My favourite type of vacation is off-the-beaten-path vacations, away from big tourist flocks. This summer was no exception as I spent two weeks on Aegina, another of the Saronic islands and one of Greece’s well-kept secret…
Home to the first Greek government during the Greek independence war and after independence (1821), Aegina is just a short 50 minutes boat ride away from Piraeus, Athens main port. However it feels a world away from the Greek capital’s mayhem. The island is totally off the touristic radar. Only the Greeks themselves know about this island. This is the reason I like it, its authentic, untouched feel.
Out of all the Saronic islands, Aegina is my favourite. It’s more vibrant as well as culturally active than Hydra or Spetses. There is something for everyone on this island. The more sophisticated crowds seeking to enjoy its cosmopolitan feel, the ones looking for cultural happenings and families in search of the quiet family life.
As for all the Saronic islands, the only way to travel to Aegina is by boat. When you arrive in the Chora’s (which is the island’s main town) harbor, you’re greeted by a waterfront made of honey-coloured neoclassical buildings and the mighty Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicolas) church. All surrounded by plenty of lush pistachios orchards, the island’s specialty.
FUN FACT: Aegina is one of the world’s biggest “fistiki” or pistachio’s producers. They’ve even created their own Pistachio Festival, which aim is to promote the cultivation of the pistachio known internationally as the “Aegina Pistachio”.
Verdant pines and pistachios groves, ochre-coloured hills, honey-coloured houses, deep to turquoise blue water. The island’s colour palette is what strikes you the most when you’re on it. And let’s speak about the sunset, so gorgeous you’ll think you’re dreaming!
FUN FACT. Aegina is known worldwide for its incredible light, so much so that many painters, writers and photographers chose to live on the island to be constantly inspired, such as Nikos Kazantzakis (he wrote Zorba the Greek) or Nektarios Kontovrakis.
There is no shortage of things to do on Aegina. Some of the island’s highlights are the monastery of the holy trinity and the adjacent church of Agios Nektarios as well as the stunning Temple of Aphaia. By the way, visiting this temple dedicated to the goddess Aphaia and as well preserved as the Parthenon – minus the flock of tourists – feels like being on a private tour!
Isn’t it nice to indulge into a bit of shopping when on holidays? Aegina has plenty of shopping options to choose from. From the usual touristic shops to cute little designer boutiques. Some of my favourites are:
- Melisses Gallery, for cute and quirky decorative objects;
- Iliachtina arts & crafts, for unique pieces of jewellery
Your thing is more tasting local specialties? There is no shortage of tempting places to eat and drink on the island. Two of my favourites are:
- The Aegina Yacht club, for its location, scrumptious grilled cheese aka Saganáki and divine Mastiha ice cream;
- Skotadis, for the kindness of their staff and the fresh grilled fish or ceviche
And let’s not forget the beaches?! There are several good sandy beaches on the island. Some of my favourites are:
- Kolona, for its location (right next to the archaeological site of the Temple of Apollo) and its untamed nature;
- Fyki Beach/Aeginitissa, for the atmosphere and trendy beach bar;
- Moni, for its turquoise-coloured water (feels like the Caribbean), its location and the atmosphere
Do you fancy an off-the-beaten-path vacation, go to Aegina! It’s only a quick hop from Athens so you won’t lose any of your precious vacay time on transportation!
charlotte10/09/2018 at 09:16
Very nice article 😊. Et merci pour les jolies adresses toujours très intéressantes à savoir. Voilà 1 île où j’ai très envie de retourner et de re-découvrir !
heidigoestravelling11/09/2018 at 22:14
Merci 😍 Ravie de pouvoir inspirer, susciter un intérêt pour une destination au travers de mes articles.
sissa2710/09/2018 at 09:40
Oh million thanks for your article full sound insights! We re going to Athens in Oct to visit a friend and we ll try to go to Aegina 😎 lovely pictures too👌 keep your articles coming! Good job 💋
heidigoestravelling11/09/2018 at 22:18
Awe, thanks for those very lovely words 😍! It makes all the work worth it! Happy to be able to inspire you to discover a new destination. Would love to hear your impression if you end up going to Aegina!
Weekend getaway in Hydra, Greece | heidi goes travelling16/09/2018 at 22:18
[…] is part of the Argo-saronic islands, with Aegina, Spetses, Poros, Salamina and Agistri. While holidaying on Aegina, I decided to take a two-day trip to […]
Tamusha108/10/2019 at 09:33
Wow ❤️ Thank you for the information . This article/ diary will be definitely my guide when I visit Aegina Island.
Emilie13/10/2019 at 16:44
Thanks for your lovely message Tamuko 🙂 The aim of my blog is indeed to inspire fellow travellers, especially women, through my pics and my posts.
Would love to hear your impressions of Aegina, once you’ve been there! 🙂