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Aegina

Aegina in brief

Just 75 minutes by ferry and 35 minutes by hydrofoil.

Among the places you must make a point of visiting are the archaeological site at Kolona, the imposing Temple of Aphaia, Palaiohora (known as Little Mystras) with its little Byzantine churches scattered across the hillside, the village of Mesagros, the Church of Agios Nectarios, and the house of the great writer Kazantzakis, at Livadi, where he wrote the famous Zorba the Greek. You can also enjoy a leisurely stroll through the narrow streets of the town, with its fine neoclassical houses still evoking the island's glory days.

When night falls, it's time to surrender to the many forms of evening entertainment the island has to offer. There are great tavernas (in the harbour, at Perdika, at Agia Marina, etc.) where you can enjoy a glass of ouzo and some fish right at the water's edge, with every dish on the menu enhanced by the local island pistachios!

If you visit in September, you're sure to have a great time at the Pistachio Festival, where you can enjoy Aegina's traditional product in all sorts of delicious combinations.

History

Zeus fell in love with Aegina, the most beatiful of the twenty daughters of the god Asopus. He abducted her and brought her to the island of Oenone, which then took her name. Together they had a son, Aeacus, whom Zeus made king of the island. Naturally, the young man wanted subjects for his kingdom. To this end, he took the strange course of transforming the ants of the island into human beings! And so the people of Aegina came to be known as Myrmidons, from the Greek word myrmingi meaning ant.

Aegina was the very first place in the Greek world where coins were minted - these were originally called Helonai, from the Greek word helona meaning turtle, because of the turtles depicted on them.

In 1827, following the W.ii ol Independent e. Aegina bet .ime the first capital of Modern Greece Kapodistri.is, the new headol bl.ile, made it his headquarters for the first two years ol his admimstr ation

Beaches

The island of Aegina has a beach for every taste1 Here are some of the best:

  • Agia Marina, 15km from the harbour: The most famous of the island's beaches, with full facilities. A sand beach with beach bar and an ouzeri (restaurant serving ouzo and mezes).
  • Loutra Souvalas and Vayia: On the northern part of the island, about 8km from the harbour.
  • Marathonas and the little harbour of Perdika: These beaches boast fabulous tavernas, where lots of boats and yachts dock. Located at the south of the island, 5km and 9km from the harbour, respectively.
  • Aeginitissa A sheltered cove with eucalyptus trees, 6km from the harbour, after Marathonas beach, full facilities with umbrellas and recliners Nearby tavernas serve all manners of delicious snacks
  • A five-minute walk from the harbour of Aegina will bring you to the Avra beach, and five minutes farther on you will find the sandy beach at Kolona, located near an archaeological site. At the edge of the harbour, just after the Panayitsa Church, lies Panayitsa beach, will full facilities, little tavernas and cafes.
  • Klima and Sarpa: These two beaches are close to Perdika. The first is a sandy beach and the second has shallow waters, trees and a little canteen. They are generally regarded as the most beautiful beaches on the whole island.
  • Moni Island: An 8-minute boat ride from the little harbour of Perdika. Covered in pine trees, the little island is also home to deer, wild goats, peacocks and sguirrels - tame enough to eat from your hand! There is a sandy beach with full facilities, and many other points along the shore where the waters are deep and ideal for underwater fishing. There are also canteens serving coffee, ouzo and mezes.

Not to miss

You absolutely must sample the island's trademark pistachios, served fresh, roasted, salted or unsalted, in halvas pies, chocolate sweets or mixed with spoon sweets The nuts have been grown on the island since 1896, and are in fact the best-known of all the nuts grown anywhere in Greece, now enjoying special protection as products of designated origin Every year in September there is the Aegina I istiki F ost, when more than 60 stalls and kiosks are set up along the shore, selling pistachios as well as other local produce like honey and cheeses You < ,in also browse other traditional wares - ceramics, lace, hand made jewellery, and so on Well-known chefs are often invited to create new dishes based on the pistachio - and visitors have the privilege of watching them at work! Children also put on their chef's hats to create delicious sweets using the nuts, which are then offered to the visitors The festival also features entertainment in the form of traditional dancing, singing, plays, lectures and tours of the museums and archaeological sites.

  • A romantic ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
  • Bicycle rides along the shore. One particularly magical ride takes you 9km from the harbour to Perdika, and the whole island is covered in roads and trails that are ideal for bike rides - good fun and good exercise too!
  • Water sports on the beach at Agia Marina, and sailing, too.
  • Finally, you can book a place on a boat cruise, or go diving, underwater fishing or snorkelling - exploring deep waters with a mask and breathing tube.
 
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