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Athens and the Saronic Gulf - City Sightseeing and Island Idyll

Yes, the dynamic Athens and calm island life of Greece can fit in the same sea holiday perfectly well. Enjoy some intense days in Athens, then rent a boat to refresh yourself on the Saronic Islands. The islands of the Saronic Gulf are Salamis, Aegina, Hydra, Poros, Spetses, Dokos and Agistri. According to some sources, Hydra and Dokos Islands against the northern shores of Peloponnese peninsula belong in the Saronic Gulf, while others place them with the Mirtoan Sea. We will consider them as part of the Saronic Gulf while planning for our yacht charter, as even these ‘farther islands’ are only 45 or 50 miles away from Athens.
 

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A Sea Holiday on Cohen’s Island

You may think that islands so close to a capital city like Athens must be too crowded and rather ruined, but that’s not the case for many islands of the Saronic Gulf. Hydra comes to mind with Leonard Cohen, thus it is certainly the star of these islands and an important stop in the yacht charter routes of the Gulf. Even this ‘most crowded’ island of the Saronics has no motor-vehicle traffic, but only donkeys! And when you sail to the humble little pretty island Agistri or to Spetses, popular as a summer resort for the high-class Greeks, you’ll have completely different experiences. You may sunbathe on the beaches of Poros and Salamis, and follow the footsteps of Greek gods and goddesses in Aegina, an important center in Ancient Greece.

Notes from Athens and the Saronic Gulf

  • Athens first: First things first, you cannot miss the incredible Acropolis. Stroll in the by-streets and take breaks in restaurants and cafés as you walk up the hill to see the museum. Visit the busy streets with many nice shops in Monastiraki and go to the old Plaka neighborhood before you rent a boat to the Aegean.
  • Bohemian life on Hydra: Leonard Cohen fell in love when he came to Hydra in the beginning of 1960s – both with the island and with Swedish Marianne Ihlen… Only 26-years-old then, Cohen bought a house on Hydra for 1,500 dollars he had inherited from his grandmother. Many of his songs were composed on Hydra. And not only Cohen has been charmed by the island – Sophia Loren starred a film set on Hydra; Brigitte Bardot, Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Yul Brynner, Beatles, Eric Clapton and many others walked Hdyra’s streets. Painters such as Picasso and Chagall were surely not to miss this bohemian beauty. Those days are kept alive on Hydra’s white houses built on steep, narrow hills, with museums, galleries and studios around. In addition to all these, the island has crystal-clear seas cherished by yacht charter clients.
  • Don’t miss the tiny Moni: Aegina Island is a wonderful place for a boat holiday. Moni is a tiny island with very few residents, where it takes a very short and pleasant time to sightsee everywhere. Moni’s beaches and coves are marvelous.
  • Swim on the Chalkiada Cove of Agistiri: You might see some few nudists living in tents by this small but very pretty cove, which has no bigger crowds. Plus, you’re free to anchor in the open sea as you have rented a boat. 
  • Visit Kazantzakis’ home as you’re on his street: Although not as famous as Hydra, Aegina Island is also known for its residents’ art works. On this beautiful stop of your boat holiday, you should visit Nikos Kazantzakis’ house, and the Christos Kapralos Museum that displays his sculptures.