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Moni Island, the must-visit island close to Aegina

A stone's throw from the quaint Perdika, the idyllic islet of Moni awaits, unspoiled and uninhabited, a testament to its monastic roots.
Moni Island

Nestled a stone’s throw away from the cape of Perdika in Aegina, is an enchantingly verdant gem of an islet – Moni. This is no ordinary piece of land, but a whimsical wildlife haven under the custody of the Sacred Monastery of Chrysoleontissa in Aegina.

How unique, you ask? Well, its residents are far from your regular folks. This island’s locals consist of an array of wild animals, each with their own charming quirks.

Serving as the beating heart of this biodiversity hotspot for three fascinating decades from 1960 to 1990, was the Greek Tourist Club. The tireless efforts of its members introduced an impressive count of wildlife, transforming this charming islet into a thriving ecosystem.

From 1962, Moni has been honored as a natural breeding park for wildlife. Free to roam in the dense forest are deer of Rhodian kind, cheeky squirrels, and even peacocks that seem to enjoy human company. Be prepared for the sight of wild goats nimbly scaling the island’s rocky parts, quenching their thirst with seawater. While the island once hosted other creatures such as hares and pony horses, sadly, they could not survive the test of time.

Now, let’s journey back in time a bit. During those three thrilling decades, an organized camping site was in operation on the islet. As you explore, remnants of this past life might stumble upon your path, whispering tales of the days of yore.

For those with a keen love for hiking, the highest point of the island is a must-visit. A trail will lead you through a captivating canvas of wild olive trees, mastic, and cedars. Awaiting you at the top is a rewarding spectacle. Stand in the remnants of a German-built observatory, and let your gaze sweep over the breathtaking view of the Saronic Gulf and surrounding islands. Time may have laid heavy on the observatory, causing its roof to collapse, yet the rocky heights provide ample shelter.

While the southeastern face of the island may be somewhat barren, strewn with jagged cliffs that challenge even the most intrepid explorer, the northwest side is a stark contrast. It’s a canvas of lush greenery, so abundant it even dares to caress the ocean’s surface. This area becomes a lively hotspot during the warm summer months, hosting a well-organised sandy beach with loungers and a beach bar that’s perfect for a refreshing drink, groovy music, and mouth-watering meze dishes that cater to every palate.

Moni Island flaunts two stunning azure beaches. In their cool waters, you can not only rejuvenate with a refreshing dip but also try your hand at fishing. Imagine enjoying tranquil moments accompanied by the squawking seagulls and little crabs scampering across smoothed pebbles. In the gentle embrace of these beaches, you’ll also spot a number of boats anchored, particularly during the summer months. Their occupants enjoy endless diving escapades, seeking the tranquility generously offered by the island’s nature.

As the island is a protected ecosystem, overnight stays are reserved solely for its “permanent” residents. It’s time to explore the best areas to stay in Aegina. As mere mortals, we’re left with the joy of daytime tranquility and exploration, best experienced when the sun is at its zenith in the celestial dome. Indeed, it’s a place where time seems to stand still, offering a brief respite from our usual urban hustle and bustle. It’s truly an experience that will linger in your memory, long after your suntan has faded.

Beach in Moni Island
Beach in Moni Island

How to get to Moni Island

Here’s a whimsical little secret about reaching the secluded paradise that is Moni Island – embark from the quaint village of Perdika, nestled in the southern reaches of Aegina. Right there, in the heart of the harbour, you’ll find a cluster of charming boats bobbing gently against the first wooden jetty, ready to whisk you away to the unspoiled beauty of Moni.

These boats operate on something I lovingly like to call ‘island time’. Instead of strict schedules, they prefer a more relaxed approach, setting sail when they’ve gathered a merry band of wanderers eager to explore. A 5-euro fare sets you up for the round trip, and you pay at the beginning. No tickets, no fuss, just the promise of an unforgettable journey. Now, in the quieter, off-season months, you’ll want to arrange your island adventure in advance.

Now, if you find yourself closer to Aegina town during the balmy summer months, don’t worry, the island is still within easy reach. A boat from the bustling town boulevard will gladly ferry you over to Moni. This one, a tad more conventional, operates on a fixed timetable. So, whether you prefer the spontaneous charm of ‘island time’ or the comfort of a well-planned schedule, your journey to Moni Island is sure to be a breeze.

Here's a panoramic view of Moni Island. The photo is taken from the peak of the mountain, and to the right, you can make out the organized beach and harbor where boats from Perdika in Aegina dock.
Here's a panoramic view of Moni Island. The photo is taken from the peak of the mountain, and to the right, you can make out the organized beach and harbor where boats from Perdika in Aegina dock.

Uncover the charming secrets of Aegina Island, a gem in the Saronic Gulf, and discover why it’s so much more than just a quick Athenian escape – it’s a treasure trove of adventures waiting to happen.

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