“You enter the harbor of Poros swaying and swirling, a gentle idiot tossed about amidst masts and nets in a world which only the painter knows…!” – Henry Miller – The Collossus of Marousi
Island-hoppers and explorers, start off your sea escapade from busy Athens and, at the snap of a finger, find yourselves in one of the most popular nearby destinations! Less than an hour away from the bustling capital lies Poros, a perfect gem of an island, infused with an invaluable mythological, historical and cultural temperament, effortlessly headlining the ultimate Saronic experience.
Celebrated since antiquity and a favorite destination for locals on weekend getaways due to its accessibility and proximity, Poros is, in reality, an island pair separated by a small canal. It consists of Sphairia, the daughter of tumultuous volcanic dalliance, and Kalavria, named after the gentle breeze swiveling through the rich, dense vegetation pouring down over the golden seacoast. A famed Greek myth about the origins of the name of Kalavria dictates that it was once dedicated to Kalavros, the son of the god Poseidon, Ruler of the Seas. Likewise, Sphairia may have been named after the renowned charioteer of Pelops, King of the Peloponnese, who found himself in the center of many a fabled intricate scandals.
Myths and legends bestow greatness to this small getaway locale, adding to its daedal backstory that the god Apollo may have offered it to Poseidon in exchange for the mystical Delphi.
Poros possesses a rich and varied geological character, combining creeks and streams which flow through steep valleys with smooth hills which run all the way down to calm, pine tree shaded, sandy beaches to the south. To add to its embellished topographical tapestry there are also limestone caves with stalactites and a dreamy lemon tree forest which spreads clear down to the coast, ready to excite all your senses.
Within the prominent Lemon Grove, a popular soothing shelter for every traveler, plucked right of a painter’s canvas, you will discover crystal clear streams traversing throughout quaint windmills, rejuvenating the mind and heart. At its entrance, stands the lovely white Church of Saint Serapheim, built in around 1900, whom the locals turned to for patronage and protection at times of strife.
Sailing into the picturesque port of Poros, a sense of unpretentious cosmopolitan charm washes over you as tradition and history have been safeguarded and preserved, marking this small island of great historic importance a globally protected settlement. The welcoming waterfront is adorned with inviting cafes and restaurants, little shops and visitor-friendly establishments, framed by cobblestone paths leading to the surrounding white-washed preserved stone mansions, all backed by lush greenery.
The historic clock towering over the capital is one of the first sights to catch your eye and an iconic Instagram photo opportunity, absolutely characteristic of the island’s beauty and reputable quality of architecture. Built in 1927, this must-see attraction dominates the landscape and can be admired from all angles as it perches on the highest hill, accentuated by a backdrop of prickly pear and pine trees. The first modern island dwellings were built just around it in 1463.
The beautiful alleyways leading away from the pier are a great place to discover traditional tavernas catering to all your gastronomical whims, providing a variety of classic Greek cuisine and local treats.
You can explore the town hall, archaeological museum and exhibition center or venture northwest to discover the Pregymnasium, formerly engaged as the residence of King Othon, nowadays serving as the naval training academy of Poros. The village of Askeli was built around it, mainly conveying matching neoclassical architecture, surrounded by two sandy beaches. Sitting right on the edge of one of them you can discover the lovely white and blue Chapel of Panagitsa, dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Crossing the canal, through the pine tree sheltered winding road you will reach the chapel of Our Lady Agia Zoni, situated near a densely forested steep cliff and crystal clear running waters. This is truly a fantastic spot, often chosen as the venue for many weddings and baptisms.
Nearby, you will also come across the remains of the Temple of Poseidon. Having served as a center of amphictyony which included city-states like Epidauros, Prassies, Hermione, Aigina, Athens, and Orhomenos, this ancient temple is of great historical importance and is believed to have been built in the 6th century BC. It is said that Demosthenes, the ancient great orator, sought sanctuary here from Philip the King of Macedonia, but ended his life by consuming poison hemlock in 322 BC.
Some of the most beloved features of Poros are, of course, its extraordinary beaches. Many of them offer sunbeds and umbrellas while others provide calming solitude while you dive into the island’s blue-green crystal waters. Love Bay is one of the most romantic coves you can splash around in, sheltered by lush greenery. Another popular seaside destination is Kanali, located just 5 minutes from the bridge that connects the two isles. In Askeli and in Megalo Neorio you may opt for some water sports and games or enjoy a traditional taverna meal after your refreshing swim.
Why not combine site seeing with an invigorating dip and choose to visit the Russian Naval Base, one of the most important attractions of the island? Its buildings are deemed historical landmarks and
just across you can catch a glimpse of the popular wedding destination of Daskalio or Eros, a tiny uninhabited islet dedicated to the god of love.
Ancient ruins on the island, poised to unravel mysteries of the past and to enrich our knowledge and understanding of ancient times, include an early Bronze Age village located at the northeastern Cape Vasili, representing the oldest settlement ever discovered in Trizina to date.
According to ancient geographer Pausanias, Aethra, the mother of Theseus, erected a temple in honor of Athena Apaturia (the Deceitful) on the island of Sphairia and introduced among young maidens the custom of dedicating their chastity belts to the goddess on the eve of their nuptials.
Another often visited attraction on Poros is the old historical Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, built in 1720 AD by an archbishop whose ails were said to have been miraculously cured when he drank from the nearby holy water springs. During some of the nation’s most challenging times, the monastery featured as an invaluable source of inspiration and support for the Hellenic Liberation War of 1821.
Whether you are lounging in one of the lovely cafes scattered along the cosmopolitan promenade or enjoying a cold one in the shade near crystal blue-green waters, whether you are exploring the fairy tale Lemon Grove or hiking in the pinewood forested hills, splashing around in the lush green coves or discovering historical or ancient sites, Poros offers the whole package just a short ferry ride away from the Greek capital.
Join now our exciting cruise from Athens and admire Poros, Hydra and Aegina island in one day!