Quick Facts: Aegina
||Regular ferry service
||Pistachio related products, Byzantine churches, Temple of Aphaia
||Good fish taverns
Aegina lies in the Saronic Gulf and is the 2nd closest island to Piraeus (16 mi.) and Athens after Salamis.
Aegina can be reached in a little over
an hour by ferry boat or half an hour by Flying Dolphin hydrofoil.
Aegina has a land mass of 82 square km. with 57 km. of coast line (mostly rocky beaches). The
population is about 12,000. There is a full sized Marina. Aegina's best
beach lays to the right of the Aegina town harbor.
is a beautiful island with alternating areas of greenery and barren vistas.
More manageable during the week when Athenians are back in Athens.
Aegina Town is a nice port with a beautiful harbor and a bit bigger than some islands.
many taverns and pastry shops along the Limani and all kinds of picturesque
establishments among the back streets. Aegina is a good island to rent
a car, because it is rather large. Aegina
is a mountainous island with wonderful valleys and ancient trees such
as this allegedly 2,000 year old olive tree. An off-road vehicle or dirt
bike will let you appreciate this island's hidden beauty more fully.
Aegina's Island Specialties
is the pistachio nut growing capital of Greece and the ideal spot to buy
all kinds of pistachio related products as you explore the back streets
of quaint Aegina town.The
whole island in fact is full of wonderful nut trees including almonds.
Dried nuts too, of course, are available for sale at many places on the
island and in a bewildering variety of forms. They'll be a bit cheaper
than in Athens and fresher, too.
Aegina Town houses the very pretty l9th Century church, Agía Triáda. It sits next to the fish market overlooking the harbor.
At quayside, you can take a horse-drawn carriage and wander the narrow streets to see the Venetian tower Pyrgos Markéllou, the cathedral Agios Nektários and the Temple of Apollo.
A few miles out of town, you'll find a13th Century Byzantine church with very fine frescoes and scattered Byzantine remains around the deserted town of Palaiochóra. Continue along the same road to reach the Temple of Aphaia.
On the southern tip of the island, Pérdika has excellent fish taverns and is a favorite weekend spot for Athenians.
Drinking and Dining
There are seaside fish tavernas and eateries with grilled octopus and other fresh seafoods to be found in Aegina Town. Good home-produced wines are also available. Some of the best places, both in Aegina Town and just out of town, include Finikas tou Lira, Flisbos, Kolóna, Lekkas, Marikaki, Bakaliarakia, Avli, and Vatzoulia's.
In Souvála, try Ephi and Ela Mesa. In Ag. Marina, Tholos is good. In Pérdika look for To Proraion (the best), Nodas, Sissy or S. Stratigos.
History and Legend
Aegina's pride and joy is the Temple of Aphaia. It was built in the 5th Century BC and is one of the best preserved temples in Greece. The temple stands above the village of Mesagrós. The Doric structure currently there was predated by several goddess worship structures dating as far back as 2000 BC. Aphaia was supposedly a child of Zeus and Leto. Artemis was her sister. Aphaia won the heart of King Minos of Crete. Aphaia apparently didn't return old Minos' feelings, however, because she ran away and when she reached Aegina, she threw herself in the sea and vanished. There is a museum at the site, as well as the temple.
pressed for time, by all means make Aegina your top choice in the Saronic Gulf. The only thing I wasn't
thrilled about were the beaches which are mostly small and rocky. The
water itself was perfect, clean and calm. This is a place to use those
wave walkers I told you to bring along in the practical tips section.
My advice is to rent an off-road
vehicle because there are many interesting dirt roads to travel on, you'll
be able to get away from the more crowded beaches and find interesting
places to hike.
The Complete Details
- Hourly hydrofoil
- Frequent connections from Piraeus
- Connections to Methana and other Saronic islands, and 2-3 times a week connect to Epidavros
- Buses run to most villages
- Water taxis go to several island spots
- Tel. code: 22970
- Tourist Police Tel.: 029 702 7777