The island of Agistri has a look of its own and is a perfect spot for those seeking a deserted, sandy beach and a quiet, relaxing atmosphere.
In the Saronic Gulf, just off the Grecian coast, lies the island oasis of Agistri. Explore exotic beaches with crystal-clear waters, like Dragonera, Aponisos and Mareza. Tour traditional settlements, like Limenaria. Or relax for a spell at one of the island’s scenic ouzo bars, which serve fresh fish right on the water. Here the pines stretch all the way to the sea and the breeze envelops you with aromas of the island’s fresh thyme and oregano plants. A year-round favourite for those who love camping, cycling and hiking, the 14 square-kilometre island is the ideal destination for your next holiday or even a weekend getaway. It is a mere two-hour ferry ride from the port of Piraeus and only 55 minutes by Flying Dolphin.
The island’s bustling port, Skala, has many hotels, taverns, cafés and clubs, as well as an organised beach, perfect for relaxing under the hot Mediterranean sun. Nearby, the blue dome of the church of Agioi Anargyroi accents the beauty of the sea and sky. Not far from the city, you’ll find the traditional settlements of Skliri and Metochi, which offer incredible views of the island and its surroundings.
The island’s capital Megalochori, or Mylos, is filled with dazzling white houses, flowery backyards and scenic alleyways that converge at the church of Zoodochos Pigi. Nearby, you’ll find the island’s most scenic settlement: Limenaria, home to hundreds of traditional stone houses, the lovely church of Agia Kyriaki, an old café-tavern and bakeries that fill the air with the aroma of freshly baked bread.
Enjoy the sun and the exotic waters of Agistri, the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Agistri At a glance:
The history of the island dates back centuries, when Agistri together with Aegina and the nearby islands established the Kingdom of Aegina, ruled by the mythical King Aiakos. The island has been inhabited since the 5th century BC by Peloponnese residents. According to Homer, it was the haven of the brave Myrmidons and also fought in the War of Troy. Known as Pityonisos, or the Pine Island, Agistri was also the summer residence of Aiakos.
According to Greek mythology, the goddess Aphaia hid in the local sea caves to escape from the Aeginian fishermen. The goddess Artemis, who wanted to help Aphaia, gave her flowers to decorate her head, so she wouldn’t be recognised. This is how the island got the nickname Kekryfaleia, which means 'beautifully decorated head'.
At the end of the 17th century, Agistri was inhabited by Arvanites who settled on the shores of the island’s lake. After devastating pirate raids, the settlers deserted the area, moving further to the south and founding the village of Limenaria.
During the Greek War of Independence, Agistri fought fiercely for freedom. But the island’s true independence did not arrive until 1835, when it was declared by Royal Decree a Community with 248 official permanent residents.
Sightseeing and activities
• The Folklore Museum, which is housed in the Cultural Centre of Agistri in the village of Megalochori
• The Byzantine chapel of Agios Nikolaos on the way to Aponisos
• Limenaria, a gorgeous traditional settlement
• The village of Megalochori
• The settlements of Metochi and Skliri
• The island’s idyllic lake
• A tour around the island in a traditional wooden boat
• The sunset in Aponisos
• A day cruise to Aegina (a 10-minute boat ride)
• A cruise to the nearby islets of Metopi, Moni, Kyra, Spalathronisi and Dorousa
• A ride on the tourist train around the island’s beaches
• A visit to the island’s churches: the Zoodochos Pigi Cathedral in Megalochori, Agioi Anargyroi in Skala, Agia Kyriaki in Limenaria, Panagia in Metochi, and Agioi Pantes and Agioi Theodoroi outside of Megalochori
In Skala, Megalochori, Aponisos and Limenaria you will find numerous taverns and restaurants with freshly prepared local delicacies, and seafood caught daily. Try the grilled octopus paired with local wine, or tsipouro, produced in traditional raki cauldrons from a number of grape varieties. Local recipes include Mousounta (a kind of herb pie), Laklori (courgette pie), as well as doughnuts and pancakes. Local products include green olives, capers, pine honey and various herbs.
Feel right at home
You will find plenty of accommodation in Skala, Megalochori and Skliri offering high-quality services and affordable prices.
Find more information about hotels and rooms for rent at www.agistri.com.gr.
Agistri boasts some truly exotic beaches, with turquoise blue waters and pine trees that stretch all the way to the sea.
• Aponisos: this exotic beach, west of Limenaria, has pines growing all the way to the sea where they are bordered by smooth, naturally sculpted rocks.
• Dragonera : this organised beach is divided into two smaller ones, Mikri and Megali Dragonera. It has emerald waters and is surrounded by pines.
• Mareza: this rocky beach near Limenaria has crystal-clear waters and pines all around.
• Skliri and Halikiada: Skliri is located west of Skala and is a small, rocky beach with crystal-clear waters. Halikiada has white pebbles, emerald waters and is ideal for snorkelling.
• Skala: this organised sandy beach near the main port has breathtakingly beautiful crystal-clear waters.
• Megalochori or Mylos: This lovely sand-and-pebble beach features turquoise blue waters.
• Kaladi: This is the island’s most well-known beach, with gorgeous emerald waters and numerous caves waiting to be explored.
• Palaiopoli: This sand-and-pebble beach is the island’s longest.
• Halkos: A scenic bay with emerald waters, Halkos is located in the south-eastern part of the island, near Hora. The beach’s chairs and canteen are perfect for relaxing.
• Fyri Ammos: This is a vast beach with red sand, surrounded by steep cliffs. Komponada, another lovely beach, lies a stone’s throw away.
• Avlemonas: Alluring rocks, ideal for diving and sunbathing, surround an idyllic bay filled with small taverns serving fresh seafood at this local beach.
• Agia Pelagia: This holiday resort with a series of beaches ends in a stunning lake with emerald waters and an incredible Blue Flag beach.
• Kapsali: This beach has both sand and small pebbles as well as excellent cafés and taverns.
• Platia Ammos: This sandy organised beach offers a scenic view to the Peloponnese.
Culture and tradition:
If you happen to visit the island during the summer, don’t forget to check out the municipality’s cultural events. Endless hours of fun and relaxation with music, drinks, food and dancing await you at the numerous cafés and clubs in Skala and Megalochori, as well as in the famous Hook Club in Skliri that has an organised beach and various amenities.
Sports and activities:
The island of Agistri is ideal for water sports, like windsurfing, waterskiing and fishing. Its rocky seabed is perfect for snorkelling and diving. The nearby islets of Metopi, Dorousa, Kyra and Spalathronisi have exceptional beaches and can be accessed by sailing boat or yacht.
Agistri is a paradise for those who love hiking and cycling. In the afternoons, you can go horseriding at the Equestrian Centre in Megalochori.
Ferries run daily from the port of Piraeus and take approximately two hours (Hellenic Seaways: 210 4117341, 210 4199000, www.hellenicseaways.gr).
Flying Dolphins run three times daily from the port of Piraeus and take approximately 55 minutes (Hellas Flying Dolphins: 22970 4199200. AEGEAN Flying Dolphins: 210 4121654).
From Aegina you can access Agistri via the Agistri Express ferry or by sea taxi, which runs frequently during the summer.
More information about the island can be found at: www.agistri.com.gr