Top 10 things to do in Aegina

Egine

A great rival of Athens in ancient times, Aegina is now almost considered a suburb of the Greek capital: historical heritage, beaches and proximity are just three of the things that make this island so attractive. What can you do in Aegina for a day or a week?

Aegina holds a special place among the Greek islands: a great ancient city, rivaling the power of classical Athens, the island would later become the very first capital of a Greece seeking independence, around 1829. Its proximity to Piraeus, the great Athenian port, makes it particularly accessible for escaping the stifling city and its heavy traffic: a godsend for Athenians and holidaymakers alike, who can treat themselves to an excursion to the Greek islands without having to travel far.

Visiting Aegina is therefore just as much a weekend trip, or even a day trip from Athens, as it is for a whole week, enjoying the island atmosphere. In addition to the many sites to discover, the activities on Aegina revolve around the beach and the sea. Take the time to savour the pleasures of sitting down at a taverna on the water’s edge to enjoy grilled octopus, fried squid, tarama and other seafood in the Greek style, while letting time go by or sipping an ouzo. Translation: you won’t have time to get bored in Aegina, only to enjoy it.

In summer and at weekends when the weather is fine, Aegina easily attracts a host of Greek and foreign visitors, and the atmosphere is just right. For a more leisurely visit to Aegina, opt for early spring, or the off-season, for a beautiful itinerary to discover the island’s must-sees.

1. The temple of Aphaïa

Temple d'Aphaïa-visiter egine



Photo credit: Shutterstock – G_D Photography

For lovers of archaeological sites, it’s hard to visit Aegina without visiting the temple of Aphaia, a must-see: part of a trio of exceptional ancient buildings with the temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion, and the Parthenon dedicated to Athena on the Acropolis in Athens, it bears witness to the island’s past grandeur.

In addition to its historical interest, the site offers a magnificent setting for visitors, so there’s something for everyone.

2. Chora, the port of Aegina

Chora-visite regine

Photo credit: Shutterstock – TOP67

Chora, the island’s capital, is also its main port, where boats from Piraeus dock. Take the time to linger in this pleasant, lively seaside town, early in the morning or in the evening, whether you’re looking for a bite to eat on a tavern terrace, or a stroll through the colorful alleys of the historic heart.

If there’s one thing to do in Aegina, it’s enjoy Chora!

3. Agia Marina beach

Agia Marina

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Aerial-motion

Just to the east of Aegina, Agia Marina is a pleasant seaside resort, popular with Athenians, offering a host of tavernas and cafés, as well as a large, popular sandy beach.

It’s also a popular base for exploring and visiting Aegina and its main sites, including the nearby temple of Aphaia.

4. The village of Paleohora

Inland, Paleohora is a must-visit in Aegina to immerse yourself in the island’s still recent past: this abandoned village, once one of the most important on the island, boasts more than a dozen ancient chapels, as well as the remains of a ruined fortress.

A signposted footpath leads around the site.

5. An excursion to Moni Island

Moni- visiter regine

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Aerial-motion

In Aegina, there’s an excursion to the small uninhabited island of Moni, nearby: from Perdika or Chora, hop on a taxi-boat for a day in the sun in the crystal-clear waters of Moni, which even has its own little beach bar.

Don’t hesitate to explore the rest of this charming island on foot.

6. Markellos Tower

Markellos

Photo credit: Shutterstock – vlas2000

Among Chora’s prestigious buildings, the Markellos Tower is a must-see in Aegina for its historical importance as the political base of the 1821 Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire, which led to the country’s independence a decade later.

Greek revolutionaries and philhellenes alike, many great names have passed through the Markellos tower…

7. Perdika and its beaches (Sarpa and Klima paralia)

Klima - visiter Egine

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Sven Hansche

The beach remains one of the main attractions when visiting Aegina, so why deprive yourself?

In Perdika, famous for its fish taverns, as in the surrounding area, don’t miss the seaside atmosphere and the beaches of Sarpa and Klima, to the south, some of the nicest in Aegina.

8. Kolona archaeological site and Aegina archaeological museum

kolona

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Aerial-motion

To kill two birds with one stone, take the time to visit another important archaeological site in Aegina (Chora), Kolona, whose location overlooking the Aegean is even more impressive than its remains, as well as the adjoining archaeological museum, for a complete panorama of the island’s rich ancient history: Aegina minted its own money, and had the nerve to compete with the great Athens on the mainland!

9. The monastery of Agios Nektarios

nektarios - Visiter Égine

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Panos Karas

In the heart of the island stands an impressive monastery, an important place of pilgrimage dedicated to Agios Nektarios: this « modern » saint, who died in 1920, is a particularly popular figure in Aegina and in the Orthodox world in general, known (and canonized) for his miracles and numerous cures.

10. Marathonas beach

marathonas

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Antoniadis Dimitrios X

When we tell you that one of the things to do in Aegina is go to the beach!

The Marathonas beach, halfway between Chora and Perdika, is another example: easy to get to, comfortable with deckchairs and parasols, and of course with plenty of beach bars and tavernas for refreshments and a bite to eat: a classic!

How do I get to Aegina?

Aegina is certainly the most accessible island from Athens: the first step is to find a flight to Athens(Skyscanner will help you find the best prices). Next, you’ll need to take a boat from the port of Piraeus (the islands of the Saronic Gulf, of which Aegina is a part, are served from Gate E8), and there are several choices available to you:

Flying dolphins

Flying dolphins are high-speed boats reserved for foot passengers, connecting Piraeus to Aegina in just 40 minutes. A day trip to Aegina is therefore perfectly feasible. Just enough time to get seasick, because the sea is rough and you can’t get out!

There are regular all-day crossings, every day in season, operated by Aegean Flying Dolphins and Blue Star Ferries. This is the most expensive option, costing around €15 per crossing.

Ferries

Another solution, more economical (around €9-11) but slower, are the classic ferries, with Anes Ferries or Saronic Ferries, for a more contemplative and tranquil crossing in around 1h15 from Piraeus. Depending on your timing, you can mix and match the outward and return trips.

Note that the ferries are able to take vehicles on board, should you wish to reach Aegina with a car or scooter, for example.

How do I get around?

In Chora, as in the main resorts of Aegina, you’ll easily find car or scooter rental companies: a two-wheeler is all you need to explore the modestly-sized island. Cabs are also available.

A few public bus lines(KTEL) serve Agia Marina, Perdika, Vagia and Agios Nektarios from Chora at regular intervals during the season.

Where to stay in Aegina

As we’ve said, Aegina is both very popular and very close to Athens, so it’s not surprising that there are plenty of accommodation options! A hotel comparator will help you make your choice, whether you opt to stay directly in Chora, close to the port, in the seaside resorts of Agia Marina or Perdika, or on the north coast (Vathi, Vagia…), which is also well-supplied.

Aegina has a wide range of 2 and 3-star hotels, as well as numerous rooms, studios and apartments for rent, offering the essentials for a comfortable stay, thanks in particular to the Airbnb platform. Beware of peak season (July, and especially August), booking in advance is preferable to ensure you get the room of your choice.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Greece