Where History Meets Leisure on Aegina Island, Athens’ Closest Escape



The port of Aegina. Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The island of Aegina, only seventeen miles from the Greek capital of Athens, is a gem of the Saronic Gulf which enchants visitors with its simplicity, history and beauty.

It is definitely a place where history played its part in shaping and making this island distinct.

Aegina has many stories to tell, and the Athenians know that very well.

From the moment a traveler leaves the port of Piraeus, forty-five minutes are more than enough to completely transport him or her, physically and mentally, to this little piece of paradise.

Aegina’s history stretches back before the Minoan times, and it played a role in the 1800s Greek war of Independence against Ottoman rule as well. Visitors can gaze upon ancient temples, Byzantine churches and the simple and distinct Greek island architecture, which exudes harmony and order.

Aegina’s Temple of Aphaia. Photo by Wikimedia Commons

One of the most iconic landmarks of Aegina is the ancient temple of Aphaia.

Located within a sanctuary complex dedicated to the goddess Aphaia, the temple stands on a 160-meter (530-foot) peak on the eastern side of the island, approximately 13 kilometers (8 miles) east from the main port.

Apart from the numerous ancient Greek sites which are scattered across the island, Aegina is a major religious destination for many Greeks and other Orthodox Christians around the world as well.

The church of Saint Nectarios, Aegina. Photo by AeginaIsland.com

Saint Nectarios is one of the most well-known and loved saints in Greece’s modern history.

St. Nectarios passed away in 1920, and since 1962, the Orthodox world has venerated him as a saint. He is referred to as the ”wonder-worker of the island of Aegina.”

Aegina is home to the imposing church of Saint Nectarios, an impressive Orthodox church where thousands of people come every year to show their love for and devotion to the saint.

Whether you’ve been there or not, one thing is clear: Aegina is a land of ancient tales and stories, of beauty and simplicity, of heroism and spirituality.

And as many believe, it is Athens’ most beautiful escape, where the stress of busy everyday lives melts away in the timeless beauty of ancient temples and churches and the lovely towns nestled along its seashore.