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Why Should I Visit Aegina?

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Aegina at a glance

Idyllic, cosmopolitan Aegina is a small island with a great cultural heritage in the middle of the Saronic Gulf.

Its rich past is evident in the dazzling ruins of ancient temples, in the countless Byzantine churches, and in the elegant neoclassical buildings of the 19th century that add a touch of colour to Aegina town and its seafront.

The island's imposing government buildings recall the period in 1828 and 1829 when it was the capital of the newly established Greek state under its first Governor, Ioannis Kapodistrias, enhancing the status and prestige it already enjoyed as an important trading port.

Famous worldwide for its pistachios, it has in addition always been a favourite refuge of artists seeking tranquillity and inspiration in its beautiful landscapes. Even today, despite plenty of itineraries for Aegina and the hubbub of the countless visitors that flood the island at weekends, it remains a languid paradise for nature lovers and walkers charmed by its retro images and unpretentious character.

10 reasons to visit Aegina
  1. To admire the imposing architecture of the Temple of Aphaea (490 BC) on top of a pine-covered hill with breathtaking views of the Saronic Gulf. Older than the Parthenon by 60 years, it is an elegant Doric structure with Parian marble pediments and impressive sculptures. When the sky is clear, it is possible to see as far as Cape Sounion and Piraeus.
  2. To visit the ruins of the prehistoric settlement at Kolona, ​​the acropolis of Ancient Aegina, next to the main port of Aegina. All that remains of the Temple of Apollo that once stood on the hill is a single column. The site owes its present name to that last “Colonna” and the Venetian sailors who used it as a landmark.
  3. To visit the magnificent Monastery of Saint Nektarios (1907) near the village of Kontos, one of the largest places of pilgrimage in the Orthodox Christian world.
  4. To climb the hill of Paleochora, known as the “Mystras of Aegina” after the famous fortified town in the Peloponnese. Built in 896 as a refuge for the islanders from pirates, Aegina’s medieval capital once had 365 Byzantine churches, one for each day of the year. Today, 38 of them remain.
  5. To taste the world-famous Aegina pistachios.
  6. To see the stunning sunset from the top of Ellanio Oros, the island’s highest peak (532 metres), next to the small church of the Prophet Elijah. There are superb views of Aegina town, Perdika, and the tiny islands of Moni and Agistri.
  7. To learn about the island's great tradition in pottery, as home to a kind of jug that was renowned for its ability to keep water cool.
  8. To go to Aegina Fistiki Fest (September), celebrating the island’s pistachios, one of the most important culinary and cultural festivals in the country.
  9. To discover the beautiful islet of Moni opposite the harbour of Perdika. Board a boat and in 10 minutes you will find yourself amidst idyllic natural surroundings full of pine trees, deer, wild goats, peacocks, and miniature horses waiting to befriend you.
  10. To go for a romantic afternoon ride in a horse-drawn carriage along the island's seafront.
The top 5 beaches

St. Marina: A large and popular sandy beach with excellent organisation, opportunities for water sports, and several beach bars for non-stop partying. The village of the same name is surrounded by pine-covered hills, while the relatively shallow waters are ideal for families. At one end, the beach gives way to flat white rocks for sunbathing, and deeper waters for underwater fishing and snorkelling.

Moni: A superb sandy beach with exotic green-blue waters on the tiny pine-covered island of Moni, opposite the harbour of Perdika (and only 8 minutes away by boat). It has a beach bar with various snacks and is ideal for lovers of quiet and seclusion. The whole island is a paradise for underwater fishing, snorkelling, hiking, and exploring.

Aeginitisa: One of the most beautiful beaches on the island, with sand, lofty eucalyptus trees, and shallow green-blue waters. With its beach bar and volleyball area it is a favourite of young people, but also attracts anyone who wants a yoga lesson next to the sea.

Klima: A peaceful cove with white sand and crystal-clear waters on the south side of the island. The beach has basic amenities of sun loungers, umbrellas and a canteen. One of Aegina's most unique spots, attracting yachts at the weekend, it is a paradise for snorkelling enthusiasts.

Marathonas: A pair of sandy beaches with lush bushes and eucalyptus trees, and blue waters. Both are well organised, with several options for food and beach games. It has a family atmosphere and is located just 4 km from the port of Aegina.

 

Don’t leave Aegina without…
  • Strolling around the attractive fishing village of Perdika, whose whitewashed houses give it a Cycladic look.
  • Exploring the spectacular ancient olive grove of Aegina, a valley of wild and uncanny beauty in the foothills of Ellanio Oros, full of old-growth olive trees. Some are over 1,500 years old, with trunks measuring up to 10 metres in circumference.
  • Visiting the workshops of the potters of Mesagros for beautifully painted high-quality ceramics.
  • Making a stop outside the House of Kazantzakis in Livadi. The famous “Cocoon”, where Nikos Kazantzakis welcomed major figures from the world of Art and Literature, was the great writer’s permanent residence from 1936 to 1944.
  • Looking round the Christos Kapralos Museum, dedicated to one of the most important Greek sculptors of the twentieth century and a leading exponent of modernism. The museum is located in the area of ​​Plakakia and is a branch of the National Gallery. Its collection includes sculptures, ceramics, engravings and paintings from the 1963 to 1993.
  • Spending the day on the tiny idyllic island of Agistri. It is a very short trip – just ten minutes by boat from Aegina.
  • Going for a hike along the island's beautiful trails either on the coast or through the mountains. The route from Marathonas Beach to the Ancient Olive Grove and then to the village of Pachia Rachi is especially worthwhile.
  • Exploring Aegina by bicycle. The island offers many beautiful routes for cyclists. The coastal road from Aegina town to the village of Perdika is one of the most scenic.
  • Stopping at the harbour for some fruit from the charming floating market.
Tasty Experiences
  • Enjoy the distinctive aroma and unique taste of Aegina’s protected designation of origin (PDO) pistachios in all manner of local products, such as the famous pistachio pate (made from mashed potato, garlic, lemon and crushed pistachios).
  • Sample a traditional cup of Greek coffee with a delicious honey and pistachio preserve.
  • Stock up on bars of honey and pistachio pasteli, the healthiest snack for when you are out and about.
  • Take the ferry to Aegina and visit the fish market for an ouzo with seafood mezes.
  • Sit at the tavernas and ouzeris in the little harbour of Perdika, famous for their fresh fish and seafood.
  • Try octopus with pasta, swordfish in wine, and aubergine pie.
  • Savour the traditional local dish of roast lamb or goat with a pistachio crust.
  • Seek out tiganosoupa, a dish prepared using a local technique in which fish is fried in water and olive oil and served in the pan with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Did you know?

In 2005, the iconic French fashion house Hermes chose to shoot its global advertising campaign in Aegina's Ancient Olive Grove.

MAP OF AEGINA
Useful Information