Visiting Athena – Aegina and Agistri

Right outside of Athens, there are two small beautiful islands – Aegina and Agistri. During our month in Athens, we decided to go for a day trip to these islands in the Saronic Gulf. We knew about these two places already when we arrived in Athens, and it didn’t take us long to start gathering information about them. Actually, one of our first trips was to the port in Piraeus. In the end, however, it was almost time for us to leave Greece and continue our trip to Italy before we made it to Aegina and Agistri. The best part about visiting the islands at this time of the year, before peak-season, was the fact that there weren’t so many people around. We really felt like being on holiday in a lost paradise somewhere.

Aegina, Greece

A Holiday Stroll on Aegina

The island of Aegina lies not far from Athens, by regular ferry it takes about an hour from Piraeus. A very long time ago (we’re talking 5th century BC), Athens and Aegina were rivals. As it is so close to the Greek capital, it’s a very popular destination with tourists. The main town of Aegina shares its name with the island and this is also where we landed one morning in June. The morning sea breeze was gentle and the sea promenade looked appealing.

First of all, we headed to the Hill of Kolona with its archaeological museum. The hill is just north of Aegina town. The name of the places refers to the one sole column standing there, the only remains of a Doric temple dedicated to Apollo. There is also a museum and an archaeological site with a lot of remains. During our visit, there weren’t many other people. We really enjoyed the silence, while walking among the trees and taking in the atmosphere.

Aegina is not a big town, and we saw its main sights quite quickly. The old narrow streets were certainly charming, and the port beautiful. One of the sights that I enjoyed the most was the Markellos Tower. This Venetian tower looked somewhat out of place, but the pale pink building with its peaceful garden still looked special to me.

At this point, it was time for lunch. Finding somewhere to eat at this fairly early hour (11 am) was more challenging than we had thought. It was actually a pity, as there were many interesting looking restaurants. While sitting in a café in the port, we noticed a boat with a sign on it. Agistri Express, it said. We had talked about going to this second island as well but didn’t know whether there’d be enough time. We checked the timetables and talked with the people on the boat. This was the last trip for the day. Fortunately, there were ways to get back to Pireus, we wouldn’t be stranded. We knew we wouldn’t have the time nor the energy to explore the rest of the island of Aegina and it felt like we had already seen everything in the capital. The island is quite big and probably not something that you explore on foot.

The hunger settled it. Off to Agistri, we went.

Aegina, Greece Aegina, Greece Aegina, Greece

Continuing to Agistri

Ten minutes from Aegina lies pine-covered Agistri. We got off at the first stop, near the village of Skala. Sandy beaches, parasols, and cafés welcomed us. Instead of taking a break here, we decided to keep walking – to see if we would find something interesting on the way. There was almost no traffic, nor any people while we walked the few kilometers to the main village of the island, Milos. The Greek name for the village is Megalochori. The road was right next to the turquoise water and I was tempted to jump into the water more than once. There were several spots on the way that looked like tiny beaches. It was such a hot and sunny day.

Once we reached Milos, we immediately found a cozy restaurant overlooking the sea. It was not a minute early, as all three of us were suffering from the heat. We were the only customers there. This was the perfect opportunity to try some local seafood, in the form of seafood pasta. It was so delicious! I can’t remember what Jesper ate, but I’m fairly certain it wasn’t nearly as tasty as my food.

Satisfied after the break and the good lunch, we decided to check out the center of Milos. Winding streets and white houses with blue details, it was so typically Greek, We found one shop that was open, but apart from that, we didn’t see a single person in the town.

We checked the time and noticed that it was time for us to head back to Skala. On the way, I finally dipped into the sea. The water was such a pleasant temperature and I didn’t want to get up. Like ever again. Little A and Jesper patiently waited under a pine tree.

After my swim, we slowly strolled back to the ferry terminal and waited for the ferry to show up.

Agistri, Greece Agistri, Greece Agistri, Greece Agistri, Greece Agistri, Greece

Taking the Ferry Back to Athens

The ferry back to Piraeus felt like forever – it stopped in Aegina. There wasn’t much to do and Little A was restless. She managed to charm a whole bunch of fellow passengers as she walked around and waved to the people like a member of the royal family. In the end, a young girl we didn’t know walked around with her. It felt rather pleasant when we saw how the ferry started to approach Piraeus,

Agistri, Greece

Visiting Aegina and Agistri

There are many ferries that go to Aegina and Agistri, as the islands are popular with the locals. Going there doesn’t require too much planning, you can buy the ticket from a booth in the terminal. We initially thought about going on a whole-day cruise but it would have been more expensive. This way we could explore as much as we wanted.

All in all, we were very happy with our day trip to Aegina and Agistri, and would recommend both of these (but especially Agistri) to anyone who wants to escape Athens for a while.

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