The country that represents the blue of its waters and the white of its beaches on its flag shelters many ancient historical wonders across the peninsulas of Attica and Argolis (the latter belonging to the Peloponnese peninsula). Thus, sailing the Saronic islands will make you feel like you are in the beginnings of modern civilisation while enjoying a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere, good sailing and tourist infrastructures, local customs, and a load of opportunities for fun.
The archipelago is situated at a close distance from Athens and consists of Angistri, Aegina, Methana, Poros, Salamina, Spetses, Dokos and Hydra. It defines the eastern side of the isthmus of Corinth, being the eastern terminus of the Corinth Canal.
But let’s stop with the introductions and let’s dive directly into the beauty of this less-known part of Greece! Unveil what you can meet during your holidays with our sailing route across the Saronic Gulf until the Eastern Peloponnese.
Climate and Sailing Conditions
The climate is the typical Mediterranean. Summers are hot, sunny, with a prevailing clear sky; indeed, the high season starts as of June to mid-September. The maximum temperatures remain around 30 °C (86 °F); however, occasionally, short periods of intense heat can occur, with highs around 36/38 °C (97/100 °F). In spring and autumn, the climate is also pleasant and dry with little humidity and warm weather. In winter rains are more frequent, but it tends to be mild with an average temperature of 12/14 °C (54/57 °F).
We can say that the Saronic Gulf has excellent weather conditions all year round, with mild winters and dry summers. The best time for sailing the Saronic Islands is from June to September, even if, if you want to on excursions, May and the first half of October are the best months. The Meltemi wind can prevails sometimes, but the area is far more protected than the Cyclades.
Saronic Gulf and Eastern Peloponnese
Sailing Route with Nautical Miles
Day 1. Athens – Epidaurus (30 NM)
Built around the old Acropolis and Mount Lycabettus (299 m), it’s easy to be carried away to the golden age of ancient Greece as you wander through the streets of the beautiful city of Athens. But as you need few more days to visit only this unique city in the world, skip Athens for now, and let’s start your cruise across the Saronic Islands immediately after the check-in at Alimos Marina (also known as Kalamaki Marina).
Thus, head to one of the most famous popular archaeological sites in Greece in the city of Epidaurus. Located in the region of Argolis, precisely on the northeastern side of Peloponnese, it showcases the enormous 4th-century Ancient Theatre with its impressive, intact stadium, famous for its symmetry and the incredible acoustic. But Epidaurus also hides a secret surprise under the surface! Take your snorkelling equipment and visit the sunken ruins of the city of Epidaurus!
Day 2. Epidaurus – Poros (20 NM)
Continue sailing the Saronic Islands by heading to Poros. Anchor your boat and take the dinghy ashore to enjoy the peaceful village, rectangular porticos and tiled roofs. Poros consisted of two islands, Sphería and Kalávria connected by a bridge over a narrow strait. This island has rich vegetation of lush pine tree forests, crystal clear beaches, a lively waterfront where you can have dinner in one of its traditional tavernas.
Day 3. Poros – Hydra (13 NM)
Set sail for the beautiful and mountainous island of Hydra, named after its natural springs by the ancient Greeks. You can reach it after a couple of hours of navigation from Poros for enjoying the quiet atmosphere that distinguishes this island where motor vehicles were banned some years ago. Hydra’s main town has a great artist community, and it is extremely rich in contemporary art and museums. Take advantage of your visit with a promenade in the nearby villages of Vilchos and Kaminia, and of course, bathe in one of its beaches!
Day 4. Hydra – Spetses (15 NM)
On day 4 of your cruise across the Saronic Gulf, you will make for Spetses Island. The village bearing the island’s name displays labyrinthic and charming streets where you can find orthodox churches as well as the City Museum. In the afternoon you can sail around the island and enjoy the mystery surrounding Bekiri’s Cave to the east, or go to Vrleros Beach, an ideal spot to let time passing until the sun goes down. On the western coast of Spetses, the beautiful sandy beach of Agia Paraskevi is one of the most picturesque sheltered cave of the island with its whitewashed church and greenery behind.
Day 5. Spetses – Ermioni (10 NM)
The morning after, wake up and leave for Ermioni, off the eastern coast of the Peloponnese. Ermioni is a seaside resort surrounded by pine tree and built on the ancient hill slopes of “Pronos”. You can walk up the hill to find the beautiful chapel of Agia Kiriaki and enjoy the striking view of the sea and of the fields of olive, citrus, and pomegranates trees. The charming little port is lined with fish tavernas, clubs and bars to spend the night out. But, the idyllic beaches around this area are the main attraction of this Peloponnese’ summer destination. The most famous are Kouverta beach (with dark-coloured sand), Petrothalassa, Dardiza (pebble beach), Sentoni, Thermisia, and Plepi.
Day 6. Ermioni – Aegina (33 NM)
In the morning, set sail for Aegina. This place is famous, above all, for having the Doric Temple of Aphaia, the ancient goddess and protector of the island, and one of the most remarkable buildings of classical Greek architecture. After savouring a delicious suvlaki (marinated chicken) in any of its restaurants, navigate to Kolona beach. You can take advantage of the last hours of the day to visit the Archaeological Museum or Apollo’s Temple. If you wish to continue sailing, you can also island-hop to the nearby islets of Moni and Metop.
Day 7. Aegina – Athens (17 NM)
After sailing the Saronic Islands, it’s time to spend a while to visit the extraordinary city of Athens. In it, you will contemplate the splendour of Ancient Greece while taking a stroll in its streets and while visiting the Acropolis. At the top of this hill, you will see historical and legendary buildings such as the Parthenon, the Erecteion, the Museum of Zeus, or Dioniso’s Theatre among others. Besides the Agora, in the city, you can get first-hand knowledge of modern Greece if you visit Syntagma Square. You can also visit the Monastiraki district or the colourful quarter of Plaka.