A substantial and attractive island with a proud history, less than an hour from Pireás, ÉGINA (Aegina) is not surprisingly a popular weekend escape from Athens. Despite the holiday homes, though, it retains a laidback, island atmosphere, especially if you visit midweek or out of season. Famous for its pistachio orchards – the nuts are hawked from stalls all around the harbour – the island can also boast substantial ancient remains, the finest of which is the beautiful fifth-century BC Temple of Aphaea, commanding superb views towards Athens from high above the northeast coast.

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