Updated January 11th, 2022 by TraveltheGreekWay
Looking for the best things to do on Aegina Island in the Argosaronic in Athens Greece?
Aegina (or Aigina or Egina) is a favorite Greek island of mine, a quick escapade from Athens as it is only 16 nautical miles south of Athens. I travel to Aegina every single summer for a day trip from Athens, to have a relaxing day by the sea or hike its many diverse sightseeing.
This post on Aegina island presents all the top sites, the best beaches to swim and relax, the most picturesque villages, and seaside taverns: how not to miss anything great and how to have a wonderful time on Aegina island!
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- In a hurry? Check out this Aegina Island Quick reference:
- Where to stay in Aegina: Lalibay Resort & Spa (luxury), Oneiro Glico Hotel (mid-range) Vagia Traditional Hotel (budget)
- Heading to Aegina from Athens? Book your ferry tickets in advance with no-hidden-fees FerryScanner or FerryHopper
What are the best things to see on Aegina Island?
Find below the top things to do on Aegina Island:
- The Impressive Aphaia Temple and the Archaeological Site of Kolona
- The Miraculous Monastery of Saint Nektarios
- The Paleochora medieval village with 33 small stone churches scattered all around the hills
- The Perdika Traditional Village, a seaside beach and resort
- The Ancient Elaionas (Olive Grove)
- The uninhabited island of Moni, full of peacocks and deer, ideal for peaceful swimming
- Hiking its appealing signposted trails on the beautiful Aegina hills
- Beaches, beaches, beaches, organized and unorganized, sandy, pebbled, or rocky
- Try Aegina’s pistachio, one of the best in the world!
FAQ on Aegina Sightseeing
- Is Aegina a nice Island? Aegina is an idyllic Greek island with beautiful beaches, tons of historical sites to visit and lovely countryside to explore.
- Is Aegina worth visiting? Absolutely! Athenians pop to Aegina all the time because they love the ouzo shops (so do I !) by the Aegina waterfront, the fish mezedes and the grilled octopuses all over. It is an island very close to Athens and offers so many things to do and see that often the plans for a day trip change into a 2 or 3-day trip.
- What is Aegina known for? Aegina island is known as a great city-state and maritime power of ancient Greece, and often an opponent of Athens. Another reason for being known is that just like Athens (Owl coins) and Corinth, Aegina created the first silver coins also known as “Greek Turtles”. The coins were found all over Greece as well as in Persia, Egypt and South Italy. You can see them in Aegina Museum and Athens Numismatic Museum (a great museum if you have the time, do visit).
- What does Aegina mean? Aegina was the name of a nymph who was kidnapped by Zeus who took her to the uninhabited island. She gave birth to a son, Aiakos, who asked his father Zeus to turn the ants into humans because it was very lonely on the island. Zeus did so, and the Myrmidons tribe was created. I am also sure that there is a more historical explanation for its name, but I do like the mythological version.
- Why is Aegina so popular? Aegina is so popular because you can visit a beautiful Greek island in (about) an hour from Athens and spend a great full day or do island hopping and visit Agistri, Poros, Methana, Hydra or Spetses islands! How cool is that?
Getting Around Aegina
Aegina is the second biggest island in the Saronic Gulf, right after Salamina Greece and it definitely can’t be walked around. You will need some type of transport to best explore Aegina and its sights.
- Intercity buses (KTEL): Very economical (around 2 euro), the longest distance would be around 30-40 minutes drive and reaches the most famous places on the island. However, itineraries are infrequent, and may not run more than 6 per route per day. Better check with them what time the latest bus runs from wherever you plan to visit so that you don’t miss it. Tel: +30 22970 22787
- Road Taxis:Ã‚ The taxi square is located outside the port. Call Radio taxi to pick you up should you need one at +30 22970 22200 or +30 22970 22635
- Water Taxis: The water taxis transfer you from one beach to another or any other place you would like to visit, a fun way to travel on any Greek island. Book one at +30 6944535659 or +30 6974084184, or +30 6937867785 or +30 6972229720
Bicycle: A great way to explore Aegina, the terrain is not very steep uphill.
Rent a car/motorbike. For me, a bicycle/bike or a car is the best way to explore any place in Greece. You can go whenever you want to wherever destination, without the stress of timetables or just because the buses don’t go to the remote place you want to go.
There are also horse carriages for which I am not happy to suggest at all, as I have seen limping or very thin horses to be used. Please use some other means of transportation on the island. The same applies to the poor donkeys on Santorini island.
What to see on Aegina Island: Best Aegina Beaches
Aegina beaches are not stunning like the Assos beach in Kephalonia or Mylopotamos beach in Pelion but they are quite nice to swim and the water is splendid with a crystal clear texture. See below a list of the most popular and nicest beaches in Aegina:
- Around the Aegina town and very close to its port you will find Avra & Panagitsa beaches which will be very crowded and very close to all the ships coming and going. I never go there.
- Marathonas A & B Beaches are organised, some spots both sandy and fine pebbled, family-oriented, 5 minutes by car or bus far from Aegina port. Too busy for my taste.
- Perdika, a small fish iconic village with a rocky, clearwater beach, great for those who like diving and rock exploring. It has quite a few fish taverns and a bit of a cosmopolitan place as yachts often make a stop at the pretty place. From here you can take the small boat to the islet Moni right across Aegina. Not to be missed.
- Fyki beach bar is an organised beach in a very beautiful cove, amongst green trees, 8 km far from Aegina port, one of my favourites!
- Agia Marina is a large blue flag awarded beach, sandy, partly organised, with taverns and beach bars and partly free for you to relax further away. It can be busy with families since the waters are very shallow and clear blue (15 minutes by car, or 25 minutes by bus from Aegina port). I tend to avoid swimming here but I do make a stop for a coffee or lunch.
- Sarpa Beach is on the south, organised in a beautiful environment. Another favourite of mine.
- Klima Beach on the south of Aegina is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It is sandy with some pebbles, emerald clear waters, organised beach with a bar, umbrellas and sunbeds. The KTEL bus stops in Perdika, and you need to walk the rest of the distance. If you go by car, there is some steep uphill and the parking is always full so be prepared.
- Souvala Beach, known for its thermal waters, with a rocky surrounding. The surrounding small fish village has fresh fish choices in its taverns. The KTEL bus stops at the beach.
- Vagia Beach, in very beautiful nature, sandy with a beach bar on the northeast side of Aegina.
Archaeological Sites on Aegina Island
The Temple of Aphaia is one of the best-preserved Greek temples built in the 5th-century BC. The Temple of Aphaia, a Doric Style Temple is located very close to Agia Marina Beach in a place covered with pine trees. The temple is open daily from 10.00-17.30
The archaeological site of Kolona, Temple of Apollo. At the site, the only thing still standing from the Temple of Apollo, built in the 6th century BC, is a single Doric pillar. The archaeological site includes also the remains of a prehistorical town which flourished around 2500 BC, parts of the town, a post-roman fortification wall as well as a medieval tank. The temple is open daily from 10.00-17.30
The Archaeological Museum is located on the site of Kolona and it houses all the finds from the excavations on the hill of Aegina from the prehistoric ages until the Medieval.
The Temple of Ellanios Zeus. Aegina’s highest mountain is called Mountain Ellanio with a height of 532 meters. At its peak, you will find the ruins of the sanctuary of Ellanios Zeus.
Paleochora Medieval Village
Paleochora medieval “ghost” village and fortification is a top Aegina attraction. Paleochora, which became Aegina’s first capital, was founded in 896 AD by Aegina citizens as away as possible from the sea to avoid the devastating pirates’ raids. The village was flourishing until 1537 when notorious pirate Barbarossa destroyed and burnt everything but the churches.
Imagine a sight where there are no queues or entry fees or operating times with very few people around, feeling the thrill of a real Greek medieval place. There are some Greek people acting as guards, cleaning the churches and supplying them with incense and candles. Not all churches are always open. Every church is dedicated to a different saint whose name can be found on a plate outside the church.
Paleochora churches, just like its much more famous cousin Mystras in the Peloponnese, was a Byzantine construction and fortification of the Late and Post Byzantine era, dating from the 12th to 18th century.
There was a rumor that it used to have 365 stone churches – one for each day! – but in reality, there were just 50, and today only 33 of them are still standing.
Some of the churches have been renovated and parts of their frescoes have been replaced. All the chapels have a simple Eastern Orthodox layout, in some with fragments of frescoes, an altar by the door, icons, and slightly different architecture. There are also fragments of the fortification of Paleochora on the east side of the hill.
Paleochora can be found in the Aegina mainland, very close to the Monastery of Saint Nektarios.
Put on light hiking shoes, bring plenty of water with you, a hat, and sunscreen – if you are visiting during the summer. Apart from the chapels, there is no other shade in the area or any facilities.
You can find the ancient Elaionas (olive grove) area in Aegina only 2 km away from beach Marathon B at the valley on the feet of Oros Mt.
You can easily hike through Kalderimia (old Greek style trails mostly used by donkeys) to reach the ancient olive trees area, the age of some of the older ones is estimated at 1500-2000 years.
One of the largest trees measures 13 meters (42.64 feet) around its trunk, with an internal cavity 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) in diameter.
There is only one building standing, a small chapel. The most frequent inhabitants of this magical place are wild hare, grouses, and some shepherds with their flock and dogs, wandering around happily in this blessed place.
Religious Sites on Aegina
- Aegina Monastery of Saint Nektarios is a world-famous Monastery and one of the greatest Greek Orthodox Monasteries in the Balkans. You can find the Saint Nekatrios Monastery in the area of Kontos, in the mainland of Aegina, 6 km from the port. KTEL buses run every day to the Monastery. In walking distance, you can also find Paleochora and the Monastery of Saint Gerasimos. You can have some basic water or other drinks in the monastery and there is a small souvenir stall. The Monastery offers accommodation for those who would like to stay overnight in this holy place. Reserve your place by calling them at +30 22970 53806.
- Monastery of Chrysoleontissa, a 17th-century Monastery inhabited by only 9 nuns and many animals as the nuns keep themselves busy with farming. The monastery is known for its beautiful frescoes as well as for the icon of the Virgin Mary of Chrysoleontissa. It features a huge garden at its center, where you may have a Greek coffee and some sweet treats from the nuns. You can visit between 07.30 – 13.00 & 16.00 – sunset. Their number is: +30 22970 62100
Aegina Hiking Trails
Aegina covers an area of 85 square kilometers most of which have a volcanic origin. This is mostly observed in the central and southern part of the island, which consists of petrified lava. An interesting place for the volcano funs.
Aegina consists of low hills, some of them covered by pine forests. The highest Mt is Ellanio or Oros, with an altitude of 532 meters, mostly covered in shrubs and other low plants.
Aegina Municipality, along with the Hellenic Society of Environment & Culture, the Association of Active Citizens of Aegina, and the Hellenic Cycling Mountaineering Association of Aegina “Ascent”, implemented the project “Paths of Culture”.
The Paths of Culture are signposted trails, that pass from beautiful and unspoiled areas of Aegina as well as historical places. Here you can find an informative leaflet of all 8 trails that can be downloaded here.
A sample of hiking in Aegina can be seen in the video:
You can see also read for some of the Aegina hiking trails below:
Tour of Ellanios Mt: Distance 8.8 km, circular, moderate difficulty. The trail starts from Anitsaio village. Anitsaio is one of the most remote villages, untouched by tourism. On top of Ellanio, there is the small, picturesque church of Profitis Ilias, with endless sea views to Moni & Agkistri islands. There is no public transport in the area.
Sfentouri – Eleonas: Distance 3 km, total vertical climb 40 m. Sfentouri is in the south of Aegina, a picturesque village that will remind you of a Cycladic island. Don’t forget to visit the old windmill in the village.
Chrysoleontissa (Monastery): Distance: 6 km, circular, easy/moderate, total vertical climb 190 m. It has some steep uphill offering great sea views and is just 2 km far from Saint Nektarios Monastery.
To get to the small island Moni across Aegina you catch the small boats departing from the port of Perdika every half hour and within 15 minutes you are in a real paradise. There is an organized beach bar with sunbeds and umbrellas, and a choice of drinks and food.
The Moni island is mostly inhabited by peacocks that wander around the beach and the sunbeds looking for food from tourists and wild goats. The beautiful small island is great for nature wandering and discovering remote beaches and swimming in its fantastically turquoise clean waters. I believe it has by far the most beautiful waters of the Saronic Gulf.
World Famous Fystiki (pistachio) Festival
Aegina island is famous for its abundance of pistachio and apricot fields. The Aegina pistachio is a different variety from the more common types found in supermarkets and is classed as one of the best in the world. Look out for pistachio ice cream in Aegina or anywhere else in Greece. Totally yummy ice cream!
Between 16-19 September every year, Aegina organizes The Aegina Fistiki Fest, one of the biggest and very popular commercial festivals in Greece. From sampling pistachio to indulging in local gastronomy and traditional dancing, the Festival has it all.
What else can I visit on Aegina Island?
Markellos Tower, built in 1802, is a historical salmon pink Venetian fortification which was later used as a headquarters during the Greek Revolution of 1821. It can be found in Aegina town
Aegina Lighthouse of Bouzas, a km far from Aegina port, is great for watching the sunset
The Christos Kapralos Museum was once the workshop of the famous Greek sculptor and now hosts pieces of his work. Located in the Plakakia district of Aegina Town, it is close to the home of famous Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis. However, Kazantzakis home is not open to the public.
Where to eat on Aegina?
For more traditional dishes try the back streets of Aegina, or just follow the Greeks! Wherever they are going, this is the real Greek thing.
It comes as no surprise that you need to try the local pistachios and all its variations (cakes, biscuits, with honey), the fresh seafood, some local fish only found in Saronic islands, and the handmade cheese and spinach pies. All those foods go to the stomach easier with the local wine varieties, Roditis and Savvatiano!
Would you like to taste affordable Quality Greek Food in the area you live? Check out my Small In-house Quality Shop with deals from the Amazon Store.
Where to stay on Aegina?
If you decide that you would like to stay for more than a day in Aegina – and who would blame you for this? – this is a small list of fine hotels that you can book.
- Stay at Lalibay Resort & Spa, a brand new resort located right in front of beautiful Perdika beach. Set in a grove of pines, a very stylish hotel that will enthusiast you with the super friendly staff and fantastic facilities – their spa is to die for!
- Vrachokipos is a gem of a hotel: with two private beaches, a beautiful “rocky” garden, stylish white rooms, and close to taverns and other shops it is an ideal place to stay. Find it close to Souvala beach (where the thermal springs are).
- Vagia Traditional Hotel, in Vagia area. This is another great hotel, a very traditional and Greek authentic place 5 min away from Vagia beach. Have a Greek coffee at its gorgeous yard and order a homemade sweet and relax!
- I love Oneiro Glico Hotel in Agia Marina because of the colorful spotlessly clean rooms, the lovely sea views, and the extra friendly and helpful staff.
Check for prices and availability on Booking.com
Solo Female Travel to Aegina
Women who travel alone are perfectly safe in Aegina, or any other Greek island or large city.
Traveling around Greece is quite easy as Greek people are very friendly and eager to help and reply to any questions from visitors.
Having said that, common sense should always be exercised and sketchy places should be avoided.
When to go to Aegina?
The warm months in Greece are between May and October. The pretty hot and busy months are July and August. The best time for hiking is anytime during the year but in the very hot months – unless you wake up early in the morning or hike in the evening.
Read a very informative post on hiking in Greece, how to Hike Safely in Greece, 12 Travel Safety Tips. You can find the post here
How to get to Aegina
Ferry Boats depart daily from E8 Gate in Pireaus port and reach the main port of Aegina in about 1 hour and 10′. They are larger vessels and can carry passengers, cars, and motorbikes.
Flying Dolphins also leave from E8 Gate in the Pireaus port but carry only passengers and no vehicles. They reach Aegina in about 40 minutes.
Useful Emergency Numbers for Aegina Island
- Ambulance +302297020100 & https://aeginahospital.gr
- Police +30 2297022100
- Port +30 2297025734
- Municipality +30 2297320011
ATMs on Aegina (Cash Machines)
There are plenty of ATMs and banks on Aegina, so getting cash out should be no problem at all. On top of this, most shops/ restaurants accept all major credit cards so you will not have any problem with purchasing items or your food.
Some of my Favorite Travel Resources for Greece
- Airflights: Cheap/Fast/Best Worldwide Flights from KAYAK or SkyScanner search engine site
- Map of Athens Metro
- Booking.com: I use Booking.com because I can get the best deals, have info on hotels and Airbnb’s alike, with breakfast or not, free cancellations, and great prices!
- Ferries to the Greek Islands: Book your ferry transfer with FerryScanner or FerryHopper, and get the best prices in the market with no hidden fees
- World Nomads Insurance: I feel insecure traveling to another country without having even the most basic of insurances. Insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations
- Best car rental prices – Guaranteed. RentalCars.com
- Get Your Guide: For all your day or multi-day tours and city guide needs, I use Get Your Guide
- iVisa: For any questions, you may have about your documents, passport if you need a visa, a new photo, or any visa-related matter, iVisa is your man (or woman!)
- Emergency Numbers Anywhere in Greece: AMBULANCE 166 – FIRE 199 – POLICE 100– EMERGENCY NUMBER 112