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The Ideal Day Trip From Athens to Saronic Gulf Islands

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A Saronikos Gulf cruise from Athens is the perfect answer for those who think that by spending a holiday in Athens, they are leaving a visit to an island out of their itinerary.

Many of you might be surprised to hear that quite a few islands near Athens are ideal for a short break from the city’s hassle and bustle.

Getting to the islands from Athens is quite easy; sometimes, it takes less than an hour.

It feels like you’re instantly being transported from the busy downtown of a vast metropolis to the sandy shore of a tropical islet.

Spetses island, Greece
Zogeria Bay, Spetses island, Greece. Courtesy: dronepicr /

Feeling intrigued? Read on to explore our tips and recommendations for an amazing day trip from Athens to the Saronic Islands.

Which Islands Can You Visit From Athens?

Apart from the islands listed below, you can virtually visit any Greek island with an airport on a day trip from Athens.

For example, one of the questions we frequently get from readers is whether they can visit Santorini for a day. The answer is yes, you can visit Santorini from Athens for one day, by plane.

However, boarding a place twice a day is not something we would call enjoyable, and furthermore, most of the larger Greek islands are definitely worth more than a day of your time.

Hence, according to our recommendations, we decided to include only islands that are very close to Athens and can be visited by ferry.

Besides, boarding a Greek ferry to get to an island is far from a drag.

Castle of Kavos Hydra island,greece
Castle of Kavos Hydra island, Greece. Courtesy: dronepicr /

The views you will have from the deck will add to the experience; some would go so far as to say that a ferry ride is a memorable experience.

The most popular islands for day trips near Athens are listed below.

  • Aegina
  • Agistri
  • Poros
  • Hydra
  • Spetses

How to Get from Athens to the Saronic Islands

All the islands listed above are situated very close to the city center of Athens and are ideal for short breaks and day trips. They are all exclusively accessible by boat as none of them has an airport.

You will first need to reach the Piraeus port to get to the islands. The Piraeus metro station is the best way to get to the port. You can get to the metro station in Piraeus both from the city center of Athens (green and blue line) and the Athens International Airport (blue line). After reaching the metro, the port is only a few minutes’ walk away.

When in Piraeus, you can book a ticket with either a ferry boat or a hydrofoil boat.

hydrofoil boat to saronic gulf islands
Regular ferry and hydrofoil services are from Piraeus port to the Saronic Gulf islands.
Courtesy: Tilemahos Efthimiadis /

The latter is quite a faster option, but we recommend choosing the ferry to complement the experience.

The ferries run between the port and the islands several times a day – up to 6 times a day during summertime.

How Far Are the Saronic Gulf Islands From Athens?

The trip duration between Athens and the Saronic Gulf Islands can vary depending on your final destination.

The island located closest to Athens is Aegina, with a ferry trip to Aegina lasting only 40 minutes from Piraeus port.

The island farthest away from Athens is Spetses. A ferry trip to Spetses from Piraeus port lasts approximately 2 hours.

The rest of the islands (Hydra, Poros, and Agistri) can be reached within a little over an hour on average.

Poros island-greece
A day trip from Athens to the beautiful island of Poros is always a great idea.

Things to See and Do on a Day Trip From Athens to the Saronic Gulf Islands

Despite the Saronic Gulf islands being literally minutes away from each other, they all have very different characters and present quite distinct atmospheres.

The charming alleys of Aegina. Courtesy: Athens By Locals

Nevertheless, they might attract different kinds of travelers, but they still have a few things in common: beautiful sandy beaches with crystal-clear waters, splendid architecture, and superb gastronomy.

Below are our top picks for things to see and do on every island.

Aegina island

The island closest to Athens retains a lower profile than its neighbors, especially Hydra and Spetses.

Apart from enjoying the views of the sailing boats rocking gently at the port, make sure to visit the ancient Temple of Aphaia and the ruins of Apolo Temple for a deeper look at the island’s rich history.

Temple of Aphaia-aegina island-greece
The must-see attraction on Aegina island is the Temple of Aphaia.
Courtesy: Christina Kekka /

While there, head south to find Agia Marina beach, one of the most beautiful spots on the island.

Agia Marina beach is one of the best beaches in Aegina. Courtesy: Athens By Locals

Finally, don’t leave Aegina without trying the island’s trademark product, the famous pistachios, which come in all forms.

The pistachios of Aegina island are quite famous. Courtesy: Athens By Locals

Agistri island

Very close to Aegina and about one hour away from the port of Piraeus, Agistri is usually a bit less crowded than the rest of the islands on this list.

However, it’s a favorite weekend destination for Athenians and should indicate that Agistri deserves a place on your bucket list.

Aponisos Beach, Agistri
Aponisos Beach, Agistri. Courtesy:

It doesn’t have that many options in terms of cultural and historical sights, but the small island teems with traditional tavernas and cafes as well as beautiful pebbly beaches with cerulean waters.

Poros island

Poros is closer to the Peloponnese than mainland Greece, but it’s only one hour away from Athens if you travel by hydrofoil boat.

Most of the social life on Poros revolves around the port and its traditional houses, where you will also find a beautiful 90-year-old clock tower.

Poros island greece
Poros island in Greece in the Saronikos Gulf. Courtesy:

Visiting Poros is a must for nature lovers. The island features unspoiled beaches with azure waters like Monastiri beach and lush pine tree forests.

Don’t forget to visit the Museum of Poros and the Temple of Poseidon if you’re looking for some historical sightseeing.

Hydra island

Just one hour away from the port of Piraeus, the island of Hydra is a hub for high-class socialites and a favorite for the wealthier Athenians.

Hydra has a strict motor vehicle-free policy that prohibits cars and motorbikes from moving around the island. That should not worry you, as the island is small and walkable.

Bisti Beach Hydra island Greece
Bisti Beach Hydra island Greece. Courtesy: dronepicr /

Hydra features neoclassical architecture, high-end restaurants, designer boutiques, elegant jewelry shops, and beautiful sandy beaches.

Spetses island

Spetses is the island furthest away from Athens at two hours away, but it’s really worth the time.

Like Hydra, private cars (but not motorbikes or scooters) are prohibited on Spetses, but there are a few taxis around the island.

Old port on Spetses island, Greece
Old port on Spetses island, Greece. Courtesy: dronepicr /

Apart from swimming and sunbathing on pristine beaches like Agioi Anargyri, you can also go snorkeling or diving to explore the stunning underwater world of the Saronic Gulf.

Spetses is also known for its vibrant nightlife. A nice walk combined with a night drink to one of the bars of the old port is highly recommended.

We have handpicked a few of the best sailing trips from Athens to the Saronic Gulf Islands. See photos, and check reviews from other travelers!

Which Is the Best Island in the Saronic Gulf to Visit From Athens?

As mentioned above, all the islands in the Saronic Gulf have different charms and different characters.

The best island to visit on your trip to Athens, therefore, depends on your tastes.

Choose Poros if you’re looking for amazing natural beauty.

Board a ferry to Aegina if you want to combine sightseeing with walks in picturesque streets.

Opt for a day trip to Hydra for a touch of luxury or Spetses for the golden-sand beaches.

Finally, head to Agistri to experience a small break as the locals do.

There are a lot of ideas for a day excursion from Athens, but we are certain that a day trip from Athens to one of the Saronic islands is one of the best you can choose. If you’re looking for more options for a day trip from Athens, take a look at the article below.

A Quick Reminder:

Remember that Athens By Locals is here to guide you with planning the perfect trip to Athens and help you every step along the way. If you didn’t found what you’re looking for, or need any recommendations about your trip to Athens, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help you. Please be as more detailed as possible regarding your subject so as to help you better.

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