Hiking the Aegina Trails
Hikers coming to Aegina will discover treasures that those with a preference for vehicles will never experience. Cobblestone paths that used to connect villages or barely discernible dirt tracks that crisscross the island offer a look at the island's unique natural habitat. Hikers gain vivid insight into the customs of inhabitants from past generations, as they come upon remains of mills, threshing floors, watering holes (known locally as souvalas) and old settlements. In the last few years, the "Anavasi" trekking club of Aegina and the Association of Active Citizens have embarked on a project to highlight these trails by cleaning and marking them so that they are more accessible to hikers. Hikes are often organised on Sundays for just this purpose and anyone can take part. As a result of the effort, the first map describing the beautiful trail around Hellanion Oros Mountain (the island's highest peak) was released in 2011.
Hikers can set off from the picturesque village of Anitseo at the foot of the mountain and continue to the settlement of Vlachides, enjoying a view of the Saronic Gulf from the southern side of Aegina. A cobblestone path begins on the west side of Sfentouri and leads to the largest souvala in Aegina, known as "Achlada". After the watering hole, the trail heads east for 1 hour 20 minutes, before ending at the peak and the chapel of Profitis Elias. Rather than continuing to the top, hikers have the option of following the left fork in the trail which leads to the Sanctuary of Hellanion Zeus and eventually ends up back at the village of Anitseo. The trail is marked with red and the total time for the hike is 6 hours. The two local groups this year (2012) have begun to clear the magnificent trail from Sfentouri to Pachia Rachi through the ancient olive grove (eleonas).