Located a stone's throw away from Athens and the Peloponnese Peninsula, the Saronic Gulf Islands are much-loved weekend destinations among Greeks. Crowded to the point of madness in the peak summer season, they're also popular getaways for tourists holidaying on the mainland.
Aegina, Poros, Hydra and Spetses are the most popular options, though lesser-known islands like Agistri, Salamis, Patroklou, Vleves and Dokos have their own charms. On top of that, they're often less crowded.
Daily cruises from Athens' Piraeus Port shuttle tourists back and forth, making trips to the Saronic Gulf Islands incredibly easy and reasonable for budget travellers.
The islands are arguably at their best in early autumn and late spring, when the heat is milder, and crowds are less overwhelming.