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Attractions in Poros Town

As you make the crossing, you'll see the streets of the island's capital, Poros town, which sprawls up a hill topped with a clock tower. The church of Agios Yeoryios (St. George) is well worth having a look at: the frescoes were created by a famous 20th-century Greek painter, Constantine Parthenis. As you wander, you'll realize that what you've read is true: Poros town is itself an island, joined to the rest of Poros by a causeway. The narrow streets along the harbor are usually crowded with visitors inching up and down past the restaurants, cafes, and shops. At night, the adjacent hills are, indeed, alive with the sound of music; the "Greek" music is often heavily amplified American rap.

Poros town has a Naval Cadets' Training School -- which means that a lot of young men are looking for company here. Anyone wishing to avoid their attention should visit the small Archaeological Museum (tel. 22980/23-276), with finds from ancient Troezen. It's usually open daily from 9am to 3pm; admission is free. Lovers of seashells may want to visit the Public Library, where the Poros Shell Museum (tel.22980/22-936; www.poroshellmuseum.gr) is housed and may be visited Mon-Fri 9am-1pm and 5-8pm; no charge at present.

Exploring the Island

By car or moped, it's easy to make a circuit of the island in half a day. What remains of the 6th-century B.C. Temple of Poseidon is scattered beneath pine trees on the low plateau of Palatia, east of Poros town. The site is usually open dawn to dusk; admission is free. The ruins are scant, largely because the inhabitants of the nearby island of Hydra hauled away most of the marble to build their Monastery of the Virgin.

The Temple of Poseidon was the scene of a famous moment in Greek history in 322 B.C., when Demosthenes, the Athenian 4th-century orator and statesman, fled here for sanctuary from Athens's Macedonian enemies. When his enemies tracked him down, the great speechwriter asked for time to write a last letter -- and then bit off his pen nib, which contained poison. Even in his death agonies, Demosthenes had the presence of mind to leave the temple, lest his death defile the sanctuary. It seems fitting that Demosthenes, who lived by his pen, died by the same instrument.

Those who enjoy monasteries can continue on the road that winds through the island's interior to the 18th-century Monastery of the Zoodhochou Pigis (Monastery of the Life-Giving Spring), south of Poros town. There are usually no monks in residence, but the caretaker should let you in from about 9am to 2pm and from 4 to 7pm. It's appropriate to leave a small donation. There's a little taverna nearby.

Poros's beaches are not enchanting. The beach easiest to visit after seeing the temple of Poseidon is Vagonia, one of the nicer ones. Love Bay and Monastiriou both have shade from pine trees and small restaurants. Both the sea and beach at Megalo Neorio, northwest of town, are sometimes polluted. Neorio has a string of places renting personal watercraft, water skis, and windsurfing equipment.

As you take in Poros, when you look out to sea, you may well see some of the naval cadets practicing rowing. The cadets have produced a number of world-class rowing teams, and you will often see them practicing close to shore.

A Festival, Old Troezen & Lemon Groves

If you're in Poros in mid-June, you might want to catch the ferry across to Galatas and take in the annual Flower Festival, with its floral displays and parades of floats and marching bands. (Lots of posters in Poros town advertise the festival.)

From Galatas, you can catch a bus the 8km (5 miles) west to Trizina (ancient Troezen), birthplace of the great Athenian hero Theseus. It's also where his wife, Phaedra, tragically fell in love with her stepson, Hippolytus. When the dust settled, both she and Hippolytus were dead and Theseus was bereft. There are the remains of a temple to Asclepius here -- but again, these ruins are in bad shape.

About 4km (2 1/2 miles) south of Galatas near the beach of Aliki, you'll find the olfactory wonder of Limonodassos (Lemon Grove), where more than 25,000 lemon trees fill the air with their fragrance each spring. Alas, many have been harmed by storms over the last decade or so, and the very hot summers in recent years damaged more. Some trees have survived, and more have been planted. Several cafes nearby serve freshly squeezed lemonade. When the trees aren't in bloom, there's not much point in visiting here!

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.