The gulf includes the islands of Aegina, Salamis, and Poros along with smaller islands of Patroklos and Fleves. The port of Piraeus, Athens’ port, lies on the northeastern edge of the gulf. The site of the former Ellinikon International Airport is also in the northeast.
Beaches line much of the gulf coast from Poros to Epidaurus, Galataki to Kineta and from Megara to Eleusis and from Piraeus down to Anavyssos. Athens’ urban area surrounds the northern and the eastern coasts of this gulf.
Bays in the gulf include Phaleron Bay, Elefsina Bay to the north, Kechries Bay in the northwest and Sofiko Bay in the east.
The volcano of Methana is located to the southwest along with Kromyonia at the Isthmus of Corinth, Aegina and Poros. Methana is also the youngest most active volcano center and forms the northwestern end of the cycladic arch of active volcanoes that includes Milos island, Santorini island and Nisyros island. A hydropathic institute at Methana makes use of the hot sulphurous water that still surfaces in the area. The most recent eruption was of a submarine volcano north of Methana in the 17th century.
The origin of the name comes from the mythological king Saron who drowned at the Psifaei lake (modern Psifta). The Saronic Gulf was a string of six entrances to the Underworld, each guarded by a chthonic enemy in the shape of a thief or bandit.
The Battle of Salamis, just to the west of modern-day Piraeus, was a major turning point in European history which saw the Athenians defeat Xerxes, assuring Athens its place as the cradle of modern European culture.
Fault lines dominate especially in the northwestern part. The port of Cenchreae used to be situated here.
Sailing in Saronic Gulf
Sailing is popular in the Saronic Gulf which, like the neighbouring Argolic Gulf, benefits from the Attic mainland’s partial shelter from the summer Meltemi wind that can reach Force 7 and above further to the east in the Aegean islands.
The Gulf boasts two particularly notable archaeological sites: the ancient theatre at Epidaurus and nearby asclepieion and the The temple of Aphaia on Aegina.