Car ferries and excursion boats to Aegina usually leave from Piraeus's Main Harbor; hydrofoils leave both from the Main Harbor and from Marina Zea Harbor. Hydrofoil service is at least twice as fast as ferries and at least 40% more expensive (except to Aegina, for which the charge is only about 10% more). The sleek little hydrofoils are outfitted like broad aircraft with airline seats, toilets, and a minimum of luggage facilities. (The fore sections offer better views, but they're also bumpier.) The newer Super Cats are bigger, faster, and more comfortable, with food and beverage service. Reservations are vital on weekends. Often, in order to continue to another Saronic Gulf island by hydrofoil, you must return to Piraeus to transfer. Some ferries go from Aegina to the other Saronic Gulf islands. Warning: Schedules -- and even carriers -- can change, so double-check information you get -- and then be prepared for last-minute schedule and carrier changes; www.openseas.gr is a useful site for ferry schedules as is www.gtp.gr.
Daily hydrofoil and ferry service to the Saronic Gulf islands is offered by Hellenic Seaways (tel. 210/419-9200; www.hellenicseaways.gr). Saronikos Ferries (tel. 210/417-1190) takes passengers and cars to Aegina, Poros, and Spetses; cars are not allowed to disembark on Hydra. Euroseas (tel. 210/411-3108) has speedy catamaran service from Piraeus to Poros, Hydra, and Spetses. Boats often, but not always, leave from gates E8 and 9 in the main Piraeus harbor. You can usually visit any one of the Saronics for between 20€ and 65€ day-return; the faster the ship, the higher the price. Several cruises offer day trips to Hydra, Poros, and Aegina; for details, see chapter 4, "Cruising the Greek Islands."
For information on schedules for most Argo-Saronic ferries, try one of the numbers of the Piraeus Port Authority (tel. 210/422-6000, 210/410-1480, or 210/410-1441), but phones are not always answered. On Aegina, try tel. 22970/22-328.
Avoiding the Aegina Crowds -- If Aegina turns out to be too crowded for you, take a short ferry ride to little Angistri, where Rosy's Little Village (www.rosyslittlevillage.com; tel. 22970/91-610) is as charming as its name, with 16 whitewashed rooms tucked in a pine grove. The restaurant serves organic food, there's swimming in a rocky cove, and many guests meditate and relax, either on their own or in one of a number of holistic workshops; summer doubles start at 50€ and go to around 75€ in August.
The Aegina Tourist Office (tel. 22970/22-220) is in the Town Hall. There's a string of travel agencies at the harbor, including the usually efficient Aegina Island Holidays, 47 Demokratias (tel. 22970/26-439; fax 22970/26-430). To learn a little about Aegina's history, look for Anne Yannoulis's Aegina (Lycabettus Press), usually on sale at Kalezis Boatokshop on the harbor (tel. 22970/25-956), which stocks foreign newspapers. Check the websites www.aeginagreece.com and www.greeka.com/saronic/aegina for info in English and pick up the handy free Mini Guide, published each year in English and Greek.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.