General Information on Poros
Poros is part of the Argosaronic islands. It is situated in the southern part of the Saronic Gulf, at a distance of about 48km south of Piraeus and separated from Peloponnese by a 200-metre wide sea channel. Its surface is about 31km² and it has about 4,000 inhabitants.
Poros is a volcanic island, formed by the union of two smaller islands, Kalouria and Sphaeria. A bridge connects the two islands over a narrow isthmus. The island is rich with vegetation. Much of the northern and far eastern/western sides of the island are bushy, whereas large areas of old pine forest are found in the south and centre of the island.
It has a good road network and adequate tourist infrastructure, although it is under the radar of Greeks, less popular than neighbouring Hydra, Spetses and Aegina for weekend holidays. Nevertheless, it offers many hidden charms that every visitor will be delighted by, as soon as they explore the island.
History of Poros
According to mythology, when the Cretan king Minos fought against the city of Megara, the daughter of the besieged city, Scylla, fell in love with him. To show her love, she cut off a lock of her father’s hair, the source of his immortality, and gave the keys of the city gates to king Minos. When Minos finally took the city, he rejected Scylla and left for Crete. Scylla jumped into the sea and followed the ship until she drowned of exhaustion. The area where she died was named after her, and is now called Cape Skili.
Recent studies suggest that Poros has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. Graves on the island date to the Mycenaean period, and man-made structures have existed since at least 1000 BC. During the Mycenaean times (1400-1100 BC), the powerful nautical station of the area was situated on the rocky island called Modi, on the eastern coast of Poros. During the archaic period (700-380 BC), ancient Kalauria –one of two islands that compose Poros– was under the domination of Troizina. In the middle of the 7th century BC, the amphictyonis of Kalauria appeared, with Poseidon’s temple as a seat, which had preexisted in Poros since the end of the 8th century BC. It was a nautical, religious and political confederation between Athens, Aegina, Epidaurus, Nafplia, Prassia and Orchomenos; they all joined forces to protect their independence and trade from the Argives.
In the beginning of 5th century BC, the Persian fleet sailed in the Aegean and attacked Greece. Later (431 BC), the two most powerful cities, Athens and Sparta started the Peloponnesian War. In the middle of the 4th century BC, Greece became part of the Macedonian Kingdom and Troizina, followed by Kalauria, offered refuge to an anti-Macedonian called Athinogenis, who became the tyrant of the area. When Alexander the Great died, in the summer of 323 BC, the Ptolemies of Egypt gained control of Poros. The following year, the Athenians were beaten by Macedonians in the Lamia War and Demosthenes (the famous orator) sought refuge at the temple of Poseidon in Poros. The island is where he supposedly committed suicide.
In 273 BC, the volcano in Methana erupted for the last time and changed the morphology of the gulf. Like the rest of Greece, Poros came under Roman domination from 86 BC to 395 AD, when it became part of the Byzantine Empire until 1204. The Ottomans conquered the island and the rest of Greece in 1453.
When the Greek Revolution of 1821 broke out, the island played a significant role. Since it is located near the Peloponnese, it became a passage and a meeting place of several personalities of that time. In 1828, the deployments of the first Greek navy yard were formed in the island. In September of the same year, the ambassadors of the three powers (England, France and Russia) met in Poros with Kapodistrias, to define the borders of the New Greek State, which was established in 1830.
Towns & Villages in Poros
Poros Town: This is the capital and the main port of the island. It is situated in the southern part, covering the tiny, volcanic island of Sferia and extending over a shoreline of almost 2km. It is a beautiful settlement built amphitheatrically around the bay. it is full of two-storey whitewashed or colourful neoclassical buildings with terracotta-tiled roofs, long windows and wooden balconies. The town offers a wide range of hotels; studios and rooms for rent, as well as various tourist offices, restaurants, taverns, cafes and bars.
Askeli: This settlement is situated in the promontory that joins Sferia and Kalauria. The village is built around the Progymnastirio, which was the first residence of king Othon and now houses the naval station and a sailor training academy. Askeli is equally beautiful as the capital city of Poros. It consists of neoclassical buildings, built according to the summer palace of King Othon.
Galatas: Galatas is situated opposite the capital city of Poros, in the coasts of Peloponnese, in the southeastern coast of Argolida. It is a wonderful town that combines dense vegetation with the blue waters of the Saronic Gulf. Endowed with natural beauty and a brilliant past, the city impresses every visitor. Also, the city has a very good tourist infrastructure with various hotels and rooms for rent, cafes, bars, restaurants and tourist shops.
Kalauria: This settlement is situated on the eastern coast of Poros. The village is very picturesque and charming, built around a sheltered, pine covered cove. Kalauria is a small fishing village and has only one small tavern, open during summer time.
Neorio: This village is located to the northwest of Poros Town and it is the island’s main tourist resort. It offers a sufficient amount of hotels, rooms for rent and good taverns and restaurants.
Beaches in Poros
Kanali: In front of the settlement of the same name lies the beautiful sandy beach of Kanali. The beach has fine sand and crystal clear waters and a fine fish tavern can be found near the beach.
Askeli: This is a big and long sandy beach witch is situated a few kilometres northeast of the capital. The beach is organised, and has soft golden sand and deep clear waters. Studios and rooms for rent are available in the area.
Neorio: The tourist resort of Neorio has one of the most beautiful beaches of Poros. This long sandy beach is lined and shadowed by high pine trees. All kinds of tourist facilities and water sports can be found here, as well as a variety of hotels, rooms, cafes and restaurants.
Russian Dockyard: This is by far the best beach on the island of Poros. It is situated 1.5km of Neorio Beach and is a famous historical site. Here, the first Russian ships that helped during the Greek Revolution docked. The beach has golden sand and clear waters and it is incredibly peaceful, protected from winds.
The Lover’s Bay: This amazingly charming beach is one of the best in Poros. It has white pebbles and sand, amazing waters and it is surrounded by pine trees.
Lemonodassos: This beach is situated 2km southeast of Galatas in an area full of lemon trees, water springs and water mills. The beach is sandy, unorganised and has wonderful crystal-clear emerald waters.
Top Things to Do in Poros
1. Archaeological Museum of Poros: The museum is situated on the small Korizi Square, off the quayside road. It was founded in the 1960s on a plot donated by the Korizis family. The museum contains collections of finds from the excavations at the sanctuary of Poseidon at Kalauria, finds from the excavation of the French Archaeological School in Troizina, collections of funerary steles, ancient inscriptions and Hellenistic figurines from Methana and collection of finds from the old excavations at Hermione, including pottery, bronze vessels and figurines.
2. Sanctuary of Poseidon: The road below the Monastery of Zoodohou Pigi leads to the Sanctuary of Poseidon, who was the principal god in Poros. Today, of the archaic temple in the sanctuary of Poseidon, only the foundation ditch is preserved. The stoas of the Agora and the Bouleuterion were built gradually during the 4th and the 3rd centuries BC. The identification of the so-called “Asklepion” or the “Heroon of Demosthenes” is not certain. Excavations on the site were conducted in 1898 and have not resumed ever since. However, it is still believed to have been the place of meeting of the amphicteoni, a council formed by Poros and 7 other city-states.
3. Ancient Troizina: Ancient Troizina is known as the homeland of Theseus and it is one of the most interesting places in Poros. To reach the site, you can take a taxi-boat from Poros capital to the village of Galatas. From there, buses reach the village of Damala, where a path leads to the ruins of Troizina. 3km further, you may reach a place called “Vasiliki Tafi” (=Royal cemetery). This area is of great interest because of the archaeological finds of the Mycenaean period that were found.
4. Bourtzi: Opposite Aliki and more specifically, east of the port, there is a small island called Bourtzi with a small castle built in 1827 in order to protect the port.
5. The Monastery of Zoodohos Pigi: This monastery is located 4km east of Poros Town, above the fishing hamlet of Kalauria. It was founded in the 18th century by the Bishop of Athens Iakovos and lies hidden between the dense and verdant pine trees. At the entrance of the monastery, there is a famous spring with healing properties which is situated on the side of a torrent, below some huge plane trees. The main church of the monastery is simple without many paintings. The precious wooden-curved iconostasis and the imposing bishop throne are of great interest. The temple is a Basilica type with a dome and a tower.
How to Reach Poros
Ferry: Several ferries daily connect Poros to Piraeus (2 ½ hours), via Methana and Aegina (1 hour), Hydra (1 hour), and Spetses (2 hours). Regular ferry services also connect Poros to Galatas.
Hydrofoil: There are regular services daily to/from Piraeus. There are also connections to Hydra (30 min) and Spetses (1 hour).
Getting Around in Poros
The Poros bus operates along a route that starts near the hydrofoil dock on Plateia Iroon in Poros Town. The bus passes through Kalauria and continues east, along the south coast as far as the Monastery of Zoodohos Pigi. From there, the bus turns around and heads west as far as Neorion Beach.
Weather in Poros
Like in the rest of southern Greece, Poros has a warm and Mediterranean climate and a lot of sunshine all year long, especially in summer and spring. Summer in Poros is cooler that in other parts of Greece, and temperatures never exceed 30 degrees. Winters are mild with low precipitation and a breeze from the north clears the skies.
Top 10 Destinations in Poros
All Destinations in Poros
Map of Poros