Visit to mountainous Aegina
From Portes, the road again leaves the coast and returns west towards Anitsaio. A traditional village that stands out from afar with its deserted windmill at the top of its low hill. From Anitsaio a dirt road goes southwards that ends in the small hamlet of Vlachides, at 245m altitude, with a lovely view towards the Kipos cove (access only by sea). In general, access to the south east part of the island is either by sea or on footpaths.
Overall, Aegina offers opportunities for walking excursions due to the distances involved (not very great) and also due to the layout of the ground (moderate hills and sparse vegetation). From Anitsaio there is a footpath that leads to the foothills of Mount Ellanio. Alternatively, we can follow the road to Pacheia Rachi, and meet the crossroad (with the dirt roads) that to the right go towards Lazarides and to the left towards Taxiarches, to the foothills of Mount Ellanio and to Prophet Ilias, at the summit.
Lazarides is situated in a mountainous region (at 330m altitude), opposite the road that takes us to Mount Ellanio. Of special interest is the lovely small church of the village, that of Saint Paraskevi. A dirt road takes us to the summit of the hill, to the observatory (at 410m altitude).
The Church of the Taxiarches is a small church built on the foothills of Mount Ellanio, below its summit is Prophet Ilias (where the temple of Ellanios Zeus used to stand). In the Middle Ages, there was a monastery on this site. In the surrounding area there is a multitude of findings from the Hellenistic period. There started from here a path with steps that led to the summit and to the temple of Ellanios Zeus. We can continue by road and after the crossroad towards Taxiarchis we take the signposted footpath that we find on our left. Going up is rather toilsome (25-35 mins) but the result, as usual, will more than reward us. The small church is dedicated to the Prophet Ilias and to the Ascension is situated at the summit of Mount Ellanio (the highest point of Aegina at 540m altitude) with a wonderful view towards every direction. The main road from Anitsaio takes us to the mountain village of Aegina, Pacheia Rachi, Tzikides and Kapotides.
Just before arriving at Pacheia Rachi, we can see on the left of the road the premises of the Greek Centre for the Protection of Wildlife (EKPAZ) that is located there since 1980 (when it had been transferred from the premises of the old orphanage in Aegina town). EKPAZ is involved in taking care of wildlife and wild birds.
Pacheia Rachi is a very beautiful, mountain village, perhaps the loveliest, small village of Aegina. Stone built houses (many deserted and abandoned) with two beautiful churches dedicated in honour of Saint Dionysios (the patron saint of the island) and the Taxiarches. It has been designated an area of particular natural beauty. A very interesting detour is to follow the road that crosses through Pacheia Rachi (bad dirt road) and goes down towards Marathonas. At the point where the road goes down towards the sea, we turn right at the first crossroad to visit Kapotides. At the end of the road we can acquaint ourselves with the picturesque, blue and white, little Church of Saint Paraskevi.
Tzikides is the last village on our road, before we return to Aegina town. Agricultural-livestock village in a mountainous “wild” landscape with a very beautiful view towards the west coast of the island.