7 Beautiful Greek Islands Near Athens
Discover the charming islands near Athens that boast rich history and charisma. Visiting one of the islands near Athens is perfect for a quick getaway any time of the year. Most of these islands are accessible via the Piraeus or Rafina port (or even by car in the case of Evia).
When you arrive, you can expect to enjoy stunning beaches, ancient monuments, impressive architecture, charming town squares, delicious cuisine and exceptional hospitality.
The majority of tourists from overseas want to experience the Instagram-worthy islands in the Cyclades cluster of islands, including well-known spots like Santorini and Mykonos. Unfortunately, most popular islands require a more extended voyage (via boat or plane) and are much farther from Athens, making them non ideal for shorter stays. Plus, they’re often overcrowded due to all the hype – not to mention overpriced.
However, there is a variety of Greek islands near Athens that have much to offer. Below are 7 of the most beautiful Greek Islands near Athens that you shouldn’t miss.
From the port of Piraeus (easily accessible from Athens by subway, bus and taxi), Hydra is approximately 1.5 hours away (you can book a ferry here). It can also be referred to as Ydra or Idra. Hydra is a genuinely unique Greek island for several reasons.
- First and foremost, this charming island has maintained much of its original identity and architecture, with its beautiful and preserved stone houses and vibrant harbor area.
- Hydra has remained largely untouched by modernization so visitors can revisit and experience traditional island life.
- Another unique aspect of Hydra is its car-free policy. The island strictly forbids motor vehicles, which makes it an ideal place for peaceful exploration and relaxation. Tourists must traverse the small streets on foot, horseback, or by water taxi. This approach makes the island highly picturesque and serene.
- Hydra also boasts a thriving arts and culture scene, with many artists, writers, and musicians calling the island their home. Visitors can explore art galleries, music festivals, and theater performances while soaking up this historic island’s charming ambiance.
- Finally, Hydra’s clear waters and stunning natural beauty make it a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and watersports, all against a backdrop of lush hills and breathtaking views.
Hydra is best for travelers who want to experience traditional Greek island life and appreciate its historical charm.
For those looking for a more lively experience, Spetses is the perfect destination. This island has plenty of attractions and entertainment that appeal to young travelers and families alike.
- Spetses is roughly 2 and a half hours away from the port of Piraeus and is known for its lovely beaches, pine-forested hills, and vibrant nightlife.
- The island is also home to numerous historic sites and attractions, such as the Bouboulina Mansion, the Church of Agios Nikolaos, and the Anargyros School.
- Moreover, Spetses has a very active sailing scene. Visitors can participate in regattas (races) or enjoy watching them throughout the year.
- Spetses also has many charming cafes, restaurants, and bars to explore. Many of these overlook the waterfront, creating a particularly romantic atmosphere.
Spetses is best for travelers who want to enjoy some of Greece’s best beaches and experience some nightlife on a charming island.
Poros is another island near Athens that’s perfect for a short getaway. It’s about an hour away by ferry from the port of Piraeus.
- This beautiful island is known for its lush hills, pine forests, traditional villages, secluded beaches, and crystal-clear waters.
- It’s a great spot for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing.
- Poros also has plenty of historical sites to explore, such as the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, the Russian dockyard and the ancient Temple of Poseidon.
- Finally, visitors can enjoy some delicious Greek cuisine at one of the many traditional tavernas on the island.
Poros is perfect for those looking for some peace,quiet, and natural beauty.
Aegina is another famous Greek island near Athens, less than an hour away (by ferry) from Piraeus.
- The island has a lovely coastline with plenty of beaches and sheltered bays for swimming.
- It’s also home to many archaeological sites, such as the Temple of Athena Aphaia, the Temple of Apollo, and the house of Nikos Kazantzakis.
- Moreover, Aegina is known for its delicious pistachio nuts, which it produces in abundance. Visitors can sample these treats at one of the many local shops or enjoy a meal featuring them at a traditional tavern.
Aegina is great for those looking to experience Greek history, swim and enjoy the beach life, or taste some delicious local specialties.
One island is overlooked because of its extremely close proximity to Athens: Evia. It only requires driving over a bridge approximately one hour outside of Athens. It is an underrated island teeming with fun exploration opportunities.
- This beautiful island offers spectacular landscapes with pristine beaches, traditional villages, verdant mountains, hidden paths, alpine lakes and evergreen forests.
- Evia is also home to some of Greece’s most important archaeological sites, such as the Temple of Artemis at Amarynthos, the medieval castle of Oreoi, and the ruins of ancient Eretria.
- Nature lovers can also explore Evia’s rich flora and fauna or participate in outdoor activities such as hiking in Dirfys, mountain biking, canyoning and rock climbing in Manikia.
- Finally, visitors can enjoy some tasty local dishes at one of the many traditional tavernas on the island. Additionally, they can take cooking classes, private food tours, winery tours, and much more.
You can always check our complete travel guide about Evia.
Evia is great for those looking to get off the beaten path to explore Greece’s natural beauty and ancient ruins without traveling too far from Athens. From the beautiful port town of Kymi, visitors can also access other lesser-visited islands of Greece such as Skyros, Skiathos and Allonisos.
Andros is another picturesque and relatively unknown island in the Cyclades archipelago, about two hours away from the Rafina port (easily accessible from Athens by bus or taxi) by ferry.
- This charming destination features lush green hills, tranquil beaches, and some interesting historical sites.
- Notable attractions include the Goulandris Museum of Modern Art, the Nautical Museum, the Ancient Town of Paleopolis, and several Greek Orthodox monasteries of significant importance.
- Visitors can also explore the island’s many traditional villages or take a boat trip to see some of its smaller islands.
- Andros is known for its delicious seafood cuisine, and visitors can enjoy a meal at one of the local taverns featuring them.
Andros is great for nature lovers, offering plenty of outdoor activities such as cycling, sailing, scuba diving, and hiking. It also makes an excellent destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
7. Tzia (or Kea)
Tzia, also known as Kea, is one of the closest Cycladic islands to Athens. It only takes about an hour and a half to get there from Lavrio Port (easily accessible from Athens by bus or taxi).
- This beautiful, relatively unknown destination features stunning landscapes with crystal-clear waters, secluded beaches, charming villages, and archaeological sites.
- Notable attractions in Tzia include the Venetian Castle at Karthaia, the Folkore Museum at Mylopotamos, and two brilliant lighthouses in Agios Nikolaos and Tamelos dating from 19th century.
- Like Andros, visitors can also explore some of the island’s many traditional villages or take a boat trip to see some of its smaller islands.
- Tzia is known for its delicious seafood cuisine at local restaurants and taverns.
Tzia/Kea is great for nature lovers and adventure seekers looking to experience an authentic Greek island atmosphere away from the crowds. From this beautiful island, visitors can also access other less-visited Cycladic islands using the comprehensive Greek ferries network.
How to Choose an Island
When choosing an island, it’s important to consider your budget, interests, and the type of experience you’re looking for. Some islands are better suited for a luxurious vacation, while others are great for exploring nature and relaxing on beautiful beaches.
Most of the small islands listed here are perfect for visitors looking to get away from the crowds and experience more of what authentic Greece has to offer. Read through the perks of each island carefully and choose one that sounds fun and interesting for a stay. If you have extended time, you may even pick more than one.
If you’d like to keep your visit to Greece simple and budget-friendly and avoid riding a ferry, you might consider the one alternative: driving to Evia with a car rental or get a private custom tour.
Exploring Islands Near Athens
In conclusion, Athens is surrounded by beautiful islands, each of which offers something special. Travelling to and around Greece’s islands via ferry or car in the case of Evia (either by taxi or a private transfer), is a great way to explore the country, discover hidden gems, and enjoy some of its best seafood cuisines.
These 7 beautiful Greek islands near Athens are perfect for visitors looking to get off the beaten path while still having access to all that Athens and its surrounding area has to offer.
So, take your pick, pack your bags, and enjoy a fun-filled escape to one or more of these beautiful islands near Athens!
If you still have any questions about how to get the most out of your trip, we are here for you 24/7. Just send a message or text us at +306943264350 (WhatsApp, Viber, Signal, Telegram, iMessage), and we’ll be happy to assist and make sure we answer all your questions.