The islands of the Argosaronic Gulf are like priceless gems, combining an unbelievable beauty with the symbol of a luxurious lifestyle. Located close to Attica, the picturesque islands of the Saronic Gulf - Aigina, Hydra, Agistri, Spetses, Salamina and Poros - are popular with visitors all year round. Geared up for both daily excursions and weekend breaks, they embody the best of Greece close to the capital.
The coast with its calm sea, the small quite creeks, the picturesque villages with their distinct architecture and the ancient monuments attract and entice all those who visit here. Each island maintains its own unique character. Verdurus Agistri with its beautiful beaches, the much-frequented Aegina with its pine trees, sand beaches and the famous Temple of Aphaia, Hydra with its traditional architecture, Poros with its unique natural beauty and the lemon forest and the historical and cosmopolitan Spetses with its pinewoods and secluded beaches. Together, they compose an island cluster of incomparable charm.
The island of Hydra is one of the most atmospheric and glamorous destinations found in this cluster. Home to pretty, white-washed mansions (known as 'archontika'), chic tavernas and a picturesque harbour with expensive yachts, road-free Hydra is regarded as an exclusive holiday resort in Greece. The island has retained its charm and traditional appearance mainly thanks to an architectural preservation law, along with a motor vehicle ban. Transport is solely by donkeys (a unique experience), and most of the island's beaches are accessible only by boat.
Separated from the mainland Galatas in the Peloponnese by a 350 metre canal, Poros (meaning 'crossing') attracts tourists, as well as weekenders from Athens who arrive by road (via Galatas) or on ferries from Pireas. Poros is a green island with an area of 33sq.km. and a shoreline of 42km, and is made up of two islands; the densely forested Kalavria to the north and the smaller volcanic islet of Sfairia to the south over which Poros Town is built. With its permanent population totalling 3,500, the little streets, lined with pastel coloured 19th century houses clinging to the hillside, give the island its personable and charming character. In ancient times Poros was the island of Poseidon, the god of the sea. Be sure to visit the Temple of Poseidon near the coast in the heart of Kalavria, constructed around 520 BC in Doric style.
Located 20km southwest of the port of Piraeus, the island of Aigina has been inhabited for over 4,000 years and is famous for being where the world's first ever silver coins were minted in 700 BC as well as the home of the impressive Temple of Aphaea. Aigina is a pine-covered island which enjoyed a lively past and prosperity as a major maritime trading centre; today, the beautiful island with the picturesque bays and beaches is widely known for the production of pistachio nuts, which are considered the best in Greece.
Thanks to its charm, Spetses is a popular upmarket escape for the Athenians. Sharing a history of late 18th century trading propserity and a leading role in the War of Independence with neighbouring Hydra, it is a green island with pine trees, peaceful and attractive beaches, chic restaurants and a vivid night life. South of Spetses is the green islet of Spetsopoula, which is privately owned.