Greece, it seems, has never been more popular with the Israeli traveler, which is not surprising. It is close, it is cheap and it offers a winning combination of dreamy beaches, beautiful landscapes, archeological sites, fine food and lots of tranquility. In addition to all this, corona vaccinators and recoverers can enter it without isolation and do not need isolation back either (as of 15.7.21).
The most popular destinations in Greece are Crete and Rhodes, two incredibly large and diverse islands that offer a world and its fullness, and there are other islands to which direct flights are operated which also attract many Israelis, including Kos, Santorini, Zakynthos, Corfu, Mykonos and Lefkada. But why crowd with more crowds of tourists on the tourist islands, when a short cruise from Athens you can reach charming and less touristy islands, which offer an authentic atmosphere and a sea of serenity?
The island of Spetses, located in the Gulf of Argolis, off the coast of southern Greece, and part of the Argo Seroni Islands group, is a charming little island with a beautiful coastline and elegant capital city, which is a favorite holiday destination for wealthy Greeks. The island is famous for the pine forests that cover it, which were apparently brought from the Jerusalem mountains. Spetses has great sandy beaches and secluded and enchanting bays. This is not an island of bustling nightlife, but if you like good food you will find on the island a lot of fine taverns and restaurants.
What to do? Hike in Spetses Town, a pleasant town with a beautiful promenade and neo-classical mansions. In one of these mansions is located an interesting museum dedicated to Lascarina Bobolina, who was a key activist in the revolt against the Ottoman government. It is recommended to walk along the promenade, which reaches, among other places, the port of Daphia, which is dotted with boats, cafes and elegant boutiques, and the ancient port, Balitzia. Near the ancient port is one of the oldest lighthouses in Greece.
Beaches: The most popular beach on the island is Agia Marina, a small and tidy sandy beach near the capital, with parasols and sun beds, water sports centers, a beach bar and taverns. One of the largest and most beautiful beaches on the island is Agioi Anargiri beach on the southwest coast of the island. It is nestled in a beautiful bay and offers a beach of sand and pebbles with deep water ideal for water sports lovers. If you prefer secluded beaches, try Zogeria Beach, a beautiful beach of sand, stones and pebbles with turquoise waters which is nestled in a charming bay covered in dense pine forest.
How to get there? On a two-and-a-half-three-hour ferry ride or an hour-and-a-half hour on a hovercraft from the port of Piraeus near Athens.
Poros, another island belonging to the Saronic Islands, is a charming green island which despite its proximity to Athens retains an authentic and non-commercial Greek character, one that has life all year round and not just during the tourist season. In fact, the island consists of two islands – Kalaureia and Sphairia connected by a bridge. Poros has beautiful beaches, including sandy beaches and pebble beaches, pine forests that reach to the sea, a charming capital city with a yacht harbor, neoclassical buildings and a clock tower and small taverns and lots of peace and beauty.
What to do? Poros has many interesting sites for those who love history and culture – the Archaeological Museum, the Folklore Museum, the remains of the Temple of Poseidon, the Clock Tower and the Zoodohos Pigi Monastery. The latter is located four kilometers from Poros Town, on a slope covered with pines above the sea, and offers a great view of the surroundings. There is also a beautiful view from the impressive Dana Lighthouse, a stone-built lighthouse built in 1870 and offering a view of the Saronic Gulf.
Beaches: One of the favorite beaches in Poros is Love Bay, a beautiful beach shaded by pine trees that reach almost to the water. Another particularly popular beach is Askeli Beach which is located on the southeast side of Kalavria in the shade of pine groves. It is a well-developed beach with taverns, a beach bar and a water sports school. Kanali Beach located in the center of Poros is a pleasant sandy beach with turquoise waters and several taverns, which is a great choice for families. Another beautiful beach is Vagionia beach at the northern end of the island, located in a bay covered with pine trees. The area also has beautiful dive sites.
How to get there? By hovercraft or ferry (two hours sailing at most) from the port of Piraeus.
The closest island to Athens is Aegina, and although the island is a sought-after resort among the wealthy of Athens, only relatively few tourists come to it. Their entire loss. A charming port city, ancient temples, Byzantine churches, picturesque fishing towns, pistachio groves, vineyards and pleasant beaches (even if not spectacular in beauty) are some of the typical features of the island.
What to do? Wander, or better yet – ride in a horse-drawn carriage – in the capital city of Agina, which has points of interest such as the port and the Venetian Marcus Tower built in the 17th century. Visit the archeological site of Colona, which once housed a Doric temple dedicated to Apollo. Visit the impressive Athena Apaya Temple built in 480 BC. Eat the island’s famous pistachios and best of all – visit the picturesque fishing town of Paradica and from there sail to Moni Island. It is an uninhabited island with a sandy beach, clear water and animals like peacocks, Moose and wild goats roaming the island.
Beaches: Agia Marina beach is a sandy beach with clear water east of the capital. This is a tidy beach where you can engage in water sports and boating activities. Souvala Beach is a popular sand and pebble beach northeast of the capital, which also has hot and cold springs. Marathon Beach is a beautiful and secluded sandy beach where you can enjoy excellent taverns and activities like scuba diving and snorkeling in the clear water.
How to get there? By sailing on a hovercraft (about 40 minutes) or by ferry (about an hour and ten minutes) from the port of Piraeus.
Kea Island, also known as Tzia, is a mountainous island with dramatic views belonging to the Cyclades Islands but very close to Athens. Unlike the rather green islands we have offered you so far, Kia offers completely different views. It is a mostly exposed and arid island, although it also has a lot of green and fertile areas, and it also has great beaches.
What to do? The island has some interesting sites and monuments such as the lion of Kia, an ancient statue dating to 600 BC. According to mythology the lion was sent by the fanatical gods to destroy the beauty of the island. Another site is ancient Carthage where remains of a temple and theater. The island’s capital, Ioulida, is barred from entry, and remains of a medieval castle dominate the city.
Beaches: One of the island’s popular beaches is Koundouros Beach, a picturesque and peaceful beach about 18 km from the capital. Otzias beach located at the northernmost point of the island is a wide and beautiful beach with clear water, shaded by trees. Orkos beach is a wide, quiet and secluded beach in the northeast The island, whose clear waters make it perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
How to get there? An hour’s cruise from the port of Lavrio, east of Athens.
Andros is another island belonging to the Cycladic islands, but unlike the other islands characterized by arid landscapes, it is a fertile, wonderfully green and water-rich island, which is considered a nature lover’s paradise thanks to a high concentration of springs and waterfalls, alongside great beaches.
What to do? Spend time in the port of Gavrio, the main port of Andrews. It is a small port built in a typical Cycladic style with plenty of restaurants, taverns and souvenir shops. Hikers in the resort town of Batsi nestled in a charming bay on a hillside. The city has a picturesque fishing port, a beautiful sandy beach and many restaurants, shops and hotels. Another city is the capital, Andros, which is characterized by neoclassical architecture. It also has two interesting museums, including the Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Despite all this, Andrews’ main attraction is nature. The island has over a hundred km of marked hiking trails, and it is especially worthwhile to reach the magical Pithara Falls, the impressive Poros Cave and the picturesque village of Episkopeio, a stone village planted with cypress and fig trees, famous for a charming stone bridge under which a stream flows.
Beaches: Andros is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. One of the most beautiful beaches on the island is Vitali beach in the northeast of the island, a beach of sand, pebbles, high rocks and incredibly clear water. Another beach is Zorkos beach, a long and exotic beach which is partly sandy and partly pebble, with turquoise waters.
How to get there? On a two-hour cruise from Rafina Airport near Athens.
Source: כתבות – מסע אחר by www.masa.co.il.
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