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Free day in Athens: 3 island boat tour or focus on Aegina?

I will have one free day after my RS tour ends in early April. I'm thinking of doing a day cruise to Hydra, Poros and Aegina (will already have been to Hydra on tour). Alternatively, I could just head to Aegina and spend most of the day there.

Any thoughts? Would also consider visiting more sights in Athens, but something tells me I will have seen what I want to see in Athens.

Posted by
2904 posts

Because of the sailing time required, the 3-island tour is really just a Boat experience, with the change to walk around each harbor with a crowd of boatmates. If u go to Aegina, you can have a lovely day like this --- -- NB: you can take Green line Metro to Pireaus & buy a ticket... NOTE: you should ask for a "conventional ferry" not a hydrofoil. Latter has only inside seating no view, on a "regular' ferry u sit out on deck & enjoy the sunshine & seascape, as video shows. And if you time it right, on the return trip u can enjoy sunset on the water.

Posted by
976 posts

Agree 100% with Janet.

Aegina is a lovely island that has everything one would want in a Greek Island and is very easy and relatively quick to get to.

There are numerous ferries throughout the day.

You can leave in the morning, spend several hours wandering around on the island, return late afternoon and still have time for a night out in Athens.

Aegina is one of Greece's more popular islands for Greeks but tourists can only think of Santorini and Mykonos to go to.

The Three Island Tour as stated will be spending most of your time on a boat with just a short time on each island.

As far as "I will have seen what want to see in Athens" goes . . . there's a lot more to Athens than just the tourist sites. It's filled with wonderful areas that don't see the tourists crowds and can offer a more authentic Athens than just the areas that tourists go

Check out this website for not only where the tourists go but the savvy non-tourists and also where the locals go.

Posted by
1204 posts

Also vote for Aegina. Haven't visited it yet but don't see why you'd revisit Hydra unless your first visit is not enough. We're visiting Hydra in May of this year and may work in Aegina depending on schedule.

Posted by
3 posts

If I can add to the above question and ask about comparing hydra and Aegina. I’ll have 5 days in Greece with two focused on Athens. If I’m deciding between hydra and Aegina to experience an island which is better? The above thread really helped rule out the three island tour option. Would like to spend 1-2 nights on an island, but ideally keep travel time close which is why both of these are at the top of my list. Going to Rome next so it’s not Impossible to go to a further island but would need to fly in/out possibly to maximize time. First time in Greece for me and my sister- trying to make the most of it.

Thank you.

Posted by
976 posts

Comparing Aegina with Hydra:

Aegina is larger with far more to do, see and experience. It has a lovely main town on the waterfront, an abandoned Byzantine Village in the hills, one of the best preserved temples in Greece, ancient olive groves, is the Pistachio Capital of Greece, seaside villages, decent beaches and is much quicker to get to than Hydra.

Hydra (Hydra Town) is one of Greece's loveliest towns with houses cascading down the hill to the waterfront. Very upscale, expensive and frequented by jet setters, partyers and people-watchers. Not known for its beaches, no archeological sites, good hiking in the interior, and if you want to escape the crowds along the waterfront you can walk uphill to traditional white-washed and pastel colored houses, narrow lanes and a bit more "Greek". It's best known for not allowing any vehicles so only donkeys can transport people and goods.

Nothing wrong with Hydra but if it was me I'd go to Aegina.

Posted by
6514 posts

We did the 3 island boat tour as transportation to Hydra (where we were staying for 2 days). It was nice because I love boats and we had about an hour and a half on each Aegina and Poros, just enough for a quick taste of them. I don't think I'd do it as round trip with the three stops, especially if you've already been to Hydra. I'd just recommend the day trip to Aegina.

Posted by
134 posts

Your RS tour guide can give you insights into taking the ferry. No need to purchase ferry tickets in advance.

Unless you already have plane tickets, you may find cheap flights from Santorini or Naxos (or wherever) to Roma. In 2018, we got very cheap tickets ($55/ea.) from Crete to London. Flights will be dependent on the health of the airline industry.

Posted by
10 posts

A year ago, I booked an all-day tour through the tour company Livin Lovin Greece in Athens. I wanted to visit Aegina and see the historic ruins, monasteries, and the port city. I had a spectacular tour, which lasted about 5 hours.
I toured the temple of Aphaia, which is well preserved and restored. There were great views from Aphaia overlooking the Saronic Gulf.
There is the Agios Nektarios (Saint Nectarios) and the monastery of Agia Triada (The Holy Trinity), which is worth a visit and is a short distance from the 9th century old town (Paleachora). There is very little left of the town, but the many old, tiny, churches on the hills across from Agios Nektarios were really cool and a spiritual experience. Of the 70 churches whose existence on the hill are confirmed, 33 churches remain and are open to visitors. All the churches can be reached from a walking path, but wear good hiking shoes as the path can be treacherous in some spots.
I enjoyed the drive (or you can try a one hour walk from Agios Nektarios) up the hills to the Monastery of Chrysoleontissa. It is a lovely 17th-century fortified monastery, inhabited by only a few nuns and some animals. You can walk through the monastery. Along the long road that winds uphill to the monastery, there is a continually burning oil lamp. This is where the Panagia Chrysoleontissa (Virgin Mary of the Golden Lioness) was said to have leaned against the rocks embedded in the nearby slope as she stopped to rest. The views along the road are beautiful.
The archeological site of Kolona, which is near the port and Aegina town is the last remnant of a Doric Temple of Apollo. There is also a museum.
I enjoyed the shops and the restaurants, but avoid the tourist restaurants along the port. If you walk a few blocks inland, there are affordable shops, restaurants, and a nice area for a stroll while you wait to depart on the ferry back to Athens.
I would definitely recommend Aegina for a day trip from Athens, especially if you would like to visit some of the finest and historic religious sites in Greece. There is an Amazon Prime video show about religious Aegina if you are interested.

Posted by
216 posts

You will need to either hire a car, vespa or tour if you are going to Aegina. We were not prepared to do any of the above, as well got there late in the day when the ferry would return only have a few hours. The sea front town is cute with many shops and food places but we missed all the rest.

Posted by
23 posts

I’ve been to Aegina for a day and fell in love with the island! We rented bikes, enjoyed the beaches, the food was amazing, we had a wonderful time! We took the ferry from Piraeus, it was quick and easy!

Posted by
8 posts

Avoid the small boat tour to three islands. It is a waste of time and money.
You can buy tickets and go on your own. It is a couple of hours to get to Hydra and it is a very special island

Posted by
5269 posts

We did a three-island tour a few years ago from Tolo, including Hydra, Poros, and Spetses. It was fun but a very long day and mostly on the water. Poros was a nice harbor where we had lunch, but not much else to see in the limited time we had. Since you'll have been to Hydra, I'd recommend an all-day trip to Aegina (where I haven't been but others' accounts make me want to go there). Relatively faster to get there and back, plus a lot to see on the island itself.

Posted by
727 posts

If I reschedule the Greece trip in 2021, I think I will take the advice to spend my extra on Aegina. Unless, that is, I feel like I really need to see more of Athens.

Posted by
8020 posts

When we were in Napflion , we took a water taxi over to Spetses for the day. We loved how green it was after the arid Cyclades.

Posted by
2798 posts

My go to place to whisk off to when I need a mental getaway is a small cove on Aegina. Lovely beach, practically had it to ourselves - in late September. A lovely way to spend a relaxing day.

Posted by
2904 posts

CW, that's a wonderful tip -- but is only useful if you describe how to get to that cove. Please share!