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Aegina or Egina is the tip of an extinct volcano, and one of the closest Greek islands to the capital Athens. It has a history stretching back over four thousand years, and is today a popular day trip from the capital. The key local crop is pistachio nuts, so of course we came away with a bag each, delicious!

It was a slightly rainy and rough journey by hydrofoil from Pireas port in Athens, which perhaps contributed to the island being peacefully quiet for our visit. It was one of several candidates for a day trip, but we chose Aegina as it appeared to be the most interesting of the selection. We rented scooters to explore the island, and had gyros for lunch - it doesn't get much more Greek than that.

Temple of Aphaia

The Temple of Aphaia, although largely in ruins, is still one of the most popular attractions on Aegina. It dates back to 500 BC, and is of simple Doric form. Parts of the pediment friezes and other artefacts can be seen at the local museum, with other objects being in Athens or further afield.

Saint Nectarios of Aegina was one of the island's more famous residents, living there for his final years up until 1920. He leaves a monastery as his legacy, with this associated cathedral next door, easily the most impressive on the island.

Cathedral of Saint Nectarios


A pretty walkway connects the monastery to the cathedral, the perfect photo opportunity.

There is even a mini-monastery, if that's what you're in the market for.

Mini monastery

Greek scooter

Scooting around on a scooter was the obvious way to travel around the island in style, although mine was provided with an almost empty tank, and petrol stations weren't that easy to spot.

Many more ancient little churches were scattered around the hillsides around the Nectarios monastery.

Little hillside churches

Aegina town

Aegina town is a pleasant little port, our point of arrival and departure, selling delicious gyros and plenty of pistachios!

The harbourside is dominated by a large Greek Orthodox church.

Orthodox church

Hydrofoils from Athens

Our ride back to Athens, on the good ship "Flying Dolphin". My only previous hydrofoil experience had been on the Saigon River in Vietnam, but crossing the open sea was quite a different matter. It was like being in a car wash.

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2018