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Situated in the pleasant waters of the Saronic gulf, and by far the easiest island to hop to if you find yourself in Athens, Aegina is only an hour’s ferry ride away (27km) from Piraeus. Its proximity to the bright lights of the capital means it often gets overlooked by sailors or fly-and-floppers alike, appealing more to day-trippers from the city. However it’s every bit as Greek and charming as many of the further flung islands and, being near the centre of ancient Greek civilisation, does not lack for cultural sites and sights with several temples to visit.  

It’s a good size too – nearly 90km² with a population of around 13,000 souls. The eponymous main town is the main harbour and centre of most activity, but around the coast you’ll find seaside villages offering a good level of sophistication to visitors. Inland the fertile volcanic soils have led to the island being one of the most famous places in the world for the cultivation of pistachios – a common nibble in every bar and café.  

Aegina town has some beautiful Neoclassical architecture, narrow streets with colourful houses, and nice squares with plenty of watering holes and restaurants. As ever you’ll find plenty of pistachios but if you prefer seafood head for the fish market. Local ruins suggest people have lived here for over 5,000 years. More recent claims to fame (well, for those who like movies from the sixties) include the fact that Nikos Kazantzakis lived here whilst writing his famous novel Zorba the Greek.  

There are some very nice beaches around the coastline. Most are fairly small but well resourced for food, drink and activities. Transport around the island is quite straightforward. Altogether it’s a civilised place to visit. 

Our recommendation: If you’re sailing out of Athens Aegina is a great first and/or last stop and first or final taste of Greece. It’s quite a late-night place and a good safe mooring. It’s worth a land stay and super-easy to get to, but if you’re looking for off the beaten track island-hopping you’ll probably be keen to move on after one night. Bear in mind it gets busy with Athenians at the weekend. 

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