Aegina is one of the islands in the Saronic Gulf, just outside Athens Greece. Many Athenians have summerhouses on this pretty island, and it is a perfect destination for whose who want a nice holiday by the sea and also do a bit of sightseeing.
The people of this island have always been involved with the sea: either as fishermen, sailors or shipbuilders. Some are also farmers, and they grow olives, pistachio nuts and fruit.The town of Aegina has many attractions, a ride through the town with a horse carriage is a nice experience and a good way to enjoy the sights of the capital. The town has many interesting buildings and neoclassical houses, among them is the first Greek government building, the Orphanage building that was founded by the first governor of Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias, the houses of the Greek revolution leaders Kanaris and Kountouriotis and the houses of the Greek politicians Spyridon Trikoupis and Harilaos Trikoupis. On the dock you can visit the small white church of Agios Nikolaos and near by the church of Agios Dionysios the cathedral of Aegina. On the north peak of the town following the road from the port are the ruins of the ancient temple of Apollo.
to mythology, Aegina was a beautiful princess with whom
fell in love with. In order to be alone with her, he took her to this uninhabited
island, and they had a son, Aeacus,
who became the first king.
The island was inhabited during the Stone Age, and was to become an important place in antiquity. An interesting fact about the island is that the first coins of the western world were made here in the 7th century BC.
When the Persian wars broke out in the 5th century BC, Aegina sided with them, probably because of its rivalry with Athens. The island changed sides though, and after the battle of Salamis it allied with Sparta. War broke out with Athens, and most of the islanders sought refuge on the Peloponnese.
During the middle ages, the island was constantly raided by pirates, and the Venetian and Turkish invasions took their toll. The island was liberated in 1830, and Aegina's town was the first capital of free Greece. The first modern drachma was also minted here picturing a Phoenix rising from the ashes. The island also had the first newspaper and prison.
What to see
The villages and
surroundings on Aegina are lovely, so it is well worth it to explore the
island. Because of its important position in antiquity there are still many
ancient sites to see, the most famous being the temple of Athena
Aphaia from the 6th century BC.
You can also visit the ancient sites on Mt. Oros, where the ruins of a temple to Zeus stand amongst others. Aegina's town is very nice to walk around in, and here there is a very interesting archaeological museum. The monastery of Ag. Nektarios is a very interesting place to visit. The saint himself is buried here, and is said to hold miraculous, healing powers. Paleochora is an abandoned Byzantine town which can be visited as well. In Aegina also is the house where Nikos Kazantzakis the editor of Zorba the Greek lived for some years. Worth seeing is the mansion that hosted the first government of Greece under the leadership of Ioannis Kapodistrias. In the town of Agia Marina you can visit the ancient temple of Aphaea near by there is a nice beach, Agia Marina is the only place of Aegina that attracts package tourism due to the vicinity of the Ancient temple and the developed tourist infrastructure. In Souvala 10 km from Aegina town there are the famous Spa of Souvala as well as nice beaches and many accommodations. Perdika is another picturesque town of Aegina where you will find nice small fish taverns next to the beach of Marathonas. Palaeochora is the old capital of Aegina here is the monastery of Agios Nektarios, in the area there are the ruins of a medieval castle.
What to do
:Apart from relaxing on the beach, you can also take day trips to Athens and the surrounding islands. You can also rent a horse carriage to go around in Aegina town.The island of Agistri is the nearest to Aegina. The beautiful resort of Peloponnese Methana is only 20 minutes away by boat and further on is the green island of Poros, all ideal for daily excursions.
The beaches on Aegina are very nice. Agia Marina is probably the most popular one, since it is long and sandy. It is also suitable for children. Other beaches you can find on Marathonas ,Suvala, Vagia and Perdika. In Kypseli you can swim at the beaches of Kavouropetra and Leonti. But also in the town of Aegina there are some quite nice beaches. One towards the temple of Apollo and the others towards the other side of the town.
: In Aegina's town you'll find many little bars and club. The venues are both Greek and foreign, and you can choose between quiet, atmospheric places or more hectic ones.
There are both international and Greek restaurants in Aegina town. In the little fishing villages you can also have really nice meal, and the seafood is excellent. Tips: Just behind the fish market of Aegina town located some very nice and cheap restaurants, at the Restaurant Agora you can enjoy fresh fish especially Gavros and Cod fish (Bakaliarakia) , the small fried fresh shrimps are excellent mezes for ouzo or retsina.
Aegina is best known for its ceramics, but you can also find many shops with jewellery, clothes and textiles. Try to get some local pistachio nuts with you. Aegina use to be a commercial passage between the islands of the Saronic gulf and Piraeus. In the promenade of the town many commercial boats (Kaiques) used to dock sailing fruits and several products. Even today you can see some of them among the fishing boats along the dock.
There is a local bus that can take you across the island, as well as taxis and vehicles for rent. Small boats go to some of the beaches as well. In the town you can go around the small streets and explore the hidden attractions like the market place and the small shops all the way along the pedestrian market street. Near by the fish market you will find many taverns, restaurants and cafeterias.
:Aegina is only an hour boat trip from Piraeus, and 30 minutes with the hydrofoil. Therefore, its best to get a flight to Athens. Aegina is also connected to the other Saronic islands, as well as to the Cyclades, since many of the ferryboats Catamarans and hydrofoils continue there. Daily ferry connection to Aegina from the port of Piraeus at Akti Tzelepi
Facts about Aegina
AeginaPopulation: about 10 000
International code: 0030
Local code: 22970
Health Center: 22222
Internet cafe: Yes
Highest Mountain: Mt Oros 532m
Port Police: 22328
Price rate: Average
Tourist Information: 4199200
Tour Operators: Libra, Priceright, Apollo
Tourist police: 22391
Hotel Association: 22424