The island of Salamis
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this is the largest and the most densely populated one from all the islands in the Saronic Gulf and the closest to Athens. The island is covered with pine and has beautiful beaches along its south coast. Leaving Perama in Attica in a quarter of an hour you can find yourself at Paloukia and from there you can go wherever you want by car. You can also approach Salamis on small boats from Piraeus and by ferry from Perama (Megara) to Faneromeni.
Fisherman working on his nets at picturesque spot of Salamis
Salamis is known as the island of Ajax (Aias), Homer's hero who lead the Salaminians during the Trojan War. It is, however, best known for the world famous sea battle which took place in its straits between the Athenian fleet and the Persians in 480 BC.
Xerxes, king of the Persians, set up his throne on Mt Aegaleo, on the mainland looking down on the island, in order to watch the battle, sure that he Athenians would give way before his vastly superior forces.
But the Athenians were the victors and it was this battle which finally freed Athens from the dreadful threat which was hung over it, allowing it to move into the most glorious years of the so-called Golden Age.
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Nowadays, Paloukia, which lies on Salamina's East Coast, is the main port of the island. Three kilometers from here to the west you can find the Salamina or Koulouri, which is the island's capital, while further west stands the Nunnery of Faneromeni and the point where ferries leave for Perama (Megara). To the south of Salamina is Aianteio (Moulki), which is believed to have been the site of the city of Ajax in ancient times.
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Today it is an extensive seaside settlement with small villas, most of which are weekend homes belonging to Athenians.
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You can also visit at a small distance the relatively uncrowded sandy beaches at Kanakia and Peristera, the village of Ambelakia, located at the site of ancient Salamis.
. Salamis island map
Finally from the busy but picturesque fishing port at Selinia you can return to Piraeus on small vessels.
Piraeus - Salamis - the outskirts of Athens
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Photos and informations taken from "Athens - Attica"
(Toubis Editions)
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