Less than an hour from the port of Piraeus by “Flying Dophin”, Agistri is a small island in the Saronic Gulf.
Agistri is tiny, and it takes just ten minutes to drive from the northern village of Megalochori to Limenaria in the far south.
In between are unpopulated hills where wild oregano, figs and lemons grow among the pine forests.
Agistri’s coast is rocky and trimmed with cliffs and dense woodland that comes right down to the sea.
Some of the best places to bathe are just rocky platforms where you can lower yourself into glowing pools of clear water, but there’s a family-friendly sandy beach in Skala.
On land you can try horse riding or rent a bicycle, while by water there are kayak adventures, wreck dives and speedboat trips to a host of destinations on the Saronic Gulf.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Agistri:
1. Aponisos Beach
Not a beach in the traditional sense, Aponisos Beach is a private bathing area on rocks with ladders and steps down to crystal clear waters.
The sea at Aponisos is sheltered by the indented coast, as well as the private island no more than 200 metres offshore.
Entrance costs €5, and this includes the price of a sun lounger, sun shade and a drink.
You can borrow an air mattress or tube to drift on the water, while the fish restaurant by the beach is rated as one of the best on the island.
Don’t forget to bring snorkelling gear as these crystalline waters abound with sea life.
Together with Megalochori, Skala is Agistri’s main port, handling traffic from Piraeus and the neighbouring island of Aegina.
Skala is also the most upmarket settlement on the island, with its fair share of accommodation, complemented by tavernas, cafes bars and even a nightclub on the edge of the village.
If you’re dining out in Agistri, chances are you’ll find yourself in Skala, and one of the delicacies you have to try is barbecued octopus.
Skala also has the shallowest and best appointed beach on Agistri, so is the destination of choice for families.
3. Dragonera Beach
Just off the road from Megalochori to Limenaria, Dragonera Beach is a pebble bay framed by pine-capped rocks on the west coast.
The beach has a single row of sun loungers and sun shades, rented out by a little kiosk on the shore.
This is the only sign of tourism at Dragonera: Behind are uninhabited coniferous hills, and if you’re feeling adventurous you could wade around the rocks to the north to find a quiet place to bathe.
The sea at Dragonera is a captivating turquoise colour, with rippling surf that should be safe for all-comers.
The island’s capital, Megalochori is still no more than a village in size, with a population of little more than 500. Alongside Skala it is the settlement most geared towards tourism.
In Ancient Greece the harbour in Megalochori was used as a naval base, while today it’s a simple fishing port with nets piled up on the quayside.
Ferries also arrive from Aegina, as well as “Flying Dophins” from Piraeus.
Allow some time to poke around its whitewashed alleys, bright with fuchsia flowers, and track down the village’s landmark, a windmill dating to 1812. Finish with an ice-cold frappé at a cafe.
5. Chalikiada Beach
On the east coast, Chalikiada Beach is a pebble cove guarded by high cliffs.
You’ll want to pause over the view before you step down the beach, to see Aegina and Moni Island in the distance.
Thanks to its more intimate setting, Chalikiada Beach is the only beach in the Agistri and Aegina area to cater to naturists.
The shore pitches quite steeply into the water, and the currents may sometimes be too much for non-swimmers, but will be fine for everyone else.
It’s best to come prepared to this remote beach, but if you need anything Skala is only a few hundred metres away.
It’s not unusual to see a small village of tents on the beach as people often camp out here in the summer.
A small tangle of lanes bear in the south of Agistri, Limenaria is a trip worth making for the scenic 10-minute drive that gives you panoramas of the Saronic Gulf and islands.
Limenaria is embedded in a valley and you’ll see the village from above before zigzagging down the slope.
This sleepy little place has just a single taverna, which comes highly recommended.
The village bursts into life on 7 July when the golden-domed Church of Agia Kyriaki is the centre of a folk festival.
Moments to the east is the tiny port of Mariza, where there’s a pool ladder on the rocks for the clear waters below.
7. Water Sports
One of the great things about the Saronic Gulf is that the sea is sheltered from the infamous Meltemi Wind, and when the weather’s calm it’s possible to navigate its waters with manpower alone.
In Skala you can get in touch with the adventure sports company, Go Kayak Greece, which arranges kayak tours with qualified guides who have in-depth knowledge of the island, its nature and history.
These can be half-day or full-day trips, or shorter excursions.
A popular destination is the small island of Metopi, between Agistri and Aegina.
There you can visit the little Theodori chapel and on evening trips you’ll watch the sun setting over the Saronic Gulf.
8. Church of Agioi Anargyroi
A 20th-century church for the 3rd-century Saints Cosmas and Damian, the cruciform Agioi Anargyroi is one of Agistri’s most photographed buildings.
The church is reflected on the water in Skala, and its main dome and apse are painted light blue.
Like all of the religious buildings on Agistri, it’s a sight to savour from the outside, apart from during the feast of St Cosmas and Damian, on 1 July when it’s the focus of a folk celebration.
On the evergreen slopes between Megalochori and Skala, Metochi is a minuscule but endearing residential village with just one taverna.
If you’re on Agistri, you could make the walk or drive up to Metochi for vistas of the north coast.
The village has some of the oldest buildings on Agistri, most whitewashed, with terracotta roofs, bougainvillea blossoms and blue painted windows and doors.
In its elevated position, Metochi is a good springboard for hikes in Agistri’s coniferous landscape, with the scent of wild herbs on the air.
10. Church of Panagia
Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, this church rests on a rocky podium and is an exhilarating vantage point for north of the island.
Getting there on foot from Skala requires a little effort, and hundreds of worshippers conquer the slope every 15 August for the Assumption.
The Church of Panagia will likely be closed when you come, but most visitors come for the views of Skala and the Island of Aegina.
The church’s whitewashed Cycladic-style walls and campanile are stand out against the blues of the sky and sea.
11. Skala Beach
The favourite beach for families on Agistri, Skala Beach is barely 100 metres from the village’s harbour and in view of the blue dome of Agioi Anargyroi.
The location is one of the best things going for Skala Beach as within seconds there’s a good choice of shops and places to eat.
The other advantage is the gentle, shallow water that smaller children will be able to play in.
Skala Beach is also “organised” and there are sun loungers and parasols to rent.
12. Boat Trips
Not far from the Peloponnese mainland and surrounded by other Saronic islands, Agistri is in a prime location if you want to see the best of the Saronic Gulf.
Operating out of the harbour at Megalochori is the Jamaica Speed Boat, providing swift transfers to any number of places nearby.
The company serves Ancient Epidaurus, home to one of the ancient world’s greatest theatres, the picturesque and traditional island of Hydra, the Corinth Canal and Poros, an island escape for cultural figures like Henry Miller and Nobel Prize-winning poet Giorgos Seferis.
Alternatively you could make for local beauty spots, to snorkel, paddleboard and swim in shimmering blue pools.
13. Horse Riding
The deserted southern half of Agistri is primed for outdoor adventure, and you can now journey through its pine forest and fruit groves on horseback.
Aponisos Horse Riding is in the southwest of the island and caters to both children and adults.
Youngsters can get to know the basics of horse riding at a lesson in a safe environment.
More experienced kids, and adults can also break out on a trek along the coast and around the salt lake in Agistri’s hinterland.
A 90-minute ride will cost €25 per person.
Off the southwest of Agistri are sparkling waters with amazing water clarity, with no fewer than nine separate dive sites.
These might be the wreck of the Avantis III container ship or an underwater canyon off the Island of Dorousa concealing a small sunken vessel.
The one dive centre on Agistri is Interdive at Megalochori, run by former commercial divers.
Interdive sails to its dive sites on the wooden Astrolavos yacht and offers free refreshments on board.
Newcomers to diving can study for PADI certification, while seasoned divers can earn more advanced qualifications.
Kids can also be introduced to the equipment and techniques on a “Bubblemaker” course.
Five kilometres east of Agistri, Aegina is served by one of the regular ferries sailing from Megalochori.
If possible you should visit with a moped or rental car as there are some spellbinding sights to track down.
High on the east coast, overlooking the island, is the Doric Temple of Aphaia from the end of the 6th century BC. The once magnificent pediment is missing from the ruins, which are otherwise almost complete, but there’s a faithful reconstruction at the site’s museum.
A matter of seconds across the narrow strait from the port town of Perdika is Moni Island, roamed by wild peacocks and the scene of one of the best beaches in the region.
Even though Monis Island Beach is just a rocky ledge, the landward-facing water has a pure aquamarine pool that must be seen to be believed.