Poros Town is the main town and port on the lush green island of Poros, located in the Saronic Gulf.
It’s a short 1-hour ferry ride from Athens and is a popular short break destination as well as an itinerary stop for local and foreign yachts.
You can also reach Poros from the mainland – it’s a stone’s throw (just 250 metres) from the Argolid Peninsula on the Greek mainland.
It’s a unique town and definitely worth a trip from Athens or the Peloponnese.
Here’s what to expect and what to see whilst in Poros Town.
What is Poros Town Like?
The only way to reach Poros Town is by boat – and thankfully it’s a very scenic ride.
Famous American writer Henry Miller waxed lyrical about it in The Colossus of Maroussi, 1941:
“Coming into Poros gives the illusion of the deep dream. Suddenly the land converges on all sides and the boat is squeezed into a narrow strait from which there seems to be no egress… To sail slowly through the streets of Poros is to recapture the joy of passing through the neck of the womb. It is a joy too deep almost to be remembered.”
And as Lawrence Durrell later put it in The Greek Islands, “you have the illusion that without getting off the ship you can lean over the rail and order an ouzo“.
That said, most of the ferries these days don’t actually sail down the strait so you’ll need to hire your own to recreate that experience. But it is a scenic approach nonetheless, especially with the calm waters reflecting the golden light of sunset.
Poros Town is built on a hillside overlooking the narrow channel between the island and the mainland with pretty neoclassical buildings lining the harbour at its base.
The roofs are lined with terracotta tiles – a marker of wet winter weather – and the hillside is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways, steep steps, and traditional houses draped with bougainvillea. From some angles you could almost mistake it for a Croatian coastal town.
The town of Galatas sits on the other side of the channel; frequent water taxis run back and forth between the two.
Poros is actually two islands in one connected by an isthmus – Poros Town occupies the smaller one, Sferia. There’s a small canal separating the two.
It’s one of the most busiest yacht harbours in the area and is also popular with weekending Athenians, expats, and a few package tourists. As such, the town (and its nearby beaches) can get very busy in the summer. But most of the time it brings the place a pleasant buzz.
The Clock Tower of Poros is the town’s most famous landmark.
It’s a short but steep walk up the backstreets to the clock tower, and it’s a popular vantage point for sunsets.
There are several picturesque churches in the area including the Church of Panagitsa and the Church of Agios Georgios.
Harbour – East Side
The waterfront in Poros Town is lined with tavernas, cafes, boutiques, and bars. There are a few small backstreets where you’ll find more stores before the streets slope steeply uphill towards the clocktower.
Yachts and megayachts dock alongside all the way around the curved edge of the harbour to the port on its north side.
The southern part of the town faces Galatas on the mainland – boats crisscross the strait all day.
It’s an idyllic place to sit in a cafe watching the sea traffic go by.
An evening stroll along the harbour promenade before dinner is a must (or afterwards, with an ice-cream).
At the western end the harbour curves around under the clocktower. This is where the main fast ferry docks. One street back you’ll find the municipal library which has a permanent collection of rare seashells.
Artist John Craxton lived and painted in Poros Town and there’s a small plaque outside his old house (if you can find it).
Poros has its own Archaeological Museum – and you’ll find the entrance just off the southern side of waterfront.
It’s small but contains some items from the excavations at the nearby Temple of Poseidon, as well as plenty of pottery items including some cute animal votives. The museum is easy to access – even if you’re only making a brief stop – and tickets are cheap.
Ampelos Wine Bar
My favourite discovery in Poros Town was Ampelos Wine Bar.
Tucked away in a quiet alley, it showcases local wines by the glass and bottle. I particularly enjoyed the rosé retsina (yes really!).
Old Windmills/Agios Athanassios
If you follow the old backstreets up as far as they go you’ll reach one of the best spots on the islands for views – the Old Windmill and the tiny Holy Chapel of Saint Athanassios.
Harbour -West Side
There’s a straight section of harbour which runs alongside the main road, Leof. Papadopoulou. This is where you’ll find the majority of the sailing yachts.
There are a few supermarkets along the road here, as well a butcher, a bakery, the popular Poseidon Restaurant (food for fish), and the folklore museum (which is not always open – you may have to make an appointment by telephone).
Beyond this straight section is the Port of Poros – the main dock for car ferries.
The canal marks the edge of town, and the boundary between the two separate parts of the island (which are connected by road).
Before the canal there’s a small naval base and playing fields.
The area around here is known as Kanali. It’s a mix of residential areas and the beginning of the beach areas where you’ll find plenty of good-value seasonal hotels. The sandy Kanali Beach is to your right and there are a two beach bars.
It’s a 10-15 minute walk from here to the harbourfront.
Where to Stay in Poros Town
There’s an abundance of good-value traditional hotels and domatia on Poros. Many of the older buildings along the hillsides are not suitable for tourist accommodation, but there are a few lovely mid-range places to stay in town.
I stayed at Gigi Rooms which is perfectly positioned for sunset over the rooftops (one of my favourite things about Poros). The hosts were friendly and my room was spotless.
To stay right on the waterfront with views across the strait, have a look at the elegant 7 Brothers Hotel.
Up near the port, Dimitra Boutique Hotel has fresh modern rooms with excellent views and is set in its own gardens.
Be aware that if you’re staying in the old town but not right on the waterfront, the streets are steep and no fun for lugging heavy rolling luggage up (I speak from experience)!
When to Visit Poros Town
Despite the island’s small size, it’s pretty vibrant in the summer thanks to the yacht trade and visiting mainlanders. The island’s main beaches host beach bars and parties in the summer.
The Argo-Saronic islands are more sheltered from the main wind patterns in the Aegean Sea – perfect for predictable sails.
But the summer temperatures are stuffy and hot.
Spring and fall bring pleasant conditions. Beach weather lingers longer here than in the Cyclades, so Poros is ideal for shoulder-season island-hopping.
In the winter it can be wet but unlike more remote islands it doesn’t completely close down.
How to Get to Poros Town
The Port of Poros is in the north-west part of town and this is where the larger ferries dock, including the Galatas car ferry and the Methana-Poros-Pireaus car ferry.
Smaller passenger ferries (including the Hellenic Seaways fast cataramans) may stop along the curved side of the harbour, underneath the clock tower. This is also where you’ll find the water taxis (pictured above). There is a small kiosk on the harbour for taxis and transfers.
You can buy ferry tickets at Marinos Tours which is hidden inside Porto Cafe on the harbourfront.
You can check schedules and buy tickets online using the Ferryhopper website and app.
All images © The Mediterranean Traveller