Aegina (Αίγινα, also spelled Aigina or Egina, pronounced he-yee-na) is one of the nearest islands to Athens, the capital and largest city of Greece.
This page refers to the island of Aegina. For its main town with the same name, see Aegina Town.
- Aegina Town: The largest town and the "capital" of Aegina has the same name with the island. This is the main point of entry to the island, where you can find the most dining, housing, shopping and entertainment options.
- Agia Marina: A small town at the east of the island.
- Perdika: A small town at the southwest of the island.
- Vagia: A traditional fishing village at the north of the island with beautiful sanfy beach.
- Souvala: A small town at the northeast of the island.
- Temple of Afaia: An ancient Greek temple (500 BC) that predates the Parthenon in Athens' Acropolis. It is located close to the town of Agia Marina.
Kolona's archaeological site from a distance.
- Museum and archeological site of Kolona: The site that hosted the ancient Greek Temple of Apollo, which was built in the 6th century BC; only one pillar is left from the temple.
- Church of St. Nectarios: An Orthodox Christian church, one of the biggest churches in Balkans.
Aegina can be reached by boat from Athens / Pireaus within 40-60 minutes. As a result, Aegina can be an ideal destination for a single-day round-trip travel from Athens. Nevertheless, Aegina is worth at least a day of your itinerary, and you may find yourself staying overnight. It is a wonderful island for swimming, eating, shopping, and clubbing. The Huffington Post named Aegina as "the most beautiful Greek island that you haven't heard of".
The best time to visit Aegina (and every other Greek island) is during the summer months (June - August) when the water temperatures allow swimming in the exceptionally beautiful blue Greek sea. Thus, summer is the most touristic season (especially early-to-mid August), and most restaurants and hotels are open during this time. The locals are extremely friendly and helpful, and almost every merchant speaks excellent English.
In addition to the beach-type attractions, Aegina also has rich history. You can find multiple ancient Greek archaeological sites, such as the Temple of Afaia and the Kolona archaeological site and museum. Moreover, Aegina was the first capital of modern Greece (1826-1827), and you can find historic buildings reflecting this period as well.
Aegina Town is the main point of entrance (by boat) where most hotels, restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops are located. Aegina town is located at the northwestern part of the island. Other small towns also exist around the island, such as Perdika (southwest), Souvala (northeast) and Agia Marina (east). Many beaches worth visiting are scattered along the routes from Aegina to Perdika and from Aegina to Souvala. Aegina is a triangle about 11 km on a side (83 sq km). The north and west coasts are fairly flat, well-populated, and easily accessible; the southeast is more rugged and wild, with smaller mountain and port villages.
Aegina is also a destination for upper-middle-class Athenians longing to get out of the urban hustle of the city; they visit the island during weekends throughout the entire year or during the christmas and easter breaks. During the touristic off-season (i.e., October - April, especially weekdays), the population of the island significantly decreases, and Aegina better fits travelers that seek a quiet destination.
In Aegina (and in most of Greece), Greek is the primarily spoken language. Nevertheless, almost all locals are at least conversational in English, especially those working in the tourism industry (i.e., hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops). Thus, communicating in English should never be a problem. Other languages are not as prevalent.
Overall, boat is the only means of transportation that can get you to the island. Boats mainly connect Athens/Pireaus and Aegina Town. Some more infrequent routes connect Pireaus with Souvala or Agia Marina.
- "Flying dolphins" (such as Hellenic Seaways) do the trip in 40 minutes, but they are more expensive.
- Hellenic Seaways from Piraeus
- Hellenic Seaways sails hourly to Aegina Town for 9,5 euro.
- Bigger ferries take about 60 minutes and they are cheaper; they can also carry vehicles.
- Nova Ferries (phone +302104126181) from Piraeus
Unless you have already purchased a round-trip hydrofoil or boat ticket, go ahead and get a departure time locked in from one of the various kiosks along the edge of the harbor before you get too far afield, or you may find yourself involuntarily spending a night on the island. Most ticket agents speak English and accept credit cards for the transaction.
- All towns (Aigina town, Perdika, Agia Marina, Souvala) are walkable and you don't need a vehicle to explore and enjoy them.
- Nevertheless, you will need some sort of transportation to get from one town to the other (e.g., from Aigina town to Perdika) or more important, in order to visit some of the beaches that are located outside each town's limits (highly recommended). Towards this end, you can:
- take a bus from the port in Aegina town to the other towns (Perdika, Agia Marina, Souvala).
- rent a bike, car or a motorbike
- take a taxi
Car rental costs about 20-30 Euros/day. Car and motorbike rentals, as well as a taxi stand, are located near the port of Aegina town.
Kolona's archaeological site.
The St. Nectarios orthodox church.
The house of Nikos Kazantzakis.
- Temple of Aphaia: Also, ask about the temple of Aphaia--it's gorgeous and huge, and can be reached by taxi or motorbike. It's surrounded by pines on a hilltop overlooking Agia Marina on the east side of the island. The admission there is only three or four Euros and on a clear day you can see for miles from its vantage point. There is a nice little cafe and shop across the street from the temple with a decent bathroom, as well.
- Archaeological site of Kolona: The Temple of Apollo, overlooking the bay, is a five-minute walk from the port at Aegina. Turn to the left and start walking; admission to the museum is less than five Euros and will yield a fantastic experience. You can wear a swimsuit and have lunch in the nearby picnic area. The views from the top of the site are exciting, you can look over the island and the sea -- almost all the way to Piraeus.
- St. Nektarios church: A large, elaborate, modern Orthodox church and monastery, lies about halfway between Aegina Town and Agia Marina. Across the road and uphill is the entrance path to Paleochora (Old Town). This is where the island's population retreated from pirates for several hundred years; though it has been deserted since the early 19th century, many of the dozens of churches still standing are maintained by island families. A walk up to the double church on the peak makes a quiet and beautiful hour.
- Mt. Oros: The tallest peak on Aegina, called Oros ("mountain"), is 532m. A motorbike will take you about halfway up, and the footpath, fairly well marked by cairns, takes another 30 or 45 minutes. At the top is a church, and from there you can see 360 degrees of the Saronic Gulf: Sounio, Athens, the Corinth Canal (almost), Methana, Poros.
- Nikos Kazantzakis' memorial house: Nikos Kazantzakis, one of the most famous European authors, lived in Aegina for 20 years, in a seaside residence at the north part of the island. He authored some of his famous works there. The house is not open to visitors.
- Kuverneio (Government House): Located in the town of Aegina, this was the official residence and principal workplace of Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first head of state of the modern Greek republic (1826-1827).
- Christos Kapralos' museum.
During the summer, the sea is warm enough to swim. As in most of Greece, the sea and beaches in Aegina are exceptionally beautiful. You may choose a beach depending on the weather / wind at the time, as on a given day it may be wavy on one side of the island but not on another. Here are some beach recommendations:
- Aeginitissa: Closer to the southern part of the island and to Perdika. A beach bar also exists there. This beach attracts a lot of the younger "trendy" crowds.
- Aqua Loca: Located at the western part of the island. A beach bar also exists there, which also operates during the night. More quiet and chill than Aeginitissa.
- Marathonas A & B: Two adjacent beaches at the western part of the island.
- Kolona beach: Within walking distance from the town of Aegina, this beach is next to a visible archaeological site and a small pine forest with picnic tables.
- Vagia Beach: The most quite and scenic beach on the island. This beach is at a village with familly taverns, just under the temple of Aphaia. The village has a traditional family hotel and family owned taverns.
- Tourlos Beach : Just after Vagia you will find the quite beach of Tourlos. Trully a paradise.
All of the above beaches are equipped with umbrellas and plastic chaise loungers that you can rent.
- North-side beaches: Many beautiful beaches exist at the north part of the island along the route between Aegina town and Souvala. Follow this route and find the beach that looks most appealing to you. These beaches may lack the bars and the umbrella rentals but they are more quiet and scenic.
Numerous cafes operate along the waterfront in Aegina town and they offer views to the sea, the harbor and to beautiful sunsets. Drinking coffee in Greece is an activity that extends well beyond picking the coffee and going away. It is very usual to order a coffee and sit at such a seaside location for an hour or two, relaxing, discussing, and reading newspapers.
- You can try "Frappe" a Greek coffee, which is very strong.
- Inn on the beach is a cafe/bar at the southern part of Aegina town. A part of this establishment is on a platform that extends to the sea, beyond the mainland, thus you can essentially enjoy your drink as close to the water as possible.
The routes between Aegina town and Perdika, or between Aegina Town and Souvala are very scenic. The road is right next to the sea. Some parts of these routes are elevated on a cliff. The scenery is similar to Highway 1 in California. These routes also offer nice sunset views. Follow one of these scenic drives with a car, bike or motorbike.
Coastal road at the north side of Aigina.
Coastal road at the west side of Aigina.
If you are a fan of hiking, you can follow the trail that leads to Mt. Oros, the highest peak of the island. Once you locate the trail, you can reach the top though a very difficult walk (with some climbing). It can take two to three hours to reach the top despite the short distance because it's all uphill. Once there, you can enjoy beautiful panoramic views of the island and the Saronic gulf.
Mt. Oros is close to village Anitseou; you will need a car to get there. About 1 kilometer before reaching Anitseou, you'll need to make a right turn, right before passing Mt. Oros. You'll need to keep driving on this side road for about 5-10 minutes, until you see a sign at the left side, which indicates the beginning of the trail.
Thoughout the trail, sporadic marks such as piled and/or painted rocks indicate that you are on the right path.
Panoramic view at Mt. Oros
The pistachios produced in Aegina are famous all over Greece.
- You can buy some pistachio bags/packets at the stands located close to Aigina's port.
- Traditional sweets containing pistachio are also offered by Mourtzis Paradosiaka Glyka in Aegina town (Mourtzis Traditional Sweets) @ Panagioti Irioti 57
Numerous restaurants exist in Aegina, which offer fresh seafood and other authentic Greek dishes.
- The best waterfront taverna may be the one at the north end (from the pier, turn left), called Flisvos.
- Somewhat hidden in the middle of town is Patitiri, with simple but excellent traditional food.
- Try charcoal-grilled octopus at Geladakis taverna in Aegina town.
- Ammos ("sand"), south of the main port about a 7 minute drive, is a hidden gem. Amazing fish and white tarama. Eat on the beach.
- Nontas Fish Restaurant, Perdika 18010 Aegina Island, ☎ +30 22970 61233, . Nontas fish restaurant in Aegina Greece, famous for its location by the sea, its friendly service and its seafood and fish delicacies! edit
- In Aghia Marina, go to Pita Toms, where soulvakis and gyros are fresh and inexpensive (1,60 euro).
- Perdhika, at the southwest tip of the island, has a whole row of good tavernas.
Souvlaki / Pita Gyro
You can taste an essential part of the Greek cuisine in numerous establishments ("souvlatzidika") offering Souvlaki (σουβλάκι) and Gyro (γύρο). These establishment typically offer food "to-go", even though many are also equipped with tables where you can sit. Try a pita with gyro and tzatziki, or a souvlaki (kalamaki), which can be eaten alone on a skewer or inside a pita like gyro. Here are some suggestions for "souvlatzidika" in Aegina town:
- Black cat (Mavros Gatos) @ Aiantos 4 (Αίαντος 4)
- Ladokolla @ Rothi spurou 55 (Ρόδη Σπύρου 55)
Bakeries / Breakfast
Cheese-pies, spinach-pies, sausage-pies (and many other pies) are typical Greek breakfast snacks.
- Christoforos' bakery @ Aristofanous street. You must try their cheese-pie.
- Vagia Hotel at the north side of Aegina is serving traditional Greek breakfast with cakes and pies which have been awarded! You can always book a place at +302297071179.
- A landmark, family owned business in Aegina town offering traditional Greek deserts is Pagoudis @ Spyrou rodi 47 (ΠΑΓΟΥΔΗΣ, ΣΠ. ΡΟΔΗ 47). Try Ravani (Ραβανί), Galaktoboureko (Γαλακτομπούρεκο) and Κadaifi (Κανταΐφι).
- Avli @ P. Irioti 17 (Π. Ηρειώτη 17): A landmark bar/restaurant/cafe in Aigina town, that is open since the 80s. Good for sitting at a table with friends. Open and visited every day of the year.
- Perdikiotika @ Afaias 38 (Αφαιας 38): Another landmark establishment in Aigina town, with a more indie feel. It's a bar with a space for dancing and a garden patio that is open in the summer.
- Inn on the beach: A waterfront establishment operating as a cafe during the day and a bar/club during the night. Tropical feel, with some of the best views in town.
- Ellinikon seaside (Klonos) @ Kapodistriou 7( Καποδιστριου 7): A nightclub next to the beach. A good fit for young clubby crowds.
- Aqua loca: A beach bar at the western part of the island. Open during the summer months. Quiet and relaxing atmosphere.
Numerous hotels and rooms to rent exist in Aegina town as well as the nearby towns.
- Vagia Hotel, ☎ 00302297071179, . In the heart of the picturesque village of Vagia beneath the Aphaia ancient temple. #1 on Tripadvisor. edit
- Perdika Mare, . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. Seafront accommodation at Perdika, close to bars and restaurants edit
- Antzi Studios, Perdika,18010 Aegina Island, Greece, . Antzi Aegina hotel is a family run hotel, offering quality accommodation in Aiginain beautifully appointed studios and apartments. edit
- Violent crime is essentially absent from the island of Aegina. It is safe to walk around the streets of its towns even at night.
- Be aware that several clubs and bars in Greece do not always serve legitimate alcoholic drinks but instead they serve cheaper imitations containing methanol instead of alcohol, which are also known as "μπομπες" (bombs). These drinks can make you drunk quickly, and they cause worse hangovers and even considerable health problems if consumed at large quantities. You'll be perfectly safe if you drink beer, which is never altered, instead of hard liquor. If you really want to drink hard liquor, then it's best to consult with a local whether a specific establishment offers proper ("clean") alcoholic drinks.
- Traveler's tip: be sure to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen while touring Aegina and its beaches. The weather feels mild and can fool you into thinking you're not as dehydrated as you are.
- Agistri is a smaller island, west of Aegina. Boats departing the port of Aegina town can take you there.
- Moni is an uninhabited island at close proximity of Perdika (in southwestern Aegina). Small boats departing Perdika can take you there. Moni is ideal for a quiet, castaway-like setting.
- Athens, the capital and largest city of Greece is within close proximity of Aegina.