Poros (Greek: Πόρος) is a green island situated in the Saronic Gulf, 59 km (32 nautical miles) from the Piraeus harbour of Athens. It has an area of 33 km², a shoreline of 42 km, and a population of about 3,650.
In ancient times it was considered the island of Poseidon, God of the Sea. This is evident from various literary references and from the traces of the temple of Poseidon, which are to be found in the middle of the island. The word “Poros” in ancient Greek means a small sea passage. Nothing could describe better the island of Poros, since the closest distance between the island and Galatas on the coast of the Peloponnese is 200 m.
The island is divided in two. Kalavria is the bigger part and Sfairia, which includes the town of Poros, is the smaller part.
This quiet yet cosmopolitan island features lush pine trees, crystal clear beaches, a lively waterfront adorned with shops, cosy cafes and restaurants, a picturesque capital with grand traditional mansions and cobbled streets that has been declared a protected settlement and a wide selection of entertainment venues.
As you approach the island of Poros by boat, the historic clock dominates the view on the hill’s highest peak, encircled by prickly pear and pine trees. Constructed in 1927, it is clearly visible from all angles and is considered the town's main attraction. From the clock, the view of the port and the coastal areas across the passage is magnificent.
Poros is a quiet island full of pine trees which reach the shores and sandy beaches. The large homes on the beach have a neoclassical style in contrast to the common duplex houses in Brinia, Milo, Pounta and Kasteli. The first dwellings were built in 1463 around the famous clock.
Many tavernas are sparsely located among the picturesque alleyways and the whitewashed houses of Poros which are surrounded by bougainvillea. Visitors can enjoy souvenir shops, cafeterias, tavernas and clubs playing Greek and English music all along the pier.
In the centre of the town you can find the town hall, the archaeological museum, a public library along with a reception hall for exhibitions and other cultural events.
Leaving the centre, you will see the Pregymnasium in the northwest which happens to be Othona's first residence. Today, this area is used for sailors' training and ranking. After passing the field, you will come across a small canal separating Sferia from Kalavria.
After crossing the canal you will encounter Sinikismos, the first community of Asia Minor refugees. Towards the end of Sinikismos, if you follow the spiral road surrounded by enormous pine trees, you will end up at the church of Our Lady Agia Zoni. It's located between a steep cliff with lots of trees and running water where the Temple of Poseidon is also found.
On your way back to the canal's bridge, towards the left and west, you will see an area called Perlia. The road continues along the coast, passes through Villa Galini and Mikro Neorio and, eventually, reaches Megalo Neorio. Further down is the Love Cove, the Russian dockyard along with the islet called Daskalio.
On the right hand side of the canal's road you will pass through Kanali. Heading east leads you to Askeli. As you continue, the road branches out towards the monastery of Zoodohos Pygi. Going north you will reach the temple of Poseidon, Vagionia and passing by Agio Stathi and Profiti Elia it goes back through Sinikismo to the canal.
As of June 2017 there are two companies serving Poros from Piraeus. Hellenic Seaways operates catamarans four to five times a day. Single tickets cost €24.50. Saronic Ferries has bigger and slower ships that also take vehicles, and single tickets cost just €14.
Galatas on the mainland is just a few hundred metres from Poros, and frequent small ferries also carrying vehicles make the crossing in 5 minutes; tickets are only around €1.
Poros doesn't have an airport but many visitors come by the way of Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport. It has been rebuilt and now offers spacious air-conditioned halls, shopping facilities, several restaurants and internet cafés.
From Venizelos, there is a shuttle bus (Number X95) going straight to the port of Piraeus (Port no. 8). The buses are also top of the line, very comfortable and air-conditioned. It makes absolutely no sense to take a taxi since it's no faster than the bus but will cost you €30 instead of €3 for the bus ticket. Chances are also very high that the driver will overcharge you, so confirm the price before you get in the taxi. The “Karaiskakis Square” bus stop is next to Gate 8, from which the ferry boat as well as the hydrofoil boat leave for Poros. From Piraeus there are ferries to Poros, per By boat above.
Alternatively you can get a limousine driver to meet you at the airport – or any other meeting place of your choice, and drive you to Galatas, next to Poros. The first 100 km are on the motorway, and then you will continue on country roads through beautiful scenery via Epidaurus to the village of Galatas, where you can get over to Poros in a private boat in four minutes time. This trip takes about 2½ hours door to door, and costs about €300 depending on number of passengers, including tolls and boat.
- Helenic Sun Travel (Constantinos Alexopoulos), Askeli, 18020 Poros, ☎ . Transfer limousines from/to Venizelos airport
You can also fly to Poros from the airport by helicopter, a service which started in 2004. The price depends on your luggage.
Given that the ferries from Galatas take cars too, getting in by car (e.g. rented at the airport) can possibly also be an option, especially if you plan to explore the Greek countryside further (see Greece#Get around).
There are public bus connections (KTEL, phone service 14505, in Greek) between Piraeus and Galatas and as well as between Nafplio and Galatas. From there you can get to Poros in just a few minutes by ferry, as mentioned in By boat above.
Poros consists of two smaller islands, connected via a small bridge: Sfairia island with the town of Poros and the pine-clad Kalavria island. Together they cover 31 km² and have a coastline of 42 km. Vigla is the highest peak with an altitude of 358 m.
Bus and taxi terminals are located in the centre of the beach area. Access to boats that go along the shores of Galata is also available there. In general public transport around the island runs smoothly all day. Buses leave every hour while boats depart every ten minutes. On the beach you can find scooter and bike rentals whereas cars are rented just opposite the island, in Galata.
Small boats connect Poros with Galata (every 10 minutes), the charming Alike beach, underneath the Lemon Groves, and – upon demand – Askeli beach. The ferry boat to Galata connects the island with the mainland once an hour, from 07:10 to 22:10 daily. In the summer it runs every 30 minutes. Taxi service includes cars and boats, both working 24 hours a day, with an emergency service for the late night hours only.
Poros is a fairly small island, perfect for hiking, jogging, and lazy strolls through the town’s picturesque alleyways or along the cosmopolitan harbor promenade. A moderately fit person can walk from the town centre to the monastery in approximately an hour.
Public transport offers two bus lines, both starting from the central square on the harbor promenade. With “Neorion Line” you can explore the southwest coastline with the beaches of Cochylia, Neorion, Love Bay and the Russian Bay. The “Monastery Line” drives along the southeastern coast with the beaches of Askeli, Panagitsa, and picturesque Monastery Beach. The fares are moderate. They do not, however, tend to run very late into the evening as demand is fairly low at that time. Their timing is fairly predictable except at lunchtime when the schoolchildren break up and buses can occasionally be kept waiting to pick them up.
There are also a number of grey taxis on the island – reasonably cheap to use. Expect to pay about €6 plus tip from the town centre (that is, the port) to the monastery. The island is too small to support a population of rogue taxis.
In case you travel with your own car or motor bike, a ferry boat will bring you over from Galata every hour between 08:00 and 22:00 daily. In the summer schedules are every 30 minutes. Ticket reservation is not necessary.
Driving one's own car within the town itself is not recommended as the seafront road is narrow and one-way only except for mopeds and motorcycles. It is frequently constricted by pick-ups and vans delivering to tavernas and shops (unavoidable) and the thoughtless people who will park their car anywhere to avoid walking a few extra yards (eminently avoidable).
- 1 Clock Tower. This clock tower was built in 1927 and is an imposing feature. It is definitely a bit of a climb from the waterfront, being the highest point of the island, but when you reach it, the view is breathtaking and worth the effort. The clock tower also attracts a number of photographers for the view it offers, the coming together of land, water and sky. Although the tower has a simple appearance, when you watch it closely after 10 minutes going upstairs it is worth visiting because the view is wonderful.
- 2 The Archaeological Museum, Korizis Square. Tu-Su 09:00-15:00. Houses findings from the Sanctuary of Poseidon, from ancient Troizen, Magoula, Apathia, Modi and Saint Constantine from Methana.
- 3 Poros Shell Museum. Daily 09:00-13:00 & 18:00-21:00. Founded in 2006, has a permanent exhibition of shells from the Greek Seas displayed at the Chatzopouleios Library. The Municipal Library is worth a visit, with more than 8,500 titles of books and more than 200 DVDs.
- 4 Sanctuary of Poseidon. Remains of the ancient sanctuary are located in the northern part of the island in the centre of the Kalaureian amphictyony. Archeologists estimate it was built around 520 BC. It was here that Demosthenes, the famous orator, poisoned himself with hemlock in 322 BC fleeing from the Macedonian Governor Antipatros.
- 5 Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi (4 km east of the main city of Poros). Founded in 1720 AD and built on the slope of a pine forest. In 1814, a group of monks from Mount Athos took refuge in this monastery. A few years later, these monks founded the Zoodochos Pigi Monastery at Longovarda on the island of Paros. It is a basilica with a dome and a tower-like belfry being the main church of the monastery. The temple is simple without many wall paintings. The precious wood-carved icon, which was made in Kappadokia of Asia Minor in the 17th century, together with the wood-carved iconostasis and the imposing bishop throne, are of great interest.
- 6 Bourtzi castle. It was built by von Heideck at around 1828, at the place where an old church of St. Constantine had stood. The island was given to the Poros monastery from 1770 on by Antonios Serfos. The standoff between Hydra island and Capodistrias gave the cause for severe fight here in 1831.
- 7 Open air movie theater "Diana". One of the very few opportunities to enjoy watching a film in the open air as in the past.
- 8 . Poros was the site of the first naval base in modern Greece, established in 1827 during the Greek War of Independence. Most of the activities of Poros Naval Base were moved to Salamis Naval Base in 1881. The site is still used today by the Hellenic Navy as a training centre for naval personnel. In 1834 warehouses and bakeries were built there for the supply of the Russian fleet sailing in the Aegean. The Russians kept this property until the 1900s. In 1989, with a ministerial decision, the Russian Dockyard was declared a historical monument due to its great architectural and historical interest.
- Church of Our Lady Agia Zoni. Where festivities take place on 2 July.
- 1 Love Bay Beach. Cove where you can enjoy swimming in green and turquoise water under lush pine trees. This is an organized beach with deck chairs, umbrellas, tables and a canteen where you can eat a snack or drink.
- 2 Russian Bay Beach. This is a picturesque bay, which is classified as a historical monument because of its great architectural and historical interest. On the opposite side is Daskalio, a small island with a lovely church. Then there is the Gerolimenas: a secluded pebble beach across the islet of Petra.
- 3 Neorio Beach. Pine trees embrace the sea water and “paint” it with an unusual green colour. Golden sand and transparent waters often create the illusion of a huge mirror. The beach also has "passage", a centre for water sports.
- 4 Kanali Beach. Accessible on foot, located after the bridge that connects the Pregymnasium with Sinikismo. It’s 15 minutes away from the town centre with a sandy beach in the heart of the bay of Askeli.
- 5 Askeli Beach. After the canal, the coastal road continues and leads to Askeli, a few kilometres northeast of the port. Askeli faces the open sea and is built amphitheatrically on the slope of a pine covered hill with a panoramic view from above. There are four snake-shaped streets on the road starting from the beach road and branching out across Askeli, reaching the top of the hill.
- 6 Monastery Beach. Located on a hill on the east coast. Under it is a quiet beach with crystal clear water, next to a pine forest. The area offers water sports and snorkeling. Also available in the area are sunbeds, umbrellas and a canteen where you can have a snack or drink.
- 7 Vagionia Beach. Vagionia is a quiet beach with sand and pebbles situated in the northern part of the island, ideal for relaxing holidays and all kinds of fishing, especially snorkeling. You can find beach chairs, umbrellas and a cafe snack bar.
- 8 Passage (on Poros island), Poros, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The base in Poros of Drepani Water Ski Resort is very well maintained and fully operational. The base consists of a pontoon with a ski nautique boat and a wakeboard boat. Several water sports can be practiced such as: water ski, wakeboard, wake skate, barefoot, trick skiing, banana and tubes.
- 9 Scuba diving school in Poros, Askeli beach, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- 10 Dontas Horses & Tours, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy great beaches with horse riding.
- 1 Syllogi, Poros Town, ☎ . M W 08:30-14:00; Tu Th-Sa 09:30-14:00 and 18:30-21:30. Among the most interesting and worthwhile places to visit in the town of Poros is a wonderfully preserved 1890 building on St George Square. Observing the antique architecture, the old authentic furnishings and the hand-painted ceiling, you can be taken back in time while enjoying the big variety of goods displayed in this shop.
- 2 Citronne Gallery, Poros Town, ☎ . This is an art gallery hosting the work of different artists, mainly in the high season. It is housed in a beautiful mansion in Poros Town.
- 3 Glikisma, Poros town, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 09:00-23:00. An excellent pastry shop.
- 4 Fresh Food Market.
- 5 Vikos Marine, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Marine shop.
- 6 Mpitounis (Bitounis), ☎ . Alcohol shop.
- 1 Poseidon Tavern, Virvili square, ☎ . You will enjoy your food in a friendly environment with an amazing view of the sea either at lunch or diner. Dishes are cooked with care, fresh material and knowledge. You will taste food from traditional Greek cuisine, a large variety of appetizers, fresh fish and desserts. The specialty is fresh octopus.
- 2 Primasera, ☎ . The tavern is a combination of classic and modern with the nostalgia of traditional cuisine and the personal touch of the owner. It is one of the oldest taverns of the island, where all the famous people on the island go to eat together.
- 3 Garden Restaurant (Close to St George Church), ☎ . Inside the cool environment of the "Garden", which is literally full of bougainvilleas and jasmines, you will have the experience of tasting delicious appetizers from homemade and local spicy recipes, the freshest fish and meat on BBQ and some delicious vegetarian dishes.
- 4 Platanos Tavern, ☎ . At "Platanos" the visitor can relax and enjoy delicious food along with beer or cold wine, down from the shades of the 200-year-old platanus that exist there, at the Square of St George, next to the old little church.
- 5 Dimitris Family Tavern, ☎ . Dimitris' the Butcher Shop Taverna is on the top of the town of Poros. His specialty is the finest fresh steaks and other beef, lamb, pork and chicken dishes because as the name suggests, he is a butcher. He has eight children, many who work in the restaurant, and the pepper-steak is delicious. When you first sit down you are welcomed with a glass of sweet, rich dark wine.
- 6 Sti Rota Tavern, ☎ . Situated at "the Hero Square" right behind the cenotaph. It's nice to sit there and watch other tourists pass by, watch new arrivals with the flying Dolphin and the taxiboats, or just relax in the calm atmosphere. You get nice treatment from the staff, and you really feel welcome
- 7 Apagio Taverna, Pounta Poros harbour, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Apagio is a family taverna with a beautiful view. Spiros and Liz, the owners, offer a variety of homemade Greek cuisine, Meze and starters. Spiros is a fisherman so you can also have fresh fish every day. Specialties: fresh calamari and feta with honey.
- 1 Malibu. The bar is open from the time the sun sets until the early morning. You can elevate your mood either by drinking outside and watching the sea view, or dancing inside the main part of the building.
- 2 Joy. Drinks after sunset. You can have a beautiful view of the port of Poros while enjoying a drink and good music as well.
- 3 Sofrano, ☎ . Relaxing terrace at the seafront.
- 4 Sail, Poros waterfront, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. On a beautiful patio on the waterfront in an old, properly renovated neoclassical building. The meeting point of locals and visitors.
- 5 Siroco, Póros, Greece, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. This club, probably the biggest on the island of Poros, is an amazing place for partying and dancing. Mostly open on the weekends during winter. Special events take place in the summer.
- 6 Milk Bar, ☎ . Excellent iced Greek yogurt.
Hotel rates are given as for the low season. They skyrocket during the high season (defined as July to September); in some cases rates may more than double.
- 3 Nikis Village, Trinizias (1km from the centre), ☎ , fax: . 150 m from Neorion Beach, the complex features a pool and self-catered rooms with free Wi-Fi. All accommodation offers a balcony overlooking the Saronic Gulf, the mountains and Poros Town. Air-conditioned. Satellite TV and kitchenette with a dining area, fridge and cooking hobs. From €45.
- 4 Hotel New Aegli (In Askeli), ☎ , fax: . Modern hotel with 80 fully equipped rooms with sea views. From €35.
- 5 Seven Brothers, Iroon Square (100 m from the dock, located in front of the bus stop the taxis and the boats), ☎ . At the heart of the port, to the centre of the town, in a quiet place, opposite the Iroon statue, and next to Alpha Bank. Magnificent view of the port with the boats, the beach of Galatas opposite. From €45.
- 6 Hotel Manessi (Under the clock tower of Poros), ☎ , fax: . Family-owned and managed hotel offering spectacular panoramic views. From €41.
- 7 Dionyssos Bed & Breakfast, 78 Papadopoulou St, ☎ , fax: . Internet access available at no extra charge. From €50.
- Sto Roloi & The Anemone, ☎ , (Cell). Three traditional "B" category apartments and one single room. Open around the year. Low season rates from €53, high season rates from €63.
- 9 Hotel Pavlou (In front of Neorion beach), ☎ , fax: . In the heart of Neorion Bay in front of the beach. Renovated.
- 10 Xenia Poros Image Hotel, ☎ , fax: . Featuring spacious rooms and suites with a splendid sea view, a conference room, fitness centre, one restaurant serving local delicacies, private marina, beach bar and a long sandy beach with complimentary sunbeds and umbrellas for all guests. From €93.
- 11 Hotel Sirene Blue Resort, Monastiri 18020 - Poros, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Has two swimming pools, a private beach with Taverna Restaurant and Beach Bar on a wooden deck by the sea and under the pines. The cosmopolitan restaurant Roof Garden at the top of the hotel in Black & White style has live music. rates from €140.
Poros is connected with the island of Aegina and the Methana peninsula by ferry boat, and with Hydra and Spetses island and the ports of Ermioni and Porto Heli by hydrofoil boat.
- Aegina — was a rival of ancient Athens and it was the first capital of modern Greece after the War of Independence; visit the Temple of Aphaea.
- Corinth Canal — travelling by car you will cross this famous canal, 6.4 km long and built in 1881.
- Epidaurus — the 15,000-seat theatre located up hill from Epidaurus port is marveled at for its exceptional acoustics, and as is usual for Greek theatres, the view of the lush landscape behind the skênê is an integral part of the theatre.
- Methana — visit the volcano and the city's sulfurous spa.
- Troezen — visit the ancient Trizina and the "Vasiliki Tafi" (the royal cemetery), among other great archaeological finds of the Mycenaean period.
- Hydra (Hidra) — the car-free capital of the island was constructed on the slopes of a hill around a port that impresses visitors with its elegant stone mansions
- Spetses — an island of elegant medieval mansions and beautiful beaches that is ideal for long promenades
- Porto Heli — a small seaside town with a large port, which is a frequent mooring place for fishing boats and yachts in the summer and a favourite of Athenians who have holiday homes there. Well-known in the region for the Amanzo'e Aman Resort and beach facilities.
- Nafplio — near the archaeological site of Mycenae, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Galatas across the narrow straight.