Aegina sits in the Saronic Gulf, almost within sight of the Greek capital of Athens, so Aegina relatively easy for the independent traveller to reach.
Regular daily ferries, to and from the Athens port of Piraeus, also make this a good island base for those planning to tour the cultural sites of Athens.
Regular ferries to other Saronic Gulf islands also help to make Aegina a relatively good base for island hopping in this part of the world.
Roads are generally good, in the north of the island at least, and an island bus service operates to the main Aegina island resorts.
Taxis are plentiful and, as the island is not large, they can make for a reasonably priced alternative to hiring a car.
Walkers will find plenty of marked trails, especially to the more popular attractions. Walking guides are available at local bookshops.
Aegina has no airport, so most holiday visitors fly into Athens International Airport (ATH) on the mainland and catch a bus to the port of Piraeus to board one of the daily ferries to Aegina.
Athens International, officially Eleftherios Venizelos Airport, is about 27 kilometres east of Athens and has more than 50 shops, 14 restaurants and an excellent Archaeological and Antiquities Museum.
There is parking for 4,800 cars, and the E96 shuttle bus service runs 24 hours to the ferry port at Piraeus. The bus stop is outside the arrivals hall, and you must buy a ticket before boarding.
The E96 operates every 15 to 20 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes through the night. It stops several times on the way, so it's not ultra-fast with a journey time of 45 to 60 minutes depending on traffic.
The taxi rank is next to Door 3 of the arrivals hall and there are always plenty of taxis. Journey times depend on traffic and can be 30 to 50 minutes.
Aegina lies in the middle of the Saronic Gulf near the main Athens port of Piraeus. Visitors usually fly to Athens International airport, catch the E96 shuttle bus or take a taxi to Piraeus.
Ferries depart for Aegina regularly during the summer, less often in the winter. Hydrofoils (Flying Dolphins) are plentiful(around 16-a-day) and take approximately 40 minutes, ferries about twice that time.
The main ferry companies are Hellenic Seaways (nine ferries daily from 7.30 am; Nova Ferries (8 am and 2 pm) and the Aegean Flying Dolphins (hourly from 6 am).
Anes Ferries operates a daily round-trip ferry from Piraeus to Aegina.
There are ferry links to the three main ports on Aegina – Souvala, Agia Marina and Aegina Town with connections from Aegina port to the other Saronic islands of Angistri, Hydra, Poros and Spetses.
Saronic Ferries run sevices from Piraeus to Aegina, Agistri, Methana and Poros.
There are further ferry links to the Peloponnese (Epidaurus, Hermioni, Porto Cheli, Tolo, Isthmia, Nafplion) and Attica. Some of the connections are seasonal.
Spetses, Hydra, Poros, and Methana have year-round ferry links but Piraeus can be a better bet for other islands out of season.
A comprehensive list of daily sailings is posted outside the Port Authority office in the harbour and officials, not unreasonably, get a little tetchy with tourists who then press for more information.
Aegina has a good road network in the north of the island, less so in the south which is more mountainous and with fewer resorts. Aegina town has several car and bike rental offices directly opposite the port and more are based in Agia Marina.
Buses and bus services
Aegina island has good bus services run by the Aegina Bus Company. The main bus terminus is located in Aegina Town in the square near the harbour with three bus routes on offer.
Services in the north are Aegina Town – Kipseli – Vathi – Souvala – Nagia; to the south: Aegina Town – Marathonas – Perdika; and east are Aegina Town – Agios Nektarios – Agia Marina. Destinations are in Greek so learn a little Greek to cope. Aegina bus timetables are available here. Bus tickets are sold at the bus station or on the bus and single tickets cost around €2.
Aegina taxis and car hire
Most taxis gather at the harbour in Aegina Town to meet the ferries as they come in. You can also dial for a taxi – Aegina – 022635; Agia Marina – 032107; Kipseli – 0328873; Megasos – 071313; Souvala – 343606.
Aegina is an excellent island for walkers with trails right across the island, some taking in the most exciting sights – notably the trail from Agia Marina to Souvala via Paleahora and a circular walk from Agia Marina to Aphaia, Mesagros, Agios Ioannis and back to Agia Marina. Many walks are detailed in 'A Walking Guide to Aegina' by Gerald Thompson available at island bookshops. There is also a good Road Editions map for those who want to trek further afield.
The island is roughly triangular in shape, about 15 kilometres from east to west and 10 kilometres north to south, with an area of approximately 87 sq km.
The northern and western areas consist of stony but very fertile plains, most of which is well cultivated to produce good crops of grain, vines, almonds, olives and figs and the island's most notable crop – pistachio nuts.
The southern part of the island is volcanic with a rugged and mountainous terrain. The landscape is rocky and mostly barren, and with a high point at the extinct volcano of Mount Oros (531 metres). A ridge extends northwards from Mount Ornos with narrow fertile valleys on either side, many planted as vineyards.
Located in the sheltered Argo Saronic Gulf, Aegina enjoys the much the same climate as Athens. Summers are hot, sunny and virtually cloudless from June to August. Spring and autumn are cooler and the showers that fall in April and October are far less frequent in May and September. June sees temperatures rise from 21 to 25°C and they often hit 30°C in August. Winters on Aegina are relatively dry with most rain in November. Winters are relatively mild at an average 8°C.
Aegina has a plentiful supply of good holiday accommodation, mostly catering for Athenians who arrive every weekend and for the package holiday visitors who usually head for the busy east coast resort of Agia Marina.
You should book ahead if you plan a weekend visit during high season when most hotels are booked solid with Athenians escaping the heat and smog of the capital. Room owners often gather at the quayside to snare ferry passengers as they disembark and you take pot luck over standards.
Many hotels are closed from November to March, especially in Agia Marina where accommodation is aimed squarely at the package holiday market. Some hotels in Aegina Town offer significant discounts for mid-week visitors and for guests who plan to stay longer than a week, so it is always worth haggling.
Budget travellers will find no campsites or youth hostels on Aegina but there is a good choice of cheap and cheerful rooms to rent in Aegina Town and at the picturesque fishing village of Perdika to the south-west.
Agia Marina is awash with modern hotels and apartment complexes aimed at package tour guest and many have excellent sports and leisure facilities.
|Size||85 sq km|
|Season||Apr – Nov|
|Time (GMT)||+2 hrs|