Aegina, the closest and most charming island from Athens

Aegina is the closest island to Greece’s capital city

Looking for a weekend getaway or a day trip from Athens? Aegina is the closest island to Greece’s capital city and although it’s tiny, it’s packed with ancient sites, gorgeous beaches, delicious local delicacies and an authentic vibe!

The beauty about this isle is you can be there in just under 40 minutes from the Port of Piraeus and what makes it even more amazing is that it’s nowhere near as busy as neighbouring islands such as Hydra and Spetses, giving it a more traditional and laid-back Greek island feel.

One of the must-see see sites here is the 2,500-year-old Temple of Aphaia, which is one of the most complete temples in Greece. This ancient temple predates the Parthenon in Athens. With Sounion’s Temple of Poseidon on the Athenian Riviera and the Parthenon in Athens – the Temple of Aphaia is the third link to a hypothetical isosceles triangle.

Temple of Aphaia

Also, check out the salmon pink Tower of Markellos in Aegina Town. It was built in the 17th century as a Venetian fortification and later used as a headquarters during the Greek Revolution of 1821.

Near Palaiochora, on the road to Souvala, lies the impressive Monastery of Agios Nektarios, one of the largest monasteries in Greece. It was built in the 20th Century (between 1904 and 1910) on the site of a small Byzantine monastery and is known for its many miracles.

Agios Nektarios
Monastery of Agios Nektarios

Aegina town, the capital of the island, stands out for its well-preserved and striking buildings and here you will find a wide range of restaurants, cafes, bars, bakeries, pastry stores, fish taverns (the seafood here is especially good) and other shops.

aegina shutters

On the outskirts, you can find charming little villages with distinctive traditional characters, such as Kypseli, Agii and Vagia. Aègina is also surrounded by many smaller islands including Moni, Metopi, Diaportia, Lagouses, Kyra, Dorousa, Spalathonisi, Anonyma and they can all be reached by boat from the port of Aegina.


When it comes to swimming, locals love Sarpa, as it’s is one of the most beautiful on the island. Also try Klima, Souvala, Agia Marina and Vayia.

And don’t leave here until you've tried the local pistachios as Aegina is famous for them and in mid-September they have the Fistiki Festival!


Ferries depart frequently from Piraeus to Aegina.  The Hydrofoil takes 40 minutes and a regular ferry (if you have a car or motorcycle) takes around an hour and 15 minutes. Aegina can also be reached by boat from Agistri, Hydra, Póros, and Spetses.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.