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Athens is connected to the islands via three ports: Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrion.
Piraeus is the largest one, from where the majority of ferries depar. Carrying around 20 million passengers a year, it is the third busiest port in the world. It can easily be accessed via public transport, including a bus connection to and from the airport. Rafina is the second port of Athens, and located 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the centre of Athens and only 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the airport. It can be reached by bus or by taxi. At the southernmost tip of Attica peninsula, Lavrio is a small, coastal town with a port that connects it to the islands. It is situated about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the center and 25 kilometers (16 miles) from the airport and can be reached by taxi or bus.
Aegina, part of the Saronic Islands, is one of the nearest islands to Athens. After a 40-minute ride on a hydrofoil ferry from Piraeus, you can discover Aegina and its many charms. Explore the Temple of Aphaia, dating back to around 500 BC, the Monastery of Saint Nektarios and Paleohora, the former medieval capital, now abandoned. The island also has an archeological museum of Aegina, where you can admire ruins and walls from the Neolithic period. Aegina also has several beaches worth visiting, such as Marathonas, Kleidi and Keri beaches.
From Piraeus: 40 minutes
Another island in the Saronic Gulf, Hydra boasts an unspoiled character, as motor vehicles are forbidden on the island. It is therefore an excellent getaway from bustling Athens. With stunning 18th-century villas on the waterfront, little cafés and restaurants and several museums, Hydra is a paradise for hiking enthusiasts. The trek from Hydra’s town to Kamini is a particular must-see, while the secluded beaches of Bisti, Liminioza and Agios Nikolaos are perfect for a relaxing beach day.
From Piraeus: 1.5 to 2 hours
Known for its neoclassical houses, cobblestone streets, and its role in the Greek War of Independence, Spetses is a charming verdant island where cars are also forbidden. Just rent a scooter and go explore the island to find your little piece of paradise. Agia Anarghiri and Agia Paraskevi beaches, 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’s Museum.
From Piraeus: 2 to 3 hours
Agistri, or Angistri, is a tiny island in the Saronic Islands, close to Aegina. A short ferry ride from Athens, Agistri is a popular weekend destination. Boasting beautiful waters for swimming or diving and snorkeling, tranquil little villages, Agistri is a small paradise where you can relax on pebbly beaches such as Aponisos or Dragonera.
From Piraeus: 55 minutes
Consisting of two islands, Sferia and Kalavria both connected by an artificial canal, Poros is separated from the Peloponnese by a narrow sea channel. The island of Sferia is occupied by the town of Poros, boasting beautiful neoclassical houses while pine-covered Kalavria is where you will find secluded beaches and hotels. Attracting many travelers from Athens for a weekend or a 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.
From Piraeus: 1 hour
A hidden Cycladic island under the radar, Kythnos has picturesque villages, crystal-clear waters and golden beaches. The island may not be a touristy destination but it attracts many visitors with its hot springs. Tranquil and serene, with a traditional character, Kythnos is an unspoiled gem worth discovering.
From Piraeus: 1.5 hours (by speedboat)
From Lavrio: 2 hours
A Cycladic island close to the mainland, Kea, or Tzia, has a particular architecture distinct from the rest of the island group. Popular with Athenians during the summer and all year-round, Kea boasts a rich history, quiet beaches and quaint seaside villages. Visit the Lion of Kea, an ancient sculpture dating from around 600 BC, still in remarkable condition. Ancient Karthea is a notable archeological site to visit, and features the ruins of a temple and theater. Kea is also home to beautiful beaches, where you can enjoy some water fun.
From Lavrio: 1 hour
A verdant and lush island in the far north of the Cyclades group, Andros is perfect for hiking enthusiasts, water sport aficionados and art lovers. Featuring a museum of contemporary art, as well as an archaeological museum and a museum focusing on the olive tree, Andros boasts remarkable beaches, such as Agios Petros, Ormos, Batsi, Korthi or the iconic beach of Tis Grias To Pidima. A visit to the Byzantine monastery offers panoramic view over the deep, blue sea.
From Rafina: 2 hours