Argo Saronic Gulf

Stretching from the bay of Saronikos to the bay of Argolikos , these islands are very popular with the residents of Athens , who wish to escape from the bustle and heat of the city. Apart the main islands, there are about one hundred smaller islets and rocky outcrops, many of these can be reached by local boats.

Salamina

The island was the home of Homers hero Ajax , the leader for the islanders, who fought together with other Greeks against the troops
of Xerxes the king of the Persians, at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC.

Only twenty minutes by boat from Pireaus, this island is well known for its shellfish. The island has many good beaches and it is possible to hire a boat and sail at your leisure around the island, to find a beach were you can swim or relax. Ferries from the mainland dock at Paloukia on the east coast; 3km. to the west lays the islands main town, Salamina (Koulouri). Here is a small archaeological museum on display are a number of ceramic items. To the south of Salamina is the village of Aianteio (Moulki). The village is said to be the birthplace of Ajax .

Today many of the villas in the village are owned by mainlanders as holiday homes.

From Moulki you can go to either to Kanikia, Peristeria or Kaki Vigla where you will find good beaches. In the small village of Ampelakia , you can see the ruins of the old acropolis.

Salamina is the largest island in the Argo Saroronic group.

Size: 95 km2
Costal length: 104 km
Population: 34 200
Capital: Koulouri
Mountains: Mavrovouni (365m).
Transportation: ferryboat from Piraeus port (every 15 min)
Express boat every 30 min. Paloukia port
Communications: Buses and Taxi on the Island

Aegina

According to mythology the island was the home of Ajakos, the son of Zeus and Egina. Ajakos changed the islands name from the original Oinoni, to Aegina in honour of his mother. The island has been inhabited since 3000 BC. The islanders like many of the other Greek islands fought in the battle for independence against the Turkish government. The first independent Greek government was formed on the island. The island is famous for its vineyards, pistachio groves and pinewoods.

The main town on the island also called Aegina , has a charming and busy harbour, where private yachts, fishing boats and ferries lay anchored. A walk down the harbour promenade offers you an insight into the lives of the locals. The town with its brightly painted houses, winding lanes and charming shops make exploration of the town a pleasure. The town’s museums are also worth a visit. Near the harbour you can also see the ruins of a temple dedicated to Apollo. You can also visit the church of Agia Teodori , otherwise known as Omorfi Ekklisia (the beautiful church), which is about 1.5km from the town, which as some of the most beautiful frescoes in Greece .

The Aphia temple is about 11km from the town. Dedicated to a goddess who was the islands protector, it offers good views over the sea. While in the area you can visit Agia Marina, with its beautiful beach. To the north of the island lay the villages of Souvala and Vaia which also offer good beaches. Good beaches are also to be found at Marathonas and Faros, on the west coast of the island. Further down the coast is the charming fishing village of Perdika . The monastery of Pangagia Chrysoskalitissa, (the Virgin Mary’s cloister with the golden steps) is also worth a visit. The island of Aegina offers much more and must be on the itinerary of those travelling to Greece .

Angistri

A small island lying to west of Aegina , the island surrounded by crystal clear waters is a pearl among the Greek islands. With its small bays it offers a relaxing break from the more tourist oriented Greek islands. The west coast is the most inhabited, whilst the east as of yet remained untouched.

Poros

The island is closely connected to the Greek sea god Poseidon. A temple dedicated to Poseidon is situated in the middle of the island. During the month of May when the lemon trees, for which the island is famous for, are in flower the aromatic scent drifts over the island. The main port of Poros also the capital of the island is built on and around a hill. With cobbled streets, small alleyways and traditional dwellings, Visits to the museums, the clock tower on the top of the hill, or walking along the promenade stopping for a well deserved meal or drink in one of the many tavernas, the town offers a lot for the tourist. One of the best beaches on the island is to be found at Neorio, but it can be very busy during the summer.

If you are visiting Poros, you must take a trip over to Lemonodasos (lemon woods), it takes a few minutes by boat, and walk through the lemon groves, the trees give shade even on the hottest of days.

Hydra Island

During the battle for independence against the Turks in 1821, the rich ship owners of the island along with other boats from nearby islands, caused great damage to the Turkish fleet. Their bravery was to become well known throughout the Europe .

Today the island is a favourite with artists and tourists. The islands nature is more rugged and barren compared with other islands in the Saronikos group. In the main town and port, you can visit some of the houses belonging to the ship owners, who fought in the battle for independence.

To get a spectacular view over the town, you must go up to the Prophet Elias cloister, where you will be rewarded with glorious views and sunsets.

Good beaches are to be found at Mandraki and Kaminia, as driving on Hydra is forbidden all transport is by the small boats which do trips to the beaches, the nearby beaches can easily be reached on foot.

Spetses Island

The island has been inhabited since 2500 BC. Historically nothing much happened on the island. Later it became a great maritime island along with Hydra. One of the islands greatest heroes is Bouboulina, a local woman who became a sea captain and fought in the battle of independence with great courage. Relax during the day or evening in one of the tavernas around the harbour. The museum is worth a visit as is the house to Bouboulina. The houses to the old sea captains have been restored. Visit the church of Agios Nikolos . The beaches at Vrellos and Zogeria are good. As on Hydra driving is forbidden, so small boats will take you to the beaches, good beaches are to be found around the island.

Kythira Islands

Kythira and Antikythira: these barren islands are popular with those wanting to escape the rigours of flashy resorts on other islands. Though relativity quiet, during the summer months it gets busy with Greeks coming home from foreign countries. Small villages dot the countryside linked by narrow lanes. According to legend, Aphrodite the goddess of love was born on Kythira; she is supposed to have risen from the foam where Zeus had thrown the sexual organs of Cronos after castrating him. She is supposed to have re-emerged off the shores of Cyprus , and the two islands claim her as there own.

Hora: the islands main settlement is a typical whitewashed island village, set on a long ridge the village is charming with streets and squares bedecked with flowers. The castle at the end of the ridge offers stunning views over the region.

Kapsali: the village is 2km from Hora and is charming with its excellent beaches and cafes along the waterfront. During the high season, it gets busy, so it is best to come just before or after this time.

Potamos: the commercial centre of the island, its market held on Sundays is the place for meeting along with the weeks shopping.

The island has many churches and monasteries to visit and enjoy, along with small beaches ideal for swimming or lazing in the sun.

Antikythira: this tiny island is home to a few residents, and is totally untouched by mass tourism, with only a 10 rooms furnished very basically to offer the tourist that comes to the island and wishes to stay a day or two

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