SARONIC & ARGOLIC GULF Islands and Coasts, Greece

An Amazing Yachting Destination Close to Athens

Saronic & Argolic Gulf Images

The Argo-Saronic Gulfs & North East Peloponesse Coasts is the ideal destination for those wishing to explore the unparallel beauty of the Greek Islands but with short cruising time and ideal calm weather conditions. The Athens International Airport provides easy access to all the marinas of Athens which accommodate yachts ranging from low budget Sailing Yachts to Luxury Mega Yachts. The area offers calm waters, amazing picturesque islands, all kinds of amenities, sightseeing and a good choice between idylic secluded bays and quite coves with crystalline waters, fun, night life, history and culture.

The islands located in the Saronic Gulf, southwest of Athens, are among the most beautiful and interesting of all the Greek islands and are very close, at approximately 8-11 nautical miles distance from each other. Beautiful sandy and peebly beaches, fragrant pine forests and rocky capes against a backdrop of brilliant sunshine and crystal emerald-blue water, provide an infinite variety of scenic beauty.
Visitors will be charmed by the little shops selling local products and the cozy restaurants and cafes found along the narrow winding streets or by the sea, in the island towns. All of the Saronic Islands have kept their local traditional character. Their towns are cosmopolitan but they all have quiet unspoilt secluded spots. The local cuisines are delicious, the seafood is fresh and one of the highlights of this itinerary is that you might be accompanied by dolphins playing with your boat!
The Saronic Gulf Islands and coasts are:

Aegina: It is a picturesque island located very close to Athens (apx 12 nautical miles from Alimos Marina) and therefore very popular all year round among Athenians, especially for short trips, either by yachts or by ferries and flying dolphins. Many of them have their summer houses there and therefore you will see some impressive villas climbed in its hills. Aegina is one of the most favourite destinations for day cruises from Athens.
It has a quite traditional town (port) with neo-classical architecture, 2-3 picturesque fishing villages and important archaelogical sites. It has a descent touristic infrastructure and a variety of tavernas, clubs, bars, pastry shops, cafes, beach bars etc. Night life is not wild but visitors will find a few greek music and international music dancing clubs, mainly in the town.
Aegina developed an important civilization in antiquity evident in its archaeological sites and in its museum. The most important is the impressive well kept Ancient Greek Temple of Aphaia, in the island’s mainland, offering panoramic sea views. Another point of attraction for Greek Orthodox visitors is the church of Saint Nektarios, known as a great miracle worker along with the Holy Trinity monastery.
Aegina has several nice beaches. A couple of them are conveniently located in the town (port) and the others in various areas.
One of the most popular spots of Aegina is the picturesque fishing village Perdika, with many fish tavernas and nice cafes, all offering magnificent sea views.  

Moni: Moni is an uninhabited exotic islet located very close (apx 500 meters) to Perdika village of Aegina. It is covered with a lush pine forest in which live peacocks, deer and other animals. Moni has a wonderful beach surrounded by amazing transparent turquoise waters, making it one of the most popular spots for swimming close to Athens, either during a day or a multi-day yacht cruise.

Agistri: Agistri is a well kept diamond. It is a small island with a marvelous natural landscape, lush pine woods and definitely the most exotic emerald waters in the Saronic Gulf. It is located at only 20 nautical miles from Piraeus (Athens main port) and 4 nautical miles from Aegina. However it is not well known to most people, not even to Athenians. Agistri is one of the most amazing spots for swimming during a day or a multi-day cruise from Athens. Its south-west coasts, where the Aponissos peninsula and the Dorousa islet are found, offer amazing secluded anchorages and exquisite beaches with transparent emerald waters, nested in the virgin pine forest. Wonderful beaches are also found in other areas of Agistri, such as the Chalikiada and the Town (port).
Until the 80's Agistri was a rather isolated destination without any touristic infrasructure. It was popular mainly among free campers. Tourism has only recently been developped and helped locals to stay in their island. Today Agistri still is a rather "alternative" destination and has more than 1.000 local residents in the winter and more than 5.000 residents in the summer.

Methana: Methana is a volcanic peninsula of volcanic in North-East Peloponese coasts (ap 23 n.miles from Athens, 8 n. miles from Poros and apx 4 n. miles from Perdika, Aegina), and you can still visit one of the volcanoes that created it. The volcanic landscape is also the source of the smell you sometimes notice here - sulphur - which still seeps out from the hot springs. But you get used to it after a short time. There are 32 volcanic centres here, but the last eruption was in the year 230 BC near the village of Chora Kaimeni. In addition, there are thus hot springs and healing spas in several places on the coast, nice and green scenery, beautiful beaches and pleasant small villages.
Methana has been inhabited since the Mycenaean era, and the peninsula always had importance throughout history. The capital of Methana and the small villages around are ideal for those seeking tranquility. The village of Chora Kaimeni is closest to the volcano crater and if you head to Agios Nikolaos, for example, you can experience the hot springs. You can swim in these hot springs throughout the year, and it is supposed to be therapeutic.
The coastal Methana Town has a small public marina and various tavernas and cafes. Nice places to eat are found in the whole area too. However one of the most scenic – and therefore popular – spots of Methana is the lake-like port of Vathy. It has only a very small entrance, so only boats of less than 20 meters can enter it. Vathy is famous for its fish tavernas and its name means “deep” because the sea here is 400 meters deep. In Vathy you will also find some volcanic beaches.

Poros: Poros has a unique landscape and is one of the most popular yachting destinations during a daily, a weekend or a weekly cruise from Athens, all year round. It is located close to Athens (apx 30 nautical miles from Alimos Marina) and is divided from Peloponissos (Galatas) by an exceptionally picturesque narrow canal. It has a very beautiful quite well-reserved traditional town which is also its port. It is preferred by the Athenians as a short trip family destination and is not developed at all as a mass tourism island. However it offers a good variety of options for accommodation, food and entertainment, as all Greek destinations. Many tavernas, cafes and bars are all over the town and the nearby settlements of Askeli and Neorion, offering delicious food and fantastic sea views. Night life is not wild but there are 1-2 nice dancing clubs in the town. An evening stroll in the quayside along the canal and around the narrow streets of its charming town is definitely a must you should not miss in Poros! If you have time it is worth renting a vehicle and exploring the mainland which is covered by a lush pine forest offering amazing sea views. The island has also an important ancient history and a couple of museums worth visiting.
Poros attracts all yachters because it is the most "yacting friendly" island of the Saronic Gulf due to its very well protected "lake-like" public port with many mooring places available. It is full of greenery and its pine trees come all along its emerald green sea. It offers several idyllic perfectly protected anchorages and beautiful beaches, such as Rossiko and Love Bay, most of them crowded by yachters and bathers in the peak season. Poros is also a well known water-ski and water-sports destination and has two water-sports schools. 

: Tselevinia are a complex of islets found 30 nautical miles from Athens and 5.5 nautical miles from Poros on the way to Hydra, in Peloponese coasts. It is a famous secluded anchorage, popular stop for a chilling dive in its crystalline azure waters, or for relaxing at its tiny beaches.

Hydra: Hydra is one of the most famous islands in the Mediterranean, due to its charming and cosmopolitan character. It has an exceptionally picturesque and perfectly reserved traditional historic town, built amphitheatrically on the hills surrounding its small scenic harbour. Hydra's town is the sole main settlement on the island. The three other equally picturesque but much smaller settlements, Vlychos, Kaminia and Mandraki, are located at a walking distance from the main town and can be reached through one of the most amazing coastal paths with stunning sea and sunset views.
In the 50's a movie was shot on the island, starring Sophia Lauren, and ever since then it has become a popular destination among VIP's from all over the world. Some of them have also bought some wonderful houses there.
Hydra reflects a unique romantic atmosphere. Vehicles are not allowed on the island and the only transportation means are donkeys and sea-taxis. The strict rules for reserving the traditional architecture and the natural environment has kept away touristic development and expansion. Therefore the island offers only a few but good options for accomodation, food, entertainment and nightlife, if compared to other popular Greek destinations. However, it offers quite a large varitery of little shops selling all kinds of things, such as stylish clothes, jewlery, accessories, artworks etc. A few small boutique hotels have opened recently but most of the tourists are accomodated in the pensions, housed in the wonderful traditional mansions. 
Visiting Hydra is definitely a must-do during a cruise in the Argo-Saronic area, but also for tourists visiting Athens, since it can easily be reached in less that two hours by a speed boat (apx 38 nautical miles from Alimos Marina). Therefore, it is very popular also as a daily cruise destination all year round. However, its port is very small and finding a place to moor is usually dificult.
Hydra has only few, peebly beaches but has crystal clear turquoise waters perfect for swimming even in the town. However it has one of the most beautiful secluded anchorages in the Saronic Gulf, named Agios Nikolaos, with a lovely beach and crystaline waters, accessed only by the sea or through a trekking path. 

Dokos: The currently uninhabited Dokos island, was inhabited since 6.000 BC and had great importance during the ancient years, due to its strategic location as a sea passage. Nowdays it is one of the most popular yacht anchorages in Greece, because it has a large bay offering protection from most weathers and crystal clear azure waters. It is a rocky island with almost no vegetation and in its sea bottom lies the oldest know shipwreck worldwide until today (2.500 – 2.000 BC).

: Ermioni is a scenic seaside Town located in the South-Eastern coasts of Peloponese, which resembles to an island. It is a tranquil town which offers though adequate options for night life and nice tavernas and cafes. The area has also nice beaches and interesting places to visit. One of the most beautiful spots of Ermioni is the ancient hill of Pronos, offering great view over the uninhabited island of Dokos (with oldest shipwreck in the world) and Hydra. Another highlight of the area is Franchthi Cave, which is thought to be the longest recorded inhabited cave in Greece. Regarding the beaches, those at the Bisti area are the most popular. However you will also enjoy Sendoni, Kouverta, Dardiza, Petrothalassa, Agios. Dimitrios, and also the coasts of Plepi and Thermissia.

Porto Heli, Hinitsa & Agios Aemilianos Coasts: This is one of the most beautiful coastal areas of Greece, found in East Peloponese, right across Spetses island. It is covered by lush vegetation in which numerous impressive villas are nested and has many wonderful beaches. The sandy Hinitsa with the scenic beach restaurant and the beautiful islet are among the most popular and calm ones. Another exquisite sandy beach with exotic turquoise waters is this opposite Kounoupi islet, a popular stop for yachters, weather permitting.
However, it is worth discovering your private paradise beach among the many other smaller ones accessed only through hidden paths or by the sea. They are all exotic, with pine trees coming down to the sea and amazing transparent emerald waters. Stay there until late evening and you will be thrilled by the amazing sunset views!      
The small coastal town-port of Porto Heli may not have any particular architectural character, but is scenic due to its location in the middle of the beautiful so named bay, which is one of the best protected anchorages in Greece.
Along these coasts on your way to Nafplio, you will find more wonderful beaches and the lovely islet of Korakia, in the so named cove with crystalline waters. Once it was a totally isolated area, but now a world famous VIP resort-hotel uses one of the bays. The other bay is still quiet though.

Spetses: Spetses (50 n.miles from Athens) is one of the most cosmopolitan Greek islands, boasting a long naval tradition and is famous for its significant contribution to the 1821 Greek War of Independence. It was here that the revolution flag was raised on 3rd April 1821. The island has managed to retain its individual traditional character thanks to its well-preserved grand captain mansions, still bearing eloquent witness to the island’s glorious past.
The very picturesque old harbour, Dapia is the tourist and commercial centre where the island’s heart beats. The emblematic palatial style Poseidonion Grand Hotel, echoing the French Riviera dominates the waterfront of the new harbor and is the trademark of its town.
Spetses is an almost car-free island, where only moto bikes are allowed and its town is its sole settlement. The rest of the island is covered by a lush virgin pine forest, crossed by a quiet circular road leading to its beautiful beaches.
Spetses has several beautiful beaches with pine trees and crystalline emerald waters. The small and the large Zogeria are among the most popular ones, offering one of the most scenic anchorages in Greece.
During the day, the meeting point of the island is in “Sholes” beach, with the trendy bar-restaurant serving delicious food right next to sea. Another nice and popular beach restaurant is in Aghia Marina, both accesses on foot or by a horse carriage. You will find also a couple of beaches conveniently located inside Spetses town, with crystal clear turquoise waters. There are also some more nice beaches in Spetses with crystal clear waters. The organized ones are Agioi Anargyroi, Vrelos, Xylokeriza and Small Zogeria. However, you will discover many tiny ones nestled in the forested coasts after Kaiki beach, with fantastic clear emerald waters!
However, some of the best beaches lie in the coasts of Costa, Porto Heli (right across Spetses and apx 2 nautical miles from Spetses) and Aghios Aemilianos, which is a bit further. Besides the famous Hinitsa beaches, you will discover many other tiny ones, hidden in the forested coasts, which will captivate you. Especially the one right across the new harbor of Spetses, which offers one of the most amazing sunsets. All of them have exotic emerald transparent waters and are ideal for evening swimming.
What you should not miss in Spetses is walk along the fantastic costal road leading to the old port and end at its wonderful forested peninsula offering stunning views. And those who fancy traditional means of transportation, various horse carriages await you in the new harbor, acting as local taxis, since the island has only 8 car taxis and a few sea-taxis. If you really want to escape in the past though, stroll along the numerous scenic streets behind the old port. You will discover a hidden paradise town full of colorful flourished gardens which will definitely charm more if you enter further in its heart.

: Nafplio is located in Argolis of Peloponese and is definitely one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Greece, accessed by car from Athens in less than two hours. It is a vibrant seaport town expanded up on the hillsides near the north end of the Argolic Gulf. The old town is partially car-free and maintains an attractive traditional architectural style with many colourful buildings, influenced by the Venetians who dominated it between 1338 and 1540. It also features many well reserved neoclassical buildings, whereas its main square is one of the most beautiful in Greece.
Nafplio area is inhabited since ancient times and has an important history, mainly for being the capital of the First Hellenic (Greek) Republic and of the Kingdom of Greece from the beginning of the Greek Revolution in 1821 until 1834. Its landmarks are the wonderful Palamidi Castle on the top of the hill, offering stunning panoramic views and the little islet Bourtzi in the middle of its harbour.
Nafplio is a popular touristic destination ideal for all seasons. Its charming pave stoned alleys with the colorful bougainvilleas are ideal for romantic strolls or for discovering your favorite among its many stylish restaurants and cozy cafes for a delicious meal or a drink. You will definitely love its various little shops selling nice souvenirs and all kinds of cute things and by its sightseeing attractions.
The area has several nice beaches (with Karathonas being among the best) and other smaller touristic resorts with nice beach restaurants, bars and cafes.

Monemvasia: Although it does not belong to Argo-Saronic Gulf, it is a destination often included in the Argo-Saronic Gulf itineraries. Monemvasia is built in an islet-like peninsula in the South-Easter coasts of East Peloponese and is one of the most beautiful villages of Greece, offering panoramic Aegean views. It is a perfectly preserved medieval castle-town with magical fairy-tale like atmosphere. There you will feel like living in the past and only a couple of tavernas and atmospheric cafes will remind you that you are in the 21st century. Outside of Monemvasia’s castle town there is a modern coastal settlement built on the beach, with a small port and various tavernas and cafes. The area around Monemvasia has also some nice beaches for swimming.
Monemvasia is apx 84 nautical miles from Athens, apx 40 nautical miles from Spetses and apx 57 nautical miles from Nafplio Town. On your way to Monemvasia, you may pass by some lovely settlements with beautiful beaches lying in Eastern Peloponese coasts, such as Leonidio, Astros, Fokiano, Kyparissi, Limani Geraka etc. Limani Geraka is built inside an imposing fjord and is a small quiet scenic settlement with a couple of tavernas.

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