Unforgettable Travel Company

The 9 Best Islands Near Athens

As the capital of Greece, Athens is the heart of the country’s ancient empire and is its most thriving cultural center. Unsurprisingly, it is also the most visited tourist destination in all of Greece, attracting millions of tourists from around the world annually. During their visits, many soak in Greece’s unique culture during visits to museums and bustling markets. Others experience its heritage at historic sights that still dominate the city’s landscape, symbolizing the powerful civilizations that once called this city home. 

But, whilst Athens in itself is a fantastic city break to have in Greece, its location on the southern tip of the country places it in a prime position to discover what Greek island life has to offer. With three ferry ports, it’s more than convenient to explore a number of islands close to Athens during your visit, and many take day trips, or longer, to uncover Greece’s vast and varied archipelago. 

And at The Unforgettable Travel Company, we encourage all to take the plunge by experiencing Greece’s thriving island settlements. From those with breathtaking beaches to ones where the party doesn’t stop until the sun rises, we’ve shared below what we feel are the best islands close to Athens to inspire your next Greek adventure beyond the capital.

Tzia
Aegina island

The Closest Greek Islands to Athens

Kea

Also known as Tzia, Kea is a Greek island located in the Cyclades Archipelago and is situated roughly 16 nautical miles from Athens. This means it is one of the closest Greek islands to Athens so it is perfect for day trips from the capital. 

Small in size, Kea has remained a relatively untouched destination amongst travelers for many years and was a hidden gem harbored by the locals who would have happily kept this secluded paradise all to themselves. Now, Kea sees ample tourist activity during the summer season, and it’s no wonder why. 

Offering the typical, laidback Cycladic atmosphere and lifestyle as well as charming pebbled beaches, calm coasts, and quaint and colorful settlements, Kea is a peaceful getaway that, whilst only being close to Athens, feels like it’s a world away. 

Kea is one of the most conveniently located small islands in Greece that you can’t afford to miss when you’re visiting Athens. Be sure to go hiking on the island as there are over 40km of walking routes available exploring hilltops, valleys, woodlands, and more, so you can ramble for hours through Kea’s diverse landscapes to best connect with its natural beauty. 

Aegina

Located around 15 nautical miles away from the capital, Aegina is the closest island to Athens. Having grown in popularity in recent years, it is now a hive of activity for tourists who flock to the island’s borders when they want a quick getaway from city life and to experience what the Saronic Gulf has to offer.

It’s tempting to delve in and see what Aegina is all about given its close proximity to Athens, and we would recommend all to give in to this temptation as Aegina is worth it. In and amongst its picturesque and narrow streets, traditional Greek architecture, and beautiful coastline, the island has much to see and do to experience an authentic side of Greece. 

Aegina is known for its pistachios, with Greece being the first country in Europe to produce the delicious nut. Pistachios are, therefore, a delicacy on the island, and you’ll find the product being incorporated into many aspects of native island cuisine. If you’re visiting the island, you have to have a taste, especially as Aegina’s pistachios are considered to be some of the most delectable in the world!

Spetses 1
Kolona Beach Kythnos 1

The Best Beach Islands Near Athens

Spetses

Known for being a particularly affluent island that showcases a grand and elegant side to Greece’s archipelago, Spetses feels almost exclusive for travelers that pay a visit here. The distance between Athens and Spetses is 54 nautical miles and, because of this, it’s a popular destination for those looking for a short getaway, whether tourists or locals. 

Those who can appreciate the finer things in life when it comes to their vacations will enjoy spending time in Spetses. With boutique accommodations and upmarket restaurants galore, it’s one of the best small Greek islands to have a relaxing break near Athens, but in style. 

And, most importantly, the island has developed a reputation for having beautiful and secluded beach spots which are perfect to laze beneath the sunshine and take a dip in crystal blue waters. Every one of the island’s beaches is known for offering a picturesque place for all groups, whether families, couples, friends, or solo travelers, to enjoy some sun, sea, and sand in a relaxed island environment. 

Kythnos

Kynthos is another of the islands nearby Athens that offers some of the most breathtaking beaches. Found 25 nautical miles away from the capital, its exotic shorelines are all too tempting for beach lovers. Ranging from lightly pebbled shorelines to swathes of golden sands, there’s a vast variety of beaches on the island for travelers to take their pick from!

One beach, in particular, has won the hearts of locals and tourists alike, so much so that it is now considered to be one of the most impressive and beautiful beaches in Greece. Kolona Beach is made of a narrow strip of sand that connects Kythnos to the islet of Agios Loukas, its unique layout is what gives this beach its charm, and alongside its bright turquoise waters and peaceful surrounding natural landscape, it will have you in awe. So, this is one of the main reasons why we feel that Kythnos is one of the best beach islands near Athens to visit.

Agistri
Poros

The Most Beautiful Islands Near Athens

Agistri

Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands near Athens, Agistri is a tiny pine-covered isle 19 nautical miles from Greece’s capital which oozes natural beauty and has pristine landscapes. 

For anyone looking to connect with nature during their next visit to the country, Agistri is the perfect place to do so. Home to lush, verdant vistas at every turn and crystal clear water bordering its untouched beaches, visitors to Agistri will always feel connected to the flora and fauna of this Greek island. 

Many who are keen adventurers or outdoor sports enthusiasts enjoy spending their time on Agistri. This is because the island has the ideal environments and conditions for activities such as hiking and cycling. Equally, its breathtaking waters often attract those that sail and kayak as there are plenty of nooks and crannies along the island’s coastline that are so much fun to discover. 

Poros

Poros is another pristine island filled with lush landscapes that have gained the isle its reputation of being the greenest in the entire Argosaronic Gulf, with the distance between Athens to Poros being only 28 nautical miles also. 

Many writers and esteemed poets have referenced Poros’ beauty in their works, including the likes of American writer Henry Miller, known for his works including the Tropic of Capricorn and Black Spring. Its hinterlands are verdant and laden with lemon trees, olive groves, and pines, whilst its coasts are peaceful, and its settlements vibrant. 

One of the most beautiful areas of the island is Love Bay Beach. Bordered by green pines which contrast with the golden sands of this curved cove setting, it makes for a picturesque and romantic spot for travelers.

Hydra Greece
Mykonos

The Best Party Islands Near Athens

Hydra

Hydra is a chic and sophisticated island that’s particularly popular amongst visitors for short day trips from Greece’s capital. The distance between Athens and Hydra is roughly 37 nautical miles and the island’s reputation has even previously gained the attention of esteemed movie stars, such as Leonard Cohen. The island has also inspired many other creatives with its understated beauty, including the likes of the famed Pablo Picasso. But, if there’s one thing that Hydra excels in, it’s its nightlife. 

Within its main settlement of Hydra Town, there is an assortment of bars and clubs that offer a great glimpse into the Greek nightlife atmosphere. Open until the early hours, you can easily spend an evening wandering up and down the main port and experience the vibrant scenes once the sun has gone down. 

Mykonos

It’s without question that when people around the world hear the name ‘Mykonos’, they immediately think about the island’s rich nightlife. Whilst Mykonos has more to offer than just its nightlife, including gorgeous beaches, distinct Mykonian architecture, and a hedonistic lifestyle, its nightlife is what makes it consistently rank as one of the best islands to go to in Greece.

Mykonos is around 85 nautical miles away from Athens. Whilst it is further afield than the aforementioned islands, it is still possible to reach via ferry and by plane quite easily. Mykonos Town is the hub for nightlife activity on the island and is home to a real selection of clubs and bars for every budget and for those looking for a relaxed or more intense night out. 

Syros
Syros 1

The Best Quiet Islands Near Athens

Syros

A hidden gem in the Aegean Sea, Syros is 78 nautical miles away from Greece’s capital and is one of the best quiet islands near Athens. The island is the capital of the Cyclades, offering a low-key vibe in an environment that’s not overcrowded, making for a much quieter and less-touristic experience. 

You’ll never find a packed beach in Syros like you would at any of Greece’s better-known islands. Many of the beaches are perfectly accessible, but Syros’ lesser-known status amongst tourists means that you’ll have a beach almost all to yourself when you explore its coastline. 

The same applies to its settlements. With architectural influence from around the world, its towns and villages have an eclectic mix of all types of architectural styles. And with plenty of history, there’s much to entice and explore whilst you’re visiting Syros and you won’t have to worry about butting shoulders with other tourists whilst doing so.

Ready to Start Planning?

If you’re tempted to visit Athens and explore its nearby islands on your next vacation, our team of experts can advise you on the best islands to discover and help you choose the right trip to suit your interests and needs.

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