Agii & Souvala
Aegina Island - Greece
When you drive from Souvala towards Vagia (east) the first village you will pass is Agii.You will see houses on both sides of the main road, from the seaside inland towards the forest. 500 metres inland from Irides, you will find the small Church of the saint Sotiria and in the upper part of the village you will find the large Church named Agios Krispos. Apostolos Krispos, was the founder and first bishop of the Church of Aegina.
Agii is peaceful and it is worth walking along the seaside or uphill towards the forest. Watch the variety of houses and gardens. The view from the forest towards the sea and mainland is beautiful. On the mainroad you will find a supermarket, a petrol station and the traditional Greek taverna "to steki tou......." and at the seafront you will find the pizzeria/ restaurant "the Chorevtra".
Souvala can be reached directly by ferry from Piraeus (50 minutes) or it can easily be found by taking the coast road north and east from Aegina Town for about 10 km. Until the 1950s it was simply a fishing village. From the sixties until the nineties it had grown a lot due to the tourism develpment in the area. However, unlike some other places Souvala still has retained the atmosphere and flavour of Greece. At night, you can see the lights of Attiki, Piraeus and the Athenian Coast.
Today you will find a quiet village with a crescent shaped harbour area, Aegina's second port, with fishing boats moored. You will find a selection of tavernas and cafes overlooking the sea. There are some shops, a supermarket, a pharmacist, a flowershop, an internet cafe and a newsagent. There is a daily ferry connection with Pireaus port during the season. From Easter onwards, the weekends are busier as many Athenians spend their "savatokiriako" (weekend) in their summer houses. Souvala is especially popular in the high season when the village bustles with a holiday atmosphere. Families and couples stroll along the 'paralia', which is the paved area along the harbour, to enjoy the setting sun.
There is a small beach with a coffee bar and playground in the harbour of Souvala. A little bit east of the village you will find "The Loutra" beach named after the spa that used to be located there. Since a couple of years Beachbar 'Banio Banio' has been established there, from the end of May until mid September. The coastline of Souvala follows the configuration of the northern morphology of the island: most of the beaches have shallow waters with a sandy seabed. The wind on the northern part of the island is ideal for windsurfing.
The town - earlier called Aegena - has existed as a settlement since before Byzantine times. During the 900 year period from 900 to 1800 AD Souvala dealt with most commercial traffic when the pirates forced the people inland to the hillside village of Palaia Chora. When Palaia Chora was the capital of Aegina, it was Souvala that served all the sea traffic of the island. Souvala was for the first half of the 20th Century, the main port of Aegina exporting products such as grapes, sponges and carob.
The name of the town is derived from the man-made underground water tanks including those ancient cisterns found in the rocks'. These are the mineral water springs located to the eastern edge of the town and have been known since antiquity. The spa/ "The Loutra" with its mineral laden waters was one of the best known in Europe. Its curative powers extend to the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, skin and digestive problems. Unfortunately the spa has been closed as the springs has dried up.
Every year in July, Souvala organizes the Party of the Marides. Fresh grilled fishes and wine is offered free of charge to everybody together with some live Greek music and/or a performance of a traditional Greek dance group.
Anassa, which can be found up the hillside left from the harbour in Souvala, offers coffees, exotic cocktails, fresh salads, light, quality dishes including vegetarian dishes, home-made desserts, as well as 70 wine labels from New Zealand to Chile. These can be served either in the restaurant or in the two lower circular tiers in-between the balconies. After midnight, dance beats lure you indoors to dance through the night. The moon rises over Glyfada on the mainland and transforms the waters of the Saronic Gulf into molten silver, right down to Anassa. They are open from the morning until late at night in the weekend.