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ATHENS ONE DAY CRUISE: AEGINA, POROS, HYDRA

ATHENS ONE DAY CRUISE: AEGINA, POROS, HYDRA

All aboard the giant cruise ship at 8 am in the morning and the first thing I need to do is grab a greek coffee. It’s April so the wind is quite crisp on the top deck, but the serenity makes up for the chilly wind. Our cruise ship departs Athens and we head out on an adventure to explore three islands in the Aegean sea. Our destinations are Hydra, Poros, and Aegina, each unique in their own way, which I was about to discover.

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From Athens, the first part of the cruise takes a couple of hours. There is an opportunity to have coffee, some breakfast, and hear the briefing about the day ahead. As we begin to pull into the port of Hydra, everyone aboard rushes to the deck to admire the houses and buildings sprawled across the steep hills of the island.

Hydra

I didn’t know where to begin. After stepping off the boat my senses were overwhelmed. The car-less island instead uses donkeys to transport people and goods throughout the town. Dogs lay sleeping in doorways and cats prowled throughout the winding alleys leading up the hills.

It was lucky I wasn’t heading in any particular direction because it truly was a maze. The white buildings and orange roofs paint a beautiful sight from the scenic points atop the hill. After a long climb in the sun, I finally made it to a small clearing, which overlooked a church on one side and the entire town and port on the other.

Hydra was my favorite of the three islands. Running through the maze of alleys, streets and stairs led to new discoveries around each corner. I think the absence of cars adds to the historic atmosphere in the town, which from the very first moment felt peaceful and slow-paced.

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After a brisk jog down the hill to make it back before the ship left we were on our way to the second destination of the day, Poros.

Poros

My favorite part about Poros was cruising to the port while on the ship, admiring the town from the water. I’ve never experienced towns quite like those in Greece that seems to scale the entire hill. It is probably quite unextraordinary for many Europeans but having grown up in flat urban areas, the tiered layout of the towns was something to marvel at.

athens one day cruise aegina poros hydra, ATHENS ONE DAY CRUISE REVIEW, athens island day trips
athens one day cruise aegina poros hydra, ATHENS ONE DAY CRUISE REVIEW, athens island day trips

Immediately after stepping foot onto Poros, I was lured into an ice cream store by a large man with an even larger smile. Not normally one for sweets, I have to say the vanilla ice cream was not your run-of-the-mill scoop. I’m not sure what they did to it but it was special.

We had 45 minutes to explore the island so I set off into the maze of alleys once again. My favorite little scene from the adventure was a small blue car parked in the middle of nowhere, with no people around. It was a world away from the hustle of a big city.

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I headed back to the boat eagerly anticipating the buffet lunch. A greek feast awaited. Huge spreads of authentic greek plates and salads were followed by an even bigger spread of desserts. I finished the meal off with another greek coffee in preparation for our last island adventure on Aegina.

Looking for more adventure? Check out this Saronic Gulf Itinerary for more Greek island exploration.

Aegina

Onboard, we had the option to buy a bus tour of the island scenery or a tour to the temple of Aphaia and the monastery. I decided to head to the temple of Aphaia, which was the inspiration for the Parthenon and one of the top things to do in Aegina.

I’ve never stood in front of a structure in so much awe. The temple was built in 500 B.C. It is truly remarkable and makes you feel like a tiny dot on an incredibly long timeline.

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The final stop was to the Agios Nektarios Monastery, an enormous structure, which dwarfed people as they passed through the stunning arched doors. After exploring the inside of the monastery and admiring the intricate details of the interior, I was once again lured over by an enormous smile. This time I was buying fresh, local pistachios. The salted nuts only lasted me the trip back to Athens.

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This was an amazing way to get a small taste of some of the Greek islands. In one day we covered so much ground with ample time to relax on the boat in between stops. I could have spent a week on Hydra and maybe someday I will return.

Renee

Tuesday 22nd of February 2022

Hi, we also did this cruise on our honeymoon, 19 years ago, as a last day trip prior to flying back to the US. We had a great time and rented beach loungers on the beach, got so comfy drinking Corona beer, we almost got left behind by the ferry. I learned not to listen to my husband and follow my own instinct since then! I was the last person to jump on the ferry, and the whole crowd was cheering me on so that I could run and jump, since it had already taken off! Believe me, they wait for no one­čą░ Seeing your pictures brought great memories­čÖé

Champion Halikidiki

Tuesday 8th of October 2019

Hello!I liked your post nice photos please tell us what day cruise did you take?

Andrei

Friday 4th of January 2019

Hi Jackson next time come to visit us, for different experience cruise in Athens, at All Day Cruise

Jeannie Guillory

Wednesday 7th of November 2018

hi! What day cruise did you take?