Saronic Gulf: Poros - Hydra - Spetses
Relaxing sailing holidays in the Saronic islands.
A sailing cruise in the Saronic Gulf can be an awesome and unforgettable experience! The beautiful coves, the crystal waters, the picturesque ports, all comprise the elements of a relaxing trip, with beautiful destinations, selected one by one.
The weather conditions and the distances from one island to the other, overall allow for an easy sailing trip: Winds are usually calm, certainly calmer compared to the open Aegean Sea. The Saronic islands are protected by the fierce winds and tall waves of the Aegean, while there is still wind to enjoy happy sailing in most of the days.
The area has been the cradle of Greek Ancient Civilization. There are many ancient monuments and sights to visit, if one wants to combine sailing holidays with cultural sight seeing: The ancient temple of Athena in Aegina and Poseidon in Sounion, the Epidavros ancient theater, as well as the palace of Argos (located farther in the mainland); these are some of the important sights to visit during your cruise in the Saronic Gulf. Furthermore, the historic ports of Spetses and Hydra compose a monument as well, where guests appreciate the aristocratic side of Greece, with casual time of relaxing on the islands! Please follow the route in detail, as it is depicted in the Chart below:
Athens - Poros - Hydra - Spetses - Spetses (or Hinitsa) - Hydra (or Dokos) - Poros (or Aegina) - Athens
The cruise starts from Alimos marina, sailing south to Poros island.
Poros port is one of the largest in the region, so it’s possible to find a berthing spot even later in the evening. If you prefer, you can spend the first night on free anchor, at the safest coast at the southwestern part of the island.
Alternatively, you can cut your route shorter, sailing to Aegina (half way), but the ports there are full. A solution is the bay of Agia Marina (northeastern coast of Aegina), but this cove is exposed to southern / eastern winds. According to wind direction, more options are available for the first night, but most ports near Athens are already full.
Hydra is the most spectacular port in the Saronic Gulf, and one of the nicest sailing destinations in Greece. The whole town comprises a historic monument, comprising so many beauties: the picturesque port, the historic building, the amphitheatric town surrounding the port.
On the way to Hydra, you can make a stop near the rocks Tselevinia for a swim, or even the south eastern cost of Poros, with crystal waters and beautiful nature.
As an alternative to Hydra, one can visit the port of Ermioni, especially when looking for a safe shelter from the strong north winds. The port of Hydra is tiny, so it’s not easy to berth safely if the winds are strong.
The port of Spetses is equally impressive in terms of historic value. Actually, both islands concentrated the wealth, arising from the commercial power of the Greek fleet in previous centuries. Rich ship owners of previous era constructed the towns with style and elegance.
Berthing in Spetses ports is rather tricky. One option is the Old Port, at the northwestern side of the island. Only few spots allow berthing at the dock; most yachts anchor inside the port and possibly get a line to the shore for stability. The alternative is to dock at the southern side of the dock near Dapia port, but the spots there are very limited, and are also exposed to the south winds. In either case, after berthing you can enjoy a wonderful day in the picturesque port. Nightlife is vivid, with busy restaurants and bars that stay open till late night.
The next day you can enjoy a night on free anchor in nearby spots: Spetses is gifted with beautiful coves at the southern – eastern coast. Spend the day sailing from one cove to the other, enjoying the natural beauty of the island. Depending on wind conditions, you can select a safe spot to spend the night. You can visit also the neighboring islet of Hinitsa, just 1-2 miles from Spetses port, and relax in a serene natural environment, so close to the mainland, and yet so unique!
Note that like every night on free anchor, weather forecast must be investigated and the anchor point must be selected according to the forecast...
Getting the way back to Athens, the next stop can be the islet of Dokos. This is an uninhabited spot, near Hydra, composed of a large bay with space for many yachts to anchor away from each other. The natural environment stimulates a relaxing feeling, where you can appreciate nature without any obstruction from “human civilization”. Keep in mind with the winds, as the bay is exposed to the north winds, although the island offers a very safe anchorage.
There are some alternatives to this destination. The southern coast of Hydra island also offers beautiful spots for free anchorage, lost in a beautiful natural landscape.
On the other hand, if you wish to berth in a port and visit a town, instead of free anchor, the port of Ermioni is located next to Dokos and offers safe berth and cozy tavernas for a relaxing afternoon.
Poros offers many options to spend your day, while offering safe anchorage, so you can visit the island for a second time. Depending on how you spent the first night, you can now visit the protected bays in the southwestern coast or the port. The bays are ideal for anchorage, possibly using also a line ashore, ideally toward the wind direction.
Alternatively, you can also visit the port of Epidavros and the ancient theater or the island of Aegina (bay of Agia Marina, port of Perdika, etc.).
The last day make a relaxing plan: If you start from Poros, there is a good 5-hour route, so you might wish to start the day early, so that there is adequate time for a swim in mid-day in Aegina island. If you spent the night in Aegina, there are different bays to visit, for a swim in amazing waters. Return to the home port is expected at 17:00 pm. After checking the yacht, you have plenty of time to organize a visit to Athens city center or the South Coast and close the week in an exciting way!
What can I say... This was hands down one of the best trips I have ever taken. My husband and I were able to chart our route closely with Kostas. We explored remote uninhabited island cove beaches, swam with a cornucopia of sea life, and had great laughs under the clear Greek skies. In fact we are already working on next year's sailing trip and we can't wait!Judy, Cyclades, October 2016