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Day 1: Athens – Hydra

Route to the three islands of the Saronic Gulf

Athens is a wonderful place to start your trip over Greece. On the first day, you’ll have an opportunity to see the best-known sights of the city, but arrival at the marina will be the main event. Be sure to discuss the route with the manager and check the weather forecast.


Athens is consistently ranked as one of the top must-see cities of the world. Capital of Greece, birthplace of democracy, open-air museum, cradle of ancient culture – the city has no shortage of titles and admiring epithets. Thousands of years of history have made their mark on the architectural look of the city, making it a place of truly unique beauty.

While all of Athens’ districts are inviting, visitors head straight for the Acropolis to see with their own eyes the Parthenon, the Erechtheion with its famous Caryatid sculptures, the temple of Athena Nike, and the Theater of Dionysus. An exhaustive exposition is offered by the city’s many museums: the National Archeological, the Byzantine, the Theatrical, the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora, the Cycladic Art, and others. The second-most popular tourist draw is the colourful district of Plaka. Its ancient buildings have been transformed into souvenir stalls, cafes, bars and restaurants. Getting lost in the maze of Plaka’s streets is easy to do, so it’s best to regain your bearings by looking at the Wind Tower, and to stop by the ruins of the Temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Gate.

Arriving in Athens, yachtsmen can’t help but visit Piraeus – the third-largest city in Greece and the country’s biggest port. Although the locals don’t consider themselves Athenians, Piraeus is actually part of the capital, since it’s impossible to precisely delineate the boundary separating the two cities. Here, the bustle of harbour life blends seamlessly with official museums, archaeological landmarks, and even international film festivals.


No connection here between the island’s name and the mythological goddess, but rather, deriving from the Greek word Ύδρα meaning “water.” Historically living up to its name, it used to be a site for plentiful fresh-water springs which would later facilitate naval glory, Hydra’s golden age began in the 15th century, when the population of the neighbouring Peloponnese began fleeing the islands from the advancing Turkish invasion. The rocky local terrain was difficult for growing crops, so the inhabitants were forced to turn to the sea. Gradually, the talented fisherman began distinguishing themselves as outstanding mariners and the island wound up giving Greece dozens of admirals and fleet commanders.

But Hydra’s cultural life was not to be outdone. Despite its relatively small size, the island counts roughly 300 churches, six ancient monasteries, numerous captains’ houses turned museums, and a handful of monuments to prominent local figures and milestone events. The Greeks decided that the locally shot film, Boy on a Dolphin (1957), was one such milestone event. It dramatically enhanced the locality’s tourist attraction, making Hydra a high-end resort for international celebrities. The monument to the film was erected on the island in 2006.