Three times a week there are 1 day cruises, leaving from Tolo or from Paralio Astros, to the Argo-Saronic islands. The cruises variously visit Spetses and Hydra; Hydra, Spetses and Poros. There is also a 1 day cruise to Monemvasia.
One day cruises with the cruisers Mantalena and Alcyonis from Paralio Astros and Tolo.
a. To the Islands of Hydra and Spetses
b. To the Islands Poros-Aegina-Methana
c. To the island of Aegina and The Corinth Canal
d. To Monemvasia
e.To Hydra only
- LENGTH 44m, WIDTH 8.5m, STEEL HULL
- CAPACITY 500 PASSENGERS
- 2 CUMMINS ENGINES
- SPEED 16 knots
- 3 DECKS
- 10 AIR CONDITIONED CABINS
- AIR CONDITIONED MAIN HALL, 2 BARS, TV, VIDEO, STEREO MUSIC
- W. C. with biological cleaning system
- Ν. Π. 9370
- LENGTH 40m, WIDTH 7m, STEEL HULL
- CAPACITY 300 PASSENGERS
- 3 ENGINES
- SPEED 15 knots
- 3 DECKS
- 2 AIR CONDITIONED HALLS WITH BAR
- 2 OPEN DECKS WITH CHAIRS
- SUN DECK
- Ν . Π . 10379
The historical and picturesque island of Hydra is renowned as a cosmopolitan and artistic centre. Hydra, long and narrow, is extremely rocky and dry. But it has an enchanting natural amphitheatre shape around the horseshoe harbour, virtually unchanged since the revolution of 1821. The town itself, of red-tiled houses and white chapels rising up the steep hills, encloses the natural harbour. The port is crowded with fishing boats, sail-boats and luxury yachts, and lined with colourful cafes and bars, jewelry shops, art shops and boutiques.
HISTORY : Around the 15th century, Hydra started being inhabited by Turkish refugees fleeing persecution. The barren land made the inhabitants turn to the sea and they became excellent fishermen, sailors and traders. By 1821 the island had a population of 40.000 and a fleet over 130 merchant – warships. The Hydriots played a valiant and leading role in the War of Independence against Turkey, breaking the sea blockades and helping to destroy the Turkish fleet.
Much of this important period of Greek history, in which Hydra played a vital part, is documented and displayed in the Historical Archives and Museum, located by the harbour. Exhibits of costumes and fire-arms, figureheads of the ships of the 1821 revolution, and a display of paintings, maps and engravings help the visitor relive Hydra's historic past.
Hydra, its buildings and environment protected by the Historical Society, has preserved many of the great stone mansions of the sea captains. The most impressive are the mansions of Voudouris, Voulgaris, Sahtouris (now the National Merchant Marine Academy), Tombazis (a branch of the School of Fine Arts), and Koundouriotis, now being renovated by the ministry of Defence. Most of the Hydra houses, even the simplest sailors' homes, have beautiful courtyards enclosed by stone walls. The town is filled with whitewashed houses, all with brightly painted doors and windows and covered with flowers, lining the narrow cobbled streets.
Most vehicles, including bicycles, are prohibited. Donkeys and mules form the main means of transport, in addition to the little boats that provide a taxi service along the coast.
Although lacking sandy beaches close to the town, the sea is clear and deep, and there are beautiful rocky areas where concrete platforms have been added for swimming and sunbathing.
Scattered over the islands is a multitude of churches, from simple whitewashed chapels to elaborate marble and gold-adorned monasteries. In the centre of the harbour is the Metropolis of Hydra, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, distinguished by its prominent clock-tower and its bells which ring for all the island events, religious or not. The monastery of Prophet Elias is located on the summit of Mt. Eros, 500 metres in height. Many people make the trip, either by foot or by donkey, to visit the monastery, and to enjoy the spectacular views along the way. The newest church is Saint Konstantinos of Hydra, built on the site of the saint's old family home.
Hydra, with its traditional but unique style, its natural beauty and clear blue seas, and its exciting cosmopolitan atmosphere, is a stunning place to visit.
Separated from mainland Peloponnese by a narrow strait of sea, Poros, meaning “passage”, is a charming, picturesque island. All along the quayside brightly painted fishing boats and small yachts bob at their moorings, and water taxis chug back and forth between Poros Town and Galatas town on the mainland.
Poros Town, built on a small conical hill, is covered with closely-set whitewashed houses with red-tiled roofs. Narrow streets and alleyways, winding up the hill from the harbour, lead between houses with courtyards full of sweet smelling flowers in painted pots and trails of jasmine over the walls. The hill is crowned by a lovely tall blue-topped clock tower on the ridge. From here the views are delightful. One can gaze across to Galatas, at the foot of green hills, and famous for its lemon groves and fields of commercially-grown carnations. Further up the mainland coast is Methana with its therapeutic hot springs and the “Sleeping Lady” mountain.
The first settlement was on Kalavria at the rear of the island where a sanctuary was built to Poseidon, god of the sea. In mid 7th century BC the sanctuary, long held sacred, functioned as a religious and political centre. Little remains now except the foundation stories.Poros was part of the area known as Troezen (Trizinia). Because of frequent pirate attacks, the island was only intermittently inhabited until the 16th century, when refugees from the occupation of Turkey settled there. Throughout the 1821 Greek revolution, Poros played an important role, and the first naval arsenal of independent Greece was established in 1830. Three buildings now house the Naval Training School.
On Kalavria, amidst the pine forests, is the striking white monastery of “Zoodochos Pigi”, meaning life-giving source. The name originates from a freshwater spring nearby that reputedly has miraculous powers. Probably originally a pagan temple, the present monastery was built in the 1700's by the Metropolitan of Athens after he was reputedly cured of his gallstones by drinking the water. Today there is only one priest, but the beautiful church - with its unusual icons and its panoramic views - still attracts visitors. Today Poros has developed into a popular holiday island where history, natural beauty and traditional crafts combine with a lively modern atmosphere.
Spetses is a small oval island opposite the area of Porto Heli on the Peloponnese mainland. Known in ancient times as “Pityousa” , or Pine Tree Island, Spetses has an abundance of aromatic pine forests, in addition to beautiful sandy beaches.
There is some evidence of inhabitation and there are some archaeological remains from Prehistoric, Classical and Roman times. In the 15th century, Albanians founded a settlement at Kasteli. Later, this was destroyed by the Ottoman army. It was rebuilt after 1770 near the Paleo Limani, the Old Port. Today there are remains of surrounding walls and Byzantine churches. One of these, the chapel of the Virgin Mary, was the Cathedral of the old town, and lovely frescoes cover its walls.
During the last few centuries Spetses flourished, and great fortunes were made by the sailors and sea captains. The latter built impressive mansions and churches, many of which still stand today. Spetses was the first of the Saronic islands to revolt against the Turks during the 1821 Revolution.
At the historic monastery of St. Nicolas, which still stands in the Old Port, on April 3, 1821, the local people took the oath “Freedom or Death ”, and joined the revolution. This oath is still inscribed on the flag of Spetses. A powerful fleet of ships was led by Laskarina Bouboulina , the national heroine of the war. She provided many of the ships from her own fleet. She personally took command of the fleet after her husband was killed in the fighting. By mid-1822 the Peloponnese had been freed from Turkish occupation except for the Palamidi fortress of Nauplion. Surrounded by the Greek army on land and Bouboulina's fleet at sea, the Turks decided to break the siege and destroy the naval forces of Spetses and Hydra. On the 8th of September 1822 the Turkish fleet was defeated in a fierce naval battle. Every year, Spetses honours that courageous victory. The local people along with thousands of guests celebrate the anniversary with fireworks, dancing and a spectacular dramatization of the battle. The Museum of Spetses , situated in the mansion of Mexis, and the private museum located in the mansion of Bouboulina together display much of Spetses' history through artefacts and exhibits.
Anyone exploring Spetses can find many traditional sites around the island. The famous Spetses boatyards of the Old Port still build wooden caiques and fishing boats using age–old methods. By the new, lively harbour is a small historic square where the uprising of 1821 was planned. Known as the “Dapia”, it was here that the cannon battery was deployed. Cannon still decorate the sea walls. Stone mosaics and pebble designs of local motifs pave the squares and alleys around the Dapia. Colourful horse-drawn carriages, the official taxis of Spetses, carry both locals and visitors through the town's narrow streets and along the broad sea road. Pebble and sand beaches stretch along the sea road close to the town. Small boats leave regularly from the harbour, going round the island to the delightfully unspoilt sandy beaches further away. Behind Spetses is the small private island of Spetsopoula , which belongs to the Greek shipping family, Niarchos. Spetses is known for its food and sweets: the savoury baked fish “a la Spetsiota”, the wide variety of its freshly caught seafood, and the almond sweet “amygdalota”. Full of character and colour, with its cosmopolitan and historic atmosphere, Spetses is an attractive island full of pleasure for the visitor.
The first person to consider cutting the isthmus connecting the Peloponnese with mainland Greece was Periandros, the tyrant of Corinth, in the 7th century BC. But it was an impossible task with the tools and the knowledge of that time.
During the Roman period, both Julius Caesar, in 44BC, and Caligula, in 37 AD, developed plans to cut through the Isthmus. The plans were abandoned for various reasons. In 67AD, the emperor Nero used their same plans to start work simultaneously from both ends of the isthmus. He put thousands of workers on the project, after he himself made the initial cut using a golden shovel. The works progressed to a length of 3,300 metres, but stopped when Nero was obliged to return to Rome, to put down the uprising of General Galva. Work on the canal was abandoned after Nero's death.
In 1869 the Greek government decided the cutting of the isthmus should be completed, and in 1870 signed a contract with a French company to effect the task. The work finally began in 1882, and continued the plans of Nero. It was completed in 1893. The Corinth canal is 6,300 metres long, 24 metres wide, and 8 metres deep. In some places, the sides reach a height of 80 metres. Vessels of all sizes pass through the canal in about 30 minutes; the trip provides a wonderful view of the geological formations of million years.
Agistri (fish hook)
The legend says that whoever visits Agistri becomes “hooked” by its beauties, and cannot stay away. When you visit Agistri you understand why: the green pine trees and brightly-coloured wild flowers show off the blue of its sea. A cool,green island with clean seas, Agistri offers all the delights of a quiet beach resort.
An island with a long history, Aegina was settled in 5000 BC by tribes from the Peloponnese. It became a strong naval centre, and developed the areas of trade, metallurgy, pottery and perfumes. By the 7th century BC, Aegina had become the rival of Athens. It founded many far-away settlements, and circulated the first coinage of Greece.
The year 455BC marked the beginning of its decline, when it was defeated by the Athenians. Afterwards, it was conquered in turn by the Spartans, Macedonians, Romans and Turks. Kapodistrias, the first Prime Minister of modern Greece, made Aegina the temporary capital of the Greek state in 1828.
The ancient Greeks named the island Oinoi. Its current name came from the nymph Aegina, the mother of Eakos, the first king of the island, fathered by Zeus.
There are many sandy beaches close to the main town, and also at the well-known villages of Perdika, Souvala, and Agia Marina.
- The neo-classical buildings, and walks through the town's narrow streets.
- The government building of Kapodistria in the town.
- The small white chapel of St. Nicolas in the port.
- The museum, which houses many important artefacts of the classical period.
- The ruins of the military harbour.
- The temple of Apollo, which dates from the 6th century BC, at the edge of the town.
- The monastery of St. Nektarios, with its impressive church.
- The well-preserved temple of Aphaia, dating from the 5th century BC
The Laconians, 2000 years ago, created a settlement on a rock, 350 metres in height, on the southeast shore of the Peloponnese. Over the centuries the city of Monemvasia grew, and became known as the Gibraltar of the eastern Mediterranean.
The name Monemvasia means ‘one approach'. The town is divided into two parts: the upper town where only ruins remain, and the lower town, a walled fortress town which is still inhabited and is maintained in the style of 200 years ago.
The town was built in the 6th century when inhabitants of the area took shelter to escape Arab attacks. The upper town was built first, then the lower town in the 10th century.
The Frankish knight and historian, Villehardouin, conquered Monemvasia in 1248 after a two-year seige. In the Battle of Pelagonia (1251) Villehardouin surrendered the fortresses of Monemvasia, Mani and Mystras to the Byzantine Archbishop of Nikonia, Ioannis Palaiologos, in exchange for his freedom. Until 1419 the town remained under the rule of the Byzantines, and saw a blossoming of the arts and letters, seafaring and trade.
The house of one of Greece's most famous poets: the modern day poet Yiannis Ritsos, close to the central gate.
The Church of the Elkomenos Christ, in the central square.
The narrow alleyways which lead to the old stone mansions and town walls.
The Church of Agia Sofia in the upper town, from which the view is breathtaking.