One of the many advantages this city has to offer is a handful of little islands just a short boat ride away. Some of which include Poros, Spetses and Tzia, perfect examples of how a small paradise can be hidden right there at arm’s reach.
…”I don’t know which affected me more deeply-the story of the lemon groves just opposite us or the sight of Poros itself when suddenly I realized we were sailing through the streets. If there is one dream which I like above all others it is that of sailing on land. Coming into Poros gives the illusion of the deep dream. Suddenly the land converges on all sides and the boat is squeezed into a narrow strait from which there is no egress. The men and women of Poros are hanging out of the windows just above your head. You pull in right under their frosty nostrils, as though for a shave and a haircut en route. The loungers on the quay are walking with the same speed as the boat. They can walk faster than the boat if they choose to quicken their pace…” That is what famous American writer Henry Miller wrote about this little gem in his book depicting Greece “The Colossus of Maroussi”.
This little pine tree covered volcanic rock still maintains some of this charm. Just an hour long boat ride away from Athens, or less if you take a hydrofoil. Alternatively, you can get there by driving or taking a bus to Galatas, which is located on the mainland across from Poros, and then catch a boat which will take no longer than a few minutes, as the distance is just over 200 meters. An ideal place to visit without having to lose time traveling.
This small island – just 31 square kilometers, and with 3500 inhabitants – was always favorited by Athenians as a weekend getaway, as it offers tranquility and beauty.
Lush pine forests reach the water’s edge, coloring them a tropical crystal green. Many small organized beaches like Askeli, Love Bay and Neorio and secluded coves are scattered around just short walking or biking distances away. There are many water sports centers with fun games for all ages, from banana slides to water skiing. This part of the Saronic Gulf is usually calm around these small islands, making it a perfect location for sailing schools and boat rental shops. Being famous as a sailing destination, there are many sailing companies there that organize courses and sailing trips around the island itself, including the eastern coasts of the Peloponnese.
The main town with its colorful seafront is full of nice restaurants, relaxing cafes and little narrow backstreets to explore. You can also visit the local archeological museum with findings from the island and the nearby Peloponnesian coast. The Shell Museum with a permanent exhibition of shells from the Greek seas at the Chatzopouleios Library is worth a visit.
Just in case you were wondering as to why you might see a crowd of sailors roaming around the town, the Hellenic War Navy’s main training naval base is based on the island.
Don’t forget to visit “Lemonodasos”, (Lemon Forest in English), with more than 20.000 lemon trees; located right across the island on the mainland, outside the town of Galatas. The suggested period for visiting this Park is during the springtime, where the lemon trees start to blossom, and fill your lungs with the magnificent smell that lingers throughout the area.
Cover Image Credit: Tilemahos Efthimiadis