Why your next Greece holiday needs to be the island of Aegina

Why your next Greece holiday needs to be the island of Aegina

5 minute read


I've been visiting Aegina for as long as I can remember - my father brought me just as his father took him when he was a child. However, every year, the beautiful island of Aegina never fails to surprise me.

If you've never had the pleasure of visiting this hidden gem of an island nested in the Greek Saronic Gulf, you absolutely should, and here's why.

Fistiki Fest

Every year around mid-September, the port of Aegina will host the unmissable Fistiki Fest. The pistachios grown on the island are known to be the tastiest pistachios in the world! The ruby coloured nuts are uniquely sweet and crunchy, a must try for any foodie.

If you're interested in trying the world's best pistachios, you can pick them up for a reasonable price here - roasted and salted they make the perfect healthy snack!

Taking a stroll down the vibrant port road you will find a bustling trade fair. Kiosks ran by local producers line the road, where you can pick up a variety of pistachio products such as nuts, butters, ice cream (a must try), pesto, and liqueurs.

If you are a fan of pistachio ice cream like me, then I can personally recommend trying out the ice cream from Gelato Follia or Aiakeion, with both having kiosks during Fistiki Fest.

You can also catch performances from local and famous musicians. For the kids, creative workshops are hosted at the historic Markello's Tower. There really is something for everyone, and is absolutely worth making the visit for.

Aegina's Fistiki Fest

Fistiki Fest after sunset in the town of Aegina

Mt. Oros

The peak of Mount Oros can easily be spotted from the port town. This mountain reaches a total altitude of 532 metres, making it the highest point in the Saronic Gulf.

I'd recommend making the ~3 hour hike as the sunrises to avoid the heat if attempting in the summer months. Bring sunscreen and plenty of water, and wear proper shoes with long socks or covers for your legs, as parts of the path can be rocky with spiky shrubs protruding,

Near the base, you should find the ruins of the Temple of the Greek Zeus, with a chapel nearby. From here you can follow the signs and coloured rocks up to the summit.

Once you reach the top, the view is breathtaking. You can see the entire Saronic Gulf from here on a clear day, and don't forget to ring the bell to mark your victory.

Did you know the oldest temple in Europe once existed at the summit of Mount Oros? It is also where Aikos, the first king of Aegina, prayed to Zeus to save Greece from a drought. Parts of the original Zeus temple were used to construct the chapel which can now be found at the peak.

Bring your camera, as this is one view you won't want to forget.

View from the top of Mount Oros

The view from the summit of Mt. Oros

Sandy Beaches

What holiday to Greece would be complete without sunbathing on a sandy beach looking out at the crystal blue Mediterranean?

Although most of Aegina's coastline is rocky, sandy beaches do exist - if you know where to look.

On the west side of the island is Marathonas B (not to be confused with Marathonas A, although both are good). You will find the entrance to this beach shaded with huge pine trees, with a nearby restaurant who will bring food and drinks to your sun bed on order (make sure to try the club sandwich).

On the north of side of the island you can find Souvala, which has a shallow sand shelf, great for kids. Nearby you can also find the Souvala rock baths, a great place to bring your snorkel and observe the vibrant sea life (although keep an eye out for sea urchins).

On the east side of the island you can find Agia Marina, the largest beach on the island. Make sure to arrive early in the summer months to secure yourself a bed, as this one can get busy! There is also a selection of authentic restaurants surrounding this beach, perfect to watch the sunset.

Although this final one isn't actually on Aegina, it is on a tiny neighbouring island named Moni, and is well worth the visit.

This uninhabited island can only be reached by ferrying from Perdika in the summer months, and will cost you around 10 euros for a return ticket. The island is covered in pine trees, and is home to deer and peacocks, which will often appear after the crowd dies down.

The beach of Moni

The beach cove on the tiny island of Moni

Temple of Aphaia

Step back in time 2,500 years ago to ancient Greece by visiting the Temple of Aphaia. This temple was dedicated to the goddess Aphaia, the mountain and hunting goddess who also protects shipping.

Unlike the more popular architectural wonders found in Athens, these ruins are far less busy, and therefore create a unique experience whilst walking through history.

The temple that currently stands dates back to 480 BC, and 25 of the original 32 Doric columns still stand thanks to the skill of the restorers. Surrounding the temple are a number of structures, ranging from pedestal to sacrificial alters.

Figurines have been excavated from the site dating back to the late Bronze Age, especially female figurines showing that cult activity linked to a Minoan civilisation in the 14th century BC existed at the site.

For history lovers, I highly recommend checking out the Archaeological Museum of Aegina, conveniently located next to the Temple of Apollo ruins, near the port. The museum displays ancient Greek pottery, ceramics, statuettes, coins, weapons and more.

The Temple of Aphaia

The Temple of the goddess Aphaia

Church of Agios Nektarios

Agios Nektarios of Aegina is one of the most widely known Saints in Greek Orthodox. He was known as a great miracle worker, particular in the healing of diseases, as well as a writer, theologist, philosopher, moralist, educator, poet, ascetic, mystic, and a man of deep prayer.

Every year, thousands of people visit the resting site of the Saint, asking for his blessing or to pray to him for healing. The church itself is magnificent, being the largest in Greece!

Continue further up the mountain to reach the Holy Trinity, where you can visit the tomb where Agios Nektarios was buried. Some say if you place your ear to the tomb, you can hear the Saint saying a prayer for you.

In the small chapel to the left is the silver box containing his remains, and behind the chapel you can find the rooms in which he lived. Don't forget to fill your bottle with holy water, and visit the shop to pick up an icon of the Saint. 

The Holy Church of Agios Nektarios

The Holy Church of Agios Nektarios

So, there you have it! Aegina is a beautiful island very close to my heart, with a deep history and vibrant atmosphere. It's honestly a perfect choice for any Greece island holiday. I definitely will be writing another guide on food and drink on Aegina, as this deserves its own guide.

If you wish to know more, please feel free to get in touch, and I'd be more than happy to answer any questions.

Back to blog