We would like to take day trip to a Greek island leaving early morning returning that evening, any suggestions? Thank you, this would mid Sept 2015
Hydra. Frequent and quick service from Piraeus by hydrofoil. No vehicles allowed on the island, but we did see a couple of ambulances and garbage trucks.
I prefer Aegina, tho the Steves book always pushes Hydra. Aegina is much closer (less than 1 hr on ferry), more to see ... there ARE cars on the island but not many ... inland scenery, nice beach as Ag. Marina (Hydra doesn't have beaches, u have to swim off rocks) ... and the MOST perfectly preserved Ancient temple in any island -- Temple of Aphaia, on a high hill w. 360° view of Saronic bay. You can get a Green Line ferry to Piraeus in 30 minutes from Central Athens, then just inquire at any ticket agency on the waterfront about schedules. Aegina Ferries go every hour or so, hydrofoil & conventional ferry -- I recommend the latter, because you can sit on open deck and enjoy the view of all the other vessels ... sailboats, fishing boats, ferries, cruise ships etc... on the way. At the dock, inquire about the return ferry timetables... then rent a car, or an ATV, or take a Taxi to the Temple mid-island. From there u can easily Walk down hill (follow sign "shortcut" in 20 minutes to Ag. Marina.. for beach sunbathe, lunch at a taverna. There are busses back to port ... enjoy sunset drink at a harbor cafe, return to Piraeus. Here's a Great photo album of a 1-day trip that shows exactly what you'd do ... even to the last detail of entering the Metro building & "validating" your ticket at the platform. https://www.flickr.com/photos/36264706@N03/sets/72157621604646139/detail/
Hydra has v. picturesque harbor, but I never hear of anything else fascinating that would occupy a full day. But it's your call.
I agree with Janet. I prefer Aegina to Hydra, which is a bit twee for my taste. But obviously it's a matter of personal choice. Either would be a good day out.
A too-fast typing error in my first post ... I said a Green Line "ferry" to Pireaus when of course I meant METRO. The Metros start about 5:45 am. If you are near the Monastiraki station, it's GReen Line a straight shot from there. This Metro map shows how to reach Green Line if your hotel is nearer Syntagma (Blue line 1 stop -- or Acropolis Museum area (red Line 1 stop to Omonia) -- http://www.ametro.gr/files/images/AttikoMetro_Athens_Map_eng_LG.jpg If you'd rather taxi, it's about €15-20 if you don't get caught in rush-hour traffic.
There are beaches in Hydra. You have to walk out of town a ways to get to them. The place to swim off the rocks is near the town.
Every year when I make plans to go to Greece I research Aegina. And every year I think it has a lot more to offer than most people think: One of the best preserved temples in Greece, an abandoned Byzantine village filled with churches with fantastic murals, paths and views, the remains of the Temple to Apollo just outside Aegina Town, the lovely fishing village of Perdika, secret ancient Olive Grove, and so much more that is overlooked. I have been to Hydra and thought it was quite lovely with one of the nicest waterfront anywhere in Greece. If you want more peace and quiet all you have to do is go uphill away from the harbor and find beautiful and colorful homes. There are excellent hiking paths throughout the island and a nice walk just outside the harbor front taking you to Kamini, a very nice seaside area with tavernas. You'll go across impressive bridges and have great views. Hydra is more known for it's upscale clientele and expensive boutiques but it's also a great day trip or even a short stay. I think either would be worthy of a visit.
Thank you all for the great information!!
We stayed on Hydra for two nights and it was magical. I would compare it to staying in Rothenburg odT or on Mont Saint-Michel rather than doing those as day trips. That being said, I really like Aegina also and for a day trip I think you'd get more out of Aegina than Hydra and travel time to and from there is better for a day trip.
Any recommendations for a budget hotel with breakfast in Aegina port? I will be there on Sept 12 to 14 2015. Also are there busses to the temple? Or maybe I should rent a scooter.
Liam, be aware that when you go on a weekend, Aegina does tend to fill up with Athenians wanting to get out of town for a day ... Aegina is their "town beach." As for budget hotels, nobody seems to say what "budget" means to them. Sept. is still "High Season" until mid-month for Greek hotels, so don't expect a lot of bargains. I stayed in Plaza Hotel way back when, one May, and it's v. handy, a 5-minute walk from ferry, just across from miniscule "town beach" but it's old & creaky... and Hotel.com says it's €50 on your dates. A better buy for that price is hotel Kronos, which is about 1 KM out of town, see reviews ... taxi is €4, but easy walk once u have dumped luggage. Shares a pool. Go to Trip Advisor Aegina to explore other options.
BUS to TEMPLE -- Yes, bus stop right by port has bus that goes to temple, then on to Beach Ag. Marina. But seeing temple just takes 15-20 minutes, and next bus is not for 2+ hours. Thus (see my earlier posting) walk to beach, have swim & lunch, take bus back. OR, as you said, rent a scooter... that makes everything easier -- choice of hotel, sightseeing, swims etc. 3 Useful Aegina links (quite cynical about its "charms" so don't be discouraged, it's really much nicer). http://www.greekisland.co.uk/aegina/aegina-travel.html --http://www.greekisland.co.uk/aegina/aegina.htm -- http://www.greekisland.co.uk/aegina/aegina-attractions.html
We visited Aegina when in Greece in June, before the poo poo hit the fan. It was a nice day trip. We took the fast hydrofoil over and the slow ferry back. Both were enjoyable but I might reverse the order. A slow boat over helps you adjust to a slower tempo and the fast boat backs gets you to your hotel quicker if you're tired. We took a taxi to the Temple of Aphaia and it cost 30 euro if I remember correctly. The taxi driver waited for us and took us back down. I think taking a scooter would be great fun but I'm not sure you could find the way alone. The temple is great, one of the best we saw, and we saw many while in Greece! All the way from Delphi to Olympia, to Bassae.
I would like to go to both Aegina and Hydra in the second half of October this year. Is there daily ferry service between the two islands?
Ferry Schedules: http://www.gtp.gr