best Greek islands near Athens, Greece

Discovering the best Greek islands near Athens is an adventure waiting to unfold. Greece, with its expansive coastline of about 13,600 kilometers—the longest in the Mediterranean basin—boasts over 6,000 islands and islets across the Aegean and Ionian Seas. With plenty of islands to choose from, finding your perfect island escape can seem overwhelming.

The closest island groups to Athens are the Argosaronic Islands and the Cyclades, each offering unique experiences, from tranquil retreats to cultural explorations. Also nearby is the island of Evia – the second largest in Greece – only an hour’s journey from the Greek capital. And if you want to experience the care-free island life without leaving the Greek mainland, the Athens Riviera will have you spoiled for choice!

While these destinations may not headline as many travel guides as Mykonos and Santorini, they are untouched by the mass tourism of their more famous counterparts and offer an authentic experience of Greek island life. What’s more, their close distance to Athens is perfect for a deep dive into the essence of Greece, from the historical marvels of the Acropolis on mainland Greece to the serene beauty of the Aegean Sea.

Whether you’re in the mood for a quick weekend getaway or a leisurely vacation, we’ve got you covered with the ultimate guide to the best islands close to Athens for every kind of holiday.

The Argosaronic Islands

The Argosaronic Islands, located in the Saronic Gulf, the Argolic Gulf and the southern Argolic coast, are not only some of the best Greek islands but also very close to the mainland, making them ideal for a quick day trips from Athens!

With favorable sea conditions, the Argosaronic is also the most popular area for sailing and boat tours from Athens during the summer months.

1 – Salamina, A Deep Dive in the Land of Ajax

Salamina Island, Greece

A stone’s throw from Athens, Salamis is a beacon of history and adventure. Celebrated as the home of the Homeric hero King Aeas (Ajax) of Telamon and the birthplace of the renowned dramatist Euripides, this island is steeped in lore, including its pivotal role in the Greco-Persian Wars with the famous naval battle in 480 BC.

Salamina’s allure extends beyond its history and archaeological interest, being an excellent destination for outdoor adventures, especially hiking and scuba diving. With a diving school operating year-round, catering both to novices and experienced divers, you’ll be exploring life under the waves in no time.

The island’s beaches are a particular draw, with Batsi‘s serene shores by the pine forests and Kaki Vigla‘s natural splendor and crystal-clear blue waters in the south. Iliakti beach dazzles with its fine pebbles and shallow azure waters on the west, while Selenia‘s sandy beach offers tranquility on the east side of Salamina.

For those seeking vistas and secluded spots, Kanakia on the northwest provides panoramic views over to Aegina through the forested path, and near Peristeria in the south, Agios Nikolaos beach awaits with its pebbly shores and pool-like waters. This blend of historical intrigue and natural beauty makes Salamina an unparalleled destination among the best Greek islands near Athens.

As the closest island to Athens, you can easily reach Salamina by ferry boat from the ports of Piraeus, Perama or Megara.
The ferry boat ride from Piraeus takes about 35 minutes to the port of Selinia, while the journey from Perama to Paloukia takes roughly 15 to 20 minutes. From Megara, which is further out of Athens, the boat ride to the port of Faneromeni, on the western side of the island, is typically just under 10 minutes.
Tickets to Salamina from Piraeus cost about €3 per traveler, while ferry boat tickets from Perama cost €1.20.
While it is easy to get around the main town of Salamina on foot, to explore the island, you will generally need to hire a taxi or rent a car. You can also rent a bike for a more scenic experience through the island's trails.

2 – Aegina, A Jewel Close to Athens

Aegina Island, Greece

The beautiful island of Aegina is one of the most popular destinations to escape the city life in Athens. Aside from the crystal clear waters of its beaches (more on those later), the island is famous for the Aegina pistachios, one of the finest varieties of pistachio nuts, as well as its seafood taverns.

The most popular beach on the island is, without a doubt, Agia Marina, which has been awarded a Blue Flag. The sandy beach at Agios Vasileios has shallow waters and is ideal for families, while Aeginitissa is surrounded by Eucalyptus trees. For a more private and relaxed day on the beach, you can’t go wrong with Vaya and Portes.

Having been inhabited since antiquity, there is no shortage of ancient ruins, monuments and museums to visit. The sightseeing highlights include the ancient settlement of Kolona, which dates back to 2500 BC, the Temple of Aphaea, which was dedicated to the Olympian goddess Athena, the medieval settlement of Palaiochora and the Tower of Marcellus, which was constructed in the 17th century.

Due to its proximity to the Greek capital, Aegina is one of the most beloved retreats for Athenians, whether it’s for a quick day trip or a longer vacation.

The island has two main ports, one in the town of Aegina and the other in Agia Marina. Both can be reached from Piraeus.
The journey from Piraeus to Aegina takes about 40 minutes on a high-speed boat and up to 1.5 hours when traveling with a conventional ferry boat.
Tickets to Aegina from Piraeus typically range from €10 to €20 per traveler, depending on the type of boat.
Aegina offers a wide range of accommodations for overnight stays throughout the year, including boutique hotels and rooms to let.

3 – Moni, Aegina’s Sister Islet

Moni Island, Greece

Less than 500 meters from the cape of Perdika on Aegina, you will find the pine-covered islet of Moni. This uninhabited island in the Saronic is very popular during the summer months and has many organized beaches to welcome travelers from the nearby islands.

While completely barren on the side facing Aegina, the western coast is green, covered by a tufted pine forest and vegetation that includes fissures, cedars, and wild olive trees that reach down to the sea. As a wildlife sanctuary, the island’s only full-time residents are the deer, wild goats, peacocks and squirrels that roam freely.

Hiking enthusiasts will be delighted by the trails that cross the forest and lead you to an observatory at the highest point on the island, offering panoramic views of Aegina-Perdika, the peninsula of Methana, and Agistri.

You can travel to Moni from the main port of Aegina, as well as the port at Perdika.
It takes just under 10 minutes to travel to Moni from Perdika, and about 20 minutes if you take the boat from the main port of Aegina.
There are multiple companies offering trips to Moni from Perdika and Aegina, with tickets generally costing about €5 per traveler.
While many of the animals on Moni are tame and comfortable around people, it is important to maintain a safe distance and not agitate them.

4 – Agistri, the Unspoiled Gem of the Saronic

Agistri Island, Greece

To the west of Aegina lies Agistri, a true green paradise island in the Saronic Gulf that is closely associated with crystal-clear waters and relaxing under the sun. Agistri means ‘fish hook’ in Greek, so as you can expect, fishing is a bit part of the island’s history and culture.

Near the island’s natural port, you will find one of the most popular beaches on the island, Skala, with shallow waters, hotels, and restaurants. Equally impressive and organized is the beach at the village of Megalochori, also on the northern coast of Agistri.

The west of the island is best explored on foot and offers secluded spots for swimming and enjoying the sun, like Skliri. Here you will find the most remote beach on the island, Chalikiada, which is also popular with nudists.

But aside from a wealth of beaches and fishing villages to visit, Agistri is also a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering many opportunities for kayaking, hiking, fishing, horse riding, biking and snorkeling.

You can travel to Agistri from Piraeus or the ports of Aegina.
The Piraeus-Agistri journey takes just under an hour on high-speed hydrofoils or about 1.5 hours if traveling with conventional ferry boats. It takes 15 minutes to travel from Aegina to Agistri.
Prices for tickets to Agistri from Piraeus typically range from about €15 to €20, depending on the type of vessel.
It is relatively easy to get around Agistri on foot, so it is not necessary to rent a car. There is also a bus service that connects the two main ports of the island with stops at many beaches. To explore the island at your own pace and head off the beaten path, though, consider renting a scooter or bicycle for the day.

5 – Poros, the Island of Serenity

Poros Island, Greece

The island of Poros is actually comprised of two islands separated by a canal: the larger island of Poros, known as Calavria in antiquity, and the volcanic island of Sphairia, which faces the village of Galatas on the Peloponnese. Due to its position, Poros is an ideal base for island hopping in the Saronic Gulf and visiting coastal towns such as Methana, Ermioni and Porto Heli.

The picturesque island capital is built above the port and has an idyllic and romantic ambiance with its lively seafront, neoclassical houses and balconies, flowery neighborhoods, and small corner shops.  Apart from the clocktower, the symbol of the island, another important attraction is the ruins of the Sanctuary of Poseidon in the center of Poros.

The most popular and organized beach on Poros is Askeli, which caters especially to water sports enthusiasts. The bay of Vagionia, with its turquoise waters, sand, and pebbles, offers a more relaxed experience and an ancient sunken city to explore! For a dash of romance to you trip from Athens, don’t forget to visit Agapi Limanaki, or Love Bay, with its towering pine trees, deep blue waters and golden sandy beach.

You can travel from Athens to Poros by catching a ferry from the port of Piraeus.
The hydrofoil from the port of Piraeus takes just over one hour to reach Poros, while the journey by ferry boat usually lasts about 2.5 hours.
Tickets for high-speed boats to Poros from Piraeus cost around €30, while tickets for the ferry boats are priced between €15 and €20.
As one of the most popular destinations for Athenians during the summer season, it is important to book your boat tickets as soon as possible, especially if you are planning on traveling to the island with a car or motorcycle.

6 – Hydra, the Car-Free Gem of the Saronic

Hydra Island, Greece

Hydra is one of the most cosmopolitan islands in Greece and is affectionately known as the “Lady of the Saronic Gulf”. With old manor houses and charming narrow streets that take you back in time, along with a ban on cars and motorbikes, the island has retained its idyllic character and charm.

Most beaches on Hydra can be accessed on foot or by sea taxi. The Avlaki pebble beach, just 10 minutes from the port, is perfect for sunbathing and scenic strolls after sunset, when it is illuminated. The beaches of Mikro Kamini and Vlychos are popular with people of all ages, while Mandraki is your destination for water sports, such as snorkeling, diving and kayaking.

Hydra is also renowned for its gastronomic traditions, with the amygdalota almond cookies being its most famous export. The local cuisine also features many dishes with fresh seafood, such as roasted calamari stuffed with peppers and herbs, mussels with parsley, and cod with garlic sauce.

The island also stands out for its cultural scene, with artists such as Leonard Cohen, Allen Ginsberg and Mick Jagger having called it home. As an artistic haven, Hydra Town hosts numerous galleries and workshops, while events such as the annual Hydrama Theater and Arts Festival celebrate everything from traditional Greek crafts to contemporary art and music. Simply put, Hydra is the complete package and lives up to her nickname!

You can travel to Hydra from the port of Piraeus, as well as the ports of Ermioni and Porto Heli.
Direct boat rides from Piraeus take about 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on the type of vessel. The journey to Hydra from Ermioni takes just under 30 minutes, while from Porto Heli it can take 45 minutes to an hour.
Boat tickets to Hydra from Piraeus are generally priced between €30 and €40.
Cars are not allowed on Hydra, which is crucial to consider while planning your trip. This is particularly important to remember when packing for an overnight stay, as you will need to navigate to your accommodation without vehicular transport.

7 – Dokos, A True Hidden Gem

Dokos Island, Greece

Dokos, while not as known as its neighboring islands, Hydra and Spetses, is a true hidden gem in Greece and lies quietly opposite Ermioni. With settlements tracing back to the Copper Age, the island today is a protected archaeological site. Nevertheless, during the summer months, Dokos springs back to life as it is a very popular destination for sailing and day trips.

The island, known for its strategic significance during the Byzantine era, harbors the remnants of a Venetian castle on its eastern flank. Adventurous travelers are rewarded with a hike that leads to these ruins, offering a glimpse into the past amidst breathtaking natural scenery. Among its archaeological treasures, the highlight is undoubtedly the world’s oldest known shipwreck, dating back to 2200 BC, a silent witness to the maritime prowess of ancient civilizations.

These days, yachts and tourist boats temporarily anchor in the very same bay during their passage from the Saronic to the Myrtoan Sea. With crystal clear turquoise waters, a tranquil atmosphere and its only residents being the few donkeys, turkeys, and goats that graze freely, Dokos is the very definition of an untouched and secluded paradise.

There are no direct ferry routes to Dokos from Piraeus, however, you can reach the island by hiring a private yacht or sea taxi from Ermioni, Hydra or Spetses.
The journey from Ermioni and Hydra to Dokos typically takes about 20 minutes, depending on the type of vessel. Traveling to the remote island from Spetses can take up to 40 minutes.
As there are no public ferry services to Dokos, you will either have to book a sea taxi or rent a private boat or yacht. Prices can vary greatly depending on the port of departure, the size of the vessel, and the itinerary. Indicatively, a sea taxi from Hydra to Dokos carrying 8 passengers can cost €125 each way.
Make sure to pack lunch and bring along any other essentials, as Dokos is mostly uninhabited and there are no facilities or shops on the island.

8 – Spetses, the Elegant Escape Destination

Spetses Island, Greece

Visiting Spetses offers a unique blend of cosmopolitan charm and rich naval history, making it a must-see destination for those exploring the Greek islands near Athens. The island is dotted with stunning beaches such as Agios Mamas, Agios Nikolaos, Agia Marina, and Kounoupitsa, each offering crystal blue waters and serene vistas, perfect for sunbathers and water enthusiasts alike.

Beyond its sandy beaches, Spetses is renowned for its significant naval heritage, which you can learn more about by visiting its museums, such as the Spetses Museum or Bouboulina Museum, dedicated to the heroine of the Greek War of Independence. You will not want to miss the Spetses Classic Yacht Regatta, which draws sailing aficionados from around the world and adds a vibrant energy to the island’s tranquil atmosphere.

For adventure seekers, Spetses is a scuba diving paradise, with underwater treasures waiting to be discovered beneath its azure waves. The island also boasts an array of holiday villas, offering luxurious accommodations that cater to every taste, from the rustic and charming to the sleek and modern.

With its authentic and cosmopolitan flair, Spetses is a charming destination that invites visitors to immerse themselves in a world where history and luxury intertwine, making it an unforgettable stop on any Greek island itinerary.

You can reach Spetses from the ports of Piraeus, Ermioni and Porto Heli.
The ferry boat from Piraeus takes 2.5 to 3 hours to reach Spetses, depending on vessel type. If traveling from Ermioni or Porto Heli, the journey lasts 10 and 20 minutes, respectively.
Tickets for ferry boats and high-speed boats to Spetses generally cost around €50.
Cars aren't allowed on Spetses, so if you wish to explore Spetses, consider renting a bicycle.

Cyclades Islands

The Cyclades got their name from ancient Greek geographers due to their circular arrangement around Delos, the birthplace of the Olympian deities Artemis and Apollo.

While further out from Athens than the Saronic Islands, many of the Cycladic islands are easily accessible from Piraeus, Lavrio or Rafina. With picturesque whitewashed houses, breathtaking views and some of the finest beaches in Greece, it’s no wonder that millions of tourists flock here every year.

9 – Kea (Tzia), the Hiker’s Paradise

Kea Island, Greece

At just 16 nautical miles from Athens, Kea (also known as Tzia) is the closest of the Cycladic islands to the Greek mainland. With great natural landscape, picturesque villages and splendid beaches, the island has long been a favorite amongst Athenians for both short and long escapes. One of the small island’s standout features is its cobbled paths and hiking paths that pass through forests and lead to wonderful coves and unique beaches.

Among the most popular spots for swimming and bathing under the Aegean sun are Xyla, Poisses, Otzia, Spathi and Koundouros, with azure waters crashing on the golden sand and pebbly beaches. Nature lovers will rejoice with Kea’s dense vegetation, in contrast to the rest of the Cycladic islands. With forests of royal oak, much of the island is part of the Natura 2000 protection network.

Perhaps the most impressive landmark on the island, near Ioulida, is the Lion of Kea. Carved from a boulder and sporting an enigmatic smile, it has been welcoming travelers and protecting the island from nymphs for centuries. History buffs can also explore the ancient Tower of Agia Marina and the prehistoric settlement of Agia Eirini.

The nightlife in Kea peaks over the summer, with bars, clubs and cafes dotted throughout the island, while more romantic souls will appreciate the open-air cinema in Korissia or enjoying the sunset with a cocktail or glass of wine by the sea.

The easiest way to reach Kea is from the port of Lavrio. Although it is also possible to travel to Kea from Piraeus, there are fewer direct routes and you may need to switch ferry boats at Kythnos or Syros - the capital of the Cyclades.
The journey from Lavrio to Kea typically lasts 1 hour.
Tickets for the ferry boat from Lavrio to Kea cost just under €15.
While the island has a municipal bus service that will take you to most of the major attractions and beaches, hiring a taxi or renting a car will offer you greater flexibility.

10 – Kythnos, Steeped in Traditional Charm

Kythnos Island, Greece

Kythnos, in the heart of the Cyclades, beckons travelers looking to explore beyond the typical tourist trails, offering a blend of natural wonders, ancient history and gorgeous beaches. Among the island’s most iconic spots is Kolona Beach, a stunning strip of sand forming a narrow isthmus that stretches into the azure sea, creating a breathtaking double beach.

For a bit of pampering, look no further than Kythnos’ thermal spring baths, known for their therapeutic properties since ancient times. These natural spas are perfect for unwinding and rejuvenating in serene surroundings.

As for the island’s history, the Medieval Castle of Oria tells tales of bygone eras and offers panoramic views of the sea and skyline, while the Mesolithic settlement of Maroulas, one of the oldest in the Cyclades, provides a rare glimpse into prehistoric life, dating back over 6,500 years.

Kythnos is also an ideal starting point for your Greek island hopping adventure. Its central location makes it easy to hop to nearby islands in the Cyclades and beyond. Whether you’re exploring the narrow alleys of Chora, soaking in the sunset or tracing the steps of ancient civilizations, Kythnos promises an unforgettable journey through time, nature, and the soothing embrace of the Aegean Sea.

The port of Lavrio is the most convenient departure point for Kythnos, however it is also possible to travel to the island from Piraeus.
The journey from Lavrio to Kythnos takes 1 hour and 40 minutes or 2.5 hours, depending on which type of boat you pick. If departing from Piraeus, the boat ride typically lasts about 3 hours.
Tickets to Kythnos from Lavrio are typically priced between €15 and €20, while tickets for ferry boats from Piraeus cost around €30.
Kythnos has a relatively small network of roads which is covered by buses and taxis. Although the distances between villages and beaches are generally short, car or motorbike rental is advised for greater comfort and flexibility. Regarding accommodation, Kythnos generally has rooms to let, studio apartments, and a few boutique hotels.

11 – Andros, the Island of Captains

Andros Island, Greece

Andros stands out among the Cycladic islands, earning its nickname as the “island of captains” thanks to its rich maritime heritage. This island captivates visitors with its distinctive elegance and stunning architecture, setting it apart from its neighbors in the Aegean Sea. As a haven for nature lovers, Andros boasts an array of springs, lush greenery, historic watermills, and charming stone bridges, all contributing to its one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

Of course, this Cycladic landscape would not be complete without a wealth of gorgeous beaches with crystal clear waters! On the western side of Andros, you can’t go wrong with the beaches at Agios Petros, Apothikes, Chrysi Ammos, and Fellos. On the eastern side, you can generally expect stronger winds and currents, with the most popular and best beaches being Achla, Tis Grias To Pidima, Zorkos, Ateni and Syneti.

Adding to Andros’s allure is the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Goulandris Foundation, a beacon of culture that showcases a stunning collection of modern art pieces and serves as a bridge between the island’s storied past and modern soul. Another historical marvel is the Castle of Chora, perched high and offering breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea.

For those seeking adventure beyond the beaches and art, Andros does not disappoint. The Tower of Agios Petros opens a window into the island’s medieval history, while the Foros cave in Aladino will amaze you with its stalactites and stalagmites. As the sun sets, the island transforms, with vibrant nightlife emerging in Chora and Batsi. Bars, tavernas, and clubs come alive, offering a taste of Greek hospitality and joy.

You can travel to the island of Andros by boat from the port of Rafina, with multiple ferry services per day.
The ferry boat journey from Rafina to Andros takes about 2 hours.
Tickets for the ferry boat to Andros from Rafina typically cost around €25.
Andros has a network of buses that links the villages and main beaches, however you will need your own vehicle or taxi to explore the more remote areas of the island.

12 – Serifos, the Wild Beauty of the Western Cyclades

Serifos Island, Greece

Serifos, often hailed as the “Island of Cyclopes,” is a gem among the best Greek islands near Athens, offering a mesmerizing mix of scenic landscapes and rich history. This idyllic destination stands out for its quintessential Cycladic architecture, featuring whitewashed buildings and labyrinthine alleys that promise a tranquil retreat from the city life of Athens.

One of the island’s must-visit attractions is the Chora, perched atop a hill, offering stunning vistas of the Aegean Sea. The Ano Chora and the Kato Chora, divided by a scenic square, house charming cafes and traditional tavernas that invite visitors to savor local delicacies.

Beach lovers will be drawn to Psili Ammos, with its golden sand and crystal-clear waters being a perfect spot for swimming and sunbathing. Livadakia Beach, another popular destination, is a well-equipped haven for those looking for sun loungers and umbrellas for a day of seaside leisure.

Cultural enthusiasts will appreciate the archaeological and folklore museums in Chora, which exhibit relics telling tales of Serifos’ extensive history, from antiquity to present times. The island’s old mines also provide a unique insight into its industrial legacy.

Serifos comes alive with vibrant festivals, notably the feast of the Virgin Mary of Skopiani on August 14 and 15, and the lively beach celebrations at Agios Sostis on September 6 and 7, showcasing the island’s cultural richness. With a captivating blend of natural beauty, history, and relaxation, Serifos is an ideal destination for travelers seeking an authentic Greek island experience.

You can travel from Athens to Serifos by getting a boat from the port of Piraeus.
The journey from Piraeus to Serifos takes about 2 to 2.5 hours in a high-speed ferry boat and 4.5 to 5 hours in a conventional ferry boat.
Prices for ferry boat tickets to Serifos from Piraeus typically range between €40 and €80.
While there is a bus network and taxis for hire, coverage and availability are limited, so it is highly recommended to rent a scooter or car.

13 – Tinos, the Spiritual Island Escape

Tinos Island in Greece

Sandwiched between Andros and Mykonos, Tinos is one of the best Greek islands near Athens, offering travelers a harmonious mix of natural beauty, historical depth, and quaint village charm.

A highlight for visitors is the revered Church of Panagia Evangelistria, celebrated for its miraculous icon that attracts annual pilgrimages, making it a spiritual beacon for many. Art aficionados will find a treasure trove at the Cultural Foundation of Tinos, where the island’s legacy of marble sculpture and artistic excellence is proudly displayed. This homage to Tinos’ rich artistic tradition is a testament to its cultural vibrancy.

The island’s villages, such as Pyrgos and Volax, present a delightful exploration of traditional Cycladic architecture. Pyrgos stands out, not only for its scenic beauty but also for its contribution to marble artistry, with the Marble Art Museum of Tinos offering insights into the island’s long-standing craftsmanship.

For nature lovers, the rugged terrain around Exomvourgo mountain offers breathtaking hikes with panoramic views of the island and the shimmering Aegean, providing perfect opportunities for photography or serene contemplation.

Beach enthusiasts will revel in the pristine beaches of Tinos, such as Kolymbithra, Livadi and Agios Sostis, where crystal-clear waters and sandy shores provide a peaceful retreat. These spots become especially appealing during the summer when the Aegean’s north winds, known as “meltemia,” create ideal conditions for surfing.

Whether you’re drawn to cultural exploration, artistic discovery, or simply the allure of the Aegean’s blue waters, Tinos promises an unforgettable experience.

Tinos is connected to the Greek capital with ferry boats primarily from the port of Rafina, with up to 10 services per day during the summer. It is also possible to travel to Tinos from Piraeus.
The journey from Rafina to Tinos takes 2 to 4 hours. From Piraeus, the boat ride typically lasts about 4.5 hours.
Tickets for ferry boat rides from Rafina to Tinos cost €35 to €50, depending on the type of vessel. Prices for tickets from Piraeus to Tinos typically range from €40 to €80.
Tinos is an ideal destination for island hopping, as it is connected with many and frequent routes to the rest of the Cyclades, as well as with islands in the North Aegean.

Athens Riviera and Evia, the Greek Island Experience by Car

For an authentic island experience just a car ride away from Athens, look no further than the Athens Riviera and Evia, two of Greece’s coastal jewels.

The Athens Riviera dazzles with its scenic coastline, while Evia surprises with its diverse landscapes and easy accessibility via bridge. Together, they provide the perfect blend of seaside luxury and natural beauty, making them ideal for explorers seeking the essence of Aegean island charm without straying too far from the Greek capital.

14 – Vouliagmeni, for a Touch of Cosmopolitan Glamor

Lake Vouliagmeni, Greece

Vouliagmeni, shortly after Glyfada, is one of the most luxurious and cosmopolitan seaside spots on the Athens Riviera. Aside from hosting luxury hotels, the town is famous for its thermal lake, Lake Vouliagmeni, where you can enjoy a relaxing swim in mineral-rich waters surrounded by rugged cliffs.

Vouliagmeni Beach presents a perfect spot to soak up the sun on its golden sands or take a dip in the crystal-clear Aegean Sea. Adventure seekers can explore a variety of water sports, including stand-up paddleboarding and windsurfing. Culinary explorers will delight in the local taverns and restaurants, offering fresh seafood and traditional Greek dishes with a view of the sea.

Not to forget, the scenic coastal promenade is ideal for evening strolls, offering breathtaking views of the sunset over the Saronic Gulf. Vouliagmeni effortlessly combines relaxation with adventure, making it a must-visit destination on the Athens Riviera.

The shortest route to Vouliagmeni from the center of Athens is via Vouliagmenis Avenue. Alternatively, you can take a more scenic Poseidonos Avenue that goes around the coast. Aside from driving yourself or taking a taxi, there are multiple bus services to Vouliagmeni.
From the center of Athens, it usually takes 30 to 45 minutes by car and just over one hour by public transportation.
Tickets for buses, trolleys and trams cost €1.20. The entrance fees to access the Lake of Vouliagmeni range from €15 to €20, depending on the day of visit and age.
The mineral-rich waters at Lake Vouliagmeni are generally warm and suitable for swimming, ranging from 21°C to 29°C throughout the year.

15 – Lagonisi, the ‘Island of Rabbits’

Lagonisi, Greece

Lagonisi, another hidden gem a stone’s throw from Athens, may not be an island, but its charm is undeniable. Renowned for its breathtaking beaches like Eden Beach, Lagonisi offers visitors the quintessential seaside experience.

Here, the azure waters of the Aegean Sea meet soft, sandy beaches, creating an idyllic setting for relaxation and water activities. Whether you’re into windsurfing, paddleboarding, or simply soaking up the sun, Lagonisi caters to both the adventurous spirit and those seeking peace.

Not just a haven for beach lovers, Lagonisi boasts upscale resorts where luxury meets nature. These establishments provide lavish spa treatments amidst serene surroundings, ensuring a stay that pampers both body and soul.

The culinary scene here is equally impressive, with local tavernas dishing out exquisite Greek cuisine. Highlighting fresh, local seafood, these eateries promise a gastronomic journey that shouldn’t be missed.

Lagonisi’s proximity to Athens means that historical excursions are easily accessible, allowing for day trips to explore ancient ruins and museums. Combining the tranquility of a beach vacation with the sophistication of Greek hospitality and culinary delights, Lagonisi stands out as a premier destination for those exploring the best spots on the Athens Riviera.

The most direct route to Lagonisi is via Vouliagmenis Avenue up to Voula, then head east towards Vari and Varkiza to reach Athinon Souniou Avenue, which will take you all the way to Lagonisi. Alternatively, you can take the more scenic coastal route via Poseidonos Avenue and Athinon Souniou Avenue.
As for public transportation, you can take the metro to Argyroupoli and, from there, continue with the 122 bus.
Journeys from the center of Athens by car take about 45 minutes, while public transportation options usually take just over one hour.
Tickets for buses, trolleys and trams cost €1.20.
Some beaches in Lagonisi may charge an entry fee, so it's wise to carry some cash for access to these private shores.

16 – Cape Sounion, Where History Meets the Horizon

Cape Sounio, Greece

Visiting Cape Sounion on the southern tip of Attica is an unforgettable experience for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The majestic Temple of Poseidon, perched on a rocky hilltop, offers captivating views of the Aegean Sea, especially during sunset.

Beyond the temple, Cape Sounion invites exploration with a national park full of pine trees, hiking trails and mining caves from antiquity. Should the weather be on your side, you can dip into Sounio’s crystal-clear waters for swimming and snorkeling. For those interested in Greek mythology, Sounio holds a special significance as the spot where Aegeus, king of Athens, leaped to his death, giving the Aegean Sea its name.

The area also boasts secluded beaches and traditional tavernas serving fresh seafood, providing a perfect blend of cultural and leisure activities. Whether you’re seeking to explore ancient ruins or simply relax by the sea, Cape Sounio offers a unique and memorable adventure.

By car, the most direct route to Sounion is via Lavriou Avenue and the Eastern Coast of Attica, or you can travel to Sounion either via the Vouliagmenis and Athninon Sounion Avenues. It is also possible to take the KTEL bus or join a guided tour to Sounion.
The journey to Sounion typically takes just under 1.5 hours by car, depending on the route and traffic conditions.
Tickets to enter the archeological site of the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion cost €10 for adults and €5 for children and young people up to 25.
Remember to wear comfortable shoes for the walk to the temple ruins and bring a camera for the breathtaking sunset view that rivals Santorini.

17 – Evia, Greece’s Undercover Giant

Evia, Greece

Evia, Greece’s second-largest island after Crete, stands out as a breathtaking blend of natural landscapes, historical intrigue, and cultural treasures, making it a top contender for the best islands near Athens. Your exploration should begin in Halkida, a city famous for the mesmerizing tidal currents of the Euripus Strait—a phenomenon that draws visitors from all corners. The old bridge offers a vantage point for unforgettable views of this natural marvel.

Renowned for its therapeutic hot springs, Edipsos is a destination steeped in ancient allure. The island caters to nature lovers with the verdant forests and panoramic hiking paths of Mount Dirfys, along with the serene waterfalls nestled within Dimosari Gorge in Karystos. Beach enthusiasts will find their paradise along Evia’s coast, which boasts pristine beaches such as Agia Anna and Eretria, ideal for unwinding or engaging in aquatic sports.

Evia’s rich history is woven into every corner, from the enigmatic Dragon Houses (Drakospita) that fuel the imagination with their unsolved mysteries to the Archaeological Museum of Eretria, which illuminates the island’s ancient heritage. The island also has its share of historic medieval castles, such as the Karystos Castle, which reflect the Evia’s Byzantine and Venetian influences.

For travelers passionate about hiking, delving into history, or soaking up the sun on idyllic beaches, Evia presents an essential stop in your journey through the Greek islands. It encapsulates the essence of Greek island beauty and adventure, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring the best islands near Athens.

You can travel to Halkida in Evia by car, or you can take the ferry boat from the port of Rafina to Marmarι.
The journey by car from Athens to Halkida takes just over an hour, depending on traffic conditions. The ferry boat ride from Rafina to Marmari also takes about 1 hour.
It is possible to travel to Evia by car, with the toll costing about €3.50 each way. By ferry boat, the cost is €9 from Rafina to Marmari.
The island of Evia is the second largest in Greece, so there is a lot to see and do there. While there is a reliable bus service to explore the island, it is recommended to rent a car to make the most of your day.

Best time to visit the Greek islands near Athens

The best time to visit the Argosaronic Islands, Cyclades, Athens Riviera and Evia is from late spring to early fall (May through September). During these months, Greece generally experiences warm weather with ample sunshine, and the warm waters of the Aegean Sea are perfect for swimming, diving, and sailing.

The peak tourist season is July and August, which comes with a livelier nightlife and more ferry routes, but also larger crowds and more intense heat. For a more tranquil experience, aim for May, June, or September, when the weather is still pleasant and the islands are less crowded.

Greek Island Hopping Tips

  • Ferries are your only option for hopping in these islands of the Argosaronic and Cyclades. Make sure to book your tickets in advance, especially in peak season.
  • For the Argosaronic islands, the high-speed hydrofoils and catamarans provide the quickest access from Athens.
  • Consider renting a car for Evia and the Athens Riviera, as it will give you more flexibility and the opportunity to explore secluded areas. Alternatively, you can book a guided tour or excursion and avoid navigating through Greek highways.
  • If you plan on staying on one of the islands overnight, book early for the best options, especially in summer. Consider staying in smaller, family-run establishments for a more authentic experience.
  • Be flexible with your plans to accommodate weather changes or ferry schedules. Sometimes, unexpected changes lead to the best adventures.
Ioannis (or Yannis, he insists) is a Content Writer and Editor at TourScanner hailing from Athens, Greece, where the fantastical worlds of comics, music and film fueled his dreams and love for travel. While his childhood ambition to claim the moon as his own remains unfulfilled (for now), he channeled his curiosity into a decade-long academic adventure in England. With over ten years of experience as a journalist and wordsmith translator, he aims to craft stories that bridge cultures and perspectives. His passion for narratives isn’t confined to the written word, though, and you’ll often find him rummaging through record shops, showcasing his sweetest dance moves at live gigs, or absorbed in cinematic masterpieces. And yes, he's still keeping an eye on the stars.