The best known islands in the Argosaronic Gulf are Agkistri, Aegina, Spetses, Hydra, Poros, Salamina and the peninsula of Methana. One reason these islands are popular is their close proximity to Athens, with daily ferry connection from the port of Piraeus, but ultimately it’s the ancient mythology, historical treasures and romantic atmosphere that has tourists heading to the region in droves.
Aegina is one of the most popular holiday spots for tourists and is home to a number of neoclassical mansions that were built by Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias in the early 19th Century. Myth states that the island was named after a nymph – the daughter of the river god Asopos, who Zeus fell in love with. The island is small, but fruitful when it comes to exploring, with the famous Temple of Aphea Athena and the Sanctuary of Apollo Delfinios in Kolóna island’s top highlights. Aegina Town is the capital of the island is has beautifully preserved buildings, while nearby villages like Kypseli, Agii and Vagia are also worth the visit.
Spetses is an island of romance, with horse drawn carriages, grand mansions, cobbled streets and the picturesque old harbour. The island has a long naval history and is famous for its contribution in the 1821 War of Independence as the place where the revolution flag was raised. Highlights include the House of Bouboulina, the House of Hatzigiannis Mexis and the Cathedral of Ayios Nikolaos. Dápia is the island’s tourist and commercial centre, and the island is home to an array of events, including the Armata in September, which sees a re-enactment of a naval battle.
Hydra is a destination that will take you back in time. It is one of Greece’s most romantic holiday destinations and will see you walking along narrow cobblestoned streets, past traditional stone mansions and through secluded squares. The most prominent feature though is that cars are banned – so the main mode of transportation here is the donkey. You won’t want to miss this experience. While visiting, you can explore the lavish mansions, churches and monasteries; take a walk along the waterfront; and step back into the history of the region through the many museums located here.