One Day Cruise from Athens – Hydra, Poros, Aegina
If you’ve seen the main historical sites of Athens and are now looking to soak up the beauty and atmosphere of the islands, then this One Day Cruise From Athens is the perfect way to get a quick taster without having to take an extra holiday to go further afield. Many people think you have to travel on long ferries to reach other islands from Athens, but Hydra, Poros and Aegina are just a couple of hours offshore so make an ideal day trip.
I have been lucky enough to enjoy this one-day cruise three times already, as each time friends and family come to visit Athens they also love heading out to the coast. Not that I’m complaining, though! This cruise always offers a lovely day out and provides visitors with the perfect balance of history, culture, sight-seeing, and beach relaxation.
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Located in the Saronic Gulf, Hydra, Poros, and Aegina are three absolutely charming islands and are all well worth a visit and that’s what makes this day trip so great as you don’t have to choose between them but can enjoy all three! Hydra is known as The Living Museum, Poros is the Neoclassical one and Aegina was the First Capital of Modern Greece.
The One Day Cruise from Athens with Evermore Cruises departs from the Kalitheas Marina at 8am aboard the “Cosmos”, a lovely modern ship that has been upgraded to include six bars, five luxurious lounges and smart indoor and outdoor spaces from where you can take in the impressive views.
From the marina, you start the day with a three-hour cruise to the first island, Hydra. This is a gentle and relaxing journey and guests can enjoy drinks from the bar, sunbathing on deck, or listen to the multilingual guide about the different sights and islands you are passing by. As you’re busy soaking up the beauty of Greece these three hours will pass in a flash and you’ll be at your first stop in no time.
First stop on the one day cruise: Hydra
Hydra is a stunning, historic island that is truly unspoiled by modern life, so it’s no surprise that it is regularly voted as one of the most beautiful islands in the world. This picturesque island is car-free so the only way to explore is on foot or by the only means of transport: horse or donkey!
Guests have two hours to discover the island of Hydra (the island loved by singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen), taking time to wander around the marina town or taking a walking tour with one of the on-board guides.
The walking tour (which I did when I traveled on the VIP cruise) takes you through the meandering streets of Hydra, stopping off at a monastery, a traditional house, a museum and the oldest pastry shop on the island where we were able to try a local almond dessert.
Whether you opt for the tour or not, you’ll want to make sure you take plenty of photographs and allow yourself to feel the magic and beauty of the place.
You’ll then head back to the ship, where half of the guests will enjoy the buffet lunch served on board (the other half will have lunch on the journey between the next two islands). This buffet lunch features a great range of meat, fish, pasta and salad (or you can opt for additional choices at cost from the VIP menu). The VIP buffet is especially tasty and there was plenty to go around so you’ll be more than satisfied!
Second stop of the one day cruise: Poros
The next stop on your day trip is Poros, an island located around one hour from Hydra. Poros is a sweet island situated close to the Peloponnese, with white-washed, terracotta-roofed houses and lush-scented pine forest backing the town.
The pride and joy of the residents of Poros is the city’s historic clock tower so walking up to this on the top of the hill is a must. This vantage point above the town also gives visitors a wonderful vista of the sea and the rest of the Peloponnese and you might even be able to spot a small beach or two where you can walk to if you have time!
After exploring Poros, it will be back to the boat once more for the rest of the guests to have lunch while the other half soak up the sun on deck. This next leg of the journey is around one hour again, so you have enough time to grab a drink and take in the views.
Third stop on the one day cruise: Aegina
Arriving in Aegina you’ll be presented with a few different options of what you can do on the island. You can either spend time independently exploring the main town, or you can take a speedboat (6-minute ride) over to the small island of Agistri where you can swim and sunbathe for a few hours.
Alternatively, you can take a tour of either the ancient temple of Aphaia or the grand Church of Saint Nectarios. These are all worthwhile options and it really depends on what type of experience you’d prefer. The trips to Aphaia and St. Nectarios are full of history and culture, while the time spent at Agistri allows you to fully relax on the warm sandy shore.
Whichever option you choose you’ll also be able to spend some time back in the main town where you can pick up any last-minute postcards or souvenirs. I always like to buy some Aegina pistachios when I visit as they are produced locally and are some of my favourites!
Travelling back to Athens, all guests will enjoy some on-board entertainment with a live orchestra playing Greek music and some of the staff members donning their traditional dress and showing off the local dance moves. If you fancy it, you can even get up and learn a few of the famous moves. After everyone has had a day in the sun with a few drinks most people are usually up for a bit of a party and it can be a really fun way to end the day.
You’ll arrive back at the port around 7pm and then will either take your transfer back to your hotel or take a taxi/car/public transport back to the city centre.
Guests can choose to travel standard or VIP depending on their budget and preferences. I have experienced both and, to be honest, had a fantastic trip both times. The standard cruise includes stops at each island and a rich and varied buffet lunch. While the VIP service boasts a higher standard buffet and finger food (served in a business class area), unlimited water, filter coffee and soft drinks, a visit to the ship’s bridge to meet with the Captain, a walking tour in Hydra or a
Panoramic tour in Aegina, discount on board, fast-track embarkation and disembarkation, and round-trip transfers from your hotel in Athens. There is then an even higher level; the VIP Executive Cabin Suite. This is a service that offers all of the benefits of the VIP package but with the addition of a private executive cabin.
I always enjoy my experiences with Evermore Cruises and would definitely recommend this one-day, three-island tour for anyone wishing to get a taster of the Greek islands during a day trip from Athens. Not only are the islands pristine and welcoming, but the staff on-board and friendly and professional, the food is great and the options available at each island ensure everyone will be entertained.