Perdika Village is a small fishing village located on the island of Aegina, Greece. In a nutshell, Perdika Village is both enchanting and charming. The village itself is lined with cobbled streets, tiny alleyways, traditional fish tavernas, cafes and bars overlooking the crystal clear, sparkling waters of the Saronic Gulf. Perdika Village is enveloped by both pebbled and sandy coastlines of the various beaches, rocky, mountainous slopes and pine forests can be seen off in the distance and pistachio groves are just a scooter ride away. Perdika Village is a place where travelers can go either for a little weekend getaway or long extended stay to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city life.
During our 5 week stay in Perdika, we had the opportunity to volunteer through Workaway.info and help at a hotel in exchange for a place to stay. For those of you unfamiliar with Workaway, it is an international, online company set up to promote fair exchange between travelers willing to work as volunteers and hosts wanting help with their business, projects, or activities. The “workawayers” or volunteers are expected to work a pre-agreed upon amount of time per day or week (arranged through the Workaway website via the workawayer and the host exchanging various emails) in exchange for housing and other perks (food, internet service, transportation, etc.) provided by their host. As a traveler, using Workaway is a great way to not only acquire free housing, but it is an ideal way to learn about a foreign country, learn a foreign language, meet new people, and immerse yourself completely in a foreign culture.
This was our third Workaway experience (our first was in Antofagasta, Chile and second was in Guayaquil, Ecuador). At this Workaway, we were required to work approximately 4-6 hours per day in exchange for a place to stay and a light breakfast (fruit, vegetables, and cheese) in Perdika. We helped our host with various jobs including cleaning the hotel daily (bedrooms, bathrooms, common areas, kitchenettes in each room, etc.), changing linens, gardening, sweeping the outdoor facilities, helping at the reception desk (checking guests in and out, answering general questions, showing the guests the hotel, explaining the local area on a map, etc.), answering the door (greeting new guests and explaining the hotel facilities and answering any questions), setting up breakfast on the rooftop terrace (if the customer pre-ordered it), answering general guest questions throughout the day, and helping our host with any other tasks that she needed (carrying heavy items up and down the stairs, covering shifts, running to the store to purchase cleaning supplies or water, etc.).
To be transparent, there were days that required more “elbow grease” than others, days that left us both physically drained, days with injuries, and there were days that I thought to myself, “I really do not want to scrub another toilet today”. At the end of the day, injuries and hours spent cleaning and sweating in the hot sun aside, the experience allowed us to meet some really nice people and live on a beautiful Greek island for 5 weeks! This opportunity also allowed us to continue to have free time to explore, work on our own creative projects and keep up with our blog.
During our stay at the hotel, we met many other travelers from other countries (Germany, Greece, and France) and we were able to work on our Greek speaking skills and learn more about the Greek culture. Our host took us to dinner (on her dime) one evening at her favorite local, Greek restaurant, showed Matt how to properly “eat a sea urchin” (or shall I say kill a live sea urchin then eat it), and we were able to meet both her friends and family during this time as her son and son’s girlfriend cam from France to spend time with her for a week. We also had many great conversations about politics, food, work, and travel.
During our stay in Perdika, we met the most amazing couple from Germany who were staying at the hotel for the weekend on their holiday. One of my most favorite nights spent in Perdika was when the 4 of us decided to cook a rooftop dinner using the hotel’s outdoor grill. Matt took the local bus into Aegina Town earlier that morning to get mussels so he could prepare a recipe that he had wanted to try out for a while, “Drunken Mussels”. That evening we went to the local supermarket across the street from the hotel and purchased our vegetables, fresh feta, wine, and fresh bread from the bakery for the rest of our feast. Later we all helped to prepare and cook our evening feast! We dined on roasted eggplant, feta stuffed mushrooms, a roasted tomato, zucchini, garlic and feta dish, baked potatoes, fresh bread, and of course Matt’s Drunken Mussels. We talked about everything and anything. We ate and drank wine until it was 1 am. We lost track of time. The night was perfect.
Our good friends from the US came to visit us while we were staying in Perdika! We were able to get some time off from our Workaway duties (we worked 21 days straight to have 4 days off to spend with our friends during their stay in Perdika). We used this time to really venture outside of Perdika and explore the island’s sites that we had not yet visited during our stay. It was so great to see familiar faces and catch up!
Travel tips to help plan your stay in Perdika
Arriving at Perdika- From the Port of Piraeus in Athens, Greece, you can purchase a ferry ticket to Aegina Island. There are several ferry companies that go to and from the Port of Piraeus and Perdika. The only difference between the ferry companies are timetables, price, and speed.
The Hellenic Seaways and Aegean Flying Dolphins are high-speed ferries and take approximately 40 minutes to arrive at Aegina Island. The high-speed dolphin ferries do not allow ticket purchase onboard. Tickets must be purchased at a registered ticket office.
Hellenic Seaways Ferries, Nova Ferries, and Agios Nektarios Ferries take between 60-90 minutes and tickets can be purchased at ticket offices or onboard if you arrive late.
Note: All ferries leave from Gate E8 (located on the east side of the port).
Once you arrive by ferry, Perdika Village is located approximately 10km from Aegina Town. There is a local bus that will take you to Perdika Village for €1,80/ person. There are also taxis (€14 one way) and scooters available for rent (€25 per day).
Food & cocktails in Perdika- There are plenty of seafood tavernas, cafes, and bars to choose from in Perdika. During our stay our favorite restaurant was Saronis. The food was so fresh, the staff were very friendly and accommodating (preparing special vegetarian dishes upon request), and the service was outstanding. The restaurant has fresh seafood (you can choose your fish from the kitchen), pasta dishes, traditional Greek salads and many Greek dishes to choose from (tzatziki, fave, saganaki, etc.).
Note: There are also a couple of supermarkets and bakeries located in Perdika. We would typically buy fresh produce daily and make fresh, Greek salads or fruit salads for lunch or dinner in addition to a plethora of other tasty vegetable dishes (grilled vegetables, vegetable risotto, hummus, fresh bread with pesto, etc.). You can also find great local wines at the supermarkets and pistachios at the bakeries.
Beaches & swimming in Perdika- There are several beaches throughout the island of Aegina. The two closest beaches to Perdika are Sarpa Beach and Aeginitissa Beach. Sarpa Beach is a sandy beach surrounded by trees with views towards Moni Island. There are sunbeds with umbrellas for rent, a volleyball field and a small beach bar where one can order light snacks and cocktails.
Not far from Sarpa Beach is Klima Beach. Here you can also rent a sunbed with an umbrella and there is a small beach bar where you can purchase some cocktails. You will see many sailboats and yachts anchor in this small bay. Don’t forget to bring your snorkeling mask as this is a really great place to see a lot of fish.
Aeginitissa Beach is a trendier beach with sunbeds and umbrellas for rent, various bars to choose from, and music playing throughout the day and early evening. There is beach volleyball, yoga and kayaking available also.
Note: All along the coastline there are several spots where one can post up with a towel and sunbathe on the rocks and take a quick swim in the Saronic Gulf. Just be careful of the sea urchins as they tend to be along the shoreline on the rocks. We suggest wearing a shoe (Men – Women) that is waterproof to help protect your feet from both the rocky coastline and sea urchins in the water.
Where to stay in Perdika- As I mentioned, we stayed at a hotel through a Workaway volunteer experience in Perdika. However, there are many hotels (use this Booking.com code to get $25 off your first stay. Booking.com is huge in Europe) and Airbnb’s to choose from in Perdika.
Note: If you are staying in Perdika, there are no ATM’s, or a post office, and the local pharmacy is only open on a Tuesday. You must go to Aegina Town to visit an ATM to take out money or to visit a pharmacy (there are several banks and pharmacies to choose from once you are in Aegina Town).
Rent a scooter- The landscape of the island of Aegina changes as you travel from north to south and east to west. The north of the island has pine forests while the southern half of the island is lined with fishing villages. The eastern side of the island has mountainous, rocky coastlines and the western side of the island is the home of olive and pistachio groves. Throughout the entire island, one can find whitewashed houses intermixed with modern, hillside stone mansions, small beaches with turquoise blue waters, and historical monuments, temples, and churches.
You can rent a scooter in Aegina Town for approximately €25 per day. Believe me, it is worth it! There is so much to see on the island. Taxis on Aegina Island are not cheap. A one-way taxi ride from Perdika to Aegina Town will cost you €14 (€28 round-trip)!
You can take the local bus into Aegina Town for €1,80 one-way, rent a scooter for €25 (for a 24 hour period; pick the scooter up at 0800 it is due back at 0800 the next day), and then explore the island on your own time and take the local bus back to Perdika.
Note: Make sure to ask for a scooter that has a motor engine size of at least 125cc if you plan to scoot around Aegina island (especially if you plan to do so with more than one person riding on the scooter). Aegina has a lot of rough terrains (dirt roads, rocky terrain, steep, inclined hills, etc.) and anything less powerful than 125cc motor will not be sufficient to allow you to get around properly.
Also, pay attention to the bus schedule as the times vary from weekdays and weekends and may vary from season to season.
Sites to visit on Aegina island (venture outside of Perdika Village)- Once you have rented a scooter (or car) you can go out and see the sites! There is so much to see on Aegina Island so I am going to highlight my favorites.
The Temple of Athena Aphaia is dedicated to the goddess Athena and is one of the single most important archeological masterpieces of Greece. From the temple, one can also see the Acropolis of Athens and the Temple of Poseidon of Soudio on a clear day.
The Temple of Apollo Delfinios, also known as “Kolona” (column) is located in Aegina Town. This temple used to be a religious and political base for the ancient city of Aegina. Now, only a single column from the original temple remains.
The Monastery of Agios Nektarios is one of the largest monasteries in the country dedicated to St. Nektarios who lived in the monastery and became a saint in 1961. He is celebrated on November 9th each year, the Feast Day of St. Nektarios.
Aegina Town is located approximately 10km from Perdika Village. There are many restaurants, bars, cafes, bakeries, jewelry stores, boutique clothing stores, art galleries, and handmade craft stores to choose from. Along the seaside, there is a seaside promenade where yachts and sailboats have anchored for the evening (or maybe even the week) and fresh fruit can be bought at a local fruit stand. There are traditional taverns selling local wine in carafes for €3 and ice cold beer for €2. You can pull up a chair along the edge of the water, people watch and watch the sunset while sipping on a cocktail while munching on popcorn or peanuts.
Hike to the Top of Hellanion Mountain, Aegina’s highest peak (532 meters), for a breathtaking view of the entire island and Saronic Gulf. It is at this very point that Aiakos, the first king of Aegina, prayed to Zeus to save Greece from a drought. On top of the peak, there is a chapel, giving rise to the peak’s other name, “Analipsi”, meaning “Assumption”. Although I did not personally climb this peak, Matt did and he said the difficult climb was well worth the magnificent view.
Note: Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, wear the appropriate shoes for hiking and wear sunscreen if necessary as the hike will take you 4-5 hours total (round-trip).
Day trip to Moni Island- Moni Island is an island lying opposite of Perdika village accessible by boat. The island itself is uninhabited. There is a small beach with crystal, clear turquoise blue water and during the summer months, there is one restaurant in which you can rent a sunbed and umbrella and order food and cocktails. On the island, there are wild deer, goats, and peacocks. There are also several other amazing places to trek and swim along the coastline for the adventurers out there! If you like hiking, you can hike to the top of the steep mountain on the island which provides breathtaking views of the surrounding areas like Perdika Village.
Note: In the main harbor of Perdika you can find a sign that says “Moni Island €5”. The excursion boat leaves about every hour and can take up to 20 people at one time. Make sure to keep your ticket so you can return back to Perdika and not have to repay €5. You can also bring your own food and beverages to the island so you do not have to purchase anything from the restaurant on the island!
Try the Pistachios- The pistachios of Aegina have been regarded as the best pistachio in the world. The ideal climate of Aegina coupled with its perfect soil composition gives the Aegina pistachio its unique taste and aroma. Different from the U.S., when the outer hulls of the pistachios are exposed to the sun it turns pink in color, indicating that the nut is fully ripened.
There are various stores, stalls, supermarkets, and bakeries that sell a plethora of pistachio products throughout the island. From the raw pistachio nut itself (right off the tree) to roasted pistachio nuts, candy-coated pistachio nuts, pistachio creams, pistachio flavored ice creams, pistachio nut-butters, and pistachio beauty products, there are so many products to choose from.
Note: If you buy pistachios/ pistachio products in Perdika, they are much cheaper than in Aegina Town. We found small bags of pistachios for under €2 at the supermarkets and bakeries. We even bought a small bag for €1 in the parking lot of the Monastery of Agios Nektarios!
Traveled August 2017