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We visit Poros a few days, an island off the coast of the Peloponnese

Home -> Europe -> Greece -> Travelogue Greece -> 07 to 10 June 2019

Friday 07 June, we visit Poros a few days, an island off the coast of the Peloponnese

The owners ar rive quite early on and they check the room well before we can leave. No, we didn't break anything and the wardrobe is still intact. It is just such a cheap plastic thing that you put up in a tent. And we must not forget to write a review! No, we will. And see you next year. Well, we don't think so, but we don't say that out loud. And the review comes out on a meagre 5.
Then we quickly leave to have a coffee in Salamina city. The waitress already knows exactly what we want. And then we go to the ferry, but this time we have to wait quit long before it appears. But when it arrives, we cross the narrow street within 10 minutes for € 4.55.
Along the coast we drive in the direction of the Peloponnese, over the narrow channel of Corinth and then onto the mountainous peninsula. Fortunately the roads are good here although we are behind a few slow trucks for a long time and it is not possible to take them over. A large part of the road is newly asphalted and there are entire parts that are still worked at. We have all the time of the world, from the ferry at Nea Peramos to Galata, where we will take the boat to Poros, it is about 2 hours away. Last night we decided to go to Poros; we grabbed the map and looked for an island in the neighborhood that seemed interesting. And there are plenty of islands, although we now also saw a number where you are not allowed to go by car, we will first skip them.
The Limniola beach at MethanaToday is the first real summer day with 33 degrees, in the Netherlands it was already over 30 a week ago. And that's why Teije has a surprise for me, a nice little volcano beach on the mountainous Methana peninsula. It is just like a big pimple on the map and consists of lava flows and lava cones. This still seems to be an active volcano area although the last eruption was in 230 BC. but the volcano still rumbled in 1700.
The beaches here have a brown color, which is probably due to the lava flows that have been eroded. Just past the quiet town of Methana we drive to the Limniona beach where it is nice and quiet. We skip a nearby Mycenaean sanctuary today and after a few hours we drive on.
Peninsula at MethanaThere are also sulfur springs of volcanic origin on the peninsula and you can smell them well thanks to the stink of rotten eggs. There is a bathhouse just outside the town of Methana, but you can also swim in the bay where the sulfur turns the water whitish green. It seems to be very healthy for rheumatic diseases, but we do not find it very attractive (especially the smell).
There is a peninsula around the bay and of course there is a church built on it. They often choose beautiful places for churches!
On the ferry from Galatas to Poros View from our balcony on PorosFrom Galatas we take the ferry to Poros, the cars are crammed together nicely as they often do in Greece, even when there is enough space on the boat. Just like at Salamina we are on the island within 10 minutes. Our apartment is just outside Poros town, the Alkyoni (kingfisher) hotel in Kyani Akti and we are there soon. It is only a small room and has the biggest disadvantage that the power goes off when we are not in the room. So we also don't have a working fridge for cold drinks, desserts and such.
That is why we go straight to the nearest restaurant to have a refreshing drink because everything we have with us has warmed up well in the car. The father of the owner is a relaxed man who likes to speak Greek with Teije, so it is a another great opportunity for him to practice. It is Olga's tavern, a place that is also rated as one of the best on Poros, so we will come here even more often.
Then we look for a supermarket and settle in the room and on the balcony to read about Poros.
Because we decided to go here so late (yesterday), we are totally unprepared. Poros is a Saronic island (I soon forget that again, with all those thousands of islands) and actually consists of 2 islands: the small Sferia on which Poros town is located and which is connected to Kalavria by a bridge, the bulk, together accounting for 23km ².

Saturday 08 June 2019, to Poros town

Our balcony is full in the sun and at 9 o'clock it is already 27 degrees (in the shade). We have been on the road for 4 weeks now, but last night we had the air conditioning turned on for the first time. That mean we have breakfast inside and after that we drive to Poros town and park the car in the busy port. Poros was the most important port in southeastern Greece in the 18th and 19th centuries and played a major role in the war of independence against the Turks. And no matter how small the island is, it has had a National Nautical School since 1849.
The port of Poros Mermaid fountain in PorosA long boulevard runs along the curved coast, but it is so hot that we walk under the sheds of the shops and many restaurants to find the shade. We buy a laminated map of the island and some souvenirs. There are mainly Greek tourists walking around but of course we also come across several Dutch people again. Teije looks around in a bookstore, but books are quite expensive here. A little further on we see a so-called library on the street, a cupboard with books in the open air. A man explains to Teije that you can take books for free here, but that it is appreciated if you also leave books. He is taking a book from Kafka in Greek, good luck with that!
Square in Poros Climbing streets in PorosPoros town is located on a (low) volcanic island and is built against the slopes of a hill. From the boulevard you can walk up through narrow alleys where there is a historic tower clock and from where you can look out over the city. But it is so hot that we don't have the energy for that now and first look for a terrace and a coffee. Enough terraces but it is very busy, at the weekend Poros is a popular place for residents of Athens and surroundings to go.
Amphoras from classical Greece in the museum of PorosThere is a small archaeological museum on Koriziplein, the entrance is 2 euros. There are 2 halls with local finds, mainly from the famous temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea, which lies in the middle of the island and the ancient acropolis that was nearby.
Often we are the only visitors in these kinds of small museums but here it is fairly busy and sometimes we even have to wait a while before we can view a museum piece.
Then we look for a ladle or something. We are actually looking for a back scraper, you know, for those spots on your back that you just can't reach if you have an itch. We had a beautiful olive ladle with us, but we probably left it somewhere on a beach. We walk into one shop after another and ask for it, but something like that is hard to explain in Greek. The ladles that we see are all just too short but at the moment when we want to give up we see a very special back scraper. It is a really long and transparent scraper with fingers on the end, something we had never seen before and it only costs a few euros. Ideal!
The beach on Vagionia bay, Poros Vagionia bay in the north of PorosThen we look for a beach but it is weekend, there are many Greek tourists and all beaches around Poros town are completely full. That is why we drive to the north side of the island where there is a secluded beach on Vagionis bay. The bay is beautiful but there are many sea urchins on the rocks in the water. There are not even 20 people on the beach, but why does that noisy family have to come and sit only a few meters away from us? We don't really like those mass beaches and prefer a lot of space for ourselves.
View of the north of PorosAfter an hour the family leaves and we do the same not much later. The island is not very big so we drive over it quickly. From the remains of the temple of Poseidon we have a fantastic view over the green island. Everywhere are olive trees, pine trees and lemon trees. We will visit the temple itself tomorrow, but early in the morning when it is not that hot. The coming days it will always be around 35 degrees, great weather but not to be too active.
Monastery of the life-giving well in the south of PorosWe go into Poros for some groceries (cold drinks because we obviously don't have that now that the fridge has been out all day) and then to Olga's, the restaurant near our hotel. Then Teije can his Greek a bit more, and a little later with the owner of the hotel. Plenty of opportunities to practice! At the beginning of the evening we drive to Moni Zoodochou Pigis, the monastery of the life-giving source. In the 18th century, a bishop of Athens healed after drinking water from a well here and he founded the monastery out of gratitude. A number of heroes from the war of independence are also buried here.

Sunday 09 June 2019, we cannot go (almost) anywhere

View of the east coast of the Peloponnese from PorosToday we have breakfast on the terrace of Olga's restaurant with sea view. When we walk towards the main road, however, the drive to it is closed and joggers pass by. On the terrace we find out that a triathlon is being held the entire weekend. Yesterday was the swimming part, of which we didn't notice anything, and today people cycle and run. And that at temperatures above 30 degrees! According to the police, it takes an hour before the road is released again so we stay where we are. When the barrier is removed, we walk back to get the car and head for the temple of Poseidon.
But halfway we are stopped and sent back by the police. An attempt to come from the other side also fails, the majority of the island is completely fenced off and that can last all day, we now hear. Also at Poros town everything is closed off for traffic and we park the car just before the bridge and walk all the way through the hot sun. That is not as bad as the marathon runners that we see passing by on the way to the finish at the port. Some still have the courage, while others trudge the last bit. The Porosea triathlon is held every year in June and that of course also explains why it is so incredibly busy everywhere.
At the open air library, or actually they are 2 bookcases in the open air, we leave behind a few books that we have finished and do not want to take back. And then we look for a terrace to watch the last runners who cross the finish line.
The Russian bay on Poros Ruin of the Russian shipyardWhen the roads are finally opened again some time later, we walk back to the car and drive along the northwest coast of the island. Here we pass a number of beautiful but small beaches. The 'harbor of love' is perhaps the most beautiful beach, a sandy beach among the pine trees, but it is particularly busy there. A little further is the Russian bay with the ruins of a shipyard that the Russians built during the Greeks' independence war against the Turks. A part of the beach is organized, with sun loungers and parasols, but a part also not and nobody is there. Ideal for us.
This beach is a lot nicer than the one where we were yesterday with a bottom of sand. We do occasionally see small sea urchins that hide in the sand but they do not bother us. It is very hot and therefore very nice to walk into the water to cool down and we stay there for the rest of the afternoon. Of course, far fewer people come here because most tourists do not have a car with them and this place is a few kilometers away from the city. When we drive back later we see at the 'haven of love' beach that it has become very cozy there: hundreds of people are literally crammed together on the beach but also in the water. It seems like an exuberant youth party and I am glad that they were not all on the beach with us.
Blooming cacti in Poros From a terrace on Poros we look at the east coast of the PeloponneseIn the evening we first turn on the air conditioning in the room because it doesn't cool down at all. Later there is a bit more wind and we walk to Olga's for a cool drink with a view of the Peloponnese. I read that Poros owes its name to the short distance between the island and the mainland, which is at the narrowest stretch less than 100 meters. Poros means crossing place in ancient Greek.

Monday 10 June 2019, the temple of Poseidon

Well, and why have we forgotten to turn on the dashcam today? Otherwise we would have had a great video now. Teije has decided to drive up through the city center by car because I don't come up the hill that easily anymore. But he gets completely stuck in the old center on the hill. The streets are two-way traffic but one car just fits through. Occasionally we also have to drive a bit backwards and into someone's parking lot to let an oncoming car pass by. At a certain moment the road is closed, a painter is painting a door in the middle. And there is no place to turn, well, a small plateau with a steep abyss behind it. We are not going to do that. The painter offers to do it but we don't want it, imagine something happens. He is already in the car anyway and drives it back a few hundred meters. We thank him and Teije gets behind the wheel again.
But instead of going back down, he drives on, looking for another route with the help of the navigation. But unfortunately, we keep getting stuck and eventually have to go the same way back, pfff I can do without these kind of adventures, it was pretty scary.
Poros is built against a hill Tourist boat in the port of PorosWe park the car in the harbor and look for a restaurant to have breakfast. Teije orders in his best Greek until the waitress starts talking back in Dutch. She visited Poros once and never left again. I can imagine that, it is a beautiful island and very pleasant now that all weekend people are gone again. Still there are enough boats in the harbor, some can be rented and there are also ferries to other islands in the area.
The temple of Poseidon on Poros The grounds of the temple of Poseidon on PorosAfter breakfast we make the trip to the temple of Poseidon which is located at the highest point of Poros. Already in Mycenaean times (1600 - 1100 BC) there was a shrine here that was later dedicated to the sea god Poseidon and became known throughout the Greek world. There is little left of it except the foundations of buildings. Excavations have been carried out between 2007 and 2012 and part of the site has been exposed. It is quite a large area and beyond that there are also remains of the old city. The best thing, however, is the view over all parts of the island.
The grounds of the temple of Poseidon on Poros The island of Poros is just off the coast of the PeloponneseThe great orator Demosthenes from Athens fled here in 322 BC. In Athens he had started a revolt against Antipater, the successor of Alexander the Great. Antipater sent soldiers after him and they wanted to arrest him in the temple, even though that was a holy sanctuary. Demosthenes saw that he no longer had a chance and asked if he could write a few last letters to friends. That was allowed, but then he bit the back of his pen, as if he had to think about what he was going to write. However, there was poison hidden in it and so he died on this hill, rather than being captured.
The islet of Daskalio off the coast of Poros The islet of Daskalio off the coast of PorosAfter we have walked around the temple grounds, we drive down the roads on the island where we have not yet been. There are not many of them, so we soon return to the Russian bay where it is quiet. From the hill above the bay we see a small island, Daskalio, with a chapel on it that is often used by tourists as a wedding location. It looks idyllic and romantic as so many of these small islands do. We descend to the beach where music sounds from the organized part but we find a quiet spot for ourselves.
Ships in the Russian bay, PorosIt is a few degrees cooler today and there is a lot of wind. A man is removing the trash around the beach and it appears to be a Dutchman. Yes, we know, cleaning up a beach is fun and a satisfying hobby. In the bay a lot of boats float and sometimes someone sails with a motorboat to the beach to stock up on water or food. We have a great time here until the wind gets very strong, we are almost sandblasted and the parasol is blown away. Time to look for a terrace.
Street in Poros Glimpse into PorosWe do that in Poros city. Teije still wants to try to climb the hill to the clock tower, but he gets lost in the alleys of the upper city, actually just like this morning and finally he comes down again without having seen the clock tower from close by. Signage is not really the strongest point of the Greeks.
Then we eat something at Olga's but as you often see outside the tourist season, not everything on the menu can be ordered and we have only a limited choice between 3 dishes.
We have a quiet evening and started reading about Andros. The day before yesterday we decided to visit that island even though we wanted to skip it 2 weeks ago because the ferry is so expensive. But hey, we want to go there one day, anyway, so why not now. To be sure, we have only booked 4 nights, if it is disappointing we can leave and if we like it we can surely book a few more nights, since it is not high season yet.


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