One of the best thing when you spend time in Greece, that you don’t have to chose between the capital (Athens) and the famous Greek islands. You can plan your holiday in Athens and do a one- or two-days Greek islands hopping trips to the close islands.
There are many amazing, known and less-known Greek islands that you can visit in one day and return the same day to Athens. Or do a few days island hopping and see some spectacular Greek islands near to the mainland.
A tip from us:
No need to pay those one-day island hopping trips. Usually those are little crowded and way too touristy. They also tend to over-plan: you visit many islands but won’t have the chance to spend time on each. You can just plan your own ways, from the port of Pireas.
The wonderful island of Hydra
A little more than 1 hour from Athens, Hydra island is ideal for a day-trip. This charming island is completely traffic-free (no cars or scooters allowed).
Arrive to the port and take a stroll among the magnificent 18th-century mansions.
Hydra’s beaches are stunning and tranquil. If you are searching for an undisturbed paradise, something that you see in the movie Blue Lagoon, Hydra is your place to go.
You can find charming coffee shops on the port, where you may want to spend some time to enjoy the view and the vibes.
Beaches on Hydra
Hydronetta – A laid back rocky beach close to Hydra port
Our absolute favorite rare find beach. This beach is 5 minutes walk from the port of Hydra. It is on the rocks with small sun decks and a nice bar, which plays chill-out music almost all day long. Nice cocktails , wine, magnificent view and crystal-clear water.
Basically you will not want to leave once you are there. It is totally understandable. Spend your day here and enjoy some drinks and nice food.
Important to know, if you plan to go to Hydronetta: this is not a kid friendly beach. Only visit if you are a safe swimmer, since it is on the rocks and no possibility to walk in shallow waters.
Plakes Beach – A family friendly beach with a nice tavern
Little further from the port of Hydra find the pebbled beach of Plakes. This beach is right next to the Four Seasons Hydra hotel and it is equipped with sun-loungers and umbrellas.
This beach is great to visit also with kids, since the water is shallow. You can also spend the whole day here, because the beach has a seafront taverna with delicious sea-food and salads.
Take a ride around Hydra island with water taxi
On of our favorite experience is to go around the island with water taxi. You can enjoy the ride for few euros. Taxis leave and arrive regularly, so you can just hop on and off, but make sure to ask their schedule upfrong, if you are not that flexible. Breathtaking experience – we promise.
Disclaimer: Our team is an animal – and environment friendly team. We support sustainable travel and fair treatment of all beings. We are strictly against the exploitation of the donkeys on the Greek islands, like Hydra. Support this movement by saying no to this type of transport. Thank you!
How to get to Hydra:
At the port of Piraeus, you’ll board the Flying Dolphin for a quick and comfort table hydrofoil ride to the harbor town of Hydra.
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Aegina – the island with rich history
Aegina is quite a large island and it is the closest island to the port of Pireas in Athens.
You can spend a full day here, visiting some traditional villages, the biggest monastery across south Europe, and see some history.
It is advisable to take a car to this island to drive around. By foot you can enjoy the hora (village, small town) of Aegina on the main port.
Must see places when you are on Aegina island
Temple of Aphea Athena – An important historic monument
A very well preserved, 2500 years old Doric Temple, named the temple of Aphea Athena. This is the most important historic monument on the island. Interesting to know that this temple forms a triangle with the Parthenon and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion. This triangle of the 3 great historic monuments is called “holy triangle” of antiquity.
(When the weather is clear you can see from the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio the temple of Aphea Athena. Truly breathtaking experience.) Excavation findings are on display at the Archaeological Museum of Aegina.
Saint Nektarios Monastery – one of the largest monasteries in the Balkans.
The impressive Monastery of Agios Nektarios was built in the 20th Century (between 1904 and 1910) on the site of a small Byzantine monastery.Visit the church inside the monastery and see of inside the most impressive orthodox church interiors. Prepare for at least one hour of walking around and admiring the silver and gold ornamentation. After visiting the church you can walk up the stairs (many stairs) surrounded by beautiful flowers and plants. You will find smaller chapels on your way as well as the area where the permanent inhabitants of the monastery live.
The monastery was built in the 20th Century (between 1904 and 1910) on the site of a small Byzantine monastery.
Perdika – the picturesque fishing village of Aegina
After the unforgettable historical adventures, the best is to take a ride to the small fishing village of Perdika – for the best seafood in the area.
Pérdika- the famous fishing village with serval fish tavern to sit and taste the superb selection of fish, seafood and other Mediterranean dishes.
You can choose any of the tavernas overlooking the sea. All of them has fresh fish from the local fishermen. Don’t forget to taste some wine, when you are here. You can ask for house wine – you will be satisfied by the fruitiness and freshness.
Moni island next to Aegina- an uninhibited island with rich flora and fauna and of course crystal waters. Oh the peacocks on the beach too!
Once you are in Perdika proceed to Moni island . Basically you only have to hop on one of the small boats, which park right in front of the tavernas in Perdika. Pay around 3-4 euros and they will take you to Moni island – takes around 10 minutes on a boat to get there. Tip: don’t forget to ask when the last small boat leaves from Moni island, so you don’t stuck on a deserted island for the night. (Though it is totally safe).
How to get to Aegina
Take a ferry from Pireas piort. Ferries leave almost every hour from the port of Pireas in the summertime to this island.
Important note: Aegina has 3 ports: Aegina Port, Souvala Port, and Agia Marina Port.
Make sure of the port of departure on your way back from the island. (Most ferries arrive and depart from the main port of Aegina town, but it is good to double check).