Salamis, known in ancient times as Koulouris, is the largest island in the Saronic Gulf. It is located on the northwestern side of the Saronic Gulf, across from the Bay of Eleusis. Its capital is the city of Salamis.
History of Salamis
In 480 BC, a significant naval battle took place in the straits of Salamis between the Greek and Persian fleets, which had a decisive impact on history. After their victory at Thermopylae, the Persians had occupied Boeotia, Attica, and nearly deserted Athens, as most Athenians had abandoned the city. The Greeks disagreed on where the final defensive battle should take place, with the Corinthians and Spartans proposing fortification at the Isthmus, while Themistocles and the Athenians desired a naval battle at Salamis. With difficulty and skillful tactics, Themistocles managed to assert his opinion, and thus approximately 380 Greek ships faced the roughly double number of Persian ships. The confined space of the naval battle and the tactics employed by the Greeks led to a great victory, with Xerxes abandoning Greece with the majority of his army.
The Battle of Salamis is considered by many historians as one of the pivotal battles in history, as it contributed to the preservation of ancient Greek civilization, which forms the foundation of modern Western civilization.
In antiquity, Salamis was an autonomous Mycenaean kingdom and is mentioned to have participated in the Trojan War with its king, Ajax the Great. Later, the island fell under the dominion of the Athenians and followed the course of Athens regarding its conquerors. Romans, Byzantines, Franks, and Turks occupied Salamis until the Greek War of Independence in 1821 when it was liberated and became part of the newly established Greek state.
Beaches in Salamis
- On the western side of the island is the settlement of Agios Georgios, a beautiful place with shops and a beach with crystal-clear waters.
- In the area of Aiantio, a coastal region, there are sandy beaches and many hotels, rental rooms, and apartments. It is also known for its fish taverns where you can enjoy fresh seafood.
- In Vasilika, located approximately 5 kilometers from the capital, there is a pebble beach with amenities such as sun loungers and umbrellas.
- Eliakti Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches, with fine pebbles, sand, and pristine waters, surrounded by dense vegetation.
- In the cove of Kaki Vigla, you can enjoy swimming at a beach with small pebbles and numerous shops in the area.
- At Kyryza Beach, located in the southern part of the island, you will find a beautiful and tranquil beach with sand and pebbles, and it's good to have everything you need with you.
- Finally, Kolones Beach features pebbles and crystal-clear waters, and the tamarisk trees on the beach provide shade for you to enjoy your stay there.
Sights in Salamis
The Holy Monastery of Faneromeni, which celebrates on August 23rd, was built in the 17th century (1670) by the Saint Laurence, also known as Lampros Kanellos. Lampros Kanellos discovered the icon of the "Newly Appeared Virgin Mary." The monastery is located northwest of the island.
The house of the poet Angelos Sikelianos, situated on the beach of the Monastery of Faneromeni, was restored from 2003 to 2006, during the mayoralty of Vangelis Agapiou. Sikelianos lived in this house for many years and created his most significant work there. Next to the house, there is a statue of him.
In the area, you can find the open-air Euripidean Theater, built in 1993 during the mayoralty of Ath. Makris, as well as the Holy Church of Panagia Eleftherotria, constructed in 1998 during the mayoralty of Ath. Makris, on Patris Hill.
The Holy Churches of Agios Minas and Agios Dimitrios in the city center are works of the famous Salaminian painter Polychronis Lebesis (1848-1913) and the sculptor Giannoulis Chalepas (1851-1938). These churches are significant examples of the art and architecture of their time.
The tomb of the hero Georgios Karaiskakis is located in the Church of Agios Dimitrios in the city center. The tomb was reconstructed in 1996 and is surrounded by the hero's statue. His actual bones are also placed there.
The Museum of Folk Art and History, as well as the Municipal Library, are housed in the building of the New Town Hall. This museum hosts collections of folk art and objects that highlight the history of the region.
The Municipal Palace, built during the mayoralty of Athanasios Makris, was inaugurated in 2000 and constitutes a remarkable architectural work in the city.
The Monastery of Agios Nikolaos Lemonion, dating back to the 17th century, and the chapel of Agios Ioannis Kalivitis, dating back to the 10th century, are located in a pine forest towards the Kanakia area.
The Cave of Euripides is located in the Peristeria area and was excavated by the archaeologist and professor Yannis Lolos (1994-1997). This cave is associated with the ancient Greek playwright Euripides.
The stone lighthouse at Cape Lykopoulo, located in the south of the island, between the Peristeria and Kolones areas, is an important landmark in the area.
Finally, the Nafpaktos of the Transfiguration of the Savior, dating back to the 11th century, is located near the square of Aianteio (Moulki).
Activities in Salamis
- When visiting Salamina for vacation or even a day trip, you will find many alternative activities to enjoy.
- Like any other island, in Salamina, you can enjoy swimming and water sports on beautiful beaches, as well as diving or even spearfishing in the crystal-clear waters. The sea offers endless hours of fun and relaxation.
- If you prefer land activities, you can enjoy hiking in the pine forests of the island or explore all of Salamina on a bicycle. A tour around the island allows you to discover all the beautiful corners and landscapes it has to offer.
- If you're looking for something different, you can visit the Salamina Equestrian Club and enjoy horseback riding with beautiful horses. There are expert trainers who will guide you, and for the younger ones, there are ponies to enjoy the experience.
- Overall, during your vacation or trip to Salamina, you will have an exceptional time and enjoy a unique experience.
How to travel to / from Salamis?
In Salamis, there are two main ports, Selinia and Paloukia, as well as a ferry terminal in the area of Moni Faneromenis, across from Megara.
- Ship routes from Piraeus to Salamis: To travel from Piraeus to Salamis, you can use small speedboats and passenger ferries departing every 30 minutes. The ferries transport only passengers and have destinations to Paloukia, Selinia, and Peristeria. If you wish to travel with your own vehicle, you will need to choose either the port of Perama or the ferry terminal in Megara.
- Ship routes from Perama to Salamis: From the port of Perama, you can also travel by ship to Salamis (Paloukia). The itineraries are frequent during the day, departing every 15 minutes. The frequency decreases during nighttime when the traffic is reduced. The journey lasts approximately 15 minutes. To reach Perama, you can use your car or take a bus from the port of Piraeus.
- Ship routes from Megara to Salamis: If you want to travel from Megara to Salamis, you can board a ship from Nea Peramos Megaron. There are frequent itineraries throughout the day, and the journey takes approximately 10 minutes.
You can find information about all ship routes and ferry companies on booktickets. Additionally, details regarding departure times of the ships and the duration of the journey are provided to help you organize your trip in a timely manner.