SARONIC GULF (Aegina, Poros, Hydra)
The Saronic Gulf forms part of the Aegean Sea and defines the eastern side of the Isthmus of Corinth. It is the eastern terminus of the Corinth Canal, which cuts across the isthmus.
The most popular islands of the Saronic gulf are :
Aegina is 17 miles (27 km) from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina the mother of the hero Aeacus, who was born on the island and became the king of it. During ancient times Aegina was a rival of Athens , the great sea power of the era.
Some landmarks are Temple of Aphaea (dedicated to its namesake, a goddess who was later associated with Athena; the temple was part of a pre-Christian, equilateral holy triangle of temples including the Athenian Parthenon and the temple of Poseidon at Sounion); the Monastery of Agios Nectarios (, dedicated to Saint Nectarios, a recent saint of the Greek Orthodox Church) and the Temple of Zeus Hellanios (near the village of Pachia Rachi, is a 13th-century Byzantine church, built on the ruins of the ancient temple to Zeus Hellanios, built in the 4th century BC).
Poros is a small island-pair at about 58 km (31 nautical miles) south from Piraeus and separated from the Peloponnese by a 200-metre wide sea channel. Its surface is about 31 square kilometres (12 sq mi) and it has 3,780 inhabitants. The only other inhabited settlement is Ágios Nektários. The ancient name of Poros was Pogon. Like other ports in the Saronic, it is a popular weekend destination for Athenian travellers.
The town of Poros, with its neoclassical edifices, is built amphitheatrically on the slopes of a hill. Its most famous landmark is a clock tower, built in 1927.
The Archaeological Museum at Korizis Square houses findings from the Sanctuary of Poseidon, from ancient Troizen, and from other archaeological sites nearby.
In the northern part of the island are the remains of the Sanctuary of Poseidon, the centre of the Kalaureian amphictyony. The exact date it was built is not known, although researchers estimate it to have been around 520 BC
Hydra is separated from the Peloponnese by narrow strip of water. In ancient times, the island was known as Hydrea (derived from the Greek word for "water"), which was a reference to the springs on the island.
Hydra depends upon tourism, and Athenians comprise a sizeable segment of its visitors.
Rubbish trucks are the only motor vehicles on the island, as cars or motorcycles are not allowed by law. Donkeys, bicycles, and water taxis provide public transportation. The inhabited area, however, is so compact that most people walk everywhere.
Hydra benefits from numerous bays and natural harbours, and has a strong maritime culture. The island remains a popular yachting destination, and is the home of the Kamini Yacht Club, an international yacht club based in the port of Kamini.