By Marissa Tejada
There are several amazing Greek island day trips from Athens you can plan for. Greece’s ancient yet modern capital is the primary entry point to Greece, rich with archaeological sites, vibrant nightlife and unique urban flair. Athens is also a launching pad for Greek island excursions that are perfect day trips, each one just about an hour ferry ride away.
Here’s a look at the most popular Greek island day trips from Athens. You can easily organize a taxi from Athens airport to the ferry terminal by pre-booking before arrival.
Just 15 minutes on a ferry departing from the Port of Perama (west of the Athens port city of Piraeus), takes you over the waterway that was once the scene of the most strategic game-changing battles of ancient Greece: Battle of Salamina.
Today, Salamina is a quiet island destination where many working class Athenians head out for the weekend to get away from city life at their summer cottages. If you are looking for stunning waters set in a relaxed, low key atmosphere — this is a day trip for you.
Some of the top beaches include Psili Ammos, Iliakti, Aeanteio, and the southern beaches of Selinia, Saterli and Kaki Vigla. Also worth visiting is the Fanoromeni Monastery and the Archaeological Museum of Salamina.
With one of the most stunning island harbors in all of Greece, Hydra is the gem of the Saronic Gulf. It’s also unique as the only Greek island free of any cars.
Here donkeys do the heavy lifting and transport, adding to the rustic feel of the island. Admire the noble stone architecture and get lost in Hydra Town’s inviting maze of stone paths and bougainvillea drenched lanes.
If you get inspired to be creative, you wouldn’t be alone. Artists and writers including Arthur Miller, Leonard Cohen, Melina Mercouri and Sophia Loren all have visited and stayed for a while.
Just a one hour ferry ride takes you to Poros island, where Poros Town greets visitors at its port and is the main town to explore, lined with stone paths, cobbled lanes and a hilltop clock tower with stunning views.
There are beautiful beaches too including sandy Askeli and Love Bay which is bordered by fragrant pine forests.
Aegina is one of the closest islands to Athens, only 16.5 nautical miles from the port of Piraeus. The ancient Aphea Temple is a must-see site, and forms an equilateral triangle with the Parthenon of Athens and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion in southern Athens; often referred to as the “holy triangle” of the antiquity.
Aegina Town is the main town, lined with historical buildings, museums, shops and cafes. There are many smaller villages including Kypseli, Agii and Vagia and beach resorts like Agia Marina, Perdika and Souvala.
Just under an hour ferry ride from the port of Piraeus is Agistri – often overlooked by international tourists – making it a calm island getaway for a day or a weekend.
The landscape here is strewn with greenery and pine trees that meet aqua blue waters. There are four towns to explore including Megalochori, Skala, Limenaria, and Metochi. The best beaches are Halkiada, Dragonera and the tiny island beach of Aponisos.
For a Day Trip or Weekend
That sums up the best Greek island day trips from Athens, each one is explorable within a day or if you have more time, for a weekend.
During the summer season, frequent ferry connections between many of the islands make it possible to plan a few days of island hopping.
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Photo credits: Travel Greece, Travel Europe. Agistri by Christian Bélanger.
A day trip is of course better than no trip, but many day-trip destinations are so different (and better) at night, it’s worth considering a stayover.
Very good point too! Especially with these beach destinations, I love walking the beach at night, it’s such a beautiful atmosphere :)
Hopefully when we get to Greece we can spend some proper time instead of jetting off at the end of the day :)
Ah I wish I read this a week ago. I planned my trip to Athens, Santorini and Crete and am flying in between the islands. I love that Piraeus is just under an hour ferry ride! Great information.
Well if you find you have some spare time in Athens perhaps you can jump on a ferry one day! Have an amazing trip!
I love to see coverage on lesser known Greek islands beyond Santorini. I only made it to Mykonos while there, all the more reason to return and check these out!
So glad you enjoyed the post! Yes, there’s so much more to the Greek Islands than the famous spots :)
These are great island choices! I’ve been to Aegina. Hydra, and Poros. They are each unique in their own beautiful way.
Glad you enjoyed the post Karen and have had a chance to explore some of these islands too :) Happy travels!
Oh, Greek I wish that you’re just so near to me and I’ll surely visit you from time to time. Truly, this blog post is really a help for those that are planning to visit Greek Island from Athens. I would really love to take the ferry boat from Perama, it must be really fun and amazing seeing the jaw-dropping view along the way. Thank you so much for sharing!
LaiAriel R. Samangka
So glad you enjoyed the post LaiAriel :) And I hope you have the chance to experience and explore Greece soon!
These are all great day trip ideas, I’d love to use Athens as a base to explore them all. I think Hydra would be my first pick too – just because it’s got a cool name!
It is an awesome name, isn’t it!! Hope you have the chance to hit up Athens soon!
All of this sounds dreamy and looks incredible! No one talks about these lesser known islands, so I’m glad you shared! If I ever make it that way, I’ll be doing a day trip for sure!
So glad we could collaborate with Marissa to cover some of the lesser known islands … so much more to offer beyond the regular tourist traps! Hope you have the chance to travel soon :)
Always wanted to check out the Islands in Greece. It looks so nice and relaxing. Not heard of these ones before, so good to know that they are not too far away from Athens :D
Glad we could introduce you to a couple of islands which are new :) Hope you have the chance to travel soon!
This is a super useful post for me since I’m planning to go to Greece for the first time this summer! I think I’m going to do a sailing trip so this is great for planning. Thanks for sharing!
Awesome Sally! You’ll love Greece, it’s such a great time as a traveler to visit too, they really need the tourism :) Have a great trip!
Greece is one of the countries high on my bucket list of Europe. These islands just look perfect. I mostly want to visit Greece for its history followed by the beaches. Aegina looks appealing with a mix of temples and beach.
Glad to hear that Reshma! It’s an incredible country :) And yes, the Greek Islands are as close to paradise as one could get! Aegina is a great choice if you’re traveling for history :)
These all seem like wonderful day trips! I would definitely like to go there and feel artistically inspired. And the water is so blue! I’m sure Greece is one of the most gorgeous countries on the planet.
I agree with you – Greece is definitely one of the most beautiful countries on the planet! Hope you have the chance to travel soon :)
I really want to explore more of Greece, it is such a picturesque country and has amazing food! I think Hydra would be too of the list for not having any cars!
I agree re Hydra being top of the list for being vehicle free :)
Hi great post. Poros, with it’s stone paths, cobbled lanes, hilltop clock tower, and stunning views, it sounds like a place I would really love to visit when we make it to Greece one day. Thanks for all the great info.
Glad you enjoyed the post Samantha! Hope you have the opportunity to travel to Greece and take in Poros soon :)
Yes, Santorini is gorgeous and worth a trip if you can swing it, but there are so many more beautiful islands worth exploring! If you’re traveling to Athens, at least one of these day trips should be on your agenda.
Absolutely Nick! It’s a much more authentic experience too when you’re exploring islands off the typical tourist track :) Happy travels!
We visited Greece in June and what an amazing place to explore! It was so hard to make our itinerary because there are just soooo many places that look wonderful. Hydra is high on my list!!
Agreed! So many islands, and destinations within Greece to explore, it’s definitely difficult to choose. Hydra is a great choice though :)
Greece is an amazing destination with multifarious tourist attractions. Handpicking a few prime tourist attractions for a short visit is a cumbersome task.
Absolutely, you could spend a lifetime exploring and still want to head back for more! Glad you enjoyed the post John :)
I am headed to Athens in a couple of weeks and plan to do multiple day trips to a few of the islands. What is the best way to find ferry information? Can most of the islands be navigated by walking or will additional transportation need to be accounted for?
Hi Di, so the main port in Athens is Piraeus, though there are two others as well (Rafina and Lavrion). Piraeus has ferries to the majority of islands though.
For finding schedules and booking your ferry tickets online there are a couple of different websites you can use to compare prices and book:
Re navigating each island, most of the options Marissa has detailed here are pretty navigable on foot, though if you’re considering other islands it’ll just depend on your choice, so definitely worthwhile doing a quick check before you book :)
Have an amazing time!