AEGINA - Distance from Ermioni: 66 kms/3.75 hours (road/sea)

Aegina Town is the capital of the Saronic island of Aegina, located on the NW coast of the island.  Although many Atheneans visit Aegina for weekends and holidays, the island is not a victim of mass tourism, and continues to be a popular destination for the 'independent' traveller, as you can walk around most of the town within an hour.  Most visitors arrive to the port of Aegina Town by sea from the port of Piraeus, only 40 minutes by AERO Highspeed catamarans and 75 minutes by the regular ferries.  If your time is limited, you can take a relaxing tour in one of the horse-drawn carriages that will take you around the town and through some of the interesting back streets.  Aegina is famous for its pistachio nuts, the islands main export, but the reason most people visit the island is to enjoy the traditional atmosphere and hospitality offered by the town's inhabitants.

Aegina has a special place in Greek mythology and history, as it was one of the busiest and most powerful city-states in the then known ancient world, several centuries before neighbouring Athens rose to glory.  According to the ancient historian Herodotus, Aegina was originally a colony of Epidavros and the first ancient city to mint its own coins in the 7th cenury BC.  Later, Aegina became a great rival to the sea power of Athens during the Classical period with its large trading fleet and fast warships.  Close to the unmissable landmark of Kolona, at the foot of the Acropolis of Aegina, lie the semi-submerged ruins of one of the most important military harbours of ancient Greece.  This harbour was referred to by the 2nd century AD Greco-Roman traveller and historian Pausanias as the 'Kryptos Limin', the secret harbour.  This very distinct name derived from the fact that only locals knew how to navigate to its shore due to a man-made system of artificial reefs, an ancient marine minefield, which made it difficult and dangerous for Aegina's enemies to enter the harbour.  One of the largest naval city-states at the time, Aegina sent 30 triremes to the naval battle of Salamis in 480 BC, to help Athens and allied Hellenes gain a historic victory against the invading Persians.  The Arginites were commended by the oracle of Delphi with a bravery award, but that didn't stop the now powerful Athenians, a few years later in 458 BC, from destroying what was their most prominent rival city. 

In more recent times, Aegina became the temporary provisional capital of Greece from 1828-1829, during the Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire.  The capital was then moved back to Nafplio in 1829 and finally to Athens in 1834 when the small village under the Acropolis was developed into a modern city by the orders of King Othon, the first King of Greece.

Aegina has many places of interest on offer to the 'day visitor' as well as someone staying for a number of days or weeks.  You will see the chapel of Aghios Nikolaos Thalassinos (picture above) dedicated to the patron saint of sailors, which is located on the main harbour as you arrive at the port.  Within the charming historic town itself, you will discover many classical buildings and churches that line the main waterfront as well as many traditional areas set behind the waterfront like the Fish Market, close to the Town Hall, which is next to many old authentic Greek-style kafeneons and fish tavernas offering tasty fresh fish and sea food for visitors and residents alike.

The Fistiki Fest pistachio festival on Aegina is held annually from mid-September, celebrating the end of the harvesting season, draws large crowds of visitors to the popular island.  The star of the show is the island's famous Protected Designation of Origin pistachio nut. Small but flavourful, the pistachio is known among chefs and foodies as one of the most famous products of Greece. 

If you enjoy swimming, the locals love Sarpa, as it's one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, also try the sandy beaches at Agia Marina, Klima, Souvala and Vayia.  On the outskirts of Aegina Town, you can find charming little villages with traditional character like Kypseli, Agii and Vagia.  Aegina is also surrounded by many smaller islands including Moni, Metopi, Diaportia, Lagouses, Kyra, Dorousa, Spalathonisi and Anonyma which can be reached by various boats from the busy port of Aegina Town.

A 10-minute walk North from the harbour will bring you to the archaeological site of Kolona. A single column (kolona) is all that remains of the Doric temple of Apollo built in 520 BC. which was first excavated in 1811 and most recently in 1966. There is also a National Archeological Museum which openned in 1981, although the original museum dates back to 1828.  The Kolona site (picture left) is open 08:30 - 15:00. Closed on Monday.  Admission: 3 Euros.

From Aegina Town there is the K-TEL bus, or taxi, that can take you East across the island to the longest shallow sandy beach on the island at Aghia Marina.  On-route you will come across the recently constructed monastery and church of Aghios Nektarios, named after the miracle-working Saint who died in 1920, whose story is now shown on the silver-screen starring Mickey Rourke.  Adjacent to the monastery there is Medieval Peleachora, which was the islands' capital from the 9th century, due to the city of Aegina being destroyed by Saracen pirates, until the early 19th century.  A little further towards Agia Marina, will bring you to the 5th century BC Temple of Aphaia.  This Doric temple (picture above right) was most recently excavated from 1967 to 1984 and still has 24 out of its 34 columns still standing.  Archaeological site open 09:30 - 16:00.  Closed on Monday.  Admission: 4 Euros.

How to get from Ermioni to Aegina:

During the Summer months only, Hellenic Seaways offer a shuttle ferry service sailing from Poros - Methana - Aegina - Piraeus. From Ermioni you will have to travel by sea or road to Poros, then sail on the HS shuttle ferry to Aegina.  The return journey would be made in reverse from Aegina to Poros, then by sea or road to Ermioni.  The journey is a relaxing all-day event which gives you about 2.5 hours on Aegina itself, sufficient time to explore the town and enjoy a quick meal.  However, if you wish to visit the places of interest above, we recommend that you stay overnight, enjoy a relaxing evening and return to Ermioni the following day.


Argo-Saronic Island of Aegina
37° 45' 5.184" N, 23° 25' 43.2768" E
Picture Gallery
Aegina Island - Approach to the port of Aegina Aegina Island - Approach to the port of Aegina Aegina Island - Sea view of Aegina waterfront Aegina Island - Hellenic Seaways 'flying dolphin' Aegina Island - General port view Aegina Island - Inner harbour full of fishing boats Aegina Island - Just one way to get around the town Aegina Island - Old mansions, tavernas, cafes and bars Aegina Island - Typical architecture of the island Aegina Island - Old mansions waiting for renovation Aegina Island - Inner harbour view Aegina Island - Church of Aghia Panaghitsa Aegina Island - Revolutionary cannons from the 19th Century Aegina Island - Port church of Aghios Nikolaos Aegina Island - Port church of Aghios Nikolaos Aegina Island - Port church of Aghios Nikolaos Aegina Island - Archaeological site of Kolona Aegina Island - Archaeological site of Kolona Aegina Island - Archaeological site of Kolona Aegina Island - Archaeological site of Kolona Aegina Island - Modern boats bringing tourists Aegina Island - Traditional sailing ships Aegina Island - A mix of the old and new Aegina Island - Hellenic Seaways island ferry Aegina Island - Monastery of Aghios Nektarios Aegina Island - Monastery of Aghios Nektarios Aegina Island - Temple of Aphaia Aegina Island - Temple of Aphaia Aegina Island - Temple of Aphaia Aegina Island - Beach at Aghia Marina Aegina Island - Beach at Aghia Marina Aegina Island - Plan of the Argo-Saronic Island