You can combine your city break Athens very well with an island stay. With the Flying Dolphin (a fast boat from Piraeus) you are already within an hour on one of the Saronic islands. You can easily go back and forth in a day. My favorite island close to Athens is Agistri. Unspoiled, not many foreign tourists, welcoming, green and fantastic bays with clear waters. Agistri has villages with traditional houses, beautiful hiking trails and authentic restaurants. Personally, I could easily spend a week on the island. But because it is very quiet, opinions differ on this. Biking on the island of Agistri is highly recommended!

My first time on Agistri

When I first arrived on Agistri, it was with the Flying Dolphin and thus without a car. This was absolutely no problem, I hardly saw any cars on the island anyway. When the Flying Dolphin arrived, the bus was already waiting in Megalochori, the capital of the island. Capital is a big word by the way, Megalochori is what we call in Holland a hamlet with a few houses, a few restaurants, a bike rental and a mini market. We left by bus in the direction of Skala, the most touristic place on the island. Now that I write it down I have to laugh about it myself, because Skala is not exactly touristy either. At least not the kind of touristy you think of when you think of a Greek island. Skala has a beautiful white and blue church that immediately gives you that island feeling, a few cozy cafes, an ice cream parlor, some fish taverns and a sandy beach with sunbeds and umbrellas. Ideal for families with children.

Hotel Saronis

We booked the hotel Saronis. On the website, the rooms looked nice with fresh white and blue decor. Once checked in, I liked the hotel beyond expectations. The rooms were spacious, nicely decorated, super clean and owner Kaliope is warm, welcoming and very funny. She told me that breakfast would be served in the garden in the morning. My Greek husband is not into breakfast but luckily I was able to persuade him. Breakfast in Saronis hotel is not just any breakfast. The bread is homemade according to a secret recipe (I had never eaten such delicious bread), the jam was homemade (got three kinds), there was cake and a delicious omelet. And of course there was fresh coffee as well. On day two we were served completely different dishes again. Kaliope’s breakfast alone would be a good reason for me to return to Agistri.

Self-guided bike tour Agistri 1

Cycling on Agistri

As a cycling fanatic, I wanted to explore the island by bike. The island is very hilly and green. There were some tough bits of climbing in the route. Nevertheless, it was not tiring because we could rest at the most beautiful spots along the way. Our first stop was at Dragonera beach with incredibly clear water. After a steep climb up, we cycled through the beautiful and authentic Greek village of Limenaria where we had a cup of coffee at the village’s only taverna. The route continued to the end of the island at the small fishing harbor and private beach of Aponissos. The nature here is so beautiful, the beaches fantastic and the villages still authentically Greek. As far as I am concerned, an unforgettable experience. Our e-book describes the route as I cycled it on the island. Hopefully this route will make you fall in love with the island as much as it did me!

Staying a bit longer?

If you decide to stay a little longer than a day on Agistri, there are several nice hotels on the island. Earlier I described my personal experience at the Saronis hotel, but the hotels below are also well worth checking out:

Aktaion hotel

Aktaion is ideal for families with children because it is right on the sandy beach of Skala. The hotel has a swimming pool with sun beds and umbrellas and a restaurant.

Dionysos hotel

This hotel is located in Skliri, just past Skala. Skliri has a few good restaurants and two particularly beautiful beaches. The hotel offers sun beds and umbrellas on a platform right by the sea. Most rooms have balconies with sea views.

Yianna hotel

Located 100m from the port of Skala, this hotel is a real family hotel. Special theme nights are regularly organized for guests. The hotel is close to the beach and has its own swimming pool.

Agistri Hotel

You will find this hotel right in the cozy center of Skala. Guests can use the swimming pool of the Yianna hotel. You can book this hotel including meals served at the Alterego restaurant.

I hope you can enjoy the peace and beautiful nature on Agistri as I did and would love to hear your personal experiences.