The way sailing goes is that you actually have to make your itinerary as you go. I had come armed with a list of Cyclades islands I wanted to see, but I quickly realised that I need to go with the flow (or the wind in this case) and ditched my list for the spontaneity of choosing our destination each day.
And it worked out pretty well! Ultimately we visited some of the most beautiful Greek islands – and almost none of them were on my original list!
One of my favourites surely was the port of Poros.
After our somewhat stressful adventures on Aegina Island, we finally stepped back on board our boat about mid-afternoon and set sail immediately for Poros as it was the nearest port for us to make given our shorter sailing time.
Upon rounding the bend and entering the bay I realised just why it needed to be visited!
Rising up on the slopes of the island were hundreds of pastel-coloured houses making the approach to Poros Island one of the prettiest….
Poros island is known for its’ lush pine trees, beautiful beaches and lively waterfront strip adorned with shops, cafes and restaurants. The picturesque town has been declared protected settlement and it’s cobbled streets are home to grand traditional mansions perched on the hillside to take advantage of the panoramic views.
The island is home to the Temple of Poseidon (built circa 520 BC which is said to be the spot where the Athenian rhetorician, Dimosthenes, committed suicide by drinking poison, pursued by Philip, the King of Macedonia)
You can easily reach Poros in the Saronic Islands from the port of Piraeus in Athens by ferry. The one way trip takes approximately 1 hour on the Flying Dolphin and 2 and a half hours on the normal ferry. Ticket prices cost around $30 one way for the Flying Dolphin.
But before we could set off to explore the streets, we had to berth our boat first!
This would be our first time berthing the yacht, so after all the fun of the afternoon at sail, suddenly the stress levels mounted when our novice crew had to “reverse park” a huge, pristine charter yacht between 2 other rather expensive sail boats without knocking either or crashing into the jetty OR crossing anchor lines – this is a sailing thing that is VERY NB!
We tried, and failed – having to go back out again, and again. It proved to be quite an experience, but eventually we all played our part (me on the roving buoy) and figured out how to NOT crash into another boat while mooring.
It was here that I realised that sailing can actually be rather stressful and you really have to keep your wits about you by reacting quickly to the captain’s instructions. I’m sure it gets easier with more experience though and it hasn’t put me off! There are far too many other aspects of this way of travel that I’ve fallen in love with!
Like discovering gems like this that you may otherwise never have made it to…
As I mentioned this was our first harbour mooring so it was quite exciting to see the sailing community enjoying the lifestyle, and for us to learn a little bit more about the routine of sailing life – filling up with water, taking out the trash, finding the nearest ablutions, making friends with your neighbours.
Spending only 1 night in each spot we stopped meant that as soon as all the important stuff was taken care of we were eager to set off to to explore more.
Quickly we adapted to our usual daily routine of arriving in a harbour around mid to late-afternoon then heading out to explore or eat dinner before heading back to our rocking bed. The next morning we’d get up early and get a little bit more exploring in before setting sail around 11am when the wind started to pick up. We’d then sail for a few hours. Sometimes 3, sometimes 6 depending on the nautical miles we needed to cover for the day to get to our next destination.
We arrived in Poros a bit later in the day due to the motor engine fiasco of Aegina and this meant that golden hour was settling in… I was eager to take advantage of the gorgeous warm light for some photos so we set off for the landmark white clock tower located on the hill.
This meant we were going up!
As Poros is quite a popular sailing port we were given a chance to see a slightly bigger Grecian town and I loved it!
Bougainvillea falling over the white washed walls, lemon trees growing in unlikely places, tiny churches around each bend, cats aplenty meandering their ways through the back alleys and giving life to the term “alley cats”
This was the ideal place to get lost and we loved it! Taking a turn down a tiny path or stairway, not knowing where you’d end up… but knowing the way back “home” was to aim for the harbour. I loved the carefree freedom.
We finally found our way back to our boat (it wasn’t hard) and rounded up a few of our crew for a traditional Greek tavern dinner at Taverna Karavolos. We’d spotted it on our wanderings around the back streets and time has taught me that when travelling it’s best to avoid the tourist trap spots located on the water’s edge and to head further off the main drag to find the places where the locals go – this looked like one of those!
This was our first meal as a group and we were all still getting to know each other so I have fond memories of this evening spent in the warm evening air, sharing food and stories!
The next morning delivered another gloriously blue sky (are there any other skies in Greece??)
I’d loved our adventures of the previous day and knew I may never be back in this dot on the map so needed to see more while I could… Brad and I set off for a brisk morning walk. Our intention was to work the entire small peninsula of Poros town while a few others made it their mission to find the beach.
Our walk on Poros island took us from the harbour up and around the more deserted side of the island, but it delivered incredible views!
One we rounded the tip we started to see more signs of life as this was the channel were all the boats exited the harbour…
And then, finally, we found our way back towards the town. At this point we stepped off the main road and scrambled up steep stairways to discover more of local life.
I know this might sound rather silly, but I’m always amazed when I find an incredible place on this planet that people are actually lucky enough to LIVE in permanently. That there are actually locals doing their chores, shopping for groceries, meeting friends for a meal. Don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t want to the locals to move out. I love visiting places that have more locals than tourists… I am just surprised at how fortunate certain people are to live in places like this!
Finally our walk came to an end as we rounded the clock tower corner and spotted the harbour.
Our delayed departure that had allowed us to spend such a leisurely morning strolling the streets of Poros was primarily because we were waiting for the ferry to arrive with our promised new boat motor for the dodgy dinghy. And knowing what we knew now we were NOT going to miss it’s 1pm arrival for anything! We spotted the ferry on the horizon and make haste towards the harbour to make sure we were there on arrival and waiting on the dock!
And when we finally had our hands on the prize we made our way back to the boat to begin preparations for setting sail again… and to choose our next destination!
Come back next Friday to see where we headed to next. Another one of my highlights! (Can ALL the islands be highlights?? 😉 ) I suppose at some stage I’ll have to name a favourite. You’ll have to wait until the end for that – I first need to relive each stop by writing this series to jolt my memory.
Thanks for joining me on our day trip to Poros! I’ll leave you with this quote, written by a much more talented writer than I, Henry Miller, that perfectly sums up Poros…
“You enter the harbor of Poros swaying and swirling, a gentle idiot tossed about amidst masts and nets in a world which only the painter knows. To sail slowly through the streets of Poros is to recapture the joy of passing through the neck of the womb. It is a joy too deep almost to be remembered.” Henry Miller – The Colossus of Marousi
Visit Poros island from Athens on this one day tour from Athens to Aegina, Poros and Hydra
Follow the rest of my Going Greek adventures by reading the other posts in this series…
If you enjoyed this post about Poros Island or want to re-read it another time please considering pinning it to Pinterest using the image below!
See all the highlights of our sailing trip around 7 Greek islands in this short video…
Images: Kathryn Rossiter