Saronic Gulf: Your Guide To The 6 Saronic Islands, Greece

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Post author SJ

Written by our local expert SJ

Sarah-Jane has lived in Croatia for 10+ years. SJ, as she is known, has been traveling the Balkans & beyond since 2000. She now shares her passion for traveling with her husband & kids.

Discover the beauty of Saronic island hopping; nestled in a part of the Aegean Sea, the Saronic Gulf boasts close proximity to Athens, making it perfect for day trips.

Explore the best routes for Greek island hopping across the Saronic Islands and uncover the finest beaches this idyllic destination has to offer. Whether you’re seeking a quick getaway or a prolonged exploration, my Saronic Island travel guide provides everything that you need to know.


Greece Travel Blog_Guide To The Saronic Islands

Not far from the capital of Greece, Athens, the islands on the Argo-Saronic Gulf are very different from one another. They are a unique destination in Greece and can be easily visited during your holiday.

The island of Salamina is located in the northern area of the region, very close to the port of Piraeus. Aegina, another Saronic Island, is a beautiful destination with a rich history and plenty of places to discover. Agistri is a lovely, quiet destination, often overlooked and underrated.

On the southern area of the cluster, travelers will find the exclusive Hydra and Spetses, and Poros, the greener of the three, quite popular among the Athenians thanks to the fact that these islands are close to Athens 

Here is your travel guide to the Saronic Gulf Islands, Greece!

How To Get To The Saronic Islands, Greece

The only way to reach the Argo-Saronic Gulf island group is by boarding a ferry in the Port of Piraeus. They usually leave from gates E8 and E9 every morning. Some ferries also allow you to take your car (at an extra price). Especially in summer, the ferry rides can be overcrowded, so booking the trip in advance is always a great idea.


Airports On Greek Saronic Islands

None of the Saronic Islands have an airport. Although all of these islands are near mainland Greece, you’ll find many ferries available. The closest airport to the Saronic Island group is in Athens. From Athens, you can make your way to the ferry port with this guide. 

Best Beaches In The Saronic Islands Group

  • Halikiada Beach
  • Skala Beach
  • Love Bay
  • Marathon Beach
  • Askeli Beach
  • Kanakia Beach

What Are The Saronic Gulf Islands

Things to do in Hydra Greece - Fishing boats in Hydra Island

  1. Salamis
  2. Aegina
  3. Agistri
  4. Poros
  5. Hydra
  6. Spetses

1. Salamis Island

Salamina Island Greece - Memorial to the fighters of the Battle of Salamis Greece

Salamina, also called Salamis, is the island of this group that is closest to the port of Piraeus… so much so that many locals will even discourage you from swimming on the island’s coasts!

However, despite this negative opinion, there are, in fact, many things to explore and discover in Salamina. Also known as Salami, this is the largest island in the Saronic Gulf. Endowed with impressive natural beauty, the island features a magnificent cultural legacy and unique examples of Byzantine architecture.

Significant archaeological discoveries have brought to light an imposing Mycenaean Acropolis and a Sanctuary in honor of God Dionysus.

But the most famous trait of the island is that it was also the theater of the great Naval Battle of Salamis with the Persians in 480 BC, which ended their attempts to conquer Greece once and for all.

On the island, pay a visit to the beautiful Monastery of the Panagia Faneromeni, a complex from the seventeenth century that houses critical religious paintings and icons.

Beaches In Salamina

The island has a few lovely beaches to explore, the best ones located on the southern coast.

Kanakia is a big pebbled beach with crystal clear waters and a small port. Another good beach to visit in Salamina is Peristeria, which offers good amenities for a perfect day of swimming and sunbathing. Kaki Vigla is another organized beach on the island worth seeing.

Where To Stay In Salamina

Greece Travel Blog_Saronic Islands Guide_Where To Stay In Salamina Island_Aianteion Bay Luxury Hotel & Suites
Photo Credit: Aianteion Bay Luxury Hotel & Suites

Aianteion Bay Luxury Hotel & Suites is a fantastic place to stay in Salamina. The hotel features a restaurant, bar, a shared lounge, and a picturesque garden. Perfect for those traveling with kids, the hotel offers family rooms, room service, and a delicious continental breakfast.


2. Aegina Island – The Closest To Athens

Island Hop Greece, Here Is How To Travel Between Greek Islands - Aegina
Attractive, engaging, and with lots to see and do, Aegina is one of the most beautiful islands you can visit in the Saronic Gulf.

Located about an hour from the port of Piraeus, Aegina town is a popular destination for Athenians who want to escape the city whenever the weather is pleasant enough for a weekend at the beach.

Among the different things to see in Aegina, the main town is undoubtedly an ideal place to start exploring the island. The seaside promenade features beautiful hotels, restaurants, and fish tavernas, and it is an excellent place for an evening walk after visiting some of the beaches on the island.

The island is also home to some unique ancient buildings, including the Temple of Aphaia, one of the most famous archeological sites in Aegina and the best-preserved Classic temple all over Greece.

The Tower of Markelos is another construction worth a visit. This miniature castle dates back to the nineteenth century and was the seat of the first Greek government after the country’s independence.

Aegina is also famous for its top-quality pistachios and the delicious seafood served in the many fish taverns all over the island.

The Best Beaches In Aegina

Beaches in Aegina Greece

Agia Marina is probably the most crucial seaside village in Aegina, popular among tourists and locals. The settlement features beautiful, family-friendly, sandy beaches that are shallow and safe for small kids.

Perdika is another fishing village in Aegina, probably the most picturesque settlement on the island. From the port of Perdika, it is possible to board a small boat and reach the beaches on the islet of Moni in under 10 minutes.

Marathonas is another ideal beach you can visit in Aegina. It’s about 5 kilometers from the main capital of the island, and it features the widest shores on Aegina.

Where To Stay In Aegina

Greece Travel Blog_Sarconic Islands Guide_Where To Stay In Aegina_Golden Star Praxitelous
Photo Credit: Golden Star Praxitelous

Golden Star Praxitelous is a family-friendly accommodation in Agia Marina. It offers self-catering accommodation just one kilometer from the Temple of Aphaia.

The complex features air-conditioned apartments with a TV and a kitchenette, some with a balcony or a patio.


3. Agistri Island

A boat docked in the water near Agistri, one of the Greek Saronic Islands.

Located only 55 minutes from Piraeus and just a stone’s throw away from the island of Aegina, Agistri is a small paradisiac destination in the Saronic Gulf with a green landscape and stunning turquoise seas.

The island has four different settlements: Megalochori, Limenaria, Skala, and Metochi. All of them offer the perfect features for a beautiful summer holiday destination.

The island combines lush pine woods with incredibly safe sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, a quiet atmosphere, and a vibrant nightlife that attracts young crowds from the mainland.

Agistri has managed to escape mass tourism, and it can perhaps be considered an authentic romantic destination not far from the capital of Greece.

Skala is the most important center on the island. It features beautiful beaches, modern architectural development, and plenty of bars and cafes that young Athenians often visit during their weekends away on Agistri.

Overlooking Skala, it is possible to visit Metochi, a quarter built on the slopes of a hill, once the most important village on the island. From this area, you can admire the most stunning views of the coast of Agistri.

Another traditional place to explore on Agistri Island is Mylos, a picturesque traditional village with just a small beach that can often be overcrowded during the weekends.


The Best Beaches In Agistri

Chalikiada is the most popular beach in Agistri island, Greece

Dhragonera Beach is a fantastic rocky coast with inspiring landscapes. It might not be the best place to swim or sunbathe, but it is definitely worth a stop during sunset if you are interested in landscape photography. The views of the sea from this beach are genuinely spectacular.

Aponissos is a tiny and relatively shallow lagoon with warm waters, perfect for small kids. There are some rocks on one side of the beach where the water can be cooler and where swimming might be more rewarding.

Perdika is another fishing village in Aegina, probably the most picturesque settlement on the island. From the port of Perdika, it is possible to board a small boat and reach the beaches on the islet of Moni in under ten minutes.

Marathonas is another super beach you can visit in Aegina. It’s about five kilometers from the main capital of the island, and it features the widest shores on Aegina.

Where To Stay In Agistri

Greece Travel Blog_Sarconic Islands Guide_Where To Stay In Agistri_Valisaras Hotel
Photo Credit: Valisaras Hotel

Valisaras Hotel is an excellent place for families and groups of friends to stay in Agistri. The place is located in Skala, allowing guests to reach the most popular areas on the island in virtually no time.

The hotel is close to Skala’s sandy beach and just a 5-minute walk from the restaurants and local taverns. Most rooms are on the fringe of the island’s extensive pine forest, and many offer sea views.


4. Poros Island

View of Poros Island, Island close to Athens Greece
View on Poros, Greece

This beautiful small island is located in the heart of the Saronic Gulf, quite close to Aegina and Agistri. The island is only an hour’s ferry ride from the Port of Piraeus, making it a popular destination, primarily for weekend getaways from the Greek capital.


The main town of Poros stands perched on the slopes of a hill overlooking the Aegean islands and the opposite Galata. The Center of the activity on the island, Poros Town, is a picturesque settlement featuring hotels, shops, cafes, restaurants, and traditional tavernas.

Poros is located quite close to the rest of the Saronic Islands, so it is an excellent place to start your island-hopping experience in Greece. You can combine a stay in Poros with visits to Aegina, Agistri, and Hydra for the most authentic Saronic experience.

Do not miss a stop along the seaside promenade at the Archaeological Museum of Poros and many fish restaurants and bars. If you’re looking for a fantastic panoramic view of the island, reach the Roloi Tower in Poros Town.

Most of the hinterland is quite deserted, except for several forgotten villages. Here, the terrain is covered in pine trees, olive groves, and vines.

When spending time in Poros, do not miss the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon, located in the heart of the ancient settlement of Kalaureia. From here, it is possible to admire the breathtaking views of Aegina Island.

The Best Beaches In Poros

The sandy beach of Monastiriou can be described as the prettiest beach on the island; however, it is often not overcrowded and can be a dreamy destination for families since the shore is relatively shallow, safe, and protected.

Askeli is an important settlement and beach with a touristy vibe to it. Visitors love to spend their time in the many seaside bars and cafeterias after a day practicing water sports, including sailing, kayaking, and immersion.

Where To Stay In Poros

Greece Travel Blog_Saronic Islands Guide_Where To Stay In Poros_Villa Dolphins
Photo Credit: Villa Dolphins

Villa Dolphins is a convenient, budget, and family-friendly place to stay on the island.

The hotel is only 180 meters from Askeli Beach, amidst a lush garden with a pool and bar bistro. It features self-catered accommodation, daily maid service, and free WiFi in all areas. Dining options include a restaurant and snack bar. Guests can choose to enjoy their breakfast on their balconies. An important feature? Breakfast for children is available for families.


5. Hydra Island

Hydra Island - Donkey on Greek island

Arguably the most famous of the islands on the Saronic Gulf, Hydra is a beautiful destination equally ideal for a one-day escape from Athens or for a one-week long holiday.

Exclusive, elegant, and unique, the main feature tourists love about Hydra is that no vehicles are allowed on the island. Only donkeys, some horses… or your own feet!

Easy to visit in a day or two, this tiny gem in the Saronic Gulf is a popular destination in the Greek Island scenario. Hydra has long been defined as one of the most appealing islands in the country. For years, exclusive characters from Greece and abroad have been visiting it, attracting personalities such as Leonard Cohen or Sofia Loren.

The island is certainly not among the cheapest destinations in Greece, but it is not difficult to save some money if you organize in advance and book your accommodation with plenty of time.

The main town of Hydra features impressive mansions that used to belong to wealthy local families, most of them located along with the amphitheatrical port of Hydra. Some of these homes have been transformed into museums, while others are some of the island’s most exclusive boutique hotels and apartments.


The Best Beaches In Hydra

Hydra Island Greece
Hydra Island, Greece

There are not many sandy beaches on the island, most featuring small pebbles. The waters, however, are often shallow and crystal clear.

Mandraki is one of the beaches closest to Hydra Town. Here, visitors can rent windsurfing equipment and practice different water sports.

Towards the west of Hydra, it’s possible to visit the small beach of Kamini, a fantastic shore with pebbles, but probably not the best place to swim for families with kids.

Kastello, instead, further down the road leading to the west of the island, is a better option for kids. Still pebbled, the waters are shallow and have safe sea access.

The biggest beach on the island is Agios Nikolaos. There is sand mixed with pebbles and some trees offering shade. Since this beach is not close to the island’s port, hiring a taxi boat to visit the beach is a good idea.

Where To Stay In Hydra

Greece Travel Blog_Saronic Islands Guide_Where To Stay In Hydra_Glaros Guesthouse
Photo Credit: Glaros Guesthouse

Glaros Guesthouse is a beautiful place to stay in Hydra, with quite an affordable night fee compared to other accommodations on the island. Located only fifteen minutes from the Port of Hydra, it features units with air conditioning, a kitchenette with kitchenware, and an electric kettle. There are several traditional restaurants, bars, and shops within a short walking distance from the property in the area.


6. Spetses Island

Spetses Island Close To Athens

Laid-back and charming, Spetses is the southernmost island on the Saronic Gulf.

Among the things to do on the island is to visit its highest point, Profiti Elias, about 291 meters over the sea. A curious fact about the island is its name, which the Venetians named “Isola delle Spezzie,” or the island of spices, due to the fragrant herbs that have always characterized the island’s mountains.

With Hydra, Spetses is one of the favorite islands close to the Athenian coast, chosen by Greek and foreign tourists for short and long holidays in Greece.

Spetses has a cosmopolitan atmosphere, and it can be reached from both the port of Piraeus and the coast of the Peloponnese.

Today, Spetses Town is the most important of the settlements in the Saronic Islands, home to beautiful apartments, villas, luxurious hotels, and vacation rental homes.

Among the things tourists love to do when visiting Spetses, shopping comes first since there are some exclusive shops and boutiques on the island. Spetses is also known for its mouthwatering restaurants, bars, cafeterias, top beaches, and a few historical places to see.

One of these places is The House of Bouboulina, a local heroine during the Independence War. This legendary widow used to lead her fleet, playing a vital role in the country’s independence.

The Best Beaches In Spetses

Beautiful beach on Spetses Island Greece

Kaiki is one of the island’s top beaches, which can be reached on foot from the center (a 20-minute walk) or by boat from the port of Spetses.

On the western area of the island, Zogieria Beach is another famous beach made of different rocky bays. Probably not the most family-friendly beach on Spetses, this bay is very scenic and ideal for solitary swimmers.

Agia Paraskevi is a wide bay that mixes sand and pebbles. The beach is calm and relaxing, seldom overcrowded, and with minimal amenities. 

Agii Anargiri is Spetses’ most popular beach, a long and protected bay perfect for families with small children. Some steps not far from the beach lead visitors to the small Bekiris Cave that both adults and kids love to explore.

Where To Stay In Spetses

Greece Travel Blog_Saronic Islands Guide_Where To Stay In Spetses_Kastro Hotel
Photo Credit: Kastro Hotel

Kastro Hotel is a small family hotel set in a former abandoned mansion dating back to 1830. Today, this small, refurbished paradise offers modern accommodation with every comfort just 300 meters from the port. The place is ideal for a few days but equally comfortable for a long-term holiday.


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