Images of picture-perfect beaches and tranquil island lifestyle, backed by rich history and culture make the Greek Islands much sought after destinations. With over 200 inhabited islands around the country’s surrounding seas, and thousands more that are uninhabited, island hopping around Greece could last a lifetime. Near Athens, the Aegean Sea is home to a number of volcanic islands that make for excellent day trips, particularly the Saronic Islands.
From the heart of Greece, numerous tours connect visitors to the islands. Many trips are particularly appealing to travellers who want to enjoy their independence rather than conform to organised activities: cruises and trips coordinate the transport and accommodation, leaving the rest to be arranged by the guests themselves. Below we’ve selected four of the best Greek island tours from Athens, selected with varying budgets and itineraries in mind.
From €109/ per person
Despite their proximity to Athens’s Piraeus port, across the Saronic Gulf, the Saronic Islands exist at a completely different pace. This full-day tour takes in three of the main islands of the group, each one offering something different and unique to visitors: Hydra, with its timeless fishing villages scattered up craggy slopes; the serene forests and lemon groves of Poros, with its charming little town; and the stunning beaches of Aegina, backed by groves of pistachios and historic Ancient Greek temple. Each stop allows at least an hour of exploration, with an extra 30 minutes for Aegina. Lunch is provided in the price, with hotel pickups and transfers to the port from which the boat disembarks also included.
From €89/ per person
If you’d prefer to spend less time on a boat and more time exploring the islands, then this two-island-stop tour takes in Aegina and Agistri islands, both of which lie closer to Athens than some of the other Saronic Islands. Agistri is also known for its pistachio groves and there’ll be plenty of opportunity to try the desserts and treats that make full use of them. On board the boat, an archaeologist guide provides valuable insight into the islands’ pasts as well as advice on where to go to best spend your three or four available hours on each island, be it swimming in the clear seas, spending time on secluded beaches or exploring ancient ruins.
FROM: €109/per person
Cruise to three Greek Islands: Poros, Hydra and Aegina on this full-day tour. Each island is enjoyed independently with the tour organising transport, hotel pick-up and drop-off as well as proving a Greek lunch aboard your boat. For an additional cost, tours of the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina Island are offered to guests. During the return journey, relax with entertainment of Greek folklore, traditional music and dancing. There is the opportunity to upgrade this tour, and enjoy the comfort of the boats VIP lounge and unlimited refreshments.
From €115/ per person
A unique island in the Aegean Sea, a trip to Hydra transports travellers back in time to an island where modern construction is prohibited and life ambles by at a relaxed Mediterranean pace. Over 12-hours, travel from Athens to Hydra via ferry, and explore the charming streets, family run eateries and local atmosphere of the main town. Very little traffic is allowed on the island, with bicycles, donkeys and water taxis navigating the island’s stone streets and waterways. This tour includes all transport, with all other activities open to guests at their own expense, providing the freedom to enjoy Hydra in your own way.