Aegina Island Travel Guide for 2024

Aegina Island Travel Guide for 2024

Welcome to our extensive Aegina Island Travel Guide, a small island nestled in the heart of the Saronic Gulf a stone’s throw from Athens. Greece. Bursting with a rich history. fresh seafood, and postcard-perfect scenery, Aegina is an idyllic day trip or longer escape that is a world away from the bustle of Athens and the major Cycladic islands.

“Aegina, where the Aegean whispers of gods and legends in the quiet of its ancient ruins.” – Richard Chandler, British antiquarian and traveler (18th century)

Get ready to be seduced by the timeless beauty of Aegina as we explore: 

  1. The island’s captivating history and globally significant archaeological sites.
  2. Beaches that beckon with crystal-clear waters, golden sands, and the best sunset beach bars.
  3. Fresh fish and seafood.
  4. A vibrant harbor, waterfront, and little town full of neoclassical surprises.
  5. More pistachios than you’ve ever seen in your life.

How to Get to Aegina Island from Athens

From Athens, Aegina Island is easily accessible as it’s one of the Saronic Islands closest to Athens. 

Catamaran from Athens arriving at Aegina Island, Greece
Fast Catamaran from Athens arriving at Aegina Island, Greece

The most common way to travel to Aegina Island is by taking a ferry. The main port of Athens, Piraeus, offers daily ferries to Aegina. 

The journey takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes if you choose a regular ferry.

There are faster options available, often referred to as “flying dolphins” or catamarans, which take  40 minutes.

The flying dolphin costs more but it’s new, hi-tech, and very fast. You can comfortably have a half-day in Aegina by taking this catamaran service. 

  • Regular Ferry: Typically costs around €8 to €10 for a single journey.
  • Flying Dolphins/Catamarans: Expect to spend around €14 for a one-way trip.

Map of Aegina Island

Getting around Aegina Island

Local Buses 

Local buses or ‘KTEL buses’ are a cheap and efficient way to move around the island.

Father and child waiting at the small bus station in Aegina Town
Bus waiting at a small bus station at Aegina Town

They connect several towns and attractions including the Temple of Aphaea with frequent services over summer (at least once an hour)

Most of these buses depart from the main bus station near Aegina town harbor. Turn left once you leave the harbor. There’s a small ticket where they speak very good English.

Taxi Services 

Taxis are readily available throughout Aegina Island. These vehicles can be hailed on the street or pre-booked via mobile apps.

Taxis parked near the Temple of Aphaea, Aegina Island, Greece
Taxis waiting at the Temple of Aphaea, Aegina Island, Greece

While taxi rides may cost more than buses, they offer greater convenience and are ideal for reaching remote places quickly.

  • During the 2023 summer, for example, I paid 40 Euros for a taxi to take me from the harbor to the Temple of Aphaea, wait there an hour, then take me back to the harbor.
Sunny day view of boats from a bar on Aegina Island
Aegina Island bar

Bicycle and Scooter Rentals 

If you’re looking for freedom and a more personalized experience, renting a bicycle or a scooter could be your best bet.

Various rental shops are dotted around the island, particularly in Aegina town. I much prefer a scooter because like most Greek islands, Aphaea is a bunch of hills rising out of the sea.

There’s pretty much one road around the island and not a lot of traffic.

Car Rental 

Car rental is a simple and practical method for getting around Aegina. An advantage of renting a car on the island is the increased freedom to move around and explore more remote areas and avoid the crowds.

Driving on the roads of the island of Aegina
Seaside road driving on the island of Aegina, Greece

From secluded beaches to hidden historical sites in the hills, having your own transport can make your journey around Aegina much more fun than catching buses and hiring taxis. 

  • Note: If you are used to automatic vehicles, be sure to specify this when booking as most car hire companies in Greece offer manual vehicles as standard. 

There are plenty of rental companies near the harbor in Aegina Town. A typical rental price per day for a small car ranges between EUR 25 and EUR 45, depending on the season. 

 It’s a good idea to have your international driver’s license, proof of insurance, and identification ready – – just in case. 

Water Taxis 

Aegina has a well-developed water taxi service. These boats can transport you to different parts of the island, and to nearby islets like Moni.

It’s a useful alternative to hiring a vehicle to get around Aegina Island.

Here’s the booking site for water taxis:

Top Attractions on Aegina Island

Aegina Harbor and the Waterfront

Aegina Harbor, being the heart of the island, is a vibrant place full of color, life, and activity.

Aegina Island's lively waterfront features bustling streets, passing cars, bars, and buildings
Aegina waterfront, Aegina Island, Greece

As soon as you step off the ferry, you will be welcomed by an impressive array of fishing boats, yachts, and occasionally, sailing flotillas. 

Surrounding the harbor is a stretch of cafes, shops, and restaurants. The cafes are a fantastic place to eat and drink while you’re waiting for a return ferry.

Enjoying meal at Aegina Island bar
Drinks Aegina Island

Take a leisurely stroll along the vibrant waterfront promenade or relax in one of the public squares, and watch the world go by. You’ll pass the covered fish market and the Cathedral.

Essentially, it’s a place where you can simply soak up some authentic Greek island life. There are pony carts, pistachio stalls, and boat trip kiosks.

Empty pony cart parked at Aegina Harbor, Greece
Pony cart at Aegina Harbor, Greece

Along the waterfront in the oppostie direction is Aegina Cathedral, a Byzantine-style church that stands a little incongrously beside the tavernas lining the harbor.

If timed right, you also have the chance to witness the harbor’s lively festivals and events. For instance, there’s the annual Aegina Fistiki Festival that celebrates the island’s famed pistachios.

 You can check out the Aegina community calendar for what the locals are up to! 

Aegina Town

Aegina Town, (also called Egina) the island’s capital and main port, is a blend of neoclassic buildings, lush green landscapes, narrow streets, small squares, and outdoor and covered markets.

Woman riding a scooter on the streets of Aegina Town, Aegina Island, Greece
Streets of Aegina Town, Aegina Island, Greece

There are little boutiques and artisan shops and of course, souvenir shops. There are still handwoven textiles and ceramics being produced here.

Aegina harbor and town is a bit of a contrast with the fish market on one hand, and the Metropolitan Church on the other. The church, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, houses a wood-carved iconostasis.

 Take a stroll towards the winding streets leading up to the hill, and you’ll encounter beautiful residential houses, painted in pastel colors.

Pistachios and Pistachio Orchards 

Flanng Aegina town are pistachio orchards. Aegina is famous for its Pistachio orchards, producing some of the world’s best nuts. Tours are offered of the groves.

Shoppers at the Aegina Pistachio Growers Cooperative store on the waterfront, Aegina Island, Greece
Aegina Pistachio Growers Cooperative store on the waterfront, Aegina Island, Greece

The nut, called fistiki Aeginis, is smaller and has a stronger aroma compared to other pistachios. You’ll find them fresh, roasted, and baked into pastries you’ll find for sale around the island.

Kolona Archaeological Site 

Beyond the eateries and shops there are also a few significant cultural landmarks.

Parked cars around the Kolona Archaeological Site, Aegina Island, Greece
Kolona Archaeological Site, Aegina Island, Greece

Walk left after leaving the ferry, past the ticket kiosks to the small headland where you’ll find the Kolona, the single-standing column that represents the remnants of the ancient temple dedicated to Apollo.

  • You can explore the meager remains of the temple of Apollo, the ancient acropolis, and an early Christian basilica. Climb the hill to discover more ruins for views of the town and harbor. 

Historical House of Kazantzakis 

As you wander up into the heart of Aegina Island, you’ll stumble upon the Historical House of Kazantzakis, once the temporary home of one of Greece’s most famous modern literary figures, Nikos Kazantzakis.

This renowned author once declared that he “could only work and be saved here,” referring to the peace and beauty he found on Aegina. 

The high-ceilinged rooms are filled with traditional Greek décor, including a desk where Kazantzakis wrote

There are plaques throughout the house detailing Kazantzakis’s life and the impact his work has had on Greek literature. 

Paleachora – The Byzantine Village 

Paleachora is sometimes described as the “Mystras of Aegina”. It’s more than fair to say that this hilltop Byzantine village is thoroughly strewn with churches.

Throughout its narrow alleys, you’ll discover 365 little ruined churches, one for each day of the year, as well as a medieval castle.

This historical center served as Aegina’s capital during the early Byzantine period. Amazing remains, stunning panoramas over the island, and an immersive sense of the past make this a very interesting village to visit.

Aphaea Temple Archaeological Site

The whole point for me to visit Aegina island regularly is to visit the extraordinarily well-preserved ancient site.

Empty Aphaea Temple, best-preserved temple in Greece
Aphaea Temple, the best preserved temple in Greece

Like all ancient Greek sanctuaries, its setting in nature is powerful. The Temple of Aphaea’s position above the pine forests makes it a special place to visit. 

This splendid ancient sanctuary, devoted to the goddess Aphaea, sits on a hill high up in Aphaea, in Agia Marina, with the island falling away to the Saronic Gulf behind the Temple.

The remarkably well-preserved Doric architecture and the sophisticated frieze make it a bit like a mini-Parthenon. It was originally built with 32 Doric columns and amazingly 20 of them remain. 

If you arrive on the island early, get to the Temple first so that you can wander around and take photos without a busload of tourists.

Try to time your visit between the arrival of the local buses which leave the harbor every hour.

The Agios Nektarios Monastery 

No island visit in Greece is complete without visiting a Byzantine church or monastery.

Colorful Monastery of Saint Nectarios, Aegina Island on a sunny day
Monastery of Saint Nectarios, Aegina Island

Named after Saint Nektarios, who was widely admired during his life across Turkey, Libya, Egypt, and Greece, but most of all, in his beloved Aegina. His funeral in 1920 saw people come from all over Greece and Egypt to pay their respects.

You’ll find the Byzantine-style monastery in the hills of Aegina. The grand domes and the quietness of the environment make this a pleasant stop.

  • Agios Nektarios Feast – The feast of Agios Nektarios is a major event that takes place every November on November 9. It attracts many Greeks from the mainland. 

The Archaeological Museum of Aegina 

This is a funny little archaeological museum. I’ve always been here alone but last time i visited, two young women came in for a short time.

East Pediment featuring the figure of Heracles as an archer
East Pediment with figure of Heracles as archer, 490 BC, Afaia, Aegina Archaeological Museum

This bland-looking building to the left of the Temple of Aphaea has the distinction of being the first museum built in Greece.

There are Mycenaean-era clay sarcophagi, but I like the frescoes from the Temple of Aphaia in the basement the best.

Many of the best statues from the Temple were carted off to Berlin and Athens, but this little museum has kept a few treasures back for you to explore.

Perdika Village 

If you’ve hired a car for the day or are staying in Aegina longer than just the day, check out the traditional fishing village of Perdika, located at the southernmost point of the island.

The vista from Perdika Village, Aegina Island, Greece
Perdika Village, Aegina Island, Greece

Perdika is a lovely and quiet mix of quaint stone houses, terracotta rooftops, and narrow winding streets, There are tavernas that specialise in seafood, and you can take a boat ride to nearby Moni Island fro here. 

Moni Island (and Beach)

Just off the coast of Perdika Village is Moni Island. Accessible only by boat, this uninhabited island is a protected nature reserve whre you can see deer, peacocks, and other wild animals. 

But the best thing about Moni island is its sandy beach. A picnic lunch and a swim and snorkel on Moni Island is an excellent little day trip from Athens!

  • If you don’t want to hire a car, just neogitate a taxi ride and make sure to get back to Aegina harbor while there are still a few catamarns returning to Athens.

Best Aegina Beaches

It wouldn’t be a perfect Greek island without great beaches and beach bars. Here are the best.

Marathonas Beach 

  • Best For: Water sports

Marathonas Beach is often considered one of the best beaches on Aegina Island. Located on the southern side, this beach boasts crystal clear waters and beautiful sandy shores.

Marathonas is equipped with several water sports facilities. 

Agia Marina Beach 

  • Best for: Families and a whole day out
Beach with sun umbrellas and lounge beds
Agia Marina Beach, Agina Island, Greece

An equally stunning destination is Agia Marina Beach. Its wide sandy coast, serene blue waters, and the line of sun loungers make it an ideal spot for a calm day.

It’s particularly popular among families due to its shallow water.

I like it because there are a row of cafes and restaurants lining the beachside.

Potato and meat on a plate
Beachside restaurant Aegina Island

Klidi Beach 

  • Best For: Couples wanting a quiet escape

Klidi Beach is another gem that shouldn’t be missed. This sun-kissed beach with its clear waters and smooth pebbles is a sanctuary of peace, providing the ideal escape for couples looking for some quiet time. 

Souvala Beach 

  • Best For:  those looking for thermal waters

Souvala Beach looks out to the island’s northern coast. This beach is renowned for its thermal springs of mineral waters.

Perdika Beach 

  • Best for: Combining with lunch in Perdika Village

Perdika Beach, located near the small fishing village of Perdika has a lovely view of the Saronic Gulf and a few nearby islands. It is secluded and has a raw beauty. 

Best Beach Bars in Aegina Island

Galaxy Night Club 

Located in Agia Marina, the Galaxy Night Club provides lively entertainment and a long list of cocktails. It is a popular night venue.

No Name Cocktail Bar 

True to its name, No Name Cocktail Bar is tucked away in the middle of Aegina Town. It’s a cozy and intimate atmosphere that sees a mix of locals and tourists. 

Cold drink at the Aegina Island bar
Beach bar Aegina Island

Dolphin Bar 

At Marathonas Beach, the Dolphin Bar has that Greek casual beachy vibe that is perfect for early evenings.

Its bamboo terrace overlooking the sea is an ideal spot to kick back with a cocktail while watching the sun set. 

Sunny day view of boats from a bar on Aegina Island
Aegina Island bar

The Hangout Beach Bar 

On Klidi Beach, this is a water sports hire place morphed into a beach bar. On the menu is an array of adventurous activates like windsurfing and paddleboarding, as well as beer and snacks. 

Plate with a paprika, potato and rice dish.
Ordering food Aegina Island

Hiking Trails

There are now 10 hiking trails carved out by local volunteer organizations on Aphaea.

You can find more information one the websites of the:

The Palaia Chora Trail 

This is a moderately challenging yet spectacular hiking route that weaves through the ruins of the medieval city of Palaia Chora.

Ancient churches in Palaia Chora on a sunny day
Ancient churches in Palaia Chora, Aegina Island

This less-trodden path will take you up close to numerous Byzantine churches that pepper the route while offering staggering sea views on the way down. 

The Mount Oros Trail

For the more experienced hikers, Mount Oros Trail is unmissable. At 532 meters, Mount Oros is the highest peak on Aegina, and the trail treads through steep, rocky terrain. 

Your reward is a panoramic view of the whole island. 

The Aphaia Temple to Agia Marina Trail 

This trail offers a journey through history, starting at the ancient Aphaia Temple and winding down to the Agia Marina village. It’s an easier trek, making it ideal for families and casual trekkers.

The scenic overlook of Agia Marina village, Aegina Island, Greece
The view down to Agia Marina village, Aegina Island, Greece

You’ll encounter picturesque vineyards, pine-forested landscapes, and above all, a mesmerizing view of the Saronic Gulf, and it sure beats waiting around for the next bus to arrive at Aphaia Temple.

Accommodation on Aegina Island

From luxurious to traditional guesthouses, Aegina offers an eclectic mix of accommodations to suit every preference and budget.

A woman enjoying the sun at the Private Beach of Apoloo Resort, Aegina Island
Private Beach of Apoloo Resort, Aegina Island

Luxury Villas and Resorts 

There are a host of luxury villas and resorts available on the island. Resorts like the Aegina Palace Hotel or Hotel Klonos Anna are perfect for a flop-by-the-pool indulgent vacation. 

Boutique Hotels 

Boutique hotels are often housed in historic buildings. Hotel Rastoni and Fistiki House are notable mentions in this category. 

Beach House Apartments on a sunny day, Aegina Island
Beach house Apartments, Aegina Island

Bed and Breakfasts and Guest Houses 

The Fig House and Myrto’s Bed & Breakfast are some popular options. 

Hostels and Budget Accommodation 

Aegina Island offers a wide variety of affordable hostels and lodgings.

With a friendly atmosphere and basic amenities, The Pink House and Aegina Camping are examples of accommodations that won’t put a strain on your wallet. 

Aegina Island meals
Enjoying the food on Aegina Island

What is the best time of year to visit Aegina Island?

Given its Mediterranean climate, Aegina Island ensures a pleasant experience almost all year round.

However, to make the most out of your visit, different times of the year offer distinct advantages depending on your interests. 

Spring (March – June) 

Spring is one of the best times to explore the island. The weather is warm but not overly hot, making it perfect for sightseeing and outdoor activities.

The coast of Aegina island with clear and blue waters of Mediterranean sea in the Saronic gulf, Greece.
The coast of Aegina island with clear and blue waters of Mediterranean sea in the Saronic gulf, Greece.

You’ll enjoy the lush green landscapes and flowers in full bloom, as well as fewer crowds. For a tranquil getaway, this is your time. 

Summer (June – September) 

If you are a beach lover, summer is the time for you to visit Aegina. The temperature during these months can reach the high 30s, but the clear azure waters of the Saronic Gulf are irresistibly inviting.

The waters around Aegina and its hidden beaches
The waters around Aegina and the small hidden beaches are just stunning

Beach parties and music festivals are also organized during these months, giving the island a vibrant atmosphere. 

Fall (September – November) 

Visiting during the fall allows you to experience Aegina in all its harvest season glory. This is the time when the pistachios are harvested. 

Here’s why fall is an excellent time to visit Aegina.

Pistachio Harvest Festival 

At the heart of the harvesting season, the Annual Aegina Fistiki (pistachio) Festival takes place.

The festival has concerts, art exhibitions, and athletic events. However, the star of the occasion is, indeed, the pistachio—served raw, roasted, or in sweet confections. 

Pistachio tree on Aegina Island
Pistachio tree, Aegina Island, Greece

Comfortable Weather 

Aegina’s Mediterranean climate is easy on the senses during the fall, with average temperature falling between 19–28°C (66-82°F).

The sea’s heated from the summer’s glow, perfect for a swim without the summer crowds. 

Unbeatable Prices 

As the peak tourism season comes to an end, prices generally drop, providing you with the chance to enjoy the luxuries of Aegina at a more affordable price.

It’s one reason why September is my favorite month to visit Greece.

Tours on Aegina Island featured in a booklet
Aegina Island tours

Winter (December – February) 

 Although the sea is too cold for swimming, this is an excellent time to explore the island’s historical sites and eat yourself silly. Aegina in winter offers quietness and mild temperatures. 

Winter in Aegina is mild, with temperatures averaging between 10-15°C (50-59°F). It’s ideal for those who want to explore the island without the scorching heat of summer.