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Aegina vs. Hydra vs. 3 Island Hopping Day Tour

We will be in Greece for the first time in June. Flights are confirmed to arrive Athens June 1 at 14:00. Will have 3 nts there to see Acropolis/Acropolis Museum/Ancient Agorra/Nat'l Archaeological Museum/Change of guard at Parlaiment/Flea Market-Shopping. June 4 we take a ferry to Santorini for 3 nts, and then go to Sifnos for 2 nts. That takes us to June 9 when we take a late ferry back to Piraeus and since we fly out of Athens airport in the morning we will stay at a hotel airport that night. Our only decision left is whether to take a 3 island one day tour out of Athens port our final day there, which includes Hydra, Aegina, and Poros. It will leave early and get back late. This was recommended by the agent we are using for our land portion, Sandra at AeginaThesauras, who had been outstanding. My concern is that we will only have from about 17:00 when we should arrive to our hotel in Athens on June 1st, and all day June 2, to see the sights listed that we want to see in Athens. I wonder if instead of the island hopping tour on June 3rd whether we should : 1) stay in Athens or, 2) take the island hopping tour, or 3) take a ferry to either just Aegina or just Hydra, spend about 5 hours, and maybe still have some time left when we get back to Athens that day to do whatever we missed. We are a family of 4, mom,dad, 18yr old daughter and 16 year old son. We are interested in the culture, local artisans/shopping, good food, and of course the archaeology - but don't have to see every single ruin. We look forward to seeing the beautiful beaches but are not much into water activities. Any advice is welcome. Thanks!

Posted by
2796 posts

You don't have to choose now, in fact I suggest you don't. It's easy enough to book that island tour once you're back in Athens and have had a chance to digest what you've already experienced. You may decide that all you want to do is re-visit something you particularly enjoyed when you first arrived, or relax at your hotel and take a stroll around the Plaka for your last day.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks Lee. That makes so much sense. I can see what the travel agent thinks re: whether we could decide last minute to do the island hopping tour. Going to just one of the islands last minute should be no problem like you say. If we do just one island, does anyone have a recommendation of Hydra vs. Aegina? I mention those because we wouldn't want to spend all day on the ferries.

Posted by
2796 posts

I'd go with Hydra to experience the only populated Greek island where cars are not allowed, creating more of a timeless "feel" than can be found elsewhere.

Posted by
2417 posts

I tend to favor Aegina, because there's "more to it" than Hydra which is mainly notable for its harbor .... In Aegina you do NOT see many cars around either at harbor or the one road that goes inland, and then loops around to touch the beach areas. Also, Aegina is much much closer. On a "regular ferry" (which you should take, because it has open decks, for the wonderful view, vs. hydrofoil which is closed in, almost no view). Aegina takes less than 1 hour, Hydra voyage 1 hr 55 minutes. Hydra has no ancient stuff to speak of. Aegina has an interesting temple ruin right at the Harbor, and a tiny museum with HUGE Vases taller than a man, inside. Both islands claim to be the "world capital of pistachio growing" so you'll have your share of really fresh nuts no matter which you choose. In Aegina, of If you rent a scooter or take a bus to mid-island you will see THE most perfectly-preserved ancient Temple on ANY greek island, Temple of Aphaia, on a high hill, with a 360° view. You can see a beach and a village down below, at a distance. Then you can walk down the road just a bit, til you see a signboard tacked to a tree, with a handpainted in English "shortcut to Ag. Marina" (the village)... you follow it, on a woodsy downhilll path and presto! There u are! Bring swimwear or wear under your clothes, sit at a cafe, use its restroom to change , have a good swim, and enjoy lunch. Bus or taxi back to port town in time to wander its quaint streets, check out the shops & markets, have a late-day beverage at a waterfront cafe, then a leisurely sunset sail on open-deck ferry back to Piraeus. Aegina is a favorite weekend getaway for Athenians, but your date is Monday, so the island will be very quiet, as I found on a Monday & Tuesday in June. It's not a "prettied-up" island or port, but very authentic. Here's an interesting photo sequence by a UK visitor that shows exactly what a daytrip to Aegina looks like https://www.flickr.com/photos/36264706@N03/sets/72157621604646139/detail/ It is a refreshing, easy day trip. Enjoy!

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks for the info Janet. Love the pics. We'll actually spend our first two days in Athens and the third day, Wednesday June 3rd would be our day to do some island hopping. Either way I know we'll be happy but it helps to hear everyone's thoughts.