Stunning Greek Islands Within 2 Hours of Athens

Poros is home to the trailblazing Gallery Citronne
Poros is home to the trailblazing Gallery Citronne | © Cavan Images / Getty Images
Ethel Dilouambaka

Craving an island holiday after discovering Athens? Check out our pick of the most beautiful islands just a hop, skip and a jump of the Greek capital, all easily reachable by car or public transport.

Loved by over 40s

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.

Connected via three ports (Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrion), Athens puts you right on the doorstep of many beautiful islands. Piraeus is the largest; from there you can take a ferry after transferring via public transport from the airport. Rafina is the second port, located 30km (19mi) from the city centre and only 10km (6mi) from the airport. It can be reached by bus or taxi. At the southernmost tip of Attica peninsula, Lavrio is about 60km (37mi) from Athen city centre and 25km (16mi) from the airport. Again, it can be reached by taxi or bus.


Aegina is part of the Saronic Islands and only 37km (23mi) from Athens. After a 40-minute ride on a hydrofoil ferry from Piraeus, you can discover the many charms of the island. Explore the Temple of Aphaia, which dates back to around 500BCE. The Monastery of Saint Nektarios shouldn’t be missed; nor should Paleohora, the former medieval capital. There’s also an archeological museum, where you can admire ruins and walls from the Neolithic period. Of course, is it really a Greek holiday without a good beach? Aegina has several worth visiting, such as Marathonas and Kleidi.


Another island in the Saronic Gulf, Hydra feels unspoiled, thanks to motor vehicles being forbidden. It’s an excellent getaway from bustling Athens, not to mention a paradise for hiking enthusiasts: stunning 18th-century villas pack the waterfront, alongside cafés, restaurants and several museums. The trek from town to Kamini is a particular must-see, while the secluded beaches of Bisti, Limnioniza and Agios Nikolaos are perfect for a relaxing beach day.


Spetses is a charming verdant island known for its neoclassical houses and role in the Greek War of Independence. This is another spot are cars aren’t allowed, so rent a scooter and go explore to find your little piece of paradise. Agia Anarghiri and Agia Paraskevi beaches – each a few kilometres away from the main town – are ideal on hot, summer days. But, don’t spend all your time at the beach; Spetses boasts interesting museums, such as the Spetses Museum or Bouboulina Museum.


Agistri, or Angistri, is just a short ferry ride from Athens, making it a popular weekend destination. It’s a small paradise where you can relax on pebbly beaches such as Aponisos or Dragonera. The beautiful waters there are ideal for swimming, diving and snorkelling alongside tranquil little villages.


Consisting of two islands (Sferia and Kalavria) connected by an artificial canal, Poros is separated from the Peloponnese by a narrow sea channel. Sferia has beautiful neoclassical houses, while pine-covered Kalavria is where you’ll find secluded beaches and hotels. Attracting many from Athens for a weekend or day trip, Poros is home to the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon. Climb up to the clock tower to enjoy all-encompassing views over the bay.


A Cycladic island well under the tourist radar, Kythnos has picturesque villages, crystal-clear waters and golden beaches. Tranquil and serene, yet with a traditional character, Kythnos is an unspoiled gem worth discovering.


Kea, or Tzia, proves popular with Athenians during the summer. However, all year-round, the island has a rich history, quiet beaches and quaint seaside villages. Visit the Lion of Kea, an ancient sculpture from around 600BCE, still in remarkable condition. Ancient Karthea is an archeological site to visit, featuring the ruins of a temple and theatre. Kea is also home to beautiful beaches, where you can enjoy some water fun.


Andros is perfect for hiking enthusiasts, water-sport aficionados and art lovers. Andros has a museum of contemporary art, as well as an archaeological museum and a museum on the olive tree. It also boasts remarkable beaches: Agios Petros, Ormos, Batsi, Korthi and Tis Grias To Pidima are all incredible. A visit to the Byzantine monastery offers a panoramic view over the deep, blue sea.

Christina Collins contributed additional reporting to this article.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.