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Overview

This is Athens's back yard. Foreign tourists are not that much in evidence, but Athenians, both native and expat, flock here. And not just for weekends. It's close enough for an overnight stay. The island of Hydra is only minutes from Pireaus, and ferries make the trip throughout the day and night. Hydra has no beaches to speak of, but the swimming and fishing from the rocky shore are good, as are the many tavernas. In the 19th century this was a smugglers' island, and it still looks like it. Aegina is even closer to Athens, and like all the Saronic isles, everything is on a small scale. The tavernas are small and cozy, as are the ozeries. ...

This is Athens's back yard. Foreign tourists are not that much in evidence, but Athenians, both native and expat, flock here. And not just for weekends. It's close enough for an overnight stay. The island of Hydra is only minutes from Pireaus, and ferries make the trip throughout the day and night. Hydra has no beaches to speak of, but the swimming and fishing from the rocky shore are good, as are the many tavernas. In the 19th century this was a smugglers' island, and it still looks like it. Aegina is even closer to Athens, and like all the Saronic isles, everything is on a small scale. The tavernas are small and cozy, as are the ozeries. Little fishing smacks land their catch for small markets, and little horses pull little carriages through the little town. On Poros, the best known of the Saronics, it's a short distance from modern Athens but a world away in time and imagination. Little coves protect little beaches, and modern life just doesn't seem to gain entry. Sick and tired of being sick and tired? Come to the Saronic Sea.

Richard Sterling
About the Expert

Richard Sterling is the author of Lonely Planet's World Food: Greece, Eyewitness Travel Guide Vietnam, and many other books.

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Richard Sterling for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Central Aegean Sea, between Greece and Turkey
  • Language: Greek
  • Currency: Euro (EUR)
  • Research: Saronic Islands | Wikitravel
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Crowds are thin in winter, but as the islands are well protected the seas are normally calm.