During my visit to Greece last spring, I wanted to experience a real Greek island. After some online research I stumbled upon Aegina, the closest island to the mainland, but despite of that (or maybe because of that) one that has remained immune to mass tourism.
Less than one hour from Athens, Aegina receives mainly Greek weekend visitors or foreigners on a day trip. And, contrary to other Greek islands, it preserves all the charm of authentic Greece.
Follow my itinerary for a perfect day on this unspoiled Greek island.
They say it’s about the journey not the destination. And when it comes to the Saronic Gulf this couldn’t be any truer.
I took the ferry from the port of Pireaus to Aegina early in the morning. Being an island girl myself, I’m used to travel by water. But this was definitely one of the most enjoyable sailing experiences I can remember.
I arrive at the port of Aegina and find my way to the main town, which is still relatively calm at this hour, even though it’s Saturday and the sun is shining.
I walk along the pier, colored by small fishing boats and tanned fishermen, until the church of Agios Nikolaos, considered the protector saint of sailormen.
On the opposite side a row of small cafes and restaurants contemplates the busy harbor.
I make my away back through narrow and picturesque streets, filled with little tavernas and handicraft shops.
I continue to walk past the first beach towards the small hill overlooking the port and known as Koloni.
I enter the archeological site and wander for a while through the ruins, before climbing up what was once a temple to Apollo. Here I can enjoy the true reason of my visit: the splendorous view over Aegina town, the beautiful beach on the opposite side and the Aegean Sea.
So this is what paradise looks like.
Temple of Aphaia
After a Greek salad facing the beach for lunch, I take a taxi to the Temple of Aphaia in the middle of the island. This Doric temple is Aegina’s top attraction and one of the most important archeological sites in all Greece.
Even if you, like me, are not so interested in ancient history, the spectacular views of the island and across the Saronic Gulf to the mainland are worthy of a visit.
My last stop is the resort town of Agia Marina. The walk from the Temple of Aphaia down to Agia Marina takes me almost an hour, with regular pauses to contemplate the stunning views along the way.
Finally, I arrive. The town is almost completely empty on this warm Saturday of May, except for its long sandy beach where everyone seems to gather.
I pick a spot in the sand to leave my things and, without delay, take a dip in the crystal clear waters.
Sunset over the Aegean Sea
Back to Aegina town, I scroll the colorful pedestrian streets one more time in search of the best pistachios in the world, produced right here in this idyllic Greek island.
With my bag of pistachios and my salty skin, I take the last ferry to Athens for one final treat: a spectacular sunset over the Aegean Sea.
Where to stay
During my visit to Greece, I stayed at the gorgeous Intercontinental Athenaeum Athens. This was one of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed!
The Intercontinental Athenaeum Athens is the perfect place to splurge yourself after a day exploring Athens. My classic room was enormous and super confortable, the staff always very warm and helpful, and the breakfast and dining options simply delicious.
The hotel is located outside the city centre, but it does offer a complimentary shuttle bus to Syntagma square and return, several times per day, so you only need to worry about having a great time in Athens.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small comission if you make a purchase through them. This helps me keep this site up and running and bring you useful content. Thanks so much for your support!