It’s needless to say that all Greece is spreaded with lovely islands that will make you think long and hard which one you should go to. But let’s make it easier and come with me in Aegina island, one of the Saronic islands which provides something for everyone, from sights of historical interest, several lovely sandy beaches, good places to eat some traditional dishes, to churches for those who want to go on a pilgrimage.Overmore, it’s the perfect destination for those who love pistachio.(there’s a pistachio festival in September). Let’s say hello to Aegina island!
How to arrive there?
Well, I arrived at Athens by car after a lot of tollpays on the highway and there, at the Piraeus Harbour (all you need is to find a tall black building-there’s the 8 Gate) I embarked on the Hellenic Seaways Posidon ferry designed for people(9 Euro) and for cars(24 Euro). Firstly I indulged my eyes in looking at the harbour which was full of ships, cruise ships (the superb MSC Splendida),yachts and so on. The voyage took me 1 hour. And finally I reached my destination (Aegina town’s harbour which is also the capital of the island). Overlooked from the deck, it gave the impression of a nice quiet place. Here we are!
My first contact with the island
Once you are in the town you should have a stroll on the harbour and buy some Mediterranean fruits directly from a boat. I was welcomed on the deck to choose my fruits which were delicious and cheap (especially fresh figs- yummy). An open air grocery! Crossing the street , I was impressed of such variety of tavernas (little Greek restaurants) whose waiters inssisted on me to have a sit at their taverna. So persuasive and annoying! Afterwards, I went to shopping stopping at some stalls for souvenirs – some bracelets with meandros (typicall sign to Greeks) or with the blue eye. But the most important thing on the island is pistachio which is merchandized at a very large scale in different forms: dried,salty,artificial opened. Worth knowing-it’s cheap 10 Euro/kg.
I opted for Agia Marina village (it’s on the other side of the island but it’s at 12 km far away from Aegina town) which is so touristy and on the same time welcoming and little. I had to search my accommodation and finally I chose to stay at “Sunny beach” Hotel which offered me such a picturesque view from the balcony (the sea combined with green pines). Not to mention that it was 2 minutes far away from the sea shore. Wonderful! The price was low,cheap (30 Euro one double room/night with breakfast).
Where should you eat?
I’ve tried 2 restaurants in Agia Marina (Faros and the Rock).Both restaurants lived up to my expectations but I suggest you to go to the last one and order grilled octopus(it was so appetizing and tasty) or a mix of sea food or sword fish, all accompagnied with their traditional drink Ouzo (it’s strong) and Tza Tzi ki salad made of cucumber, yogurt (another Greek dish). One day I tasted Souvlaki ( a kind of chicken meat or pork and vegetables grilled on the skewer). For dessert I ordered Kadaif, a kind of sweet noddles with vanila ice cream, whip cream(it originates from Turkey). Another option is to eat in Souvala fishermen’s village.
Sunbath and swimming!
Agia Marina provides a large beach equipped with chais-longues,umbrellas(5 Euro). During summer and autumn the water is warm enough for swimming thinking that it’s not deep and the sand is fine. Nevertheless,I’m not sure if you’d like to go to Agia Marina beach taking into consideration that its counterpart Aegina, has better beaches because they are a bit more animated and cleaner. It’s up to you! In addition there’s also Moni Island that will meet your requirements ( you’ll have a great experience-rocky landscape and crystal clear emerald water). Are you lonely person who prefer not so crowded beaches? Vagia is the best option for you.
It’s time for visiting!
The most important tourist attractions in this island are Aegina town , Afea’s Temple(of great archeological interest), Saint Nektarios Monastery, Paleochora, Perdika and Souvala villages,the church of St. Minas. I’ll present you each sight so as to discover this marvelous island bit by bit.
Afea’s temple is the icing on the cake of Aegina Island. It came across to me as a stunning example of ancient architecture set in a beautiful forested area which offered breathtaking panoramas over the entire island. (8 Euro) Worth visiting!
Aegina island isn’t famaous only for pistachio but also for Saint Nektarios Monastery which is a very spiritual and peaceful place, good for pilgrimages. This huge church welcomes Christians especially Orthodoxes who generally come here for healing, praying. It is said that this widely known saint works wonders. Go to the new church(downstairs), the Saint’s Tomb and the little old church where holly oil wafts through the air(upstairs). And don’t forget to buy some icons and ask for holy oil. Important to know!!! This Saint is a curer of cancer (if only you believe in God and pray).
Paleochora! I founded about this risky place full of old churches spreaded on the abrupt hill. It is risky because of the possibility to encounter poisonous snakes. But for adventure-seekers not frightened about snakes and wanting to dominate the island and to have a spectacular view, Paleochora is on their bucket list.
Beside all these things mentioned above, buy Oleander and Bougainville small tree. Both plants are eye-catching due to their colourful flowers (pink,white,red).
All in all what impressed me a lot about Aegina island was the behaviour of Greeks who all days were talking, dancing and didn’t worry about their future. I think that their relaxed approach to everything should be implemented by all of us. Furthermore, learn a bit of their language such as Yasas (Hello) or Kalimera(Good Morning)!
Try the Aegina Island with what’s related to it! Aegina will keep on capturing the hearts of those who visit it and come back each year. Thanks for stopping by!