Exploring the Saronic and Peloponnese

 

A calm and attractive cruising area which extends from the North East to the South East of Peloponnese and includes the neighbouring gulfs of Argolicos and Saronicos as well as the intermediate islands of Poros, Hydra and Spetses. The area provides a picturesque coast-line with blue crystal waters, unique bays and towns that still keep their traditional architecture, tiny harbours, while, in some places, the traffic or even the presence of vehicles is strictly forbidden. Historical remains are also apparent here. In general, the area excites every visitor who will want to come back again and again.

Some interesting places (in alphabetical order)

Aegina

The island is only a dozen miles from Athens. Historically, it has been successively ruled by the Venetians and the Turks and during the years 1826-1828 the town of Aegina became the first capital of modern Greece. Today the island is a crowded and popular tourist destination. The access is very easy from Athens and the town provides attractive scenery. The ancient ruins lie close by, while countless yachts, trechantiria (*), other fishing boats and hydrofoils come and go out of the harbour all day long. The fruit and vegetable dealers sell their goods directly from the deck of their trechantiria, the famous local pistachio is sold from kiosks while many people enjoy the local hobby of sitting for many hours in a cafe and watching everyone walking on the pier and sidewalk.

Angistri

A small paradise so close to Athens that usually remains unnoticed by the tourists. The island is picturesque, very green with deep blue waters.

Astros

The village is tranquil with nice tavernas on the picturesque harbour-front. The sea is so clean, that swimming is possible even inside the little harbour. The villagers live from the fishing and the few tourists.

Dokos

The island is uninhabited and the crystal clear waters of the only bay are ideal for swimming. The wreck of a very ancient commercial ship has been traced in the very deep bottom at the middle of the bay, while on shore there is a casual fishing taverna powered by an electric generator.

Elafonissos

A sandy island within swimming distance (350m) from Peloponnese, with just a few inhabitants, fantastic endless beaches and turquoise waters. An excellent choice for nature lovers.

Epidavros

A simple and friendly harbour that provides a convenient access to the ancient theatre famous for its spectacular acoustics!. Theatrical plays by ancient Greek authors are still played by Greek or foreign theatrical companies, during the summer months.

Gerakas

A picturesque fishing village in the middle of a hidden rocky fjord, the steep and rocky entrance of which is quite invisible, when coming from the sea. On the short tranquil pier, the tables of the tavernas are just few meters from the yachts.

Gerolimenas

The small charming village was built in 1870. In the bay, a huge and precipitous rocky mass rises from the sea to approx 300 meters, with caves and ravines spread on it. Until 50 years ago or so, the area, which is known as "the Mani" was accessible only through the sea and only from this point. That is why, despite the occupation of Greece by Ottoman Turks for about four centuries, they never succeeded in stepping on the Mani.

Hinitsa

An uninhabited islet in the entrance of Porto Heli bay with silver sand bottom in the only little cove, a nice place for swimming.

Hydra

Famous and cosmopolitan, a magnet for the international jet set. Picturesque and traditional, an ornament of the Mediterranean Sea. No vehicles are allowed on the island, and all transport is done with donkeys. In 1821, when Greeks started their revolution for independence from Turks, although a small island, Hydra had around 130 commercial ships which all were converted into war-ships. Impressive mansions from that period still exist and are still in use.

Kyparissi

A huge and tranquil gulf in this isolated part of Southeast Peloponnese, where tzitzikia (cicadas) welcome the visitors. The place is known for its superior quality olive oil, the mountain thyme honey, the delicious mizithra cheese and obviously its crystal clear waters.

Kythira

As the tourism is undeveloped, the life is traditional and the island looks like a calm refuge. The astonishing deserted beaches with the nice blue waters as well as the original architecture, which is a mixture of the Aegean style and the Venetian rhythm, attract visitors.

Monemvassia

An oblong peninsula connected to the shore by a narrow tongue of land making it look like the rock of Gibraltar. The Byzantine fortress - town on the peninsula is unique. The Greeks built it during the Byzantine time, in the 6th century. However, it was later influenced by the Venetians. The fortress - town still remains unaffected, and its modern cafes and shops create a really unexpected environment for visitors. There are several interesting churches, the best of which is " Ayia (Santa) Sophia" on the mountain with a marvelous view of the sea.

Nafplion

It is the former capital city of modern Greece and, no doubt, the nicest town in Peloponnese. It is split in two, the new and the old city, the latter being marked by three civilizations, the Roman, the Byzantine and the Venetian, each of them with a different castle, all three worth visiting.

Plaka

A little charming harbor, where the small traditional wooden trechantiria and the few tavernas on the narrow pier make it the ideal place for an overnight stay. A visit to the nearby town of Leonidion will also reward the visitor. There, one can walk around admiring the old mansions, following the paths on a journey of history, colours and beauty. With a variety of festivals and celebrations taking place throughout the year, notably during Easter, you will be invited by the friendly locals to join in with the celebrations.

Poros

A large natural and impressively looking harbor with smaller picturesque coves, ideal for swimming. A very narrow sea passage separates the island from Peloponnese mainland where the transport is effected by wooden boats. Traditional tavernas, bars and yachts, as well as the view of the village on the opposite mainland make the quay a marvellous place for a stroll.

Porto Heli

A large, natural and very safe harbour, with fascinating beaches, 350 days of sunshine and innumerable cultural activities. Boat taxis connect the town with Spetses island which is just a few miles away, opposite the entrance of the bay. There is an ancient city at the bottom of the sea near Hotel Giouli, where one can distinguish the walls, the temple and Acropolis. For unknown reasons, the story of the city is suddenly interrupted, leaving a lot of unanswerable questions to the archeologists.

Spetses

Its ancient name was Pityoussa (pine-clad). The present name was given by the Venetians and derived from "Isola de Spezzie" (fragrant island), for the many herbs growing on the mountains. Like Hydra, Spetses fleet played an important role during the Greek independence revolution of 1821. Apart from its green beauty, the island offers tranquillity, cosmopolitan life, wonderful beaches, picturesque small bays and various interesting historical and archaeological sites. Like Hydra, cars are not permitted on the island and the transportation is by horse-drawn carriages, donkeys and boat taxis. The only exemption is for a bus connecting the main beaches with the villages.

(*) Trechantiria are the Greek traditional wooden boats mainly used for fishing

Some indicative cruises

AN INDICATIVE 7-DAY CRUISE Nautical miles
1st day Athens - Poros 30
2nd day Poros - Dokos & Spetses 26
3rd day Spetses - Astros & Nafplion 30
4th day Nafplion - Hinitsa & Porto Heli 23
5th day Porto Heli - Plaka 16
6th day Plaka - Hydra 30
7th day Hydra - Angistri and Aegina 30
8th day Aegina - Athens 18
AN INDICATIVE 14-DAY CRUISE Nautical miles
1st day Athens - Angistri & Epidavros 30
2nd day Epidavros - Poros 20
3rd day Poros - Dokos & Spetses 26
4th day Spetses - Astros & Nafplion 30
5th day Nafplion - Hinitsa & Porto Hel 23
6th day Porto Heli - Plaka 16
7th day Plaka - Gerakas 25
8th day Gerakas - Elafonisos 36
9rh day Elafonissos - Gerolimenas 35
10th day Gerolimenas - Kithira 30
11th day Kithira - Monemvasia 41
12th day Monemvassia - Kyparissi 20
13th day Kyparissi - Hydra 35
14th day Hydra - Aegina 26
15th day Aegina - Athens 18

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