The Saronic Islands have an important history and an interesting tradition of many centuries, as they were inhabited from the prehistoric era, during which they were greatly developed.
Their acme continued during the oncoming years, especially in the field of commerce and shipping, but it was bound when Athens became the major shipping leader after the Persian Wars. The Macedonians and the Romans conquered the Saronic Islands, while during the Byzantine era pirates were constantly invading the islands. However, their contribution to the Greek Revolution in 1821 was of ultimate importance.
The complex of Argosaronikos islands is located between Attica and the eastern coasts of Peloponnese. It consists of the islands of the Argolic and the Saronic Gulf.
The Saronic Gulf lies between Cape Sounio and Skyllai, has a width of 27 miles and its entrance from the island of Velvina to Elefsina is 37 miles long.
Inside the Saronic Gulf are the islands of Poros, Aegina, Salamina, Agistri, Hydra, Spetses and other smaller islands and rocky islands, the Methana peninsula, the port of Piraeus and the bay of Elefsina. On its coasts are beautiful locations and suburbs.
In the Argolic gulf are the islands of Hydra, and Dokos.
Due to their proximity to Attica they are popular destinations and very well organized.
Agistri is the smallest island of the Argosaronic with an area of 14 km2 It is only 22 nautical miles from the Piraeus and 3,5 nautical miles from Aegina island. The tallest spot of the island is 245 meters and is located at Kontari. The population of the island is 1.000 inhabitants.
The capital of the island Megalochori is 2,5 klm. from the Skala and Limenariais 6,5 klm from Megalochori. The island consists from many small coves with blue waters, where the pine trees reach the sea. Agistri has got a lot of hills, full of pine trees.
Aegina is the second biggest island in Argosaronikos - with an area of 83 km2 and a population of 17.000 - after Salamina and its land covers 85 km2.
It's 16 nautical miles from Piraeus. The coastline is 57 kilometers long.
The biggest part of the island has a volcanic origin. That can be observed in the central and southern part of the island which consists of hard rock lava. Aegina has many hills most of which are covered in pine trees.
It's highest mountain is Mount Oros which is 532 meters high and it doesn't have much vegetation except for buches and other plants.
In the south and east, mount Oros forms steep rocky shores with only a few small bays and the only big bay is that of Santa Marina. The rest of the shores are smooth with big or small bays.
In the west and northwest of the island, there are residential areas and the big bay of Marathonas as well as the port of Aegina. Most of the peanuts and grapes are grown in that area. There are also olive trees, big trees and almond trees.
The valley of Mesagros is in the north and from there we can see the mountain from the lower parts that spread along the north coast.
The island of Poros is located at the South-West part of the Saronic Gulf, in a distance of 32 nautical miles from the port of Piraeus. It is divided from the coast of Troizinia with a narrow canal, the narrowest point of which has just 350-400 meters width. Kalavria along with Sfairia covers a surface of 31, 2 Km2 and is alpine, like the whole Troizinia, but its crests have softer curves and, except of the few cultivated areas, it’s almost covered with pine trees. The shape of Kalavria is triangular and from the main body of the island, three peninsulas are standing out. To the north, there is the peninsula of Bisti, which ends up to the cape of “Achedo” (Bisti), to the south-east the peninsula of the Momnastery is extended, which ends up to the cape of “Kalavri” (Modi) and to the north-west the peninsula of Neorio is extended, which ends up to the cape of “Ntana” (Fanari), which is named like this because on its end, a lighthouse is built, which shows to the ships the entrance of the Gulf of Poros.
In the centre of the island of Kalavria, two mountains prevail, which are overgrown with pine trees. On the east part, there is “Vigla” with 378 m. height and in the middle of the island, the”Prophet Helias” with 314 m. height that on its peak, the homonym chapel of Saint Helias is built. The two mountains are uniting wit a neck of 1600 m. length, which is expanded at its beginning to the side of the Prophet Helias and a small plateau of 50.000 m2 is formed. It is “Polychron”. To the side of Vigla, this neck ends up to two small hillocks. On the hillock that is to the south, a small settlement is built, with approximately fifteen houses, and is named “Samuel”. In an approximately 600 m. distance from “Samuel” and 1000 m. from “Prophet Helias”, on the brow of the neck, the place “Palaces” is found, where there exists today everything has been left from the once upon a time bright temple of the God of the Sea , Poseidon. This place and everything standing in a ray of 500 meters around the sanctum of the temple have been abalienated and now belong to the Greek State.
The two mountains, “Vigla” and “Prophet Helias” are divided by a deep flume, “Tsoumpa”, which beginning from “Samuel”, reaches to “Askeli” and ends up to the place “Panagitsa”. In some points of the flume of “Tsoumpa” waters gush that flow and got lost in the flume, even during the summer. In winter, when it rains, this dry river carries much water and is transformed into a torrent, which ends up to “Askeli”.
The mountain “Vigla” on the north, descending to the sea, is divided into two hills. The west one is planted with pines and is smoother and reaches to the cove of Vayiona. On the north side of the hill, there are farms with olive trees and lemon trees. A bit down from the Temple of Poseidon and in a distance of 700 meters, the chapel of Saint Paraskeui is built.
The east hill is rocky, with bushy vegetation, ends up to the steep coasts of “Skarpeza” (Long channel). On the south-east of “Vigla”, three pine-planted hills are formed. They are “Staurorachi”, “Kokoreli” and “Tsoutsoura”, the plains of which end up steeply to the cave of “Modi”.
On the south of “Vigla”, two calm hills are formed, which also are full of pine trees. They are “Kiafa” and “Kontita”. On the plain of these hills, the great Monastery of the Source of Life is built, to which the biggest part of the around area also belongs.
The mountain of “Prophet Helias”, which is found in the centre of the island, has on its north-west part, slightly smooth plains, also full of punes, there are also though many fields cultivated with olive trees that reach to the field of “Fousa”. This field covers a surface of 300.000 sq. m., the biggest part of which is covered with vineyards that produce the great fousaetan wine. On the north-west point of Fousa, the chapel of Saint Antony is built and some cottages are found around it.
Hydra is an island of the Saronic Gulf that lies in the middle of beautiful blue waters, close to the Eastern Peloponnese shore. Its area of 52 square kilometers provides living to 2.387 inhabitants. Hydra is a rocky mountain chain of 20 kilometers and width 1,5 to 6 kilometers.
The island has got poor soil and its highest pick is mountain Eros (592 m.). It is 35 miles away from Piraeus.
Spetses island is located at the right of the Argolid Gulf and around it there are the islands of Spetsopoula, Saint John and the Little Bourboulo. The island is 1.5 miles away from Ermionida, 50 miles from Piraeus and has an oval shape with a circumference of 11 miles of coastline, and an area of 22.5 km2, maximum length of 6.5 km and a width of 4 km.
The highest peak of the island is Prophet Elias ( 291 m.). The headlands of the island is Sourmpouti (NE), Cavo - Fanari (E), the Mavrrokavos (NE), the Zastano (N) and Bourmpouthi (NW).
The climate in the Argosaronic islands is typical Mediterranean. Winter months are temperate with long periods of sunshine and little rainfall, while summers are dry and warm creating a pleasing environment for holiday makers.
The economy of the Argosaronic islands is based on fisheries, agriculture, livestock and tourism.