Guided tours

One day cruise to the Saronic Gulf islands

One day cruise to the Saronic Gulf islands

 

 This is the everyday cruise from Pireus port to the islands of the Saronic Gulf. The islands that we are going to visit are Hydra, Poros and Aegina. They are some of the most beautiful Greek islands and each one of them is particularly significant. Hydra is the place, where Hollywood stars prefer to relax in theirs villas, but also one of the well preserved medieval cities of Greece. Poros is a lovely island and it is ideal for a romantic walk. Aegina, besides its natural beauty, is famous (and honoured) all over Greece because of the Monastery of Saint Nectarios of Aegina (one of the most important saints of Orthodoxy), considered to be one of most beautiful monasteries of Greece. The cruise starts from Piraeus port at 8:15 a.m. The bus picks up tourists from hotels , the pickup time depends from the location of each hotel. The tour finishes at 19:20, and the buses return tourists back to theirs hotels.

The first stop is Aegina island.

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Aegina was inhabited since the Neolithic time, proved by findings in Column area close to the Aegina town, dating from c.3000 y. BC. Later Minoans came to the island, then - Achaeans and Dorians. From the middle of the 1st century BC Aegina developed rush trade and at the same time declares itself as a powerful maritime state. The peak of blossom comes in 6th century BC, when Aegina, being independent, became the first city-state, which began to stamp coins. Despite the concurrence with Athens and Piraeus, Aegina became confederate of Athens in the Salamis battle. However Athenians ( who never really trusted Aegina) finally took over the island in the 5th century BC. The latest history of the island does not stand out from the history of the rest of Greece. The participation of the island in the national liberation war against the Turks in 1821 was of major importance, because Aegina was the first seat of the first government of independent Greece led by Kapodistrias, before it moved to Napflion The variety of sightseeings you can observe in the town, such as the Archeological museum, the Column (close to the port area) which is actually the only remnant of the Temple of Apollo, the cathedral, in which the first Greek government swore.

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First, you can take a tour to the famous temple of Godess Afea, the patroness of the island. It is located 11km eastern of the town. This is the doric styled temple, built in 480 y. BC after the battle of Salamis.

 

The second tour is to the monastery of St.Nectarios. The new built temple of the monastery is one of the best samples of the neo-byzantine

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architecture in Greece. The monastery of St.Nectarios is located on a hill not far from the town & the port of Aegina island. Here, in a little church, is preserved the st. Chapter of Prelate. You can also visit his cell, where he was praying, during the last years of his life. You can also drink healing water from the holy fountain.

 
The second island in our program is Poros.

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It is a relatively small island, only 33 sq.km with a coastal line a little longer than 40 km. Poros (also known as ancient Kalabria) is considered to be the island of the god Poseidon (the god of Sea). As evidence there are several written sources, as well as gorgeous ruins of the temple of Poseidon, located in the centre of the island. This could be a reason, why Poros became the centre of Amfiktionia (the union of Greek cities), which was established in the 7th century BC and which included in it seven neighboring, as well as more distanced cities, such as Hermion, Epidaurus, Aegina, Athens, Prasius, Napflion and Minoan Orkhomen. In the temple of Poseidon, using the right of asylum, famous Demosphenus was hiding from assasins sent at him by Antipatros, and where he finally took poison. The Calabrians   buried him inside the sanctuary and built the monument, which Pausanius had found.

Остров Порос

During the liberating uprising against the Turks in 1821 Poros became the base of marine troops of the rebells and in 1830, after the liberation of Greece, it became the first naval base of Greece. In Poros was buried captain Frank Hastings (1794-1828) – the most famous, after Lord Byron, of Englishman Philellenes, the hero of the Greek liberation war. He commanded the sailing-steam ship “The Carteria”. This was the first sailing-steam ship that participated in battles.

Modern Poros is one of the most beautiful places in Greece, rich with a very interesting landscape, variety of plants and trees, among pines and lemon trees . Remarkably, as you will see many windmills, the inhabitants of the island always tried to use the energy of wind in household.

And finally , the island of Hydra.

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Since the Middle Age, Hydra was inhabited mostly by fishermen and sailors, who became more and more experienced professional sailors and successful merchants from generation to generation. This was the reason, why in the beginning of the 19th century Hydra was called “ small England” because of plenty (for such a small place) rich ship owners. The population of the island at that time was around 25000 people , but its fleet counted around 120 modern and good equipped ships, able to affect the naval trade without  the fear of the ships of the Ottoman Empire and Mediterranean pirates.

At that time rich mansions, six monasteries and more than 300 churches were built, creating the present architectural landscape of the island. In 1821 started the liberation fight of Greeks for independence from the Ottoman Empire. Almost 2/3 of the common Greek fleet were ships from Hydra, and nobody knows, how much devastated ship owners gave their gold reserves for the great victory of Greek people!

In 20th century Hydra became the first Greek island, opened for foreign tourists, and consequently in 1956 the director Jean Negulesco filmed on Hydra his famous movie “Boy on the dolphin” with Sophie Loren and Allan Ledd, but in 1960 Michael Kakogiannis filmed here “Phaedra” with Antony Perkins, Ralf Vallone And Melina Mercuri. Since then the island became the favourite recreation place of the worldwide Bohême. Leonard Cohen lived here for a long time and many Hollywood stars have purchased real estate here.

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What makes this island so special is that no vehicles are allowed on it, except for a view municipal cars. For carrying shipments or very tired tourists you can use horses or mules. And off course, the elite, donkeys. For example, you can  ride on the “Angelina Jolie's” donkey, but this does not mean you will feel yourself like Brad Pitt…

Then we sail to Piraeus. On the way "home" you will have dinner and will enjoy the musical program on the ship.