According to Greek mythology, Aegina was the daughter of the river god, Asopus. She was abducted by Zeus and taken to an island near Attica. There she gave birth to Aeacus, who later became king. Subsequently, the island was named “Aegina”.
Visiting Athens? Check out Aegina Island!
Aegina is a perfect day-trip or weekend getaway destination to combine with your visit to Athens.
Aegina (Aigina, Egina, Egine, Ägina) is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece, still unblemished by mass tourism. Not to mention, the town of Aegina is lively year-round.
Fun Fact: In the ancient times (5th century BC), the island of Aegina was actually a rival of Athens, and in 1828, Aegina was briefly the capital of Greece!
3 Reasons to visit Aegina
1. Avoid the crowds
As a matter of fact, one of Aegina’s best features is…. NO CROWDS. Everyone’s either partying in Mykonos or taking the iconic photo in Santorini.
2. Close proximity to Athens
Many Athenians visit this island in summer for a vacation, weekend getaway, or even a day, because of its proximity to Athens (26 kilometers).
3. Authentic Greek culture and history
From churches and temples to the charm and traditions of the old villages, Aegina offers authenticity and tradition on every corner of the island.
11 Things to do in Aegina
1. Visit the Church of Agios Nektarios and Monastery of the Holy Trinity
Apart from being a writer, philosopher, and educator, Agios Nektarios of Aegina (1846-1920) was also known to be a great miracle worker, a healer of diseases. Agios Nektarios is one of the most renowned Greek Orthodox Saints, officially recognized as a saint in 1961 by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Thousands of people visit Agios Nektarios to pray to him or ask for his blessings. The saint is celebrated by the Church on the 9th November every year. The best way to visit is by bus, otherwise, take a taxi (€10) right at the port upon arrival. After your visit, pass by one of two shops to buy Agios Nektarios souvenirs, books, icons, and more. You can also ask for a small bottle filled with oil (free) or ask for an empty bottle (also free) to fill it yourself with holy water.
Entry Fee: FREE
2. Visit the Temple of Aphaia (Afea)
The Temple of Aphaia, dedicated to goddess Athena, is located on top of a hill on the island of Aegina. You can visit by taxi (€17) or bus line 2 from Aegina Town.
3. Visit the small white church right on the port
Church Saint Nicholas Thalassinos (Ιερό Παρεκκλήσιο Αγίου Νικολάου του Θαλασσινού) is a Greek Orthodox Church right on Aegina port. You’re greeted by it when you arrive and it’s the last piece of Aegina directly in sight when you leave. It’s probably the smallest church (and one of the prettiest) I’ve ever seen!
4. Go to the beach
The best beaches in Aegina are Souvala, a popular beach resort 9km from Aegina Town, and Marathonas, which is less crowded and relatively closer to Aegina Town. For more beach options, check out this list.
5. Celebrate the Aegina Fistiki Festival in September
Did you know that Aegina is famed for its unique pistachios? In short, the objective of the yearly Aegina Fistiki Festival organized by the island’s municipality is to promote and support the cultivation of Aegina’s pistachio. Just FYI, here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about pistachios. One of them include the fact that mangoes are distant cousins of pistachios!
6. Eat pistachio-based specialties
After all, you’re on an island famed for its pistachios! Find the yummiest pistachio Baklava at Mourtzis (Μούρτζης Παραδοσιακά Γλυκά), a delicious creamy pistachio ice cream at Melénio (Μελένιο), and the nuttiest caramelized sesame coated pistachios at Kipseli Pistachios Store (κυψελη).
7. Shop for the island’s renowned pistachios
Speaking of pistachios, you must visit Mourtzis (Μούρτζης Παραδοσιακά Γλυκά) to take some of their specialty pistachios home with you. Plus, they make great snacks on the boat back to Athens!
8. Have a seafood lunch
Skotadis, one of the oldest seafood taverns on the island of Aegina, offers Greek traditional recipes using fresh ingredients, not to mention at affordable prices. Nontas Fish Restaurant in Perdika is also a popular choice.
9. Visit the village of Perdika
As a matter of fact, this small fishing village has a lot to see and do. Have a seafood lunch at Remetzo overlooking the bay. The closest beaches to Perdika are Sarpa, Aiginitissa and the beach on Moni Island. Opposite Perdika harbour, you’ll find one of the first Camera Obscura built in Greece and the only one worldwide with a 360-degree panorama! This cylindric house can show you a LIVE 360-degree panorama of the outside world. Moreover, entry is free and unsupervised.
10. Go on a walking tour
The Sfentouri – Elaionas hiking trail is one of the most popular in Aegina; 3 km, 1h15m, and medium difficulty. Experience the natural beauty of the island firsthand. For more information on walking tours on the island, check out this guide.
11. End your day with a drink at Avli Bar
This trendy bar in Aegina Town hosts live musicians on Fridays starting at 10pm. Even on other nights, you can find locals enjoying their evening with beers and affordable bites in a relaxing and positive ambiance.
How to get to Aegina
Aegina Island can be reached by boat from the port of Piraeus within 40 minutes.
- From Athens Airport: Take Bus X96 to Piraeus port [Duration: 90 minutes – Price: €6]
- From Syntagma Square in Athens City Centre: Take the green metro line “Μ1: ΚΗΦΙΣΙΑ – ΠΕΙΡΑΙΑΣ” at Monastiraki Metro Station to Piraeus port [Duration: 50 minutes – Price: €8 for 1 ticket, €14 for 2 tickets]
Once you reach Piraus Port: Enter Gate E8 and catch a boat to Aegina Town [40 minutes by Flying Dolphin (€13 – must purchase in advance) or 75 minutes by regular ferry (€8.5-9.5 – can be bought on the ferry)].
For an estimate of taxi costs to some destinations on the island, check out this table.
LIKED THIS ARTICLE? CHECK OUT MORE TRAVEL ARTICLES IN GREECE!
Unless otherwise noted, all posted content and photographs are owned exclusively by me. None of the content / photographs may be reproduced, modified, recirculated, commercially exploited or reused in any form whatsoever without my prior written consent.
For further information regarding permission to use content or photographs, please contact me.