Aegina is one of the Saronic islands. It’s a popular spot for locals as some of them have their own holiday homes on the island. The frequent ferries make it easy to see this place. However, is Aegina worth visiting? This is what we’ll find out today.
Aegina is a very authentic Greek island. It has some touristy areas but the main city of Aegina and the smaller towns are amazing. The perfect place to experience a slice of the famous Greek island life. All this is easily reachable from Athens via a cheap ferry. What’s not to like?
If you are serious about a visit to Aegina then this article is for you. We’ll cover the main question: is Aegina worth visiting? We’ll also give you some good reasons for a visit and some tips for actually visiting. Finally, we’ll cover some aspects that may make Aegina a bad pick for you. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!
What’s Aegina like?
Aegina is the second largest of the Saronic Islands. With a population of 13,000, it almost feels like a big Greek town with plenty of green areas and nice beaches.
It’s a volcanic (not active anymore) island which means there are plenty of hills and fertile grounds. You can see the rolling hills filled with olives and grapes. The hills also offer perfect opportunities to take some amazing photographs of the island.
The main town to visit is Aegina. It’s a cute seaside fishing town with some interesting buildings. You can grab drinks and food on the seaside promenade or walk a few streets and find yourself in the inviting maze of amazing buildings, small streets, cute restaurants, and authentic bars.
Ag. Marina is the touristy part of the island. We actually recommend against visiting this town as it offers nothing more than what you can already see in the other towns on the island.
The island’s main attraction is the Temple of Aphaia which is a remarkable Greek temple akin to the ones you can see at the Parthenon.
Aegina is a favorite of people living in Athens and many of them own holiday homes on the island. As it’s very easy to get here the town of Aegina can be very lively on summer nights.
So if you are looking to experience this then Aegina is definitely worth the visit!
Getting to Aegina
Getting to Aegina is easy. There is a regular ferry that runs between Athen’s main port the Port of Piraeus. It’s a daily ferry and it runs multiple times during the day making it easy to do even a day trip to Aegina.
There are multiple ferry operators with the cheapest tickets costing 10 Euros. There is also a high-speed option at only 19 Euros, but this one does not carry any cars.
The regular ferry takes around 1 hour to reach the island while the high-speed boats take 40 minutes.
You can take the metro to get to the port. Buying tickets is also easy. You can do it online in advance or buy at the port itself. We bought at the port and we faced no issues, but during summer it can be a bit tricky if there are too many people.
Should you rent a car in Aegina?
If you want to explore the island fully you’ll need some kind of transportation. You can rent a car but they are a bit expensive on the island. However, taking one with a ferry is 25 euros one way, so you are probably better off renting directly on the island if you want.
There are also scooters and quads. Scooters seem the perfect vehicle for exploring the island. It has low traffic so scooters should be fine. However, we only recommend renting a scooter if you feel confident in your abilities. Life on two wheels is not without dangers for the inexperienced.
Quads are fine. They are on the more expensive side and you shouldn’t drive them like crazy but it’s generally a memorable experience to visit Aegina and rent a quad bike. Just stay safe.
One of the most convenient ways to see Aegina is through a guided tour. That way you don’t need to worry about renting yet you can explore the full island.
What to do in Aegina?
Now this is not a things to do in Aegina article so we’ll keep it short. Regardless we wanted to mention the main attractions that you can see when visiting.
First of all, you must see the town of Aegina. It has really nice architecture, inviting streets, and a very local atmosphere. A nice place to walk around and spend a few hours. Once you feel that you’ve seen it all you can settle at one of the restaurants and grab some amazing seafood.
Temple of Aphaia
One of the main attractions in Aegina. The temple is a doric ruin dedicated to the god Aphaia. It was built in the 5th century BC and it’s an important historical ruin. In fact, it’s in very good shape, comparable to the main attractions in Athens.
Athens is not known as a beach town. However, Aegina has some amazing beaches both inside the city and on the island. It’s easy to just start walking on the seashore road and find ‘hidden’ beaches all to yourself.
If you want to enjoy the sea on your Athens vacation this is definitely a nice place to visit. The city’s very own Paralia Panagitsa is usually a good place to beach but if you feel like exploring there are some picturesque options nearby.
Take it slow
Aegina is all about slowing down. Coming from Athens you will be coming from a super busy place with people and tourists everywhere. Even during the most popular times, Aegina will allow you to slow down and enjoy the moment. Take in the atmosphere, have a nice meal, and enjoy the seaside views.
How long to stay in Aegina?
Usually, we recommend a day trip if you are in Athens. If you have like 5 days in Athens then it’s worth spending one of those days in Aegina.
It really is a nice place for a day trip. You get a change of scenery and a change of atmosphere. From one of the busiest tourist cities in the world to a laid-back holiday town for the locals.
However, if you have more time think about sleeping on the island. If you spend one night then you can have a nice dinner, enjoy the night lights of the marina, and fully explore the island at your own pace.
It’s a great experience but only do it if you have enough time. Don’t take away too much from your Athens sightseeing.
More than one night? If you really love a laid-back atmosphere then you can definitely do it, but you’ll probably run out of things to see, so only plan this if you want to enjoy the slow pace of life here.
Where to eat in Aegina?
The main walking street is called P. Irioti. The restaurants on this street all offer pretty much the same menu and the same quality. It’s the most touristy part of the town but it’s also a great place to grab a bite. Good for seafood. Can’t really go wrong with the restaurants here.
The restaurants on the seaside are a bit overpriced and we would not recommend them for food. They are however great for ice cream or coffee.
Our favorite was ΟΡΕΞΗ ΝΑ ΧΕΙΣ. They have amazing grilled meat. The souvlaki was especially good, so if you haven’t had the chance to eat it yet then you can try it right here.
Where to stay in Aegina?
We want to mention 2 nice hotels in Aegina.
The Plaza Hotel is a nice cheap option that’s overlooking the beach and the sea. Rooms in the hotel have great views, they are clean, and the location is excellent.
Of course, this is a cheap hotel so don’t expect luxury, however, the cleanliness makes it feel homely. A simple accommodation that’s perfect for staying the night in town.
Afia Houses is a great option for those who maybe plan to stay longer. These are small but spacious apartments with nice bathrooms. It’s very easy to get comfortable and spend a few nights in this hotel as you’ll instantly feel right at home from the moment you arrive.
Who should not visit Aegina?
Aegina is a nice visit and it’s very easy to include it in an Athens itinerary or even do a direct visit to the island. However, it may not be for everyone. So let’s take a look at some scenarios when you should maybe choose not to visit the island.
- You are only spending a few days in Athens
- If you don’t have the time then don’t visit. Simple as that. Athens is an amazing place and to see it fully you’ll need at least 3 days. If you have no time to spare then spend that time sightseeing in Athens
- You are on a very tight budget
- Regardless of the cheap ferry tickets, a visit to the island will cost you. You’ll probably need some sort of vehicle to check the Temple Ruins or a guided tour. This all costs money, if your budgeting is tight then there are plenty of cheap and fun things to do in Athens
- You plan on visiting the other Saronic Islands
- Visiting one Saronic Island is honestly enough. If you plan on seeing some of the other islands then you may decide not to see Aegina. You won’t lose too much.