This is the first time since I started running that I visited somewhere and didn’t manage to go out for a run. The reason being a virus that hit me the day before we left for the island. However, as we had the car with us, with the help of some good old Lemsip I managed go around the island enough with runners eyes open looking out for running routes.
So for a nice undulating run near the town centre start at the athletics track and run with the port on your right. Go past all the little coffee places and restaurants and keep going. Follow the road along the coast that does a 180oC turn. There are no more shops there and you come across some hills. Although the road is not very busy it is quite narrow and pedestrians are not expected, so keep your headphones off at this point. This road will bring you back to the running track. Take a right turn on Leoforos Papadopoulou (having the track on your right at this point) and then a left on Leoforos Lampraki. This will take you towards Neorio and some nice and popular beaches of Poros like Love Bay. Once you have had enough and don’t want to climb any more hills (I think up to Love Bay is good enough), turn back towards the track. This loop is about 9.5k and the elevation is of the order of 100m (plus/minus) (route 1). You can repeat the loop or run up and down the port front to add a few miles.
If you love hilly runs (I mean if you want to run up and down a mountain) one option would be the following. Start at the athletics track and run towards Love Bay. Go past this and keep going for as long as your legs can take you. From about 4k on there are big relentless climbs with no flat bits in between to help your legs recover. You reach the top at about 10.4k. At that point you can turn right and join the road that will bring you down to the sports centre again, which is all downhill and very much so with lots of turns (about 3km and about 200m loss of elevation). This loop is about 13.6k and 297m elevation (route 2). You go up a mountain and you come back down.
If you would like to add a few miles to your hilly run, instead of turning right at the above junction (if you can bear it and your legs are not dead) you can also choose to go left. You will still have to climb up a bit more till you reach the downhill section (about an extra 2k of uphill). If you choose to go left at the junction, please be careful to NOT take the small road that takes you to the beach, as there is no connection to the main road through there and coming back up to the main road was a struggle even for a 4 by 4 (due to the incline). This bigger loop is about 18k and 350m elevation (or so my Strava route builder tells me) (route 3).
If you are doing the mountainous routes make sure you have enough water to get you around as there is nothing but nature there. You will wonder whether you will meet civilisation again.
I would not recommend those routes unless you are experienced in this type of training. All running is done on road and the views from for routes 2 and 3 are spectacular.
Please note the very high temperatures during the summer, so this means any run will have to be done really early in the morning in order to avoid the heat and the crowds for route 1, while for routes 2 and 3 I would also recommend early morning to avoid the heat and getting stuck up a mountain at night time.
How to get to Poros
Poros is very near Athens. Flying dolpins and flying Cats departing from Pireaus make the trip in about 1h-1h20min. You can also take a ferry boat if you are taking your car, which makes the trip in 3 hours. Finally, you can drive to Galatas (about 3h drive from Athens) and take a short ferry crossing to Poros.
Where to stay
For this trip we used Airbnb and stayed at ‘Eleana’s home amazing sky and sea view’, a beautiful flat with a garden and fantastic sea views. It was also dog friendly so our 2 dogs also came along. A favourite was dozing off on the hammock listening to the seagulls.
Where to eat
Where to swim
I would recommend the beach Monastery that was really clean. Love Bay, while beautiful with green waters and with pine trees coming all the way to the beach, is too closed and the sea was one of the dirtiest I have ever swam in. If you want to swim and not just sunbathe, go somewhere else.
If you like water skiing, Poros is the place to be! I great skiing school exists at Neorio with great instructors. I hope to try it next time I visit the island.
Why go to Poros
Poros is really near Athens and travelling is minimal (if by flying dolphin or Cat). It is a bit quieter than the trendy islands of the Cyclades like Paros and Naxos. It is very green with lots of trees. Food seems to be decent and all in all is a more family orientated island.