Olympic Cruises: Three Greek Islands, One Day

One sunny Saturday in November 2015, I was afforded the opportunity to experience three Saronic Greek islands in one day; Hydra, Poros and Aegina, hosted by Olympic Cruises (now Evermore Cruises) and with some fellow Travel Bloggers Greece members.   I’d already experienced a three islands, one day cruise with Athens One Day Cruise, so I was keen to see how Olympic Cruises faired.

Early departure on Olympic Cruises

We met at Flisvos Marina in Southern Athens at 07:30 for an 08:00 departure.  Settling into the top deck of the Kassandra Delphinus, basking in the sunshine, we relaxed and drank our tea and coffee whilst listening to live Greek music, watching the sea slip by as we cruised to our first destination, Hydra.

Motoring along to Hydra island on Olympic Cruises
Motoring along to Hydra island on Olympic Cruises
Travel Bloggers Greece relaxing on the top deck of Olympic Cruises
Travel Bloggers Greece relaxing on the top deck of Olympic Cruises – Athens in the distance

Hydra

An hour and a half later, we docked in Hydra. We had about an hour on the island and Olympic Cruises offered us a brief tour – not of the whole island, but the highlights.

A one hour tour took us around the narrow streets of the harbour, the opportunity to view daily life on Hydra – the island where no cars are allowed.  Actually, there are only three vehicles on the island: the refuse truck, ambulance and fire truck.  The rest of the population move around either on foot, or with their donkey.  This has helped preserve Hydra’s authenticity.  Although we had a taster of Hydra, I would recommend this island:

  1. For its beauty
  2. For a traditional Greek experience.

Some of the highlights of The Hydra Walking Tour are the 18th Century Naval School, the Monastery of the “Assumption of Mary” and the square where a scene from Roger Moore’s “For Your Eyes Only” was filmed.

Coming into Hydra with Olympic Cruises
Coming into Hydra with Olympic Cruises
Square / platia on Hydra from a scene from "For Your Eyes Only"
Square / platia on Hydra from a scene from “For Your Eyes Only”
It's a donkey's life. Everyday scene on Hydra - the first stop on Olympic Cruise's One Day, Three Islands cruise.
It’s a donkey’s life. Everyday scene on Hydra – the first stop on Olympic Cruise’s One Day, Three Islands cruise.

Lunch

On the way to Poros island, we ate a filling lunch;

  • Tuna and Greek salad
  • Marinated Perch or Roast Chicken
  • Pasta Napolitana
  • Traditional Lemon Potatoes
  • Basmati Rice
  • Pecan Pie
Olympic Cruises Lunch
Olympic Cruises Lunch

More details on Olympic Cruise’s lunch menu can be found here.

Poros

There’s really not a lot to say about Poros to be honest.  It’s a wonderful island and I have written my own posts about Poros when I’ve visited in the past, here.

The problem with the Olympic Cruises stop in Poros is that it’s so short – only half an hour.  Just enough time to run up to the Clock Tower and take some pictures of the gorgeous views, then run back down to the ship before departing for Aegina.

Clock Tower on Poros Island
Clock Tower on Poros Island

Aegina

And then onwards to Aegina.  Of all the islands, this is the place we spent the longest and had a wonderful tour to the Temple of Aphaia (part of the Holy Triangle: Acropolis in Athens, Temple of Poseidon at Sounio and the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina).     Our coach awaited to whisk us away from the quayside to the Temple.  And what a delight it was: peaceful, stunning and atmospheric.

Temple of Aphaea - part of Olympic Cruises's Aegina tour
Temple of Aphaea – part of Olympic Cruises’s Aegina tour

 The next stop was the Monastery of St. Nektarios – one of the largest monasteries in Greece.

Built in approximately in 1904-1910 by the Bishop of Pentapolis, Nektarios. Nektarios lived in the Monastery and died in 1920. In 1961 he was declared a Saint. The church has two tall bell towers and four rows of windows, which all have red bows for a capstone. The Monastery is a convent for women in which 14 nuns live in. The memory of the Saint is celebrated on November 9th.

Source: Olympic Cruises

Monastery of St. Nektarious - Olympic Cruises tour of Aegina Island
Monastery of St. Nektarios – Olympic Cruises tour of Aegina Island

After a 50 min stop here – back to the ship for our journey home.

Thoughts about Olympic Cruises One Day, Three Islands cruise

It is a great tour for those that have only a very short time in Athens, or even Greece and want to say they’ve been to three islands. I imagine it is tailored to those type of travellers – there were many Asian tourists on our trip who are maybe spending a great deal of time in Europe, but not necessarily in one place. So to be able to say you’ve been to three islands and see its highlights is great.

The cruise itself is pleasant, good food and delightful if the weather is good.  The music can be a little loud, preventing conversation.

And be warned: due to the nature of trying to fit in three islands in one day, the tours are very very rushed.  You feel a little as if you are herded from A to B before rushing back to the boat.

I question why there is a need to include Poros at all in the trip.  To my mind, it would make much more sense to spend more quality time on Hydra and Aegina (but the time spent on Aegina was nice, so maybe longer on Hydra).  Maybe the reason for including Poros is literally because their market dictates it: people want to say they’ve ‘seen’ three islands.  For me, I would choose quality and cut Poros out completely…after all, there’s only about half an hour to 45 minutes spent there.

Information

  • Travel Bloggers Greece were guests of Olympic Cruises
  • A one day trip: 08:00 to approx. 20:00 (8am to 8pm) costs €100 for one adult.  Check their website for any family discounts. The price includes transfer to/from your hotel and lunch.
  • It is a great tour to take to gain a taster of the Greek Islands near Athens, especially if you have limited time in the country

**A special thanks to Olympic Cruises for hosting us during our tour. As always, all thoughts and opinions remain my own, despite any complimentary services received.**

PIN for later

Three Greek Islands - one day cruise
Three Greek Islands, one day

13 COMMENTS

    • There are so many, it’s hard to know what to choose! Yes, it was a fantastic opportunity to get a taster, and for those on a limited time scale, I’d highly recommend this tour.

    • Thanks for your comment. Yes, three in one was quite rushed, but as I said in my piece, I respect that it’s great for some people who have such little time in Greece. As you’ll have seen from my profile, I am lucky enough to live here – so I treated this trip as a taster for when I go back to spend more quality time

  1. When I read the title about 3 islands, I immediately thought, “Wow, that’s a lot in 1 day”. Yup, I was right. But, you did visit 3 islands I had never been to. I totally agree that it’s quality over quantity, but I guess it’s particularly difficult for folks who want to see more islands. I’ve been fortunate to have stayed on one island for a week so I could really “soak up” the life and sites.
    Janice Chung recently posted…Marché Aux Puces: Paris Flea Market Worth VisitingMy Profile

    • Yes Janice. I am lucky enough to live here and therefore this, for me, was a taster so that I can go back longer. I will definitely stay longer in Hydra…maybe a weekend. And I am lucky to be able to go off season – less tourists.

  2. Good to know you are talking about the Saronic, not Sardonic, Islands. And Poros, not Paros. (Paros is the only Greek island I’ve been to.) I’d absolutely agree the longer stays on Hydra and Aegina are worth skipping Poros. I’d even be happy just seeing the temple and making it a one island day.

    • Thanks Kristin.

      Yes, I particularly liked Hydra and would have preferred a longer stay.
      And yes, a lot of overseas visitors are only familiar with the likes of Naxos, Santorini, Mykonos, Paros – the Cycladic islands. The Saronic’s are not so well known, hence they make a great visit.

  3. Even for a brief visit to each location, I think it’s great to get to stop in three islands especially the last location which includes that magnificent visit to the temple. I think this was an excellent cruise and would love to do this some day.
    noel recently posted…Helicopter ride around OahuMy Profile

    • Hi Denis,

      Yes, there are slow ferries anyway that go to these islands (and I always take a slow ferry over a hydrofoil as I think the journey is part of the trip). The nice thing about Olympic Cruises was the lunch and the on board entertainment. Also the option for tours (charge is extra though) at Hydra and Aegina. I think the tour at Aegina is worth it – I learnt a lot going to the temple.

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