Day Trip To Aegina From Athens, Greece
Day trip to Aegina from Athens, Greece. A complete guide with ferry information, how to get around the island, and things to see, do, and eat.
Is Aegina Worth Visiting?
One of the best day trips from Athens is to Aegina Island. It is most popular during the summer, but you can still have a fantastic time if you choose to visit Aegina in winter. Despite being a small island, there is something for everyone.
Pistachios and seafood will have foodies’ mouths watering. History buffs will love the many archaeological sites on the island. The beaches around the island are perfect for anyone wanting to relax the day away. And water sports like water skiing will keep adrenaline junkies entertained.
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Where Is Aegina?
Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands off the southwest coast of Athens.
How Far Is Aegina From Athens?
Aegina is only 16.5 nautical miles from Athens’ Port of Piraeus. It can be reached easily by ferry.
Ferry To Aegina From Athens
Wondering how to get to Aegina from Athens? The answer is by ferry. Two companies leave daily from Athens to Aegina: Saronic Ferries and Hellenic Seaways.
Which ferry you choose to take for your day trip to Aegina will depend on a couple of factors. Do you want to save money or do you want to get there faster?
Saronic Ferries is cheaper, with a one-way ticket costing 12€ per person. However, the trip takes one hour and ten minutes. The Hellenic Seaways ferry from Athens to Aegina costs 19€ per person for a one-way ticket, but only takes 40 minutes.
Aegina Ferry Tickets
Ready to book your Athens to Aegina ferry tickets? Once you decide which company to use, you can purchase your tickets online through either of their websites: Saronic Ferries and Hellenic Seaways. Both websites are easy to use and you’ll receive a purchase confirmation email.
Plan to arrive at the port at least 30 minutes before departure. You will have to pick up a paper ticket at the company’s ticket office. Your confirmation email will tell you exactly where to go.
Here is some information on Aegina weather that will be useful when planning your day trip…
April and October are considered the best months to travel from Athens to Aegina. Average temperatures are usually between 68°F (20°C) and 77°F (25°C).
The hottest months are from June to September, with an average daily high temperature above 84°F (29°C). The hottest and driest month of the year in Aegina is August, with an average high of 90°F (32°C) and low of 75°F (24°C).
The coolest months are from November to March, with an average daily high temperature below 63°F (17°C). The coldest month of the year in Aegina is January, with an average low of 46°F (8°C) and a high of 56°F (13°C).
How To Get Around Aegina Island
Aegina Town is walkable, but if you want to get around Aegina Island, you will have to rent a vehicle, take taxis, or go on a tour. There is a public bus system on the island, but we’ve heard it’s not a reliable way to get around.
Renting A Vehicle On Aegina
If you want to get around Aegina at your own pace, we recommend renting a vehicle. You can rent a car, ATV, or scooter. There are multiple companies along the port’s main road that you can rent from. We chose to rent a car with Giakas Aegina Rent a Car. Prices ranged from 40€ to 75€ for manual cars. They also have limited automatic cars for 55€. Note: We got a small discount for paying in cash.
Taxis On Aegina
Taxis are widely available around the island. In Aegina Town, the taxi stand is right next to the port. Charges range from about 7€ to 17€, depending on where you want to go on the island. If you’re going to attractions in the center of the island where it is less populated, it’s a good idea to have a taxi driver wait for you. The wait time and return trip should be calculated into the final price. Make sure you settle on a price before getting in the taxi.
If you want your day trip to Aegina to be as stress-free as possible, consider booking a tour. There are walking tours of Aegina Town, olive-picking tours, and tours that stop at the island’s archaeological sites. You can book a tour when you arrive on the island, but it’s best to book ahead of time online. The types of tours vary, depending on the time of year you visit Aegina.
Things To Do In Aegina
So what can you see during your day trip to Aegina? Lots! The island has three main towns: Aegina Town, Agia Marina, and Perdika. There are also a few small villages and historic landmarks scattered around the island. Below are the best things to see and do during your day trip to Aegina…
Did you know that Aegina pistachios are said to be the best in the world? They were first planted and cultivated on the island in the mid-19th century. The composition of the soil on the island gives them a unique and more complex flavor. Currently, Greece is Europe’s largest exporter of pistachios and the sixth-largest exporter in the world.
When you arrive in Aegina, you will see pistachios everywhere. There are stalls set up near the port where you will be given plenty of samples. There are also shops where you can buy pistachios and restaurants with pistachio-flavored dishes (more on that later).
Archaeological Museum Of Kolona And Temple Of Apollo
Just north of Aegina Town is the Archaeological Museum of Kolona, also known as the Archaeological Museum of Aegina. The site is home to the Temple of Apollo and other ancient ruins where you can see the foundations. It is still an active archaeological site where excavations are taking place, so be sure to stay on the designated paths. The museum on site is small but has some interesting coins, pottery, and models.
Historical And Folklore Museum Of Aegina
Want to see how locals lived centuries ago on the island? Visit the Historical and Folklore Museum of Aegina. On the ground floor, there is a recreated “Village House” with agricultural tools and everyday items and a “Fisherman’s House” with fishing tools. Upstairs is the “Urban Aeginean House” with furniture, relics, and books that once belonged to the Iriotis family who owned the home where the museum is now located.
Tower Of Markellos
Located in Aegina Town, the Tower of Markellos is also known as the Pink Tower. Although it is not open to the public, we still recommend stopping by. It sits next to a small park and there is a placard that explains its interesting history as a watchtower, residence, and the official seat of the government when Aegina was the temporary capital of the newly founded Greek state.
Mitropoli Eginis – Aegina Cathedral
In the center of Aegina Town you’ll find the great Cathedral of Aegina. It is considered the first Cathedral of the Modern Greek State because it was here that the first governor of modern Greece, Iohannis Kapodistrias, was sworn in. Inside you’ll find historic heirlooms, a marble iconostasis, and intricate frescoes.
Panagitsa – Isodia Theotokou Church
Overlooking the Port of Aegina, you’ll find the Church of Isodia Theotokou. Its large dome and vaulted arches are hard to miss! It was built in 1906 of limestone and the frescoes inside are quite impressive.
Temple Of Aphaia
During your day trip to Aegina, one must-see is the Temple of Aphaia. It is located in the northeast area of the island, about 20 minutes from Aegina Town. The very well-preserved archaeological site dates back to possibly the beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C.
Here are some interesting facts about the Temple of Aphaia:
- The construction of the Parthenon in Athens was based on the Temple of Aphaia.
- The temple of Aphaia, the Parthenon, and the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion form what is referred to as the Sacred Triangle in Greece. On a map, you can see that the three temples form an isosceles triangle. On clear days, you can see from one temple to the other two.
Beach Bars In Agia Marina
On the eastern coast of the island is the town of Agia Marina. Here you’ll find some of the best beaches on the island. This includes Vagia Beach, known for its beautiful sandy beach. You’ll also find plenty of restaurants and beach bars in Agia Marina. Some are open only during the summer, but some like Ocean Beach Bar and Restaurant Afea are open year-round.
Archaeological Site Of Palaiochora
Palaiochora, also spelled Paleochora, is truly remarkable and another must-see during your day trip to Aegina. When pirates threatened the people of Aegina, they moved inland and to the top of Palaiochora hill. It provided a natural fortress and allowed residents extensive views over the Saronic Gulf. Thus, Palaiochora became the capital of the island in the 9th century AD.
It is believed that at one point, there were 365 churches on the hill; one for each day of the year. However, it is more likely that there were about 50 churches. Now, there are just over 30 churches still standing.
Visitors will find a small parking area and a large sign. The sign has a brief history of the area and a map detailing a hiking trail. The mostly circular trail is about 1.2 kilometers and by following the trail you’ll pass most of the churches. The hike does gradually increase in difficulty as you go uphill. We recommend wearing sneakers or hiking boots so you don’t slip on the rocks and cobblestones.
Agios Nektarios – Holy Church Of Saint Nectarios
As one of the largest orthodox churches in the Balkans, the Church of Saint Nectarios is impressive. During our visit, there was work being done inside the church, but you can still go in and admire many of the frescoes.
The church sits next to the Monastery of the Holy Trinity. Inside the monastery complex, there are two small chapels and the remains of Saint Nectarios. Entrance to the church and monastery complex is free.
Keep in mind that while in the church and on monastery grounds, visitors must be well-covered. No shorts, short dresses or skirts, or tank tops. For women, there are wraps available at the entrance of the monastery and church.
Explore The Town Of Perdika
Located on the southwest corner of Aegina Island is the town of Perdika. It is known for its seafood (more on that soon), picturesque streets, whitewashed houses, and incredible views. Make sure to also stop by the marina.
Where To Eat In Aegina
As we mentioned earlier, pistachios and seafood are big on Aegina Island so you’ll find plenty of both. There are also great cafes and bars on the island. Below are some suggestions on where to eat in Aegina…
Pitsi’s Coffee & Food
Start your day trip to Aegina right with some great coffee and pastries at Pitsi’s coffee & food. This cute cafe has coffee, tea, pastries, and sandwiches. We had coffee, hot white chocolate, a cheese pie, and a chocolate croissant. Everything was delicious and Pitsi, the owner, was so friendly and even gave us suggestions for places to go on the island.
One of the best ways to have pistachios is… pistachio ice cream! And Melénio in Aegina Town has the best on the island. It’s so flavorful, smooth, and creamy… we could’ve eaten a whole gallon! Tip: You can also ask for extra pistachios as a topping.
Nisos Cafe Bar
Overlooking the Port of Aegina is Nisos Cafe Bar. We had a late snack here just before taking the ferry back to Athens. They have both indoor and outdoor seating and highlight local ingredients. We had Haloumi Cheese Sticks that were marinated with ouzo and then grilled. The cheese came with pita bread and cherry tomatoes.
Nontas Fish Restaurant
The town of Perdika is known for its seafood and one of its best seafood restaurants is Nontas Fish Restaurant Aegina. It’s located in the Perdika Marina so you can see where your food just came from. We had their fried squid and it tasted so fresh! They also have many dishes with pistachios like their Penne with Pistachio Pesto.
Where To Stay In Aegina
If you decide that a day trip to Aegina isn’t enough and you’d like to stay longer, there are many options. Below are recommendations for Aegina Town, a good base for your adventures around the island…
- Budget option – Captain’s Rooms. The hotel is located on the southern edge of town and offers free WiFi and parking. Every unit has a private bathroom and shower, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and a fridge.
- Moderate option – Rastoni Hotel Aegina. Located on an old pistachio farm, the Rastoni Hotel is only a 5-minute walk to the beach and offers rooms with views overlooking the Saronic Gulf. Guests can also enjoy a buffet breakfast in the garden.
- Luxury option – Pyrgos Ralli Estate Apartments and Suites. Located on the northern edge of town, the apartments offer free WiFi and a garden with a terrace and sea views. It’s only a 3-minute walk to Kolona Beach.
Final Thoughts On A Day Trip To Aegina From Athens
We really enjoyed our day trip to Aegina and were surprised at how much there is to see and do, considering it’s not a large island. It’s so interesting to learn about the history connected to the island. The food is also incredible and the landscape is simply beautiful. We hope to visit Aegina again one day and experience more of its charm.
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