Athens, with its incredible landmarks, museums, and interesting nightlife, is one of the best cities in the world to visit. During the summer months, however, the heat can be intense, and you may want to escape to the sea to relax and swim. Of course, Athens offers places to enjoy the spray of the sea waves, but what if you had the opportunity to combine your stay in Athens with an excursion to a Greek island? We found five amazing island day trips from Athens on which you can explore picturesque villages and enjoy the coolness of the sea.
Before we start, be sure to check out our Cultural Places Platform and discover the amazing tours that will help you explore your destinations at your own pace.
Let’s explore some of these beautiful Greek islands…
Aegina is only 40 minutes from the port of Piraeus, and the boats go directly to the town of Aegina, which has a picturesque harbor with small fishing boats and a pedestrian area. Head straight to Agia Marina beach to relax on the fine sand and enjoy seafood at the local tavernas by the sea. If you’d like to do some sightseeing first, head to a small hill very close to the harbor and the archaeological site of Kolona. Long ago, a temple dedicated to the god Apollo was built here. Today, you can still see one of the temple’s columns as well as the ruins of some ancient buildings in the area. From Aegina town, you can take a bus to visit another archaeological site, the Temple of Aphea. It was built in 480 BC and even today is in very good condition, with twenty-four pillars remaining. From the hill of the temple, you can enjoy an amazing view of the sea. Before leaving the island, don’t forget to taste the island’s famous pistachios, which are considered the best in the world!
Spetses is two hours from the port of Piraeus and is considered one of the most cosmopolitan islands in Greece. The neoclassical houses, narrow streets, and prohibition of vehicles make the town of Spetses quite unique. Stroll around, take a ride in a horse carriage, or cycle along the coastal road. The Old Harbor of Spetses features many fish taverns that serve fresh seafood and delicious local dishes. If you want to spend your time at the beach, you can go to Agia Anarghiri or Agia Paraskevi beach, both a few kilometers away from Spetses town. Spetses played a crucial role in the 1821 War of Independence. Visit the house of Bouboulina to learn more about the woman who was the first to raise the Greek flag, twelve days before the war started.
© Vaggelis Vlahos / CC BY-SA 3.0
You can reach the island of Hydra from the port of Piraeus, with the trip taking approximately two hours. Hydra has a very cosmopolitan character and beautiful architecture. Those characteristics make the atmosphere very unique. As on Spetses, vehicles are prohibited on Hydra. The most famous form of transportation on the island is donkeys. The locals use donkeys to transport items such as luggage and heavy shopping. Tourists can also ride on them to get around the island, however.
When on Hydra, take a walk in its cobblestone alleys, explore the architecture of the island, and visit the Historical Archives Museum. There, you can find documents relating to the history of Hydra throughout the centuries. If you want to swim, Hydra offers spectacular clear blue waters. Kaminia or Vlihos beaches are close to Hydra harbor and are perfect spots to relax under the sun while enjoying the sound of the sea.
© dims321 / CC BY-SA 3.0
Poros is only one hour away from the port of Piraeus and is a great island for an escape from the crowds of Athens. Upon approaching Poros, you can clearly see why the island is so unique. The town of Poros is built amphitheatrically on a hill, and the small houses are built close to each other with beautiful alleys between them. On top of the hill is a clocktower from which you can enjoy an amazing view of the sea. The Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, which is built on a slope, is also not to be missed. It was founded in the 18th century, and its church features paintings that are absolute masterpieces.
To go for a swim, Vagionia and Askeli beaches are strongly recommended. Their clear waters and pristine sand offer a lovely setting for a hot day.
© Eva Markatou
A small paradise only one hour away from the port of Piraeus, this island attracts nature lovers due to its crystal-clear waters and pine trees, which together create some stunning scenery. There are many options for swimming. Skala and Dragonera are two of the most popular spots, with organized beaches and many facilities to enjoy. Aponissos is also a great place to swim in Agistri’s famous waters. If you enjoy walking, you will find many paths along which to explore Agistri, walking among the pine trees, admiring the view of the sea, and visiting the island’s small villages.
© Ggia / CC BY-SA 3.0
If you are looking to make your vacation in Athens unique, these five islands are your answer. The only thing we cannot do for you is to choose just one of these five choices. Every island is unique and offers you a complete Greek vacation experience. Select the one that is the most suited to your preferences or visit all five! Just book your tickets and start your vacation!