Sightseeing tours to the north and east coast of Aegina
Starting from Aegina town and going northwards, from the archaeological site of Kolona and after, at 1.5km we pass through the area Plakakia with the homonymous cape, which is where the island’s northeastern lovely lighthouseis situated (with light beams of 10 nautical miles). Together with neighbouring Livadi, they constitue one of the loveliest areas of Aegina with beautiful houses, small, picturesque beaches, an endless view of the sea and the rich light. We can see the small Church of Saints Apostoloi beside the lighthouse.
Outstanding Greek figures of the arts and letters have connected their lives with Aegina, particularly during the first decades of the 20th century. At Plakakia we can see the house-museum of Christos Kapralos, who was one of the most important Greek modernist sculptors of the 20th century. In the three rooms of his museum, we can see works such as ‘The Crucifixion of Christ’, the memorial of the Battle of Pindos and also his paintings. Opposite the museum, on the side of the seashore, towers grandly the bronze figure of the Mother.
A few hundred metres on, we can see the house, with a view of the Saronic Gulf, where our great writer Nikos Kazantzakis lived for 20 years (from May 1927). Drawing level with the house of N Kazantzakis, if we leave for a little the coastal road and turn right, southwards, towards Aegina town, we find the Convent of Saint Anastasia of Pharmakolytria by way of narrow alleys. A few metres further on, there is a walled archaeological site without any sign.
Continuing on the coastal road, we pass by a small unenclosed, archaeological site with excavated ancient graves, beside the small church and the beach of Saints Anagyroi, continuing on to the sandy beach at Kamares, the shipyard, that today is used as a place for mooring boats, in the area of Leonti next to Kavouropetra beach and ending at Vathi, one of the largest villages of Aegina.
If we wish to satiate ourselves on views, we can follow the short dirt road that leads us to the summit of the hill above Vathi and the small Church of the Prophet Ilias that offers us the endless horizon of the entire north Aegina and the opposite coastline of Attiki. From Vathi going up the road that passes in front of the parish Church of the Holy Trinity, we can go in the direction of the Convent of the Virgin Mary of Elevtherotria (towards Leonti).
Right after Vathi, we find ourselves in Souvala. A lovely, traditional fishing village with a beautiful, sandy beach that has been developed into a tourist centre. At the beach, there were thermal medicinal spas, known with the old name Therma.
The road from Souvala passes through Αgiοi, a coastal village, with quite a bit of modern building and an extensive but rocky beach. Going up southwards, to the upper part of the village we can see the Church of Saint Crispus (it is said that he was the founder of the Church of Aegina) and higher up the small Church of the Prophet Ilias, embedded in a very lovely forest area high above Agioi community. The houses have almost reached the forest and we have to search a little to find the start of the short footpath that leads us to the church.
The coastal road to the northern section of the island ends in Vagia before the cape Tourlos and the Naval Base. A fishing village built on a pine tree covered hill, with a lovely sandy beach. There are traces of ancient habitation. From Vagia the road goes in the direction of the island’s mainland south and we can go either eastwards towards Aphaia or westwards towards Messagros and from there towards Saint Nectarios.
A visit to Aphaia is an essential must for any touristic stay of ours in Aegina. In an environment of pine trees we can see the imposing and well preserved Doric temple dedicated in honour of the local goddess Aphaia. Its final form was built in 500BC with the use of local tufa rocks. Together with the temple of Poseidon at Sounio and the Parthenon, they constitute the three angles of an isosceles triangle (with the temples of Poseidon and the Parthenon as its base).
In the small Archaeological Museum of Aphaia are mainly displayed exhibits and representations from the old temple that was built in 575 BC and was burned in order to build (in 500 BC) in its place the temple that has been saved today.
At 1 km from the archaeological site of Aphaia, we can visit the Holy Monastery of Saint Minas which is surrounded by a high exterior wall and has two catholics.
From Aphaia, continuing southwards, we can make a small detour east to visit the small hamlet of Cavos. Beautiful hamlet in thick undergrowth, which is situated below Aphaia’s hill. There have been found in the area traces of prehistoric settlement. Following the road that passes through the village to its end, it continues as a dirt road and we end up on a short footpath that takes us, if we follow it, to a deserted beach with fine pebbles or to a neighbouring beach with level, small rocks for those who prefer them. Our next stop after Cavos, is the troubled Αgia Marina. Agia Marina is a characteristic example of what can happen to a village that bases its development solely on mass tourism (the collapse of which led to the closure of many local touristic businesses). Still a very beautiful landscape, with a large and organized sandy beach, which lost its colour though due to the uncontrolled touristic building.
From Agia Marina, either we take the road that passes through Alones and ends before Messagros on the west side, or we continue southwards and go through the small hamlet Kylindra and thepicturesque Portes, with a beautiful sandy beach and charming, small tavernas. Portes was a Venetian harbour and from here were loaded the large, processed black rocks used to build the harbours in Crete.
If we follow the road towards Alones, it is worth visiting after Alones, the Chapels of Saint Pantaleon and of Saint Eustatius. Just outside the village we can see the sign for Saint Eustatius. Following the sign we can see beside the river in a very lovely location first, the Chapel of Saint Pantaleon and then of Saint Eustatius.