Are you planning your next sailing holiday in Greece, but still need to explore the possible destinations on your route? Don’t worry, we all know that feeling. With so many beautiful islands and white beaches, deciding which ones are a real “must-see” can be difficult. That’s why we’ve created a clear sailing route that includes almost all the islands in the Saronic Gulf. Start your next sailing adventure and go island hopping in Greece!
From picturesque harbours and cosy villages to waterfront bars and breathtaking sunsets, we’ve ensured you see it all! You can best rent a yacht from the Athens region to visit the following islands. Let’s start with…
Day #1 – Athens to Aegina
You begin by picking up your rented sailboat or catamaran in Athens, this is the starting point. Once you have checked in and stocked up on provisions, you can confidently embark on your adventure. Navigate to the island of Aegina, just 15 nautical miles to the southwest. The island’s harbour offers good shelter, perfect for enjoying a traditional meal or coffee in a nearby café.
Remember, it’s important to always be prepared at sea, so always have enough provisions on board. Check out our packing list to be fully prepared for the trip! After shopping, visit the beautiful church of Agios Nikolaios or the ancient temple of Aphaia. Take a walk and grab a pistachio ice cream. Aegina is known for its pistachios, and they make the tastiest treats here!
Day #2 – Aegina to Poros
It’s time to sail south from Aegina, about 13 nautical miles away. Here you will reach the sheltered entrance of the Poros lagoon, keep an eye out for the ferries that often appear at the entrance. In the lagoon, plenty of beautiful anchorages are perfect for a lunch break or a swim in the water.
Also visit the town of Poros, which stretches into the distance. The blue and white church tower above the harbour is a must-see, and we recommend walking up the hill at the end of the afternoon. You will be rewarded with a fantastic view and a perfect sunset. Poros is the prime destination when you are island hopping in Greece.
Day #3 – Poros to Ermioni
Today we set course for Ermioni. When you leave Poros through the southern canal, you have a beautiful view of the buildings by the water. You then sail through the narrowest sea lane in the world! After 5 miles you round the peninsula, and after another 14 miles west you arrive in Ermioni. This beautiful town is located on a narrow peninsula. You can also go to the south side, also known as Mandraki. Here you can refuel or enjoy more fantastic food in the friendly restaurants. After all, it’s a holiday. Please note that anchoring at the pontoons on the north side may be better in case of southerly winds. They are closer to the town centre and local shops.
Day #4 – Ermioni to Hydra
Hydra is easily accessible from Ermioni but can also be reached from Poros, making it an iconic destination you should consider. You can also return here on your way back to Athens. The island has only one main town, Hydra Port, which is shaped like a crescent moon and attracts boats of all kinds.
The funny thing about this place is that the only means of transportation is by donkey or mule. Yes, you read that correctly. Hydra is full of surprises, and if you think a new experience like riding a donkey is not enough, prepare yourself for the insane amounts of boats that gather here in the summer. If crowds aren’t your thing, you can opt for the alternative and anchor a few miles to the east for free. There, you can enjoy small and quieter taverns on the shore. You can best arrive at the end of the morning when visiting Hydra while island hopping in Greece. Then you have the best chance of a spot in the marina and will have all the time to explore this picturesque town.
Day #5/6 – Dokos to Spetses
After the hustle and bustle of Hydra, it’s time to relax on a quieter destination. Dokos is the perfect location for this, accessible by sailing west. Here you’ll find an unspoiled island with sheep and goats as its main inhabitants. The bay might be all yours if you’re lucky. The clear water invites you to swim and relax. Make it a private lunch stop or anchor there overnight. Where else can you find such peace and quiet?
Just 16 nautical miles southwest of Hydra, you’ll find the beautiful island of Spetses. This is the perfect stopover on the way to the Peloponnese mainland and is closer to Ermioni if you skip Hydra. Upon arrival at Baltiza Creek, be sure to take note of the metal sculptures by a local artist. Art lovers and others should not miss the island’s grand festivities, the Armata, which celebrates a sea victory and features an impressive fleet of boats, fireworks, and music. Enjoyment is guaranteed.
Day #7/8/9 – Peloponnese Mainland and Plaka Leonidio
You can reach Plaka Leonidio by sailing west from Spetses for 15 nautical miles. Here you’ll find numerous ports and anchorages. We can recommend the safe harbor. This small village is home to the aubergine summer festival, several seafood restaurants, and a long sandy beach for relaxation.
After enjoying some seafood and bright sun, you can head south along the coast until you reach the historic hilltop village of Monemvasia. However, make sure to check the weather if you plan to sail to Monemvasia, as strong southerly winds can sometimes prevail. If you’re a beginner sailor, we recommend sailing north along the coast of Leonidaion instead, where you can also make a stop at Astros. You’ll find a new port and a whole castle to explore. Make sure to bring your adventurous spirit!
Day #10 – Hinitsa Bay
We all have certain things we want to do while island hopping in Greece. If you enjoy spending days and nights in a beautiful bay behind a small island, then the peaceful anchorage of Hinitsa is the next stop. This secluded spot is located east of the entrance of Porto Heli and offers crystal clear water, more tavernas, stunning sunsets, and night skies perfect for counting stars.
Day #11/12 – The Return Journey
You’ve had a lot of fun in the past few days, but now, you might think of returning to Athens. However, this is not yet the end of your island hopping in Greece adventure. It’s an opportunity to visit places you might have missed in your first week. Remember, Spetses, Hydra, and Ermioni are just a half-day away from Hinitsa Bay. Before sailing to the Poros Canal, you can visit a beautiful anchorage at Nisos Soupia. We’ve already seen donkeys and goats, but you can see a frog here. Well, at least a rock that looks like a frog. This creation of nature is known as “Frog Rock” and will undoubtedly provide a funny travel story.
Day #13/14 – Perdika and Agistri
Every journey comes to an end. However, this doesn’t have to be bad, especially if you ensure it ends on a high note. The island of Aegina is where we started, but it’s also where we can end. Before heading back to Athens, this excellent last night stop is home to a port town called Perdika, an attractive alternative to the city of Aegina. Here, you can once again enjoy delicious food and cozy pubs overlooking the port and the nearby island of Moni.
You can quickly visit another island if you just can’t get enough. The island of Agistri has a port on its north coast. It’s ideal for visiting yachts but shallow in parts, so be sure to keep an eye on your depth meter. Here, you can also visit a typical Greek village, with whitewashed houses and walled gardens, for the final touch of Greek culture, friendly people, and beautiful nature.
Of course, come back again sometime! These islands are just a small part of Greece’s offerings; new experiences are always around the corner. To keep up with new sailing routes and news from the sailing world, please like our Facebook page and visit our blog. We’ll see you on the next adventure!
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