Our Erasmus+ student Leon has enjoyed a weekend trip to the beautiful island Agistri - find out here about his experience and his best tips!
A three-week Erasmus+ programme in Athens not only gives you the opportunity to explore the city, but also the chance to take a weekend off and go on a trip to one of the nearby islands to further immerse yourself in the culture of Greece. One of these is Agistri, a small island next to Aegina, the largest of the so-called Saronic Islands.
Planning the weekend trip
Planning such a weekend trip is actually quite easy and the island can be reached in less than two hours. From Athens, you can reach the port of Piraeus in 20 minutes by metro line 1 from the centre. The ferry also leaves from there. There are two types of ferries to the Saronic Islands from the leading operators. An express ferry for passengers only and a large ferry that can also transport cars and trucks between the islands. These can also be booked easily in many languages through this agency (https://www.ferries.gr/). The ticket for the express ferry to Agistri costs around 13€ and the connection is popular among local Athenians who also like to spend their weekends on one of the islands.
Arrival at Agistri
Accordingly, after the really quick and pleasant crossing, as in Athens, arriving in Agistri is an easy one, as the local people make you feel very welcome. The express ferry arrives at the port of Megalochori (Milos), the capital of the small island. It doesn't feel like a capital though, you can feel right on land how liberated you are from the urban environment of the city of Athens.
On Agistri, besides Megalochori (Milos), there is another town called Skala. This one is a bit busier among tourists and, in addition to the popular hotels on the harbour promenade, it also offers some accommodation on the outskirts of the village, which runs along small roads on the mountain into pine forest and cliffs.
One hotel located on the coast is the Dionysos Hotel, which offers rooms furnished with charm and a good sea view in a quiet street. As an extra service, it even includes a transfer from the port in Megalochori to the hotel, which would take a half an hour on foot.
Skala and its activities
In Skala itself, there are many restaurants and bars around the harbour, which has a beautiful beach and a prominent church marking the centre of the village. There are also souvenir shops and numerous shops to stroll around.
The village also has a bicycle and scooter rental service, which can provide any two-wheeled vehicle for a reasonable price to tour the sites around the island. There are also boat rentals or the possibility of stand-up paddling on the coast, for those who prefer fun to sport.
Mountain-bike tour or hiking suggestion to the islands beaches
If you decide to go mountain biking or hiking, you can climb the island's mountain through the pine forest and past the olive groves on gravel paths to reach the small village of Limiera on the other side with a wonderful view of the Peloponnese. Limiera has a taverna and a mini-market, but also a spectacular concrete platform bathing bay with turquoise water. From Limiera you can also get directly to Aponisos, a small bay with clearest water, a nearby salt lake and a horse ranch where you can book horse rides on the island. The beach of the bay on a small peninsula is privatised, you have to pay an entrance fee of 5€ to use the sun-beds and the restaurants there. Entering the water is only possible there, as there are a lot of sea urchins around the bay.
Once back on the road and riding over a hill, you reach Dragonera Beach, which is freely accessible and has a very nice bathing bay. There is also a small kiosk there where you can get sandwiches and drinks.
Almost once in a circle on the island, you can reach the main village of Megalochori (Milos) quickly by your two-wheeler from Dragonera Beach. Once up there in the village, you can choose a long descent along the slope of the coast and thus arrive back in Skala. The whole trip takes 5-7 hours by bike, with a few breaks planned in and should not be attempted by bike on days that are too hot.
End of the day
In the evening, the day ends well in one of the tavernas, where you can enjoy local specialities such as freshly caught fish or pickled caper leaves in a salad or can also be spent in the popular bars around the harbour of Skala.
Definitely worth a trip out of the urban metropolis of Athens!