Find islands close to Athens, within 2 hours

island close to athens: hydra
Hydra © Sophie B.

How to find an island close to Athens ? Greece is known all over the world for its numerous islands, of which a little less than 200 are inhabited. Some of them are very easy to reach from Athens. We therefore propose you to explore the islands closest to Athens. That is to say, those that are less than two hours by boat from the Greek capital. Perfect excursions for a day or a weekend.

Here are a few lines:

The island of Euboea, the great wild one

eubee island greece
Evia – Euboea © Sophie B.

The island of Euboea, called Evia in Greek, is large by its surface and the diversity of landscapes and activities it offers.

In the North, beautiful forests of pine trees but also the thermal city of Loutra Edipsou where you can bathe in any season, or the picturesque little port of Limni. Unfortunately this area was very affected by the terrible fires of summer 2021.

The center is more urban with the cities of Chalkida and Eretria where you will be able to discover archaeological sites.

The South, finally, also offers a lot of contrasts: you can hike on Mount Ochi or laze on the sheltered beaches of Karystos Bay.

Kea, the island of the Athenians

Kea Island Greece
By ALEXANDER PAPPAS from ATHENS, GREECE (Ioulis) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Kea (or Tzia) is an island full of charm: green valleys , steep cliffs and the beautiful village of Loulida, home to the famous Lion of Kea. Elsewhere on the island, you can go on beautiful hikes leading to hamlets and small beaches.

To enjoy the place, choose to go there outside weekends and do not hesitate to leave the very touristy port of Korisia. What to see and do in Kea?

The island of Aegina, the cultural one

egine island greece
I, Jeje42 [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

What you’ll find most captivating about Aegina, or Egina, is its rich historical heritage, which sets it apart from other islands. Aegina, once a prominent trading hub and maritime power, played a pivotal role in ancient Greece, notably during the battle of Salamis. Visitors can explore the remnants of ancient temples and discover the Byzantine village of Paleochora, offering a glimpse into the island’s glorious past.

Beyond this cultural aspect, you will appreciate the numerous activities that the island offers. Thus, you will benefit from ports of Hora and Perdika. For swimming, you can go to the Moni islet by boat, natural reserve with beaches and famous for its nice diving spot.

Agistri (or Angistri), the miniature island

agistri angistri greece
Agistri © Sophie B.

Take all the characteristics of a Greek island: wild coves, small harbors, pine forests, olive groves, pebble or sandy beaches with crystal clear waters and isolated chapels… place them on a territory 6km long by 2km wide and you have Agistri (or Angistri).

On foot, by bicycle or scooter, you can explore the island easily and discover surprisingly varied landscapes. The ports of Skala and Myli are full of life in summer. You will easily find nice places to stay and eat.

Poros, the peaceful island

poros island greece
By Gonzolito [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Poros, halfway between Aegina and Hydra, owes its island status only to the narrow channel (200 meters) that separates it from the mainland. Nevertheless, it keeps the softness of the islands with its port with pastel colored houses.

You will find beautiful and protected beaches (Askeli, Russian Bay). Unfortunately, a few large hotels spoil the scenery a bit. We find however quickly a preserved landscape inland, covered mainly by forests and home to a beautiful monastery as well as the ruins of a temple of Poseidon.

Finally, Poros is ideal for a stopover during your discovery of Epidaurus, Hermioni or Nafplio.

Hydra, the inspiring and chic island

By Herbert Ortner, Vienna, Austria [GFDL , CC BY 3.0 or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Co

What will seduce you in Hydra is first and foremost its port. The island’s white houses with orange roofs are arranged around a maze of stairs leading down to the sea. Here, cars and scooters are absent, making the island entirely pedestrian-friendly. Luggage is transported by donkey or mule, allowing visitors to explore on foot. It’s a delightful experience to discover landmarks such as Lazaro’s house, the Kimisis Tis cathedral, or the Museum of the Archives.

It is this quietness of an island without vehicles that one comes to seek. It has inspired many artists (Sophia Loren and Leonard Cohen among others) and is still today a chic place, as evidenced by the yachts anchored in the harbor. Numerous bars, taverns, restaurants allow to spend nice evenings. The nightlife is lively.

The rest of the island is arid and rocky, with paths leading to small ports or bays. However, do not count on pretty sandy beaches, in Hydra the pebble is king!

Kythnos, little known

The beach of Kolona in Kythnos
The beach of Kolona in Kythnos © Sophie B.

Kythnos is a small island in the Cyclades. We find there both pretty white villages and beautiful beaches often nestled in small preserved creeks. The island is still wild and often arid, the iron soils give a beautiful red color to the landscape. In addition, the charming little port of Loutra is known for its thermal baths.

Crossings to the islands close to Athens – summary

Here are the links for more information on schedules and to book your boat trips to the Greek islands:

  • Kea: From Lavrio, quick crossing by hydrofoil or catamaran (1h)
  • Aegina: From Piraeus, quick crossing by hydrofoil or catamaran (40min) or ferry (1h)
  • Agistri: From Piraeus, quick crossing by hydrofoil or catamaran (1h) or ferry (2h40)
  • Evia: From Rafina to Marmari, from Aghia Marina to Nea Styra or by the bridge of Halkida. (The tickets are not available online, the link will lead you to the schedule but for the reservation it is necessary to inquire at the ports).
  • Poros: From Piraeus, quick crossing by hydrofoil or catamaran (1h) or ferry or from Galatsa, a simple ferry to take in Galatsa (10min)
  • Hydra: From Piraeus, fast crossing by hydrofoil or catamaran (1h45) or by ferry
  • Kythnos: From Lavrio, quick crossing by hydrofoil or catamaran (1h40)

Ports of departure from Athens

Rafina? Lavrio? Piraeus ? To know everything about the ports of Athens (which one to choose, how to get there, practical information), consult our article on the ports of Athens.

Sophie B.

Updated February 7, 2024

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