When you visit Athens you will experience that Athens is a really vibrant City with many museums, historical sites, taverns and other great places to visit. You will not get bored for sure. However, it can be nice to escape the never sleeping City for one day and find some rest at one of the Saronic islands nearby. In this case an one day trip to Aegina can be an amazing alternation. Aegina is amazingly cute (check the gallery at the end of the page) and has pretty much to offer.
Although Aegina is a popular escape from Athens, especially for the people from Athens but also for tourists, It’s still not crowded at all and it is a great place to find some rest. Aegina Island will offer you a few nice beaches, lovely places to eat and drink, great nature and you will even find some historical places.
In this blog I will describe the options for a day trip to Aegina Island, but Aegina is also a great destination for a weekend or a midweek. Aegina has more than enough to offer and especially when you are looking for a more relaxing trip, a midweek to Aegina Island is perfect.
What to do in one day?
Visit the temple of Aphaia
The temple of Aphaia is in a great condition and makes clear that the island of Aegina was quite important through the history of Greece. The temple of Aphaia dates from 490 BC, but the location was already very important in the thirteenth century BC. The temple is dedicated to the mother-goddess Aphaia. It is a great example of typical Doric Temples. You will find more information about the history of the temple of Aphaia and Aegina island at the site and the archaeological museum near the entrance, but also at the Archaeological museum in Athens.
Even if you are not that interested in history I can highly recommend a visit to the temple of Aphaia. The area is surrounded by beautiful nature with a lot of pine trees, especially after being in Athens for a while I love the smell of these trees. Once you walk around the temple you will have a great view on the city of Athens. I get surprised by the size of this amazingly huge city every time.
If your main reason to visit Aegina island is to explore the temple of Aphaia a ticket to the Agia Marina port will be more convenient. From the port you can make a walk to the temple which takes about 30 minutes. Keep in mind that you have to walk about 160 m upwards.
Try some pistachios
Aegina island is famous for its pistachios. You will find several small shops and stalls everywhere in Aegina city that will not only offer you pistachios, but also delicious “homemade” products like nougat, nut bars and pesto made out of pistachios. The assistance in the shop will let you taste everything. Not only because they hope you will buy some of their products, but also because the Greek are very proud of their traditional products.
Walk through Aegina town
Aegina town is just adorable. You will see it immediately when you arrive at the main port which is located in the City centre. I love the cute streets along the colourful neoclassical buildings. You will find the typical Greek doors and ports everywhere. At the waterfront you will find plenty of places for food (which I will tell you more about later) with a great view on the little fishing boats.
At the north of the port you can see another site (Kolona) recognized by the column which is an remnant of an ancient temple. It’s surrounded by the remains of the old city which was rebuild several time (€3,-). I’ve visited the place once, and a nice old man explained me the history of this city. If you are interested in history you will really like this place and it does not take much of your time.
Pretty nice is the restored Markellos tower (Pyrgos Markellou), a miniature castle build around 1800. It is not possible to go inside, but walking around this area is very lovely. Furthermore you can find many churches in the city of Aegina like the Ekklisia Isodia Theotokou which is located next to the fish market and the Agios Nektarios, which was supposed to be one of the biggest Greek Orthodox churches.
I really love the relaxed atmosphere of the city, the colours of the buildings and flowers (especially in spring) make me feel happy.
Enjoy typical Greek food at the port
The port of Aegina is the place to be for food. As I have mentioned before, you will find Taverns, (fish) restaurants and juice bars all across the waterfront of the city. The view is amazing and seats are pretty comfortable. Since I love food, this is for me the best way to relax. I prefer to order some Greek yoghurt with honey and fruit in the morning and however this is always on the breakfast menu I sometimes even order it for dinner (definitely my favorite Greek food).
You will also find a lot of restaurants that offer crepes and pancakes. They are extremely delicious, and you can choose your own dressings, Nutella, fruit, ice cream, whatever you like. They surely taste amazing but you will not have the experience of typical Greek food.
For dinner you can go to one of the many taverns that offer you typical Greek food like Gyros, kalamaki’s, salads and saganaki served with tzatziki or even better, in a souvlaki. For the best Greek experience you have to order it with an ouzo. If you like meat I would recommend you to order a mixed grill. The Greeks are amazing with meat and the plates are always huge for a very reasonable price. I personally do not really like meat that much, but Ben always looks like the happiest kid in the world after ordering a mixed Grill.
Aegina also offers a lot of fish restaurant. Since I personally do not like fish I cannot tell you about my experience, but I can tell you that the fish is always fresh. The best way to go is to order several small dishes and share it together. The fish restaurants are located at the north part of the waterfront, close to the beach. You can even sit directly at the waterfront.
Aegina offers you serval nice beaches. Very popular are the beaches close to the port of Agia Marina. Some people from Athens only visit Aegina island to enjoy a day at the beach. You can find some beaches at the map, but when you’re planning to explore the island and you have not much time left, I would recommend you to visit the beach at the north of Aegina island.
From Athens to Aegina
Getting to Aegina Island is not difficult at all. From Piraeus (Athens) you can take a ferry our hydrofoil to Aegina port and Aya Marina. They leave two or three times each day in high season.
From the center of Athens you can take the Green line to Piraeus. In Piraeus (which is the terminal station) you just follow the crowd. To go to Piraeus from the airport you can take bus X96 (€6,-).
The ferries to Aegina will leave from port 8 which is next to the bust stations. At port 8 you can buy tickets for the ferry. It is also an option to make a reservation at Direct Ferries, which can be useful in high season. I would recommend to buy a return ticket, but it is also an option to buy a ticket at Aegina for your way back.
The price of the ticket will depend of course on the season and day you are traveling. I can highly recommend you to travel during the week (also because it’s less crowded). The price of a ferry ticket will vary between €12,- and €20,- (return). The trip will take a bit more than one hour. A ticket for a Hydrofoil will be about €20,- to €30,- (return) and will only take 40 minutes.
I personally prefer traveling with a ferry, not only because of the cheaper price, but with nice weather it is just awesome to sit outside look around and enjoy the view on Athens and Salamina.
Through the island
Once you are in Aegina you have multiple options to travel through the Island. It is an option to travel by bus. The bus station I on Platia Ethneyersias. There are three routes that all travel from Aegina to town to Vagia, Agia Marina and Perdika. They travel three to five time a day.
Another way (that I personally prefer) is to travel by car or motorcycle. In Aegina town you will find several places to rent scooters, cars, motorbikes and mountain bikes. If you wish to travel around the island I would not recommend a bicycle, because of the distance and the mountains. The price to rent a car will vary between €30,- (small car) and €40,-.
For more practical information I can highly recommend you to visit the website of Aegina Greece.