The rich history of the Saronic Gulf is evident in the number of ancient sites and historical landmarks dotting its islands, make it a captivating region to explore. Here are our top 5 places to visit as you sail through this beautiful area of Greece!
Temple of Aphaia
The Temple of Aphaia is a remarkable archaeological site dedicated to the goddess Athena. Built in 450BC, these iconic ruins still have 25 original Doric columns standing today, making it well worth a visit. Situated on a hill approximately 10km east from Aegina town, this ancient landmark is still regarded as one of Greece’s most significant historical sites.
Monastery of St. Nektarios
St. Nektarios Monastery was founded in the early 20th century by renowned priest and teacher, Bishop Nektarios. Officially recognised as a Saint in 1961, it was said that the Bishop performed a number of healing miracles during his lifetime, and even after his death. Located near Aegina’s town centre, the monastery is still considered an important religious building today, with visitors from all over the world coming to pay their respects, or in the hopes of being healed of some sickness.
The Temple of Poseidon
This impressive 6th century temple was once a key meeting spot where religious and civic matters of several ancient Greek cities were addressed. Today, very little remains of this Kalaureian epicenter, with a selection of statues exhibited at the Poros Archaeological Museum.
Monastery of Zoodohos Pigi
It’s been said that this holy monastery was founded in the early 18th century by Athenian Archbishop, Iakovos the Second, after he reportedly experienced a life-saving miracle in the area where the building was eventually constructed. The monastery once served as a refuge for a number of men who fought in the 1821 Greek Liberation War, and it was where the first Ecclesiastical School was opened in 1830.
Kimisis Tis Theotokou Cathedral
The 17th century Kimisis Tis Theotokou Cathedral (also called the Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary) can be found in the middle of Hydra’s harbour. An earthquake destroyed the original building in 1774, but it was reconstructed by Venetian architects. There is an Ecclesiastical museum in the monastery complex housing a selection of jewellery, icons, manuscripts, and other ancient relics.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of places to visit, with a number of other incredible sites to discover and enjoy. If you’d like to experience more of what the islands have to offer, join one of Athens Day Cruise’ special interest group tours. Multilingual guides will take you to see places that you may not have known to visit on your own in Hydra and Aegina, enriching your one day cruise even further.