On a warm, sunny Saturday in November members of Travel Bloggers Greece set out to explore three Greek Islands with Olympic Cruises. Our trip started at 8 o’clock in the morning as we boarded the Kassandra Delphinus vessel, setting out our sails from the Marina Flisvos.
One of the beauties of Greece is that you can enjoy the sunshine almost every day of the year, and this day was not an exception. As we settled on the spacious top deck of the vessel we were immediately asked if we wanted something to drink and after having ordered our coffees we enjoyed the warm breeze as we headed towards our first destination which was Hydra.
During the trip we also enjoyed the on board entertainment, as a live orchestra played famous Greek songs.
Once we docked in Hydra, we joined Annie our guide on a walking tour of this picturesque Island where its main transportation are the donkeys. No matter how many times I have been here, it is always a great pleasure to see these beautiful creatures.
As we walked the cobbled streets of Hydra, Annie explained the island’s history over the centuries and the various rulers who dominated the island. We stopped by the oldest traditional sweet shop called Tsagaris, which was established in 1930 and after trying their local treats we headed further inside the streets to a place which was apparently used to film parts of the James Bond movie “For Your Eyes Only”.
We then visited the Church of Dormition which is also known as the Monastery, a 17th century building which today operates as the Town Hall of Hydra. It also houses the Ecclesiastic and Byzantine Museum which displays canonicals, relics, oblations and icons from the 18th century. Our visit at the museum was short as we had to get back to the vessel and head towards our next destination which was Poros.
On our way to Poros we were served Greek buffet lunch on board, there was a selection of three different salads: Greek salad, tuna salad and mixed greens salad with balsamic vinegar dressing.
For the main course there was pasta Napoletana, chicken, fish, and a choice of oven baked potatoes and rice. For dessert we had pecan pie. Drinks are served and are at an extra cost, whereas lunch is included in the price of the cruise.
When we arrived to Poros we only had about 50 minutes which was just enough time to head up to the historic Clock tower and take some photos of the remarkable view from up there. Celeste of Family Goes Out stayed with her kids close to the vessel, while myself, Rebecca of Life Beyond Borders Blog and Dave of Dave’s Travel Pages headed up to take some photos. When we got down we were just in time before the vessel parted for our third and final destination, Aegina.
Aegina is one of the largest islands of the Saronic gulf and it has received it’s name from the beautiful nymph who was kidnapped by Zeus. Upon arrival to the island we joined a guided tour to see the Temple of Aphaia, which is located approximately 13 kilometres from the main port.
The Temple of Aphaia is one of the sanctuary temples that form the Sacred Triangle as it is apparently located in the same distance from the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio and the Acropolis. We visited the temple in the afternoon, the lighting was magical and the view from here is definitely worth experiencing.
On our way back we stopped at the monastery of Saint Nektarios which is the second largest in Greece. This monastery is one of the most visited as Agios Nektarios of Aegina (1846-1920), is a widely known Greek Orthodox Saint who is famous for his healing powers. The church is located approximately 6 kilometres from the port of Aegina.
Aegina is also an island famous for its pistachios which are grown here due to the favourable climate and soil. Make sure to try some pistachio treats. Once we returned to the port it was time to depart as the weather was getting tricky thus the Captain decided to head back to Athens an hour earlier, if you do find yourself here at a different time of year you will also have time to stroll around the port, where there are a plethora of coffee shops, tavernas and shops.
On our way back to Athens, there was live music on board the vessel and it is a great opportunity to experience the famous Greek hospitality. When I had travelled on Olympic Cruises with my cousin a few summers ago, guests were dancing and singing along. This time we decided to sit inside and enjoy our beverages over conversation. The sunset was breathtaking, check out the photo gallery and see it for yourself. Thank you Olympic Cruises for the wonderful day and for the new memories that we shared.
The cost of the cruise is 100 Euro per person, lunch included. The walking tour on Hydra and the excursion to The Temple of Aphaia and Saint Nektarios Monastery in Aegina are at 25 Euro per person, discounts may apply for combined tours.