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The Saronic and Argolic Gulf
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Home > Itineraries > The Saronic & Argolic Gulf

The Saronic and Argolic Gulf


Day 1

Athens - Poros (31 miles)

Day 2

Poros - Hydra (14 miles)

Day 3

Hydra - Spetses (17 miles)

Day 4

Spetses - Tolo - Nafplion (27 miles)

Day 5

Nafplion - Porto Heli (26 miles)

Day 6

Porto Heli - Hermioni (15 miles)

Day 7

Hermioni - Moni- Aegina (25 miles)

Day 8

Aegina - Athens (18 miles)

POROS: called Kalavria in ancient times, was the island of Poseidon, god of the sea. The town of Poros is actually an island in itself separated by a small canal from the rest of the island. In ancient times it was two islands, Spheria and Kalavria, which gradually joined by an isthmus of sand. Kalavria, the larger island was wooded and had lots of water. Spheria, which is now Poros town, was a volcano. The approach by sea is probably one of the most beautiful in Greece. You could start your day by visiting the Archaeological Museum in the port of Poros as well as taking a walk as far as the clock-tower, the town's highest point and the island's "trademark".

Poros does not have the incredible long sandy beaches of the Cyclades, but the beaches of Poros are small, shaded and calm, even on the windiest days. The best taverna may be 'Dimitris the Butcher Shop', located on the top of the town of Poros. His specialty is the finest fresh steaks and other beef, lamb, pork and chicken dishes because as the name suggests, he is a butcher. Try the pepper steak, it's delicious. He has eight children, many of who work in the restaurant. When you first sit down you are welcomed with a glass of sweet, rich dark wine that for some reason tastes perfect, even if you can't stand sweet, rich dark wines. He also has select fish and seafood and some of the most interesting clientele.

As for nightlife in Poros, the best nightclub is called 'Sirocco' which plays European music with some Greek music mixed in. Things don't really get started until around midnight but then it goes on until 4 in the morning or.....

HYDRA: Hydra is perhaps the most beautiful port village in all of Greece. A tiny harbor ringed with cafes, restaurants and gold shops is surrounded by a village of stone houses and villas that rise up the hills like an amphitheatre. But one of the best things about Hydra is that there are no cars. Everything is transferred and moved by donkey, including groceries, building supplies, people and their luggage. Hydra is the former home of composer/singer Leonard Cohen and stomping grounds of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Pink Floyd and many other famous and not so famous people.

You can get a coffee or a soda at the cafes and sit there all day long. Nobody will ask you to move like they would if you sat in a diner in the States all day with one cup of coffee. There is a very nice bookshop, which you can find by going up Miaoulis and taking your first right and going past 'Zoe's' Silver and Gold Jewelry. There is a foreign press shop on the waterfront where you can get your International Herald Tribune, USA Today, The Athens News and papers from just about any country.

The Monastery of the Panagia is right in the port, with its entrance by the clock tower. The monks' cells are now municipal offices but you can go in and admire the church, the marble stones and columns and visit the small museum upstairs.

The most traditional restaurant by far is 'Leonidas Taverna' in Kala Pigadia. Take Miaoulis, the road next to the monastery and keep walking and eventually you will see it on your right...maybe. But your best bet is to call and make reservations before you come because it is small and popular. Easier to find is the 'Sunset' restaurant which sits on the ramparts overlooking the rocks where everyone swims just beyond the harbor. The food is excellent and the view is too. Hydra is famous for great place for dinner or lunch & an ouzo or "meze" while you watch the sunsets. Try the "Garides saganaki" which is shrimp cooked with cheese in tomato sauce.

One of the best bars is the 'Pirate', right in the port close to the monastery and just before the gold shops. There is also the famous 'Disco Heaven' above the town that gets pretty wild in the summertime. As a matter of fact most of the bars get pretty wild in the summertime. Nightlife-wise Hydra is similar to Mykonos, a smaller version of the most famous island. No doubt, if you want to party you will have fun here.

SPETSES: Unforgettable scenes of natural beauty are created by the harmonic combination of crystal clear waters and ageing pine trees. Countless picturesque coves, around the island of Spetses offer visitor's moments of peace and tranquility. Either by land or sea various forms of transportation make every part of the island fully accessible.

One should not miss visiting the Museum of Spetses, situated at the mansion of Hadziyiannis Mexis (one of the wealthiest leading activist of that era), the main mansion of heroine Laskarina Bouboulina, now a private museum and the historical monastery of St. Nicholas, where on April 3, 1821, the locals took the oath "Freedom Or Death" and joined the revolution

The most important Spetses Festival of religious and historical meaning is "Armata". Early September with weekly events leading to their peak on the 8th., the locals together with thousands of guests celebrate the anniversary of the great Spetses naval battle, one of the most significant fights of the 1821 revolution On the 8th of September 1822 a fierce naval battle took place and the enemy fleet was defeated to retreat after loosing their flagship. Spetses honors every year that courageous victory with a spectacular dramatization, which enables the thousands of viewers to re-live some of those heroic moments. Spetses has a good reputation for restaurants and food and has a plentiful selection of places to eat. The island is said to have some of the best bakeries in the Saronic Gulf and a local specialty is 'amigdalota' -- a small almond cake flavored with rosewater. Another local dish is "spetsiota" -- a fish and tomato casserole.

Visit 'Patrali' near the waterfront in Kounoupitsa for fish dishes. 'Exedra Taverna' on the old harbor front is great for fresh fish and Greek specialties. 'To Kafenio' near the Flying dolphin office in Dapia is a good place to sample traditional Greek cooking.

Spetses offers everything from bars and discos to bouzouki clubs all along the seafront from Dapia to the Old Harbor. Try 'Figaro', just ask anyone, for an international flavor were you are bond to dance or 'Zorbas', located in Kounoupitsa, which has a more Greek feel.

It's great fun shopping locally for typically regional goods such as olives, cheeses, nougat and honey, dried herbs and decorative ceramic pots. Local shops may have fairly restricted opening hours though - particularly around midday when local people take time out for a leisurely Greek lunch or siesta! The tourist shops of course stay open late at night and all day Sunday, and will accept credit cards for most purchases. Whether you're after a set of worry beads or cassettes of traditional bouzouki music, you're bound to find it.

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