April in Greece, part 5: Poros

Poros is a small and quiet island south of Piraeus, the port of Athens. The trip by fast ferry takes about 75 minutes. Slow ferries take about two hours. Poros is part of the Saronic group of islands.

Three days is about the right amount of time to spend there. You will eat well because of the number of quality seafood restaurants that line the port.

Poros’s port is a popular place for yachties because of its protected harbour. The mountains of the Peloponnese overlook the island and ensure the waters in the port are calm. Yachts from scores of nations align the long dock. The photo shows the mainland from Poros port.

We stayed at the excellent 7 Brothers hotel on the waterfront after arriving by fast ferry from Piraeus. It is perhaps a 200-metre walk. We departed three days later from the slow ferry port about 800 metres from the fast-ferry port.

In between those two places you will find scores of good restaurants. In April they do their best to establish a reputation for the coming summer through good food and word of mouth.

We had fine seafood dinners at Gia Mas and Platanos over consecutive nights, both close to Hero’s Square on the waterfront. A seafood platter for two people cost about Euro 30 at each place. Wine was inexpensive at Euro 4 for half a litre or Euro 8 for a full litre. It comes from a box.

The food is fresh and the service excellent. The staff are friendly but be warned about the hospitality. Another carafe of wine often appears almost by magic courtesy of the owners, or a sugary dessert. You will not go hungry on Poros.

Best way to see the island is by hiring a car or motorbike. It is too hilly for comfortable cycling but a powerful e-bike might cope with the hills. We hired a car for 30 Euro for a day.

Highlights are the ruins of a temple, probably to Poseidon, in the centre of the island, and the Monastery of the Life-giving Spring north-east of Poros port.

The photo above is the view from the temple towards the Peloponnese mainland. So many gorgeous shades of blue. The aroma of wild herbs is delicious and the air sweet and clean.

The photo above shows the secret bay belonging to the monastery and its ancient olive trees. Water from the spring is said to cure many illnesses including kidney stones. For me it tasted sulphurous.

The monastery is a beautiful and serene place. Note that it closes between 1-5pm, and women must cover their legs and arms. Men must wear trousers. Here is a link to a book I purchased at the monastery about the spring and the monastery’s history.

This couple from Switzerland have found a unique way to see the Greek islands.

They told me they have cycled about 20,000km in the past five years, travelling once a year to Greece.

Their only request when I asked for a photo was that I not put them on Facebook. These custom-made machines offer a unique way of seeing a country. But they are low to the ground and it would be difficult to take photographs while cycling. But certainly eco-friendly.

Poros has some pretty beaches which are empty in April. My friend Julia soaked up the sun while I sat under a tree. Later I paddled in the water but it was too chilly for a swim.

Russian Bay is worth a visit. Use the ruins as a landmark. Russia secured access to Greek waters for its ships during the Ottoman Empire via the Treaty of Kuchuk Kalnarji in 1774. The Russians built a refuelling depot in what became known as Russian Bay west of Poros town.

But Greece denied the Russians access when they gained independence in February 1830 and the buildings decayed. By the early twentieth century only a single Russian watchman was based there. Now it’s a popular beach for locals with umbrellas and a tiny snack bar.

Categories: Greece, Not home

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