SOUVALA -2nd biggest port of Aegina
Souvala – Crowded in high season!
Driving north-eastern exploring the coasts.
This entry is from our short trip to Souvala, a very popular destination especially to Greeks during the high season of summer.
Being the second biggest port (the first one is Aegina’s) it is straightly connected to the port of Piraeus.
Located on the eastern part of the island, it is only 9 km away from the city of Aegina.
We take the coastal road full of picturesque coves and drive towards Plakakia.
I stop for a photo when we reach the Capralos Museum, but I am not going in because of lack of time.
The works exhibited here however are of marble, Aeginean porous stone and wood; and there are exhibits of paintings, terracotta and ceramics.
Daily 09:30 -14:00 and 17:00 – 20:00
Admission: 2 euros.
Telephone: +22970 22001 and 22970 22053
Just opposite the bronze statue of the Greek Mother welcomes the visitor.
- Road Trip
The Monastery of Saint Nektarios
The Monastery of Saint Nektarios
The monastery of Saint Nektarios is 6 km from the city of Aegina on the road to Saint Marina. The hill where it is built is named Xantos. It comes from the word “xagnadema” (look out point), inviting you to survey the surrounding landscape.
The remains of the Saint are preserved in the first chapel of the Holy Trinity – the monastery above the church which has been expanded with a huge guesthouse. Fourteen nuns live here today. November 9 is the big celebration with people gathering from every part of Greece and many orthodox countries of Europe. The turnout of believers and worshippers visiting is great and I am amazed with the number of coaches we find at the parking lot the three days we are here.
A Few words about the Life of Saint Nekarios.
Saint Nektarios, known for his countless miracles of healing, and as, "A Saint for our Time," was born in 1846 in Selybria, Thrace. When he was fourteen, he left his home and traveled to Constantinople in search of work and study. Of course there are links on the net to find more about the life of St. Nektarios.
TIPS: It is preferable to start the visit from the upper churches where the guest house is and then climb down the scales to the big church.
Monastery Telephone: 22970 53806
Taxis: The fare is 10 euros one way, but taxi drivers told me that they usually wait for the worshippers at the parking lot –about 30 minutes and take them back for 25 euros.
Buses: The cheapest alternative is to come by bus from the city of Aegina.
There are 3 bus lines on the island, all leaving from and returning to the main bus station opposite the Port in Aegina town. You need to have a little knowledge of Greek to find out where the bus is going to, as the name of the destinations is written in Greek. You can find the timetables at the bus station in Aegina town. At the various bus stops along the routes you don't find timetables. Tickets can be bought at the main bus station and on the bus.
• Route 1 (30 minutes)
Aegina town - Kipseli - Vathi - Souvala - Agii - Vagia
return route: Vagia - Agii - Souvala - Vathi - Kipseli - Aegina town
• Route 2a (30 minutes)
Aegina town - Agios Nektarios - Mesagros - Aphaia Temple - Agia Marina
return route: Agia Marina - Aphaia Temple - Mesagros - Agios Nektarios
• Route 2b (30 minutes)
Aegina town - Agios Nektarios - Alones - Agia Marina
return route: Agia Marina - Aphaia Temple - Mesagros - Agios Nektarios - Aegina town
• Route 3 (20 minutes)
Aegina town - Faros - Marathonas - Aeginitissa - Perdika
return route: Perdika - Aeginitissa - Marathonas - Faros - Aegina town
- Religious Travel
I was amazed seeing all those small chapels scattered opposite the hill of Saint Nektarios Monastery. The second day 26 September -the name day of St. John Theologos, we come to the Monastery of Saint Nektarios and we were planning visiting the ‘village’ as we thought of Paleochora which was in short proximity and on our way to Souvala, the small port and fishing village. Once there were Thermal Baths out there and I was quite curious to visit this place.
Leaving behind the Monastery we come across a white washed little chapel by the side main road (the chapel of the Holy Cross). There was also a sign “Paleochora” indicating that Paleochora was here…
In Greek this word means –the old country. This made me have a look on my guide and to my surprise I found that it was possible for me to have a stroll to many of those chapels of the hill.
The hill is also called the medieval acropolis of Aegina or (Paleochora).
There is a chapel dedicated to Saint John Theologos and some ladies coming from that chapel guided me how to get there. So, I decide to take the stroll which I recommend it to all visitors. This chapel is the very last you come across and it took me about 15 minutes to walk the rocky pathway, always walking straight. The chapel of St. Theologos is shaded by some pine trees.
The stroll is really interesting because along the way there are other chapels which one can go in and the view from up here is stunning.
The history of Paleochora dates back to the 8th century AD, when fearing attack from the Venetians and Saracen pirates, the Aeginites left the coastal area to seek refuge in the island’s interior. They remained there for 10 centuries.
Of course the chapels we see today are from various periods, from the 13th to the 18th centuries.
On the hill today there are 36 of the original 365 that existed on this hill, some of them in better condition than others and some destroyed. Can you imagine the existence of the 365 chapels those days?
I highly recommend this stroll out here.
- Religious Travel
- Historical Travel
Temple of Apollo (Kolona)
The Temple of Apollo (Kolona) is an 8 minute walk from the harbour of Aegina situated on a hill and it was inhabited in prehistoric times through the classical period. Excavations discovered extensive walls and foundations and in fact these excavations are still in progress. It is believed that underneath the huge column there are still treasures to be discovered.
The temple was built the 6th century, and there is the Archaeological Museum at this site with a small collection of pottery and sculpture from all periods of the island’s history.
The statue of the Sphinx is one of the most significant exhibits in the Museum, a votive monument of the early classical period (460BC) dedicated to the Temple of Apollo. It is an extraordinary sculpture with a head of a woman and a body that is half eagle and half lion. This Sphinx was excavated the year 1903.
- Historical Travel
Temple of Aphaia
I visited the temple of Aphaia the day before leaving. It is one of the most beautiful temples I have ever visited after the Acropolis. Nobody should miss this spot because it really is an exceptional site.
The temple we see today (Doric) dates back to 490 BC. The columns are from local porous sandstone and it served as a model for the construction of the Parthenon and several other temples in Greece.
I have read that it is possible to spot the Acropolis and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounio on a clear day. Although the day was exceptionally good I had no idea of this fact but I will try to spot them on a coming trip. It is said that the three temples form an isosceles triangle (the sacred triangle of antiquity).
On the grounds of the Temple stands the Museum of Aphaia which I also missed on this trip. Out here, everything that remains from the temple is housed and one of the most important artefacts is the reconstructed section of the pediment of the temple. It is the copy of goddess Athena and the votive tablet (560 BC) on which states clearly that the temple is dedicated to the goddess Aphaia.
No tourist must leave the island of Aegina without visiting this very beautiful and significant Ancient Temple.
- Historical Travel
Temple’s of Aphaia pediments Moscow
Another place where I could enjoy by copies of masterpieces from Aegina Island was the Moscow Pushkin State Museum of Art. Really I couldn't ever imagine that I would see the original of statues in Munich and the Aphaia Temple in reality...
- Museum Visits
Temple’s of Aphaia pediments in Munich
The temple’s pediments were adorned with magnificent sculptures representing the Battle of Troy, which can not be seen there anymore since they have been taken by the Turks during the 19th century, as many of Greece’s marbles, and got sold to Ludwig of Bavaria, the father of King Othon.
They are now exposed in the Munich Glyptothek Museum. They were restored by the Danish neoclassic sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. These works exerted a formative influence on the local character of Neoclassicism in Munich, as exhibited in the architecture of Leo von Klenze.
I enjoyed watching pediments in 2004 not knowing that three years later I would find myself in Aegina at the Aphaia Temple.
Views above Aghia Marina
The Temple of Aphaia stands on the top of a pine-clad hill above Aghia Marina from where you have a marvelous view to the mainland.
Built on top of a wooded hill, it offers the most magnificent view over the island, the Saronic Gulf.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Mount Oros is an extinct volcano and Aegina's highest point at 532 meters (1745 feet).
According to my free Aegina map there is a remote archeological site on Mount Oros called "Naos Ellaniou Dia" but the dirt road that leads to it was deemed impassable by my taxi driver. The highway that passes the mountain is quite scenic and goes by the villages of Lazarides, Portes, and Anitseo.
If you want to do this trip then it might be possible by renting a motorcycle from Aghia Marina. Otherwise the opportunity to go near Mount Oros by taxi is on the way from Aghia Marina to the fishing village of Perdika.
- Hiking and Walking
- Road Trip
Moni Island: where the deer and the antelope play
Located just off the southwest corner of Aegina Island opposite Perdika fishing village, Moni Island is uninhabited except for animals including deer, antelope, rabbits, and peacocks. There is ferry service from Perdika and it takes about 10-15 minutes to reach the north shore of this small island.
You can hike on a path that goes to the highest point on the island. During World War II the Germans actually used Moni Island in defense of the port of Piraeus, and an old bunker can still be seen for military history buffs who enjoy searching for remnants of the brief occupation.
It is about 20 minutes from Aegina town, a very nice place to be. They do great work and heal injured animals or help abandoned young ones to grow up. there are mostly birds. You can help them by buying something from their shop or you can even do arrangements and offer there your voluntary work.
Beaches in Aegina
Aegina has magnificent beaches all with wonderful golden sand.
Agia Marina, Souvala, Marathona, and Perdika are some of the wonderful beaches on the island.
At the picture we have a rest on Klima beach after delicious lunch :-)
Angistri is a small island near Aegina with beautiful sandy beaches and nice tavernas. Angistri is famous for being one of the first places in Greece to experiment with nudist beaches. The beautiful, unspoilt island of Agistri (or Angistri) is just over one hour from the Athens port of Piraeus.
More pictures are in my travelogue.
Perdika is situated 3 km from Aegina town. There is a fine beach on the way to Perdika. The charming fishing harbour lined by fish tavernas, affords a good view of Moni island.
We had a delisious lunch in Perdika village and it was the first time I've tried the octopus (grilled)!!!
Ivan and Ujala
Two VT members Ivan (Ivan_Jimenez) and Ujala (bakpakchik) were travelling to Aegina with me and Andreas. Great team :-)