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About Aegina

The island of Aegina is one of the most popular tourist destinations for a weekend retreat due to its close proximity to Athens. Aegina is in the Saronic Gulf and bordered by the smaller islands of Moni, Metopi, Diaportia, Lagouses, Kyra, Dorousa, Spalathonisi, Anonyma. According to the myth, the island was given its name by Zeus. A nymph, daughter of Asopos bore two children one of which was the son of Zeus. When he fell in love with her, he abducted her and took her to Oenone and after giving birth to his son Aecus he renamed the island Aegina.

Although a relatively small island it is steeped in history. It was one of Greece’s early maritime powers, famous for minting the earliest coins in the country which were accepted all over the Mediterranean region. The most important monument close to Ayia Marina is the 500 BC Doric Temple of Aphea Athena. It forms an equilateral triangle with the Parthenon in Athens and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounio, the so-called holy triangle of antiquity. It is extremely impressive and has wonderful, sculpted elements. The ancient Temple of Aphea is a special place. It stands in a beautiful spot above the pine forests in the hills of Aegina, with fabulous views across the Saronic Gulf. You can wander among the bleached sandstones, and imagine yourself there 2500 years ago when the surviving temple was built, or among the first known worshippers another thousand years before that!

In more recent times in Aegina town, the salmon pink Tower of Markellos which was built in the 17th century as a Venetian fortification was used as headquarters of the Greek Revolution in 1821. A little later between 1827 until 1829 Aegina town was the temporary capital of the newly founded Greek state. It was during that period when Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias built impressive mansions in neoclassical design to be his headquarters. And since then, have become notable tourist attractions. 

On the outskirts of the island, you will discover charming little villages with distinctive traditional character, such as Kypseli, Agii and Vagia as well as organised tourist resorts like Agia Marina, Perdika, and Souvala.

Another worthwhile visit is the Christos Kapralos Museum. It was once the workshop of the famous Greek sculptor and now displays some of his work.

And a favourite must see is located in the Plakakia district of Aegina Town. It is close to the home of internationally acclaimed Greek author and philosopher Nikos Kazantzakis. He first visited in the 1920’s and became enchanted by the landscape and its unique light which is why he chose it as his residence for some years. Widely and highly praised for his work and contribution to modern Greek literature he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in nine different years. Well known novels include Zorba the Greek amongst others. Although his home is not open to the public it is worthwhile seeing from the outside. The writer was so inspired he wrote some of his most inspired works here including his version of Odyssey.

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“The Island’s History”

“The Island’s History”

There are some wonderful ancient monuments and old monasteries waiting to be explored.  The Sanctuary of Apollo Delfinios, Kolona is located a short distance away from the harbour, a standing column and the only one remaining from a 6th Century BC temple. Mount Kolonas was a religious centre of the ancient town. Archaeological research has revealed the presence of more than ten historical buildings dating from the most recent Neolithic era (5th millennium BC) to the Mycenaean period (1600- 1200 BC). 

The site of Paleochora is a good representation of the island during Medieval times. It was once the islands capital and rumoured to have 365 churches one for each day of the year.  33 are still standing and are open to visitors.  Only 5 have been restored over the years and are in relatively good condition.  And even though they are all in different stages of deterioration, all of them are beautiful with exceptional wall paintings and frescoes quite impressively still intact. 

The Monastery of Saint Nektarios is also in Paleochora located on a steep hill.  The splendid panoramic view from this magnificent setting is pure joy. Especially pleasing in springtime when the foliage is in full bloom.  The monastery is one of the largest and dates back to 9th century AD.

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Beaches

Beach lovers will not be disappointed with the choice of beaches around the island. They maybe small but mostly organised. There are both beaches with shallow water and beaches with immediate deep waters.  Organised beaches mostly only operate during the sunnier months of May to September. There are some secluded coves and our favourites picks are below. 

Ask any local and they will surely say Sarpa is one of, if not, the best beach on Aegina. It is on the Southwestern coast near Perdika and has a combination of both sand and pebbles beachside. 

For warmer, therapeutic waters distinctly well-known for curing rheumatic pains head over to Souvala. Family friendly and crystal clear water. 

Otherwise Marathonas is a beach close to Aegina town and perfect if seclusion is what you seek. Picturesque and does not usually get crowded even during the summer. 

Perdika is a very cosy beach and lined with a few fish taverns. It is not as developed as some other resorts on the island but still has some tourist facilities.

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“Traditional Foods”

“Traditional Foods”

Welcome to the island of the Pistachio! Harvested with a passion they are considered by some to be the best in the world! So much so that there is festival dedicated exclusively to it.  ‘Fistiki Fest’ is held usually in mid September should you be visiting during that time.  Try the local Feta cheese dressed in sesame seeds and pistachio nuts, which is drizzled in a honey and balsamic vinegar dressing! All the ingredients are local and fresh and simply to die for! 

Besides a myriad of sweets and snacks prepared with Pistachios, the fish dishes on the island are fantastic. The mullet and the octopus are extremely tasty. Just behind the main road of Aegina town and very near the fish market you will come across a line of fish tavernas. Take your pick from the catch of the day and enjoy!  It does not however stop there, savoury pies, numerous stews and unlimited meat grilled delicacies await your taste buds!

Skippers Tipbulb

Captain George: For all those animal lovers out there, the smaller neighbouring island of Moni, weather permitting, has an amazing anchorage and unexpected, yet frequent visits by deer and peacocks on the shore!!

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