Aigio

Strolling and diving in Achaia

What do you know about the second biggest city in Achaia?

We bet not much. This is a reason all by itself to make a stop the next time you pass by somewhere close to Aigio to discover an interesting city, which although it is not a popular travel destination, it hides many aces in the sleeve to pleasantly surprise you.

Amphitheatrically built above the waters of the Corinthian Gulf, Aigio is split in the Lower town with the coastal walkway, the Middle town, the “Galaxidiotika” or area of Agios Andreas as it is also called from the homonymous church that is considered a work of Ernst Ziller, and the Upper town, where there are the historical center, the Settlement and the famous Psila Alonia Square that enjoys a fantastic view to the sea.
Strolls and sights in Aigio

The first walks start from the coastal zone of Aigio, where the old, stone Raisin warehouses have turned into lively, busy cafés that spread their tables in front of the sea, on the train rails. 

Right next to them, the Twelve Fountains cool with their waters one of the most ancient plane tree in Greece: The age of “Pausanias’ Plane tree”, which is declared a natural monument, is estimated in approximately 600 years. Pausanias probably didn’t actually see this plane tree, when he passed by here in the 2nd century A.C., but instead he saw the Twelve Springs that were next to it, from which we later called the plane tree “of Pausanias”. The trunk of this gigantic tree reaches a perimeter of 12 meters- and this is a funny analog with the spring/fountains around it.

A short uphill that the locals call Tempelorahi (which means “lazy back”, but in the maps you will find it as Mihalopoulou), will bring you from the Twelve Fountains to the Archaeological Museum, which is housed in an amazing building, designed by Ernst Ziller in 1890 to house the Public Market of Aigio. In the six rooms of the museum are hosted impressive findings from the excavations in Aigio and Aigialia, from the prehistoric era to the Roman years. Speaking of museums, there is also the interesting Folklore Museum of Aigio, which hosts traditional costumes, replicas of old mansion rooms, woven, agricultural tools and everyday use objects from the past centuries.

The Lower and Upper town are connected, apart from the streets, by 172 stone steps that you will hear locals call them Skalakia or Skales (steps) of Filopimenos, more formally. The athletic types worth to venture a climb, since the details you notice as you walk, are hard to see if you are on a car ride: A small flowery yard, a tile-roofed house that survived by miracle the catastrophic earthquake of 1995 in Aigio, and a stone wall on top of which hang climbing plants are the proof that even it cities that in the first sight seem monotonously plain, there are always cute details that make the difference.

The most beautiful and most popular spot in the Upper town is undoubtedly the all-green Psila Alonia Square, with the fantastic view to the sea and the Neo-Gothic tower of the 1900 in its center. Right next to it, a small but rather well-cared park is offered for cool strolling during the hot summer days. The oldest square of the city, and one of the most central points, is the Agia Lavra Square, around which gather many impressive neoclassical and preserved buildings, and where cafés and ouzo taverns spread their tables.

The city’s patron is Panagia Trypiti, officially called Zoodochos Pigi (Life-giving Spring in Greek), built on top of a steep rock that 150 steps connect it with the harbor- there is a rear, easier and more downhill road, through the cypress forest. According to tradition, the spot where the church was built was chosen after a shipwrecked found the icon of Panagia that is considered miraculous- and which is believed to be crafted by the Evangelist Lucas. 

The best dives around Aigio
The entire coastline of the Corinthian Gulf, both towards Corinth and towards Patra, is a series of lacey beaches, organized and free, mostly pebbled, so many in number that are offered for multi-day exploring  in quest of your personal favorite. One of the most popular, and closest to Aigio, is Alyki, next to the small but incredible, for the Greek standards, wetland, in which you can see, if you’re lucky, swans and herons. Others are the Trapeza beach, known as Pounta, with the big white pebbles and the cinematic sunset, the close by the beach of Egali, with its green almost touching the waves, and Akoli beach, with its deep, crystal clear waters.

The lovers of organized beaches and of beach bars definitely prefer the beaches of Selianitika and Digeliotika.

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