Poros is home to a charming port, neoclassic buildings and picturesque corners. A stroll along the waterfront promenade offers views of yachts and fishing boats.
With gorgeous beaches, opportunities for water sports and a town to explore, this island offers a true Greek escape. Here are some of the top Things To Do in Poros.
1. Visit the Archaeological Museum
The Poros Archaeological Museum is a small but important site on the island, and a must-visit for those who want to get a feel for the island’s history. It is located in Koryzi Square and houses various artefacts including stone engravings, ceramics, steles, Hellenistic figures, and vessels. The exhibits are divided into two exhibition halls.
The museum was built on a plot donated by the heirs of Alexandros Koryzis, who served as prime minister in 1941. The expositions was registered in 1959 and the museum opened to the public 10 years later, in 1978.
Most people only know that Poros is separated from the Peloponnese by a narrow strait and, as such, is a favorite weekend getaway for Athenians, with car ferries sailing back and forth every 20 minutes during the peak summer season. It’s also a very popular beach destination, with the best beaches on both sides of the island and the famous Dana Lighthouse within walking distance from the center of town.
Poros’ neoclassical buildings climb up the island like seats in an amphitheatre, and its streets wind through a cool warren of alleyways with whitewashed houses draped in bougainvillea. The island’s calm and lush beauty has drawn a number of famous artists, including Henry Miller and Nobel Prize winner for Literature Giorgos Seferis.
If you want to see the most impressive sights of Poros, though, head up to Kalavria hill to visit the Clock Tower, built in 1927 and a dominant feature on the landscape. The views of the port and the seaside of the Peloponnese are incredible, especially at sunset.
Another must-see on Poros is the temple of Demeter, dedicated in 520 BCE and believed to be one of the most ancient structures still standing. The ruins are situated in the eastern part of the island and feature a Doric temple. The cult of Demeter is very important to the Greeks and, as such, many locals make the pilgrimage to the sanctuary each year on August 15th, which is considered the anniversary of their patron saint’s death. During this festival, there are festivals and processions in honor of the goddess.
2. Go Sailing
Sailing in Poros is a great way to see the island’s beautiful coastline and take in stunning views of the Greek countryside. Choose a company that offers sailing courses and guided trips around the island. You’ll get to explore islands and bays, swim in crystal clear waters, and learn about the local culture and history.
During your afternoon on the sea, enjoy the scenery of Poros’ gorgeous beaches and lush pine forests. The crystalline waters around the island are perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and the water is so clear that you can see the bottom of the sea floor.
Poros is also a great place to sail because of the protection offered by its natural harbor and its sheltered coves. Some of the best places to drop your anchor in Poros include the picturesque bay of Vydi, which is protected from northern winds and features a beach with eucalyptus trees. Another good option is Neorion Bay, which is a little more crowded but offers plenty of safety and is beautiful with its rich verdure.
Alternatively, you can head to the western jetty of the new port to take in the sights on the waterfront. Fishing boats and sailing yachts line the shore, and at night the calm waters reflect the lights of a number of bars and clubs. It’s hard not to be seduced by the charm of this idyllic holiday setting so close to Athens.
Getting around Poros is easy and fun, especially if you rent a scooter or bicycle. The roads are mostly paved and feature very few steep inclines. The historic clock tower in the center of town is one of the most well-known landmarks on the island, and it’s worth making the trek to see it from above. You’ll have a great view of small boats sailing around the island’s crystal clear waters. The neoclassical buildings that ascend the town’s hill look like seats in an amphitheater, and they’re covered with bougainvillea. Many of the houses have been turned into hotels, and famous visitors include Seferis, Greta Garbo, and playwright Henry Miller.
3. Explore the Town
The centre of the island is Poros Town, where boats dock (you can only get to Poros by boat). It’s a likeable harbour town with a neoclassical heritage. The backstreets are lined with whitewashed houses topped with bougainvillea, and the waterfront is adorned with cafes, shops, and cosy tavernas. It’s a relaxed place and feels a world away from the hectic streets of Athens, even though it is only an hour’s ferry ride from the capital.
A main landmark is the clock tower above the port, which has been counting time since 1927. Climbing up to it rewards you with sweeping views over the harbour, across the strait to Galatas, and even into the Peloponnese mainland.
Near the harbour is the Holy Monastery of Zoodochu Pigis, founded by Ioakovos the II, Archbishop of Athens, following a healing miracle he witnessed. The monastery is home to a church with impressive paintings and a magnificent wooden icon from Cappadocia in Turkey.
Further afield, there are ruins of a Doric temple dedicated to Poseidon. Faint foundations and four stoae (covered walkways with columns) are all that remains of the temple, which was built in the 6th century BC. It was once one of the most prestigious temples in antiquity, but it’s a sad reminder of the tragedy that befell its namesake – Demosthenes, the famous orator, who arrived here as a fugitive and ended his life by drinking hemlock at the site.
Also near the port is Love Bay Beach, a pretty bay with a set-up that reminds you of more luxurious resorts on the mainland. It’s backed by listed buildings from the Russian naval base and is lovely to swim in, especially at sunset when it becomes romantically illuminated.
For art lovers, there’s the Citronne Gallery in an 18th-century house near the ferry port, which stages temporary exhibitions of contemporary Greek artists. There’s also a shop selling local wines in the heart of the old town that’s worth visiting. It’s stocked with some of the island’s most renowned wines, including a sweet red called Moschato.
4. Take a Hike
The island’s neoclassical buildings ascend its hill like seats in an amphitheatre, while the plush pine inland offers plenty of trails to explore. Hike past olive and citrus groves, ancient presses, and rocky peaks like Vigla, which stands at 358 metres. It’s a wonderful way to see the island, and its views of the Saronic Sea are truly breathtaking.
Poros’ lush landscape has inspired a number of famous authors and poets, including Henry Miller and Greek Nobel Prize winner George Seferis. His writings evoked memories of the island and its natural beauty, so it’s no surprise that he spent much of his time here. Visitors today can still admire his neoclassical villa, which is now a museum.
Other interesting places to visit on the island include the 1927 Clock Tower, Zoodochos Pigi Monastery, and the ruins of the Russian naval dockyard. The latter are listed as historical landmarks and stand as a reminder of the important role played by Russia in Greece’s history.
Beach lovers should head to Love Bay, which is a lovely sheltered cove with crystal-clear waters and stunning scenery. The beach has a cafe and lounge chairs, and it’s a perfect place to relax and unwind.
For a more active experience, you can trek along the cliff-lined trail around the rocky north coast of the island. The trails are marked by cairns, and they lead you past the fountains of the Virgin Mary and Agios Atathis. You’ll also be able to see the ruins of the ancient Sanctuary of Poseidon, which lies among the pine trees.
The best time to hike in Poros is during the off-season, which is from May to October. During this time, the weather is cooler and there are less people around. It’s also a good idea to pack a lot of sunscreen, as the sun is strong in the summer months. Moreover, you should wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be doing quite a bit of walking during your trip.