Greece is surrounded by water, and near incredible bays and seas dotted with gorgeous islands. Gifted with beautiful Mediterranean weather, crystal-clear waters, and stunning natural scenery, these islands are tempting destinations for excursions and short trips from the mainland. Here are some of the best islands near Athens:
Hydra Island is famous for preserving traditional Greek life in a stunning natural setting. With no motorized vehicles allowed, you can only reach the island by ferry, and locals travel by foot or by riding horses, mules, and donkeys. It’s a deeply traditional place, steeped in history and culture, surrounded by tiny fishing villages, natural landscapes, and breathtaking views. With museums, monasteries, and historic sites, it’s a wonderful place to visit and experience Greek life as it’s been lived for centuries.
Travel time: 1.5-2 hours
Aegina has incredible archaeological and ancient sites, including the spectacular Temple of Athena Aphaia, but it is most famous for its golden beaches. The island has beaches for sunbathing in the sand, with umbrellas and cocktails, beaches with shallow warm waters, and rocky beaches with deep, cool water. This variety of beaches on all sides of the island means that there are always water and wind conditions that are ideal for different water sports, including diving, windsurfing, swimming, canoeing, and more. With warm weather and sapphire blue waters, Aegina is a favorite destination for relaxing, and draws many locals from Athens to enjoy a calm sunny weekend.
Travel time: 40 minutes
The tiny island of Agistri is covered with lush greenery, and the largest village is only about 500 people. Natural beaches, traditional villages, amazing views, and the quiet lifestyle make this little island a tempting nearby getaway from the bustle of Athens. Water sports, boat excursions, and traditional fishing make the most of the incredible blue waters of the Saronic Gulf and make Agistri well worth visiting.
Travel time: 55 minutes
Poros is actually two small islands connected by a bridge, merging the lush volcanic southern island with the gentler landscapes of the northern island. It is easily accessible and a popular destination from Athens, for both locals and tourist alike. Poros has a history dating back to antiquity, and has belonged successively to the Greeks, Romans, Venetians, Ottomans, and was even host to Russian naval bases throughout the 19thcentury. Poros is prized for its beauty, and visitors enjoy beaches and ocean-fresh seafood, as well as historic sites and interesting museums.
Travel time: 1 hour
Andros is one of the Greek Islands closest to Athens. It has lush green hillsides, quaint traditional towns, golden sands and deep blue waters, for a truly Mediterranean experience. It has museums, rich historic and archaeological sites, elegant architecture, and natural landscapes devoted to preserving native species and conserving the unique environment. It’s an incredible place to hike and explore, and the variety of beaches means that you can find popular spots to enjoy sports and socialize, or seek quieter, secluded places for swimming and sunbathing.
Travel time: 2 hours
Kea has been occupied since the bronze age, and today is crisscrossed with well-marked hiking trails that take visitors to ancient sites and ruined cities, as well as numerous beaches and coves. Summer brings a variety of festivals, outdoor cinemas, and recreational activities to Kea, which also has charming villages, delicious local restaurants, and famous scuba diving.
Travel time: 1 hour
The mainland of Greece is surrounded by islands, like jewels in the water, and each one offers new opportunities to experience local Greek life, take in incredible views, and relax on warm sunny beaches. Many locals make a habit of escaping the heat and noise of the city to these beautiful islands, quiet beaches, and quaint villages, and it will only take one visit for you to understand why the Greek islands are a staple of the culture.