded compared to Souvala beach that’s slightly further from the town. While having fun under the sun you can snack on pistachios and pistachio-based treats, a favourite on the island.
The island of Aegina is about a 40 minute to and hour and 15 minutes by boat from the port of Piraeus. Exploring the island can be done in a day, but if you wish to stay a night or two, there are numerous accommodations for you to book and stay in.
A three-hour ferry ride from Piraeus, Spetses has been a holiday destination to many Athenians for decades. From its lush greenery to the historic landmarks, the island of Spetses is a romantic getaway dotted with neoclassical white houses.
Similarly, to the island of Hydra, Spetses does not allow any private vehicles on the island. Only a handful of taxis are available but the island is small enough to explored on foot, bicycle or scooter. You can stroll Dapia, the main port, to the Spetses Museum to learn more about the islands role on the Greek War of Independence.
If you are going to Spetses to experience full tranquillity and live like a Greek god or goddess, schedule your visit during its off-season and stay in the islands grandest hotel, the Poseidonion Grand Hotel. A glamorous hotel that overlooks the coast of Peloponnese and the islands piazza. There are other affordable accommodations on the island if you would prefer a humbler vacation.
Alternatively known as Tzia, the island of Kea is an island fitted for the adventurer. Unlike many islands, Kea is not blanketed by flora and fauna, instead it is a beautiful shade of bronze adorned with traditional architectures.
Ideal for hikers, the island has various footpaths that you can conquer, majority of the trails can be done in an hour and a half or maybe less. Passing by oak trees, springs, old churches and towers, a hike up the trails of Kea will definitely reward you a picturesque landscape of of the island and its surrounding waters.
If you would rather spend time in the water, you can go on a diving trip to discover the islands rich underwater world. Go on a wreck diving tour and discover the 1868 steamship Patris and the HMHS Britannic, the sister ship of the RMS Titanic. Kea is a hotspot for wreck diving and scuba diving thanks to its rich marine life and great visibility.
The island is about an hour away from Lavrio, perfect for a day trip, but if you want to do all the activities without feeling rushed, best to stay in anyone of the stone-built houses or rooms that are available for rent.