When I was a child, my parents took us to Crete but I cannot really remember much of that holiday. Last year, I went to Athens for documenta 14. And finally, this year, I got to go to the Greek islands. My friend Olivia got married on the beautiful island of Poros. Poros is a smaller island and, fortunately, it is not on the list of most of the tourist groups or big cruises. If you are looking for a relaxing beach holiday far off the tourist crowds, crystal clear water and delicious food, this island about 1.5 hours from Athens is the place to go.
The owners Liz and Spyros are known well beyond Poros for their delicious local food. The lamb is their most famous dish but also the fish is delicious. Make sure to have some dessert – try the backlava and the cream cheese mouse.
The restaurant is located up the hill and has a beautiful garden with a wine leaves covered pergola. It is near the Temple of Poseidon (see below). There is also a small Greek Orthodox church to visit right next to the restaurant.
If you are looking for a laid-back lunch with sea view, Askeli at the beach of the same name is the place to go.
This coffee place is located right next to Askeli and has a lounge feeling with big chairs and day beds overlooking the beach.
This beach restaurant is another chilled out place for lunch.
The whole island offers beautiful beaches. One of the most popular ones is Askeli Beach. Depending on the time, it can be a bit crowded.
If you go a bit further, there is Love Bay which is much quieter.
Explore the Town and Shop for Souvenirs
If you are looking for the typical white and blue houses and great views, I recommend waking up early and walking through the small town of Poros. I walked up the hill to the church. Unfortunately, it was closed on the day I did my exploring.
There are some small shops and boutiques in the alleys near the ferry pier. My favourite shop was at the corner right when you enter the square of the city hall. It is called “Tres Chic” and has really nice jewellery, accessories and beachwear.
Temple of Poseidon
The Temple of Poseidon is located up the hill. You can either walk for about 45 minutes to an hour or take a taxi (between EUR 6-8; about USD 7-9). The ruins are a bit overgrown and damaged but there is ongoing excavation work. Also, the view over the island is beautiful.
I recommend a day trip to the surrounding islands. There is a ferry to Hydra, for example, a car-free island. (It is the same ferry taking you from Athens to Poros and the next stop is Hydra.) I would leave with the first ferry in the morning and come back in the late afternoon.
A group of wedding guests went to Epidavros and really enjoyed the trip. There is a famous ancient theatre and the site is also known for the healing centre. Locals recommend lunch at nearby Nafplio, a Venetian-style town. For this trip, I recommend hiring a car. Make sure to bring an international license. (Please refer to your Foreign Ministry or equivalent or the Greek embassy/consulate in your country for detailed information.)
Charter a Boat
Poros is popular amongst sailors and you can charter boats in the area around the ferry pier. Similar to renting cars, you will need an international license.
The best view on the island. You do not need to be worried about the location of your room, because every room has a sea view. I recommend booking a deluxe rooms as their bathrooms are more modern. If you want to treat yourself, the suites are beautiful.
The hotel has its own beach and a deck where you can jump right into the ocean. Breakfast is served inside with a view of the bay. The hotel also has an outdoor restaurant overlooking the sea.
The staff was incredibly attentive. I had to leave very early in the morning to catch the first ferry back to Athens and the hotel prepared a small breakfast for me at the rooftop.
Taxis from the port to the hotel are between 5 to 7 Euros.
If you prefer to stay in an apartment, Aegean Villas is a great alternative. It is located right at Askeli Beach, not far from the town centre and near a lot of nice restaurants and cafés. It offers serviced villas with a great pool and outdoor area. The apartments are clean and have a good size with a big balcony and a full kitchen. There is no website for Aegean Villas but you can book them through the major online portals.
How to Get to Poros
Poros is a small island about one hour and twenty minutes from Athens by ferry. You have to go to the port of Piraeus. This is the only disadvantage: you need to go through the whole city and then take a ferry. However, the island is worth the journey. Poros is also accessible by land but the trip is much longer and, consequently, more expensive.
If you arrive at Athens International Airport, you can either take a taxi or – my recommended option – hire a private car with a flat fee. I highly recommend Kostas and his drivers service: he is on time, reliable and very entertaining. Ask him about his Formula 3 past 😉 Just get in touch with Kostas in advance and pre-book your shuttle.
Alternatively, you may take the train. However, most of the locals advised me not to take the train for safety reasons.
The bus may be an alternative. Bus X96 is located outside exit 4 and 5 in the Arrivals Level. You need to buy tickets at the booth (NOT in the bus). Tickets are EUR 6 (about USD 7). It will take about one hour and 15 minutes to Piraeus Port – the station is called Station-isap.
When I arrived in Athens, busses and taxis were on strike and I had to take the subway. M3 takes you to the city and then change to M1 until Piraeus. You need a special ticket for the metro from the airport which is about EUR 10 (about USD 11). Make sure to queue up for the metro tickets and not the train tickets (the majority of booths and ticket machines are for the trains). When you buy the ticket, the signs only say “trains” but there are two platforms – one for the trains and one for the metro. The metro trip will take about one hour and 20-30 minutes to Piraeus. You need to change from M3 to M1 at Monastiraki station. When you arrive in Piraeus, take the left entrance and keep walking left (where everybody walks to) to arrive at the gates.
The Hellenic Seaways ferry to Poros usually leaves from Gate E8 but please check your ticket for details. If you have booked and paid for your ticket online, you still need to go to the Hellenic Seaways booth inside the gate (right before the ferry) and have it exchanged for their tickets – even though it says on your online ticket that you can board with your printed document.
Plan enough time for your trip from the airport to Piraeus. Athens traffic and strikes can be nasty. I had two hours and 50 minutes between landing and my ferry and just made it that day. Also note that Hellenic Seaways requires you to arrive half an hour before your departure time.
Hellenic Seaways operates four ferries per day to and from Poros. A return ticket is about EUR 50 (about USD 60). I recommend booking your ticket online in advance, especially during the peak season from June to September. Frequently, the ferries might be fully booked and you do not want to risk being stuck at Piraeus.
When you arrive in Poros, there are plenty of taxis on your left. When a ferry arrives, there might be a shortage of taxis. But usually the waiting time is no longer than 10 minutes. I decided to wait in a nearby bar and enjoy a coffee.
Special thanks to Olivia and Shenton Drew – not only for a beautiful wedding but also for providing us with all the recommendations also used in this article.
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