Kalavria: Attica’s lush island… on an island
“Poros has something of Venice: the canal, communication between the houses by boats, luxury, idleness, sensual temptation, a place for notable international lovers.” In these words, the great Greek poet and Nobel laureate, George Seferis, described his beloved island in the Saronic Gulf.
Few people know that Poros, the “jewel” of Attica’s islands that is a stone’s throw away from Piraeus, is actually two islands. If you look closely at the map, right after Poros Naval Base, you will see a thin line of sea separating the island in two: Sferia and Kalavria. A small bridge has been built to connect these two parts, known as “Progymnastirio bridge”, named after the nearby naval training base.
Sferia hosts the beautiful, amphitheatrically built town of Poros, while Kalavria is the much bigger part of the island, absolutely covered in lush vegetation. Its name (kali avra = good aura) comes from the cool summer breeze in the area or – according to a different theory – from Poseidon’s son, Kalavros.
In Kalavria, the scent of the seawater meets with that of the pine. It’s incredible how the lush forests stretch all the way to the idyllic beaches of the island. Embroidered with hills, where streams flow abundantly all around the year, with picturesque coves and indented beaches, here you will immerse into the breathtaking natural beauty and marvel at the traces of Poros’ age-old history.
Discover the stunning hilly mainland…
Starting from the Bridge, we follow the winding road among tall pine trees, and reach the Chapel of Our Lady of Aghia Zoni that lies in a lush gorge, covered with plane trees and flowing waters. This is one of the most beautiful sites in Poros, and we stop to take in the beauty of the landscape. We continue on the same route and come across the Chapel of Profitis Ilias. Further down, the road leads us left to the Vagionia bay and right to the Temple of Poseidon, overlooking the island from the top of the hill.
Vagonia is an organised quiet beach with sand and pebbles, on the northeast side of the island, ideal for relaxing and exploring the majestic deep sea. Here lies the sunken town, Kalavria’s ancient harbour that was drown into the water. Even today, some parts of the paved roads and foundations of the towns’ ancient houses are still visible!
In a stunning area on top of the hill in ancient Kalavria, the famous sanctuary dedicated to Poseidon was built, serving as shelter for the hunted and exiled. One of them was the Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens, Demosthenes, who in 322 B.C. ended his life at the courtyard of the temple, drinking the hemlock poison. Today, the remaining ruins of the temple among olive trees and pines, are evidence of the existence of this extremely important sanctuary in Kalavria.
Past the Temple of Poseidon, the road continues to the coast, and meets the historical Monastery of Kalavria or Monastery of Zohodochos Pigi that dates from the 18th century and is famous for the fountain near its entrance, whose water is believed to have healing properties.
Enchanting routes along the coastline of Kalavria
Taking the seaside road that starts from the Bridge, we arrive at the beautiful area of Perlia, with its nice little tavernas right by the sea, before we reach Villa Galini, an exceptionally elegant neoclassical building that used to host prominent Greek and foreign writers and artists. The route then takes us to the Mikro and Megalo Neorio, and some of the most beautiful sandy and organised beaches in Poros, where pines reach down to the sea. The area is ideal for family holidays and relaxing getaways.
The coastal road continues and takes us to the Love Bay, the most… romantic cove on the island. We stop to dive into the emerald seawaters, swimming literally under the pine trees! Further down, we reach the Russian Dockyard, a magnificent and scenic bay that has been declared a historical landmark, due to its great architectural and historical interest. At the end of the route, we take the path that takes us to Gerolimenas, a secluded pebbly beach, ideal for those who prefer privacy and quiet.
The coastal road from the Bridge to the opposite direction leads us to the beautiful, organised sandy beaches of Kanali and Askeli. Beach and water sports, beach bars and facilities that provide comfort, while we swim under the tall eucalyptuses.
We continue to the Monastiri beach, a quiet and organised beach right by a pine forest, with crystal waters that are perfect for water sports and snorkeling in the fascinating deep sea.
If you seek a relaxing atmosphere and enjoy wandering in picturesque neighbourhoods and lush landscapes, Poros will thrill you. If you love nature and endless hiking on ever-green paths, if you are fascinated by emerald waters and extraordinary deep sea, Poros will reward you to the maximum. Summer or winter, the enchanting island of Attica awaits you, ready to disclose its secrets!