Things to do in Salamina
If you are a lover of seafood and have a passion for seaside villages then Salamis is the place for you. The town is home to Ouzeri o Kakias, which is considered the best fish restaurant in Salamina.
The famous Greek poet Angelos Sikelianos lived here in a beautiful house by the beach of Faneromeni. Nearby is Euripides cave which you can access with a short hike.
1. Visit the Monastery of Panagia
The Monastery of Panagia is the most important monastery in Salamina and was built in 1642. The story behind it is that its founder Lampros Kanellos had a vision of the Virgin Mary and asked him to build a church for her. The monastery was a place of worship for the local population and also provided shelter during the Greek War of Independence against the Ottomans in 1821. Today there are 19 nuns living in the monastery taking care of it. The most impressive part of the monastery is its beautiful icon which hangs from a chain and resembles a soaring bird. The monastery is beautifully decorated and has a lot of interesting frescos. There is also a museum that showcases a lot of different things from the history of the monastery.
Other interesting places to visit in Salamina include the home of the poet Angelos Sikelianos which is on Faneromenis Avenue and is a beautiful white house overlooking the sea. You can visit it at sunset for an especially romantic experience. Another nice stop is the Memorial to the Battle of Salamina at the end of Akti Kariaskakis which is a very impressive monument to those who died fighting for Greece’s freedom. You can even see some of the ancient stones from the battle here.
If you’re looking for some relaxation you can find several beaches in Salamina Greece. There is Psili Ammos a spectacular beach with white sand and clear water, Selinia with its organised pebbles that slope into the water and a scenic waterfront tavern that serves fresh seafood and ouzo. Another nice beach is Limnionas which is covered with dark pebbles and has a beautiful view of the sea.
The Archaeological Museum of Salamina has a lot of interesting finds from excavations on the island including the Cave of Euripides where the poet wrote his most famous works. Another must-see is the Metrological Reliefwhich is a slab of hard limestone with embossed depictions of various units of measure. You can also visit the Tomb of the Fighters at Kynosoura where you will see a very impressive tomb that was found during excavations on the island.
2. Visit the Cave of Agios Nikolaos
The gloomy port of Salamina isn’t for everyone, but history buffs and families in search of an affordable overnight island escape should consider it. The island is an excellent spot for inquisitive travellers who want to explore its length and breadth. From the ancient port at Kynosoura in the northeast, where the naval battle of Salamis took place to the cave where Euripides sought shelter in the south, the island offers plenty to discover.
The first thing you notice about the island is its vast harbor, protected by a causeway and looking like a bus station. A fleet of small ferries continuously run back and forth, with one leaving every few minutes. The ferry ride is just long enough to admire the changing landscape on your way to the island and is a great introduction to the island’s slow pace of life.
Once you arrive on the island, you can see its past in a number of museums and monasteries. The Archeological Museum of Salamis displays finds from the excavations on the island and the Cave of Euripides, among other exhibits. It’s housed in the old 1st Elementary School (Kapodistrian) on Lempesi Street.
You can also visit the eponymous Cave of Agios Nikolaos in the seaside village of Kanakia, amid a pine forest. The walk to the cave is a little difficult, but the rewards are worth it. The cave’s rocky walls reveal a variety of archaeological findings, including clay and stone ritual vessels and a copper votive bull. The sculptural relief that commemorates the naval battle of Salamis is another highlight.
Other must-see attractions include the church of Agios Dimitrios in the capital, built in 1806 and adorned with frescoes by famous painter Polychronis Lempesis. The Patris Hill overlooking Salamina town houses the Euripidean Theatre, which hosts cultural events and dramas and has an impressive view over the bay where the Battle of Salamis took place. A bust of Euripides, who was born in the area, is displayed at the entrance of the theatre.
Other sites of interest include the remains of the ancient port at Kanakia, the foundations of a Mycenaean acropolis in the neighborhood of Kanakia and several monasteries with peaceful allure. The old windmills on the island’s west side are another must-see attraction, as are the tall eucalyptus trees that grow near the beach at Kitroplatia and the olive tree of Orsa in the western part of the island.
3. Visit the Old Windmills
The best things to do in Salamina are hidden on the island and require a bit of effort. These include hiking to the Mycenean ruins of the Aiantas (Ajax) kingdom in Kanakia, the site of the naval battle between the Greeks and the Persians, and several monasteries that have an aura of peace.
The main town of Salamina also boasts the Church of Agios Dimitrios, with a pulpit and throne carved by sculptor Giannoulis Halepas and frescoes by Polychronis Lempesis. It’s a good place to start if you want to get acquainted with the history of the city, as it gives a pretty good idea of what the city used to look like.
If you’re looking for something a little different, the Municipality of Salamina Folk Art and History Museum hosts a collection of traditional costumes and furniture as well as a display of cannons and torpedoes found on the island. There’s also an archeological museum if you’re interested in learning more about the city’s long history, which includes being the setting for the naval battle between the Greeks and Persians 2,500 years ago.
Other attractions in the region include a pair of windmills that are located near the port and have been renovated to function as a museum and an arts center. There are a number of beaches in the area, including Eas Club beach that has sunbeds and umbrellas but offers plenty of room to find your own spot, or the more secluded Limnionas beach with white sand that slopes into clear waters.
There are also two truly magical pine forests on the island, the Forest of Faneromeni in north-west Salamina and the forest of Kanakia in south Salamina. The latter is the one that Euripides, the famous ancient playwright and poet, is said to have used as a retreat and is the perfect place for hiking and enjoying nature.
Salamina has a variety of hotels and guesthouses, as well as restaurants, cafes and taverns where you can enjoy the island’s fresh seafood and other delicacies. The tavern in Limnionas, for instance, is particularly scenic and has a great view of the sea. Those who are interested in learning more about the culture of the island can stop by the Euripidean Theatre on Patris Hill, where concerts and theatrical shows take place throughout the year.
4. Visit the Olive Tree of Orsa
Located in the village of Orsa and accessible by car (or bus, taxi or walking) this grove of olive trees is one of the most beautiful sights on the island. The tree, which was planted in 1872 by a Greek nobleman and is said to be more than 1,000 years old, is the most significant of its kind in the Balkans. The tree is surrounded by other olive trees and is covered in beautiful flowers. It is an incredible sight and well worth a visit.
A large part of the island is covered in pine forests and there are many places where you can enjoy a walk or hike. In the north of the island you will find the Forest of Faneromeni, which is perfect for jogging or hiking and in the south there is the Forest of Kanakia where you can also do some hiking.
If you arrive in Salamina by ferry and land at Paloukia you may think the island is not very nice as the harbor is like a bus station with an endless line of ferries going back and forth all day long. However, if you take the time to explore a bit you will see a completely different side of the island that is filled with beautiful beaches and little villages.
The port of Salamina is actually a working class town that is not designed for tourists but the main reason for this is the naval base of Salamis where there are always lots of large ships in the harbor. But if you leave the port and go to Akti Themistokleous where the ancient battle monument is you will discover that the rest of the island is quite attractive.
There are dozens of beautiful beaches on the island that are suitable for swimming and there are also several tavernas where you can enjoy some fresh seafood and ouzo. Some of the most popular beaches include Psili Ammos Beach which has golden sand and clear waters, Selinia Beach which is an organized beach with tavernas and Limnionas Beach which has a sandy bottom and is ideal for families. The house of the poet Angelos Sikelianos is also worth a visit and exhibits his woven dress, books and everyday objects.