Saronic Islands

Saronic Islands: Why go

These 5 islands - bustling Aegina, diminutive Angistri, painterly Hydra, car-free Poros and elegant Spetses - have many of the charms of the remotest Greek isles, yet are only an hour or two from Piraeus by hydrofoil. The seas here, perhaps surprisingly, are among the clearest in Greece, and if you come out of season and midweek, the beaches (mostly shingle) are blissfully quiet, with pine trees lapping right down to the water's edge. As for the towns, both Hydra and Spetses have some of the handsomest houses in Greece - tight-packed, white-washed seafarers' mansions, with patterned, pebbled courtyards and art-filled interiors - as well as enough boutiques and nightclubs to entertain the manicured Athenians who flock here at weekends.

Being so close to the Peloponnese too, these islands make a handy addition for anyone wanting to combine the capital (Athens), the former capital (Nafplion) and one of the islands (we'd plump for Spetses) in an adventurous train+bus+boat circuit.

04:22 | GMT + 2 Hours