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Apr 12, 2024

The Best Islands Close to Athens

Panorama of Athens with Acropolis hill at sunset, Greece

It's easy to take a day trip or a longer holiday to one of the many stunning Greek islands close to Athens. Find out where to go and what to do on some of the nicest islands near Athens with our helpful guide.


Best Islands Close to Athens

The capital of Greece, Athens, is a wonderful destination in its own right but it is obviously a big city with a big city pace. Athens is, however, not far from some of the country's most wonderful islands. Taking a ferry from one of Athens's ports will get you to many of these islands in under two hours.

Some examples of these are the Cycladic islands of Andros and Tinos, as well as the Saronic islands of Aegina and Hydra.

Other popular islands are located further out, but all can be reached with a short flight on a domestic airline. This group of islands comprises not only Santorini and Mykonos but also Crete, Milos, Rhodes, Skiathos, and a few others known for their cosmopolitan atmosphere.


Here is a quick overview of the islands you can easily reach from Athens for a wonderful day trip.



1. Aegina Island

Aegina is the nearest island to the Greek capital. and the trip to Aegina from Piraeus port only takes about 40 minutes.

The island is rich in both cultural and natural attractions. Many Athenians own summer homes there because it is such a popular weekend getaway.


In Aegina, you may visit places such as: 

·      Aphaia's ancient sanctuary, constructed between 500 and 490 BC

·      The massive Agios Nektarios monastery, one of Greece's most important religious sites

·      The town of Aegina, with its winding lanes, brightly painted homes, old-world taverns, and horse-drawn carriages

·      Historical Paleochora, a city from the Middle Ages that features 40 Byzantine churches with well-preserved frescoes and icons

·      Perdika, a picturesque town known for its whitewashed homes and beautiful sunset vistas.

·      Moni, the deserted island across from Perdika village, is a great place to get away from it all and appreciate nature.


Agia Marina and Klima are only two examples of the many Aegina beaches that are equipped to accommodate visitors. However, there are also some natural beaches and quiet coves, such as Kolona beach.


Overall, Aegina is a great place for a day trip, but there's also plenty to do there if you have more time.


2. Agistri Island

It only takes a quick ferry journey from Aegina to reach the tiny island of Agistri. From Piraeus harbor, boats go to Agistri in roughly an hour.


Agistri is more laid-back than most other Greek islands despite its proximity to Athens. It has some of the greatest beaches in the Saronic Gulf and is a terrific place to visit if you're seeking some peace and quiet.


The following is a list of some of the most enjoyable things to do in Agistri: 

·      Beaches like Aponisos, Mariza, Halikiada, and Dragonera are perfect for a day of relaxation and exploration in the sun

·      Rent a bike to explore the island at your own pace

·      Experience the thrill of a trek amid the tall pines

·      Stop by one of the many seaside taverns in the ports of Scala and Megalochori for a bite to eat or a cup of coffee


Agistri is perhaps one of the best islands near Athens to visit if you want to get away from the concrete jungle and reconnect with nature. It's a nice place for a day trip, however beachgoers can certainly spend more time here if they so choose.



3. Poros Island

Poros, another island in the Saronic Gulf, is found near the Peloponnese. From the port of Piraeus, the trip takes 1 hour and 15 minutes.


Poros is a popular stop on day trips from Athens to the neighboring islands of Aegina and Hydra. If you don't want to rely on ferries to go across Greece, this is an alternate mode of transportation you can use.


The following is a list of some of the most enjoyable things to do in Poros:

·      The port town is a great place to take a stroll and see some beautiful historic homes and a clock tower that dates back a hundred years

·      Learn more about Poros' rich past by visiting the city's Archeological Museum

·      Stop by the Poseidon Temple Ruins.

·      Marvel at the paintings at St. George's Cathedral

·      Visit the stunning Zoodochos Pigi Monastery


Poros is one of the Saronic Islands that has the most vegetation, hence many of the beaches enjoy the natural shade. Tourists interested in nature can ride bicycles, hike, and swim in the island's pristine waters throughout their stay.


4. Spetses Island

The island of Spetses is another option for those looking to explore the Saronic Gulf. Since it takes approx. two hours and fifteen minutes to travel there from Piraeus, it is the farthest away of the islands mentioned in this blog.


The island's multicultural population and its association with Greece's Independence Day have contributed to the island's worldwide recognition as a tourist destination. Because of its proximity to Athens and well-developed tourism infrastructure, this island is extremely well-liked by visitors.


Some of the top attractions on Spetses include:

·      Take a stroll through the harbor and take in the town's historic charm and newly renovated houses

·      See the exhibits honoring the life of the world's first female admiral, Laskarina Bouboulina, at the museum in the city's oldest district of Kasteli

·      Relax in a cafe or pub in the trendy Dapia neighborhood

·      Enjoy various outdoor activities like swimming, cycling, and riding horses


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5. Hydra Island

The Greek island of Hydra is known as one of the most diverse and progressive in the country. Boats from Piraeus take about an hour and a half, making it a popular weekend getaway for Athenians.


Hydra is a great place to visit if you're looking to unwind while also learning about its fascinating past and ancient architecture. You might think you've gone back in time because there are no cars on the island. And Leonard Cohen fans are in for a treat because the legendary singer/songwriter lived in Hydra for years and loved it.


Some of the best attractions and activities you can try on Hydra Island include the following:

·      The primary settlement, which is home to numerous stately homes and museums

·      The trails that lead to the wilderness and different beaches

·      The convent of Saint Eupraxia and the adjoining monastery of Prophet Elias

6. Andros Island

Rafina port, which is located one hour outside of the center of Athens, provides access to Andros, a wonderful island very close to the city. Ferries from Rafina to Andros depart in an hour on the fast route and in two hours on the slower route.


After Naxos, Andros is the second-largest island in the Cyclades. It's a wild, hilly island with more than 170 gorgeous beaches, charming tiny towns, and lots to do.


Here are a handful of Andros' highlights:

·      The Venetian fortress at Chora, Andros's largest city

·      Chora's Archaeological Museum and Museum of Modern Art

·      Ano Pitrofos' Cyclades Olive Museum, a museum devoted to the cultivation of olives and the manufacture of olive oil

·      The extensive hiking paths

·      All the island's breathtaking coves and beaches


7. Kea Island

The Cycladic island of Kea (or Tzia) is very close to Athens, only an hour on the boat from Lavrio port, which is close to Cape Sounion, to reach Kea.


Kea is visually distinct from the other Cycladic islands. You won't see any of the stereotypically "American" white-washed cottages or "Christian" blue-domed churches, but rather stone structures in muted tones of brown and gray.


Some of Kea's best features are as follows:

·      Ioulida, the capital city, is a stunning place to spend some time; the castle and archaeological museum are also worth your time.

·      Beautiful coastlines such as Korrisia, Koundouros, and Gialiskari.

·      Excavations at the Ruins of Ancient Karthea

·      Attractive towns such as Otzias, Korissia, and Vourkari.


Kea has maintained its historic character despite its proximity to Athens. This makes it a great destination for a short trip or an extended vacation.


Blue calm sea water and sky, landscape of Kea island, Greece in springtime


If you find yourself in beautiful and historic Athens, why not consider visiting some of the many islands off the shores of Greece? We highly recommend treating yourself to at least a day trip to explore the gorgeous beaches, glorious landscapes and relaxed atmosphere of these paradise islands. Take a little break from the big city and cultural capital and enjoy the vibes of some of the greatest islands in the Mediterranean.

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