Aegina is an island in the Saronic Gulf which can be seen from the top of Lykavittos Hill. By that I mean it’s really, very close. In ancient times Aegina and Athens had a dysfunctional on/ off again relationship, but now it’s both home to a few thousand islanders and the playground of Athenians, some even commuting to work with the new high speed flying dolphin ferry boats. With half an hour and 28 euros (14 euros each way) you can reach a Greek Island, revel, and be back to Athens without ever having to repack your suitcase.
I did it on a cold, gray day, which I wish won’t be the case for you, though the swollen storm clouds made for some dramatic shafts of light – see feature photo.
Step One: Take either the line 1 metro or hail a taxi to the Port of Piraeus
Step Two: Head to Gate E-9 and check the Flying Dolphin timetables. Buy your ticket.
Step Three: Board the boat. In 25-45 minutes -depending on weather- arrive at Aegina Port.
Step Four: Step off the boat and veer to the left to purchase your return tickets from the ticket kiosks.
Step Five: Delight in a Greek Island until the ship to Athens arrives.
A queue of silver taxis is near the ferry ticket kiosks. My posse negotiated a price with one of the drivers who agreed to taking us all over the island. With just three hours we saw some fantastic things:
the ancient temple of Aphaia
A hill with a path that visits 80 small churches, all at least 400 years old
The monastery of Agios Nektarios where the saint’s body lies in a room guarded by a massive tree and a fountain that produces miracle water.
Had a coffee by the seaside and took a walk through Aegina Town, full of fish tavernas, small shops, and picturesque alleys.
If it’s warm, go to Perdika on the opposite side of the island and take five minute water taxi to Moni island, a sanctuary for an estimated 1,000 peacocks and pygmy goats and the perfect swim spot. Perdika also has some of the nicer cafes and tavernas on the island, Remetzo Restaurant being one of the best for fish and traditional Greek food.
Holy water from the natural spring at the Monastery of Agios Nektarios
Pistachios, the island’s claim to fame, come in several forms: raw, roasted, soaked in honey, or baked into handmade paximadia -something like the Greek’s answer to biscotti- sweetened with sugar, orange, and ground pistachios. Buy on your way back to the ship so it doesn’t weigh you down, unless of course you intend to munch throughout your visit.