1 Day Cruise: The Saronic Islands
Athens has tons of things going on at any given time. It also has a lot going for it. What with having the sea at such proximity, it’s almost easy to forget that you’re in a major European capital. A very old European capital at that. So the inevitability of the summer brings forth several conundrums for those with limited time and/or resources. Being in the city during the summer is akin to being stationed (for anyone who’s done their military service) in a post right across your house. No mama’s cooking and no sleep. No bueno.
But fear not. Greece is blessed with a huge amount of islands (227 inhabited ones, what more do you want?) many of which lie in close proximity to Athens, making them an ideal destination for short term holidays. Let’s call it a short, sharp recess.
The Saronic Gulf islands are conducive to that. The 1 day cruise that takes you to Poros, Aegina and Hydra is the best way to enjoy a nice day on the sea, all while visiting some of the Saronic island’s best.
Hydra needs no introductions. It’s the mythical land preferred by the international jet set. The 1960’s were its heyday with people such as Sophia Loren, Leonard Cohen, Patrick Leigh Fermor and many more luminaries who set up camp there during the summer. The fact that back then electricity was patchy to non existent added to the allure. A bohemian paradise.
Poros is a decidedly less touristy island in that it’s an Athenian summer house getaway. Its tranquil and quaint and the beaches are superb. You won’t find much in the way of amenities, but surely that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Aegina on the other hand is possibly the pick of the bunch. The 1 day cruise takes you to this awesome island, where you can gawk at the Temple of Aphaia. Not that many temples in good condition in Greece, and this is one of the exceptions. If you’re one for this sort of thing, then make sure you have enough time as the 1 day cruise will leave, with or without you (but you’ll be marooned in a Greek island. Can’t be that bad, can it?).
The 1 day cruise is by far the best day trip one can embark on during a stay in Athens. Getting away from the crowds and experiencing some serenity amidst the chaos in Athens in nothing short of mana from heaven.