Ahhhh…. there’s nothing like a few days of total relaxation (a.k.a. laziness)! And that is exactly what I enjoyed on the island of Aegina, Greece – a vacation from my vacation! As part of my 2007 summer in Europe, I was determined to spend some time on a Greek island, soaking up the sun, swimming in the sea, eating local food, and just getting away from the hustle and bustle for a bit.
Confession time: one of my favorite movies as a child (*cough* it might still be a favorite…) was The Moon-Spinners – an old Disney film starring Hayley Mills, which takes place on the Greek island of Crete.
I have always loved the setting of this movie and I was determined to find a place that was as close to “Agios Georgios” (the tiny fishing village in the movie) as possible. And I think I came pretty close! Instead of Agios Georgios on the island of Crete, I visited Aghia Marina on the island of Aegina. And instead of the Moon-Spinners Hotel, I stayed at the Kavos Bay Hotel. Okay, it wasn’t a fishing village, and there wasn’t anything nefarious going on for me to get mixed up in (or any good-looking available British guys, unfortunately), but it was still by the sea, beautiful, away from everything and oh-so-peaceful! (I now must insist that you go watch The Moon-Spinners before continuing on with this blog post. Otherwise my never-ending references to the movie will be lost. Thank you.)
Getting to the island was fun: we took the Metro from Athens to the Port of Pireaus; then boarded the Flying Dolphin ferry for an exhilarating (or not-so-much) ride from Pireaus to the island of Aegina; from Aegina Town we took a bus to Aghia Marina; then we walked forever along the dusty road in the oppressive heat; then a nice old man took pity on us and drove us the rest of the way to our hotel in his tiny old jeep that looked like it was left over from WWI.
Another movie reference (but since you have now watched the movie you should appreciate this!): the bus ride across the island from Aegina Town to Aghia Marina reminded me exactly of the bus ride at the beginning of the movie! So even though the bus was decades old, had no A/C, was crammed with probably five times the recommended capacity, and my head was resting in a large Greek man’s armpit – I had a huge grin on my face for the entire ride!
The Kavos Bay Hotel is located just outside the small beach town of Aghia Marina on the Aegean Sea. From our room and our balcony we had beautiful views of the sea. I loved it!
Immediately after arriving we went downstairs to the small, family-run “restaurant” to order something for a late lunch (and to revive us from our trek in the 100° heat). Tall, cold bottles of water and Greek salads for both of us! This was my first experience with a “traditional” Greek salad. No lettuce, just roughly chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, sliced red onion and green pepper, cubed feta cheese, olive oil, vinegar and herb seasoning. Sounds great except I don’t do raw tomatoes (and the majority of the salad was tomatoes) and wasn’t a huge fan of cucumbers at the time. Teresa had it worse! The only thing on the plate that she really liked was the cucumbers! It was actually pretty funny. We both ate as much as we could which was quite a bit, thank you very much. And I should give a shout-out to Teresa who now regularly eats everything that was on that plate except for feta. You go, girl! 🙂
We were so spent from our day of travel that we hibernated in our room for the rest of the afternoon enjoying the air-conditioned coolness, the view and the free Wi-Fi.
That evening, and every evening after, we went downstairs to the patio, sat at a table and played cards while watching the sun set behind the hills. Such a beautiful setting! We ate a scrumptious dinner on the patio – stuffed vine leaves (the best I have ever had!), chicken souvlaki and Greek meatballs. Yum-O!!
Accommodations Info & Tips
The Kavos Bay Hotel is a lovely, small, family-run hotel that is directly on the Aegean Sea. It certainly wouldn’t be classified as “luxury” but it was absolutely perfect for what I was looking for! While I was there (in 2007) the owners were still working on renovating/improving the place so I’m sure it has only gotten better.
Our room was simple but nice, with cool tile floors, a queen-size bed, private balcony and bathroom. It also had A/C (do not stay anywhere in Greece during the summer if the accommodations do not have A/C!!!) and free Wi-Fi.
I feel I need to point out something that might turn some people off from this hotel. Although this was not a deal-breaker for me – I would stay here again in a heartbeat!
On my first trip to the bathroom in our room, I noticed a sign on the back of the door that read: “Do not put any paper in the toilet bowl – please use the waste basket.” I actually didn’t pay too much attention to it assuming it meant paper other than toilet paper – I mean, what kind of toilet doesn’t accept TP?? This one. And apparently all other toilets on the island if the toilet at B-52 restaurant with the same sign was any indication. We confirmed with our host who explained that the island has bad plumbing or pipes or septic or something. Now I’m not going to lie – this took quite some time to get used to. But again, it wasn’t such a turn-off that I wouldn’t return to this hotel or recommend it to others. I will just be kind enough to warn them in advance that yes, the sign on the back of the bathroom door does mean toilet paper. 🙂
I checked the website for Kavos Bay Hotel and current rates for double occupancy are €80 which includes breakfast and free shuttle service.
My favorite places to stay while travelling are bed & breakfasts and small, family-run hotels. These places tend to have so much character and you get to meet some great local people. The family that runs Kavos Bay was so very welcoming and helpful! I was not ready to leave after four days!
Some additional tips: they do provide free shuttle service from Aghia Marina to the hotel. Just call them up when you get to town and they will come pick you up. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get in touch with them when we arrived as they were having phone issues at the time. Hence the almost death-inducing
walk hike we took trying to reach the hotel before a wonderful elderly man (who ended up being related to the owners of Kavos Bay) drove us the rest of the way in his jeep. He was so sweet. 🙂
We ate all of our meals at the hotel and loved the food and the beautiful outdoor dining area. However, being a family-run hotel/restaurant, you might have a bit of a wait for your food. You might even have a bit of a wait before you can order your food. I don’t think we ate dinner once before 9:00pm. But that’s pretty typical in this part of the world anyway. So, instead of worrying about your ever-increasing, ever-louder stomach growls, just sit back, relax, enjoy the incredible beauty surrounding you and be thankful that you get to stay in paradise, if even for just a few days. 🙂