An introduction to Aegina Island
Aegina has a long history, dating from the Neolithic (4th millennium BC) to the later years.
The high points in its history were the period οf it’s great prosperity (657-459 BC) and the
short period when it was proclaimed first capital and home of governor Ioannis Kapodistrias.
Witnesses to this historical path are the hill of Kolona with its characteristic column and the
findings of ancient settlements, Paleachora with its post-byzantine churches,
the Temple of Afea, the public buildings of the Kapodistrian period,
Mount Hellanion/ Oros and the monastery of Chrysoleontissa.
The island’s name
Orginally the island was called Inoni (or Inona or Inopia). Its name comes from Aegina,
one of the 50 daughters of the river god Asopus, who was loved by Zeus.
The king of Olympus, in order to avoid, Hera, tranformed himself into an eagle and carried
Aegina to the so far uninhabited Inoni. The fruit of Aegina’s and Zeus’ passion was Aeakos
the first king of the island.Aeakos asked Zeus to give him subjects and so he transformed
the ants of the island into humans for his sαke.
The first inhabitant of the island were called Myrmidones, from the Greek word “myrmigi” which means ant.
A perfect holiday and wedding destination
So, what is it about Aegina which attracts so many people to use their precious holiday to
return here year after year? Why do others dream about living on Aegina all year long
and some actuallytake the plunge and do it by relocating here permanently? Curious?
Once you experience it for yourself you will understand. In the meantime,
let us paint a picture of this magical island.
Our location in the Argo-Saronic gulf is an immediate attraction. Aegina is close to the
port of Pireaus on the mainland. Visitors must arrive by boat but the journey is short
(between 40 and 80 minutes depending on which boat) and an enjoyable part of your
holiday experience. Enter into the bustling port of Aegina town and drink in the view:
a moon crescent harbour with fishing boats, fruit filled caiques,
and glamorous yachts jostling for position.
Once on Aegina you can enjoy island life but easily leave for day trips to Athens,
the Saronic islands – Agistri, Poros & Hydra – and the Peloponnese.
Those visitors who are excited by learning about history will not be disappointed by what
Aegina has to offer. Indeed there are many excellent books available and a separate
section on this website. The island has a special place in Greek mythology and
history. The myth has it that the island took its name from the most beautiful
of the twenty daughters of Asopos, the river god, who eloped with Zeus to then
deserted island. In historical terms,there is evidence that the island
was inhabited from as early as 3500 B.C.
The island enjoyed strong economic and social growth around 900 B.C. and 480 B.C.,
including minting the first coins anywhere in Greece during the 7th. Century B.C.
In more modern times, Aegina was briefly the first “capital” of
modern Greece from 1827 – 1829.
Ideal for the independent traveller
Arguably one of the main attractions of Aegina is that it is a real living and working island.
Thankfully not a victim of mass tourism, Aegina is the perfect destination for the
independent traveller who yearns to experience some reality of the country he is visiting.
Those who are well travelled in Greece will note that Aegina is not as “manicured” as
some islands popular with foreign tourists. It hosts mainly Greek weekend visitors.
This simply adds to the charm. Populair sites to visit are: the temple of Aphaia and
the church of Agios Nektarios. Learn more about thetraditions
and culture of Aegina on this website.
Food and drinks
One of the joys of travel is to experience local food and drink. Unlike many
other Greek holiday destinations you will be glad to note the absence of bill-boards
advertising “full English breakfast” or “chicken schnitzel”. At breakfast, do as the Greeks
do and simply enjoy a coffee at one of the sea-front cafes. Snack with fresh cheese and spinach,
pastries from the bakery and fruit from the small boats.A true delight is ouzo
with snacks or a cold beer in the sunny afternoon.
Finally, finish your day as you started by enjoying a dinner in
one of the fantastic taverns. Salad, fresh fish, grilled meat….
Of course, many people choose to come to Greece for summer holidays to experience
the beach and swimming in the sea. Again, Aegina will not disappoint you.
There are several sandy beaches on the island from which you can choose to
swim in clean and crystal clear waters.
When to visit
We recommend Aegina to you out of the High Holiday season also. Spring and autumn are
excellent times of the year to visit. The weather is sunny, warm and energizing.
Indeed, Aegina is reputed to have the mildest climate in Greece. Pull on your comfy shoes
and explore our natural landscapes. There is some excellent walking to be had on Aegina;
ancient abandoned villages on hillsides; awe inspiring olive tree groves;
clamber to the top of Mount Oros with its fantastic sea views
& pistachio tree orchards (Aegina’s most famous export).
Even though the island is small, it boasts a great number of sights and natural beauties,
highlight of which is the famous Aphea Temple.It forms in fact an equilateral triangle
with the Parthenon and theTemple of Poseidon at Sounion,
the so-called “holy triangle” of the antiquity.
Aegina town, the capital of the island, stands out for its well-preserved buildings.
On the outskirts you can find charming little villages with
distinctive traditional character, such as Kypseli, Agii and Vagia as well as
organized tourist resorts like Agia Marina, Perdika, and Souvala.
Aègina is also surrounded by many smaller islands (Moni, Metopi, Diaportia,
Lagouses, Kyra, Dorousa, Spalathonisi, Anonyma) that can be reached by
boat from the port of Aegina.
During your stay on the island, you can visit the following museums and sightseeings:
Historical and folklore museum
Aphea Temple (around the temple of Aphèa)
Christos Kapralos Museum
Governor’s Kapodistrias Residence
In the town of Aegina also call in at:
Markellos Tower (built by Markellos, a 1821 War of Independence hero and
later Governor of the island, which now houses the Kapodistrias Spiritual Center),
Kapodistrias Orphanage (the first public building during Kapodistrias’ administration),
Eunardeio (a 1829 building in Doric style) and
Aegina Cathedral (the first Cathedral of the Modern Greek State;
it also housed Kapodistria’s Government and the first parliament of the modern Greek State).
Explore ancient monuments and old monasteries:
The Temple of Aphea Athena
Close to Agia Marina lies the 500 BC Doric Temple of Aphea Athena, the most
important monument on the island. The temple was founded there and it formed an
equilateral triangle with the Parthenon and the nTemple of Poseidon at Sounion,
the so-called “holy triangle” of antiquity. The most impressive part of the temple is
its wonderful sculpted pediments, a large part of which is exhibited at the
Glyptothek of Munich. Excavation findings are on display at the
Archaeological Museum of Aegina.
The Sanctuary of Apollo Delfinios, Kolóna
Located at a short distance from the harbour, the area took its name
from a standing column (of Doric type), 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).
In front of the archaeological site lies a museum bearing the same name.
Palaiohóra, Agia Marina
The site of Paleohóra represents Aegina during Byzantine times.
This site is known as the “Island Mystras” because it once had 565 churches, of which
28 (with exceptional wall paintings) have withstood the ravages of
time, just like the ruins of a medieval castle and two incredible monasteries.
Saint Nektarios Monastery
Near Palaiochora, on the road to Souvala, lies the impressive
Monastery of Ayios Nektarios, one of the largest monasteries in the Balkans.
It was built in the 20th Century (between 1904 and 1910) on the site of a small Byzantine monastery.
Sun-loving tourists should definitely soak up the sun in the island’s crystalline beaches:
Pérdika, a quiet pebbly beach in the traditional village of Pérdika
Souvála, distinctive for its warm, therapeutic waters suitable for curing rheumatisms
Agía Marína, a cosmopolitan organized tourist resort with many hotels,
rooms to let, beach bars and restaurants
Marathónas, two sandy beaches, one next to another, 4 km away from the town
A perfect wedding destination : Aegina Island
So, what are you waiting for? Whether you are new to Aegina or a returning visitor there is
always something new to experience and enjoy. Let us lead you to your next adventure!