Salamina is the closest Greek Island to Piraeus and Athens, only 3 km across the strait. It is industrial and working class in nature. The towns are gritty and authentic with only basic hotels and cheap tavernas. The east coast is lined with marine scrapyards and naval bases.
The island is dotted with holiday homes, and seaside villages are popular weekend getaway sites for mainland families.
Salamina town (also known as Kruloúri) is the largest metropolis. The island villages are connected by bus. East of Salamina town, Agios Nikólaos boasts 19th Century mansions and quays where fishermen work. A bus leaves Salamina town every hour for Moni Faneroméni. This church is set in a piney wood on the site of an ancient temple, presided over now by nuns and large flocks of peacocks and turkeys. There are fine frescoes in the church, including a Last Judgement painted in 1735 by Argitis Márkos, who is buried in the chapel. Remains of fire towers can be seen on nearby Mr. Pátsi, perhaps the same fire towers that warned of the approaching Persians during the Battle of Salamina.
The village of Eandio, south of Salamina town, has a pleasant pebbly beach. Very good camping sites can be found between the villages of Ag. Nikólaos and Kaki Vigla. On the east coast, the village of Paloúkia hosts a ferry-boat landing and is the scene of a naval festival each August.
Drinking and Dining
In Salmina Town, Antzas is reputable. Just out of town, Ali serves Arabic and Greek fare. On the way to Ag. Nikólaos, Karnagio is a good choice despite its unattractive looks. Just a bit further along the road, you'll find Bakothanassis, with good seafood. At Resti, O Chrisos is good food and a good view to go with it. In Paloúkia, Skerlou serves fish. In Selíia the best spot is Vassiliou. For good Greek food and stout retsina in Kaki Vigla, go to Notis.
The island is famous for the Battle of Salamina in 480 BC in which the Greeks defeated the Persians.
Salamina isn't high on my list of
beautiful places to go, although the south eastern coast is quite scenic, with beaches and
pine forests. If you're pressed for time, you can do better! Try Aegina. Poros, Hydra, or Spetses.
It does have historical significance: The Strait of Salamina is where Athens defeated the
Persians in a famous naval battle in 408 BC. Its a bit too industrial for my taste. You'll drive by it on your way to the Peloponnese,
past flaming smoke stacks and other fun stuff on the National Road close to Athens.