AGISTRI, also called ANGISTRI, is a small, pine covered island close to the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf that lies south of Athens.
Agistri is very small, with an area of about 13 sq km, making it the smallest of the the inhabited Saronic igroup of slands.
Agistri is a quiet backwater of an island, free of cars and with little in the way of nightlife outside the few hotels in island's three main settlements of Skala, Milos and Limenaria.
Milos is where nor people on Agistri live but Skala is the most recently developed of the island's resorts and this is where most of Agistri's visitors choose to stay on holiday.
Agistri island is home to fewer than 1,000 people with tourist holiday beds for perhaps 1,000 more. It has a single main road about 10 km long but no cars, and just a single bus.
Agistri is also very hilly despite its small size with about half of the island covered in fields of citrus and olives, and the remaining half cloaked in dense pine forest.
The resorts of Agistri are not considered particularly pretty, being plainly built and with little architectural interest. Apart from walking and lazing on its few beaches there is little to do here.
Most beaches on Agistri are pebble and shingle with the best of the sand found at Skala and Halkiada, the latter beach being noted as the first official designated naturist beach in Greece.
Agistri is easily reached from the Athens port at Piraeus as it lies just 22 nautical miles offshore and about four nautical miles south-west of Aegina.
Agistri is also a popular holiday island with working Greeks from the mainland. Prices tend to be lower than on more up-market Greek islands.
Agistri island Greece is located in the Saronic Gulf only about 45 minutes sailing time from the Athens port of Piraeus. A regular ferry service to the mainland make Agistri a very popular weekend retreat for Athenians. Largely unspoilt , it is a tiny island, only about 14 sq km and has few good beaches but it does make for a quiet hideaway retreat. Most visitors stay in the main port of Skala where there is a good selection of restaurants and the best beach on the island.
SKALA is the island's main tourist centre despite it not actually being the capital. As Skala is the main port of Agistri, it is where most visitors choose to stay and it is where you will find the majority of hotels and holiday apartments.
Skala is quite a bustling little place for such a small island and, besides the small hotels and apartments, there are several restaurants and bars both around the beach, which lies to the north of the harbour, and in the village itself.
The impressive blue dome of Agia Anargiri church overlooks the beach and it stands out among the resort's rather plain buildings. The church has some very fine icons.
The beach at Skala has fine, gently shelving sand, with some pebbles, and it also has shallow waters, so this is a good beach for families with young children. It's the only natural sand beach on the island though, so it can get crowded in the high season.
This is particularly true when the day visitor boats arrive from Aegina and from Athens. There are sun loungers on the beach and other tourist facilities such pedaloes and a variety of water sports.
Skala beach is quite narrow, just a couple of rows of sunbeds at the deepest part, but it is quite long. It is backed by low trees and scrub. Skala beach gets much more quiet if you head west where sands run out to a headland and turns to stone and shingle . The beach can be said to stretch all the way to Mylos.
In Skala village itself are a handful of shops and a very good selection of tavernas. Several bars and cafes and a couple of nightclubs add to the mix. Accommodation tends to be aimed at working class Greeks and prices tend to be lower than say neighbouring Aegina.
South from the harbour at Skala is a small scenic path that leads past some modern tourist developments at SKILIRI, beyond the Agistri Club Hotel and a couple more restaurants, to the beach at HALKIADA.
It takes about 20 minutes to walk there and Halikiada beach is noted for being the first naturist beach in Greece, despite strong objections from the church.
It used to be a steep and relatively difficult scramble down to the beach, though a new path has been created, or you can walk around a rather precipitous headland for an easier drop to Halikiada beach.
Halikiada is Agistri's biggest bay and, thanks to the strong Saronic current, its waters are turquoise clear and clean. The beach is mostly pebble and rock but the clear makes up for any lack of sand.
There are no facilities but casual camping, although technically illegal, is still fairly common. It also has a cave that is sometimes lived in during the summer months.
Swimmers at Halikiada should beware of sea urchins on the rocks at either end of the beach, although footwear is a must on the stone beach.
The only road out of Skala takes you north along the coast to the island capital and second port at MILOS or MYLOS, also called MEGALOCHORI.
The road is lined with restaurants, rooms to let, small isolated shingle and rock beaches and the occasional long, flat stretch of stone.
Inland is the hill of METOCHI with a small chapel on top, some splendid views over the island, and a cooling breeze. A walk to Milos from Skala takes about 30 minutes.
Milos is a quiet village of stone-built houses sitting on a steep hill above the small harbour and a tiny, man made beach. There is a small selection of basic tavernas and a few shops and traditional kafenion.
West of Milos village are paths into the pine covered hillside with a sign off the paved road pointing south to DRAGONERA beach.
Dragonera is a north-facing beach and a favourite spot for casual campers. There is a small beach cantina that opens in the summer.
The paved road runs south from Milos across the island to LIMENARIA, founded in the 17th century and noted for the golden dome that adorns the church of Agia Kriaki.
Limenaria is a small village surrounded by olive groves. Not many tourists stay here for long and the village is about as traditional Greek as you can get so near to Athens. There is a shop that doubles as a taverna selling local craft work and an ancient olive mill in the central square.
There is no beach in Limenaria as such but a sign which says 'to the beach' takes you to a concrete platform built out over a sheer drop to the sea, suitable for sunbathing.
It is very inviting to dive off the platform as the water is deep here. But strong sea currents make diving and swimming safe only for strong and experienced swimmers. It is also much easier to get in than out.
It is a steep climb back up and climbers can expect plenty of cuts and scratches from the sharp rocks.
East out of Limenaria village and about 1km away, just past the tiny chapel of Agios Nikolaos, is a substantial salt lake from which Limenaria gets its name.
It is often just a dry salt pan in the summer, shimmering in the heat. But between autumn and spring it is a blue salt water sea lagoon and suitable for paddling and swimming. There is a small taverna nearby.
A couple of rocky beaches can be found to the north of the lake in nearby remote and secluded coves at MARGHISA (or MAGHISA) and BIARAMA.
Most visitors though head south of the salt lake to for the small but attractive sand and shingle beach at APIOSSOS (or APONISSOS) on the tiny picturesque offshore islet reached by a narrow rocky causeway.
There is a small taverna here in the summer that serves fresh fish. Recent reports claim the beach has become much more crowded recently with sunbeds, watessports and even a beach trampoline. This is still a very pretty beach but it's best to get there early to bag the best beds and go mid-week to avoid the crowds. Beyond Apiossos is the larger, uninhabited islet of DOROUSSA.