Once upon a time, two small islands – Spheria and Kalavria – came together to produce a little jewel in the Saronic Gulf, the island of Poros. A short hydrofoil or ferry ride from Athens will bring you to this place, beloved of Giorgos Seferis, the Greek Nobel laureate, and Henry Miller.
Poros is a stone’s throw from the mainland, resembling a puzzle piece gone missing from the Peloponnese. Small boats bearing visitors come and go across the channel. When you land, you find quaint tavernas, yacht marinas, neoclassical buildings, a clocktower, pine-tree forests reaching the sea, serenity, and relaxation. On foot, by bike, or by boat, Poros invites you to discover its charming simplicity on one of the best islands close to Athens.
Poros’ neoclassical buildings ascend the town’s hill like seats in an amphitheater. Walking through the narrow alleyways of the main town, among whitewashed houses wrapped in bougainvillea, you’ll travel back in time. Want to dig deeper? Visit the Archaeological Museum in Koryzi Square to take in exhibits from the Temple of Poseidon, ancient Troezen, and Methana.
Across the straits between Poros and the Peloponnese, east of Galata and seemingly plucked right out of a fairy tale stands a lemon tree forest. Tens of thousands of lemon trees come right down to the shore. In between, small streams trickle by and the occasional watermill and the chapel of Agios Seraphim, built-in 1900, make a delightful addition to the scene. If you visit when the trees are in blossom, you are in for an olfactory delight.
From the western jetty of the new harbor, Poros’ waterfront awaits with offers of coffee, food, and souvenirs. Fishing boats and sailing yachts line the shore. At night, the calm waters reflect the lights from numerous bars and clubs, creating a lovely atmosphere. Hard to resist, it will always be the case of ‘just one more nightcap’ in this idyllic holiday setting, so close to Athens.
The historic clock tower in the middle of Poros town is visible from everywhere. It’s been counting every moment since 1927, but the best time to visit is at the day’s end when you’ll be rewarded with an amazing sunset.
Among the pine trees in the middle of Poros, you’ll come across the ruins of a Doric temple dedicated to Poseidon, built in the 6th century BC out of blue limestone. Demosthenes, the orator, arrived here as a fugitive and ended his life by drinking hemlock.
Among the people who stayed at this historic villae on Poros were Seferis, Greta Garbo, and playwright Henry Miller. These days you will only be able to admire the exterior of the red neoclassical villa as it is a private residence.
The buildings of the Russian naval base have been listed as historical landmarks. After admiring them, then take a dip right in front of them.
Swim to the islet east of the port of Poros and conquer its small castle, there since 1827. Back then the locals used it to keep a check on ships coming from Hydra.