If I had to pick, I would say that our second day in Greece was one of my top 3 experiences of the whole trip. Why? Because on this day, we went on a day cruise from Athens a.k.a. a full day, three island hopping tour via the Saronic Gulf.
And if you know me, you know I love being on the water and exploring any kind of “island life”. (cough, cough – my 5 day Caribbean Cruise experience here)
We boarded the cruise around 8am and were cruising away from the coast of Athens by 9am.
2 1/2 hours later, we found ourselves approaching the first island on our itinerary and one of the most beautiful harbors I had ever seen…
^^ Talk about making a strong 1st impression^^ Peep the photobomb lol
Since we were traveling off season, it felt like we had Hydra to ourselves while exploring as much as we could before our cruise would depart for the next island.
Charles was determined to find the best view of the island so we went in the only direction that made sense = UP… Up and through so many alleyways, saying “Kalimera” (good morning in Greek) to the locals who were lounging in their front courtyards as we huffed and puffed our way up the steep cobblestone steps… And boy did we find the view we were hoping to see.
White washed homes and buildings with terra cotta roofs nestled in the Hydra’s hills with an open view of the sea beyond. The view was ah-mazing and soooo worth the booty burn from walking up so many steps.
Eventually, we made our way down and back in the direction of the harbor and treated ourselves to some yummy hazlenut gelato before boarding the cruise.
An hour later, we found ourselves approaching the island of…
Here’s my one and only complaint about visiting the island of Poros = We only had 45 minutes to explore before the cruise was scheduled to depart… FORTY FIVE minutes. Like, really???
Anyways, a quick google search informed Charles and I that the best view of the island was from the clock tower located at the highest point of the island.
Sooooo once again, I found my booty burning as we speed walked up the plethora of stairs to get up to the clock tower.
^^ See the clock tower and flag up yonder in the background? That’s where we were going.
And then when we finally made it to the top, we realized that everyone else on the cruise had the same idea to go to the clock tower given the short time frame for visiting.
So we waited. And waited some more for the fellow tourists to allow passage for Charles and I to climb up the edge of the overlook so we could take this photo below.
^^ To take this photo, Charles had to climb up onto the rock ledge first and then held my hand as I literally crawled from the hill, past the drop off area up onto the rock ledge. Hence the death grip on his arm and my clutch (which had our passports in it). The whole time, he kept saying “relax you grip.” and while smiling for the pic, I said through my teeth, “If I’m going down, you’re going down with me.” lol
Pic taken, we made our way down back to the cruise with 5 minutes to spare before it left port and made it’s way to our final stop of the day, the island of …
For Aegina, which was by far the largest island of the three that we visited, we had 3 hours to explore.
And Charles being Charles felt that this meant we had enough time for us to rent a motorbike…
When he voiced his interest, I responded with “But have you ever ridden a motorbike?” His answer = “Once. When I was in high school.”
Me = “Mmmm about that. I’m not riding with you on a motorbike when you don’t have experience. And before you say anything, that one time in high school does not count as experience.” The man tried to hit me with the puppy eyes but I refused to give in because “safety first” lol.
But I knew this meant alot to him so I compromised… We could ride around the coast of Aegina but it had to be on FOUR wheels not TWO.
^^ And that pretty much sums up the story of how we ended up renting an ATV (it was black and yellow, a sign it was meant to be) for 30 euros for 2 hours and how I found myself holding for dear life as we sped along the coast of Aegina.
While riding around, Charles then said “you gotta take pics and record some video on the ATV so I post it on my instagram.”
And since the man never asks me to take pictures or video for his instagram (and I do ask him to takes pics of me alll the time), I figured it was only fair to put on my “instagram wife” hat on for him. After telling him to to “slow the fudge down” so I could feel more comfortable riding with no hands around his waist, I snapped a few photos and recorded a bit of video footage as we rode around and took in the views.
^^ The lil video I put together of our ride along the coast of Aegina :)
As with all things adventurous and fun, the time flew by and it wasn’t long before we had to head back to return the atv and get back on the cruise.
During the trip back to Athens, we were gifted with a stunning sunset. A perfect way to close out a happening day.
Overall, I thought the day cruise was a nice way to get a “Greek island experience” that was in close proximity to Athens.
Prior to this trip, I assumed the only island to go to in Greece was Santorini since that’s where it seems like everyone goes… But my perspective has definitely changed having learned while on our trip that Greece actually has 6,000 islands, of which 227 are inhabited.
3 islands down. 224 to go ;)
Have you ever visited a Greek island (besides Santorini)?
Linking up with Wanderful Wednesday.
P.S. In case you might be wondering, our day cruise was booked with this company. The price includes the stops to Hydra, Poros, and Aegina, a buffet lunch and a fun traditional Greek folk dance performance.