Parga, Greece (Credit: Eartner on Pixabay)

Parga the premier coastal town of Epirus

Also known as the “Bride of Eripus”, Parga has it all: Mountain and sea, imposing castles, exotic beaches, mouthwatering cuisine

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Built amphitheatrically on the slopes of a mountain, yet by the sea, Parga is an undeniably beautiful small town located on the western coast of Greece, in the region of Epirus. Renowned for its breathtaking natural landscape, distinguished architecture and historical landmarks, the Amalfi-reminiscent town with its traditional houses, boasts a stunning view to the crystalline waters of the Ionian sea and it definitely has the ambiance of an island. In Parga you don’t have to choose between holidays on the mountain or by the sea. It combines them both: Scenic coastal landscape, exotic beaches, natural coves and bays and verdant mountains, olive groves, pine trees.




Parga panoramic peer (Credit: Prosthetic Head, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

In antiquity the area was inhabited by the Greek tribe of the Thesprotians but Parga itself is mentioned for the first time in 1318. Through history, it was ruled by the Venetians, Byzantines, French, British. During Ottoman rule in Epirus, the inhabitants of Parga displayed continuous support for Greek revolutionary activities. Apart from brief periods of Ottoman possession, the town remained an integral part of the Republic of Venice until its fall at the end of the 18th century. In 1913 Parga was finally incorporated into the Greek state.

The options in Parga, a town of those you see on postcards, are endless and perfect for all holidaymakers: families, couples, or friends. The season is April to October, but some tourist businesses open as early as March. Spring in Parga brings mild temperatures, lush greenery and less crowds, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities and cultural exploration. If you prefer a serene and relaxed atmosphere then this is the ideal time to visit. The to-do list is long, so here are a few suggestions:

Take a stroll up to the old town & walk along the promenade

Enjoy the Venetian architecture, the picturesque cobbled streets, the charming flower-filled neighbourhouds with houses in vibrant colors. Venture along the waterfront to discover numerous tourist shops, stylish bars, restaurants and tavernas.

Parga’s traditional houses (Credit: Theudbald, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Find almost every kind of cuisine

The culinary experience here is multi-dimensional. You will find lots of fish and traditional Greek tavernas, several Italian restaurants, street food outlets, souvlaki joints, sushi bars, you name it. For those who enjoy pairing their meals with excellent wine, Parga will not disappoint them. Numerous dining establishments have elaborate wine lists. Indulge in the flavors of authentic Greek cuisine, sample fresh seafood and meze while enjoying the warm hospitality and vibrant atmosphere.

Go sightseeing

One of the most remarkable sites of Parga is the 14th century Venetian Castle. Located on a fortified hill, at the entrance of the port, the castle used to protect the town from the mainland and the sea. It offers panoramic views of the town and surrounding area. Another main attraction of Parga is the Panagia islet.

Venetian Castle, Parga, Greece (Credit: photosiotas, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Located right in front of Parga port, the wooded tiny island hosts a cute whitewashed chapel, part of the French Castle built in 1808. This islet is where Greek weddings often take place on weekends. In Anthoussa village, you will find the 19th century Ottoman Castle, built by Ali Pasha, the Turkish governor of Ioannina, to overlook the town of Parga.

Panagia islet, Parga, Greece (Credit: Theudbald, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Museums

Visit the Paragaea-Parga Old Olive Oil Factory and learn everything about olive oil production in the past and nowadays. The private museum opened its doors in June 2012 and is housed in a restored olive oil press. The Ecclesiastical Museum is also worth visiting as it hosts rare books, holy gospels, church items and the 300-year-old banner of the town. The Monastery of Panagia Vlacherna, close to Valtos beach, is renowned for its 18th centrury bell tower that stands tall at an impressive height of 15 meters.

Beach time

There are many captivating beaches to swim in Parga. Stretching for 3 km and located near the castle, Valtos beach with its clear waters and tourist facilities, is the the biggest beach in Parga. It is lined with sunbeds, restaurants and water sport attractions. Lichnos is another well-known beach appreciated by water sports enthusiasts.

Valtos beach, Parga (Credit: Sakis Kostaris, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Kryoneri and Sarakiniko, Ai Yannaki are also some of the most beautiful beaches. The Town Beach, found in a walking distance from the city centre, usually gets very crowded. There are also several secluded beaches with exceptional natural beauty promising unique experiences for every swimmer.

Lichnos beach, Parga (Credit: Parga Lichnos Beach hotel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Take scenic excursions

Parga is a great base for rewarding trips. Head south to the mystical, ancient Nekromanteion of Acheron, a dramatic archaeological site where ancient Greeks were seeking answers to questions about their future or guidance from the gods. The word Necromanteion means “Oracle of the Dead”. The oldest reference to the necromancy of Acheron is found in Homer’s Odyssey, when Circe advises Odysseus to meet Tiresias, the blind prophet, in the Underworld and consult the oracle for his return to Ithaca.

The Mythical Acheron River Canyon (10Km), Preveza (Credit: Harrygouvas at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The springs of river Acheron, a place of great natural beauty, was the entrance to the Hades according to ancient Greek mythology. You can also make Parga a part of your Ionian island hopping itinerary. There are many boat trips available in Parga that will take you to Paxoi or Corfu.

Parga, Epirus, Greece (Credit: Γιάννης Χουβαρδάς, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Engage in outdoor activities

Parga is an ideal destination for outdoor activities. In the summer, you can enjoy water sports such as scuba diving, SUP, windsurfing and water ski. If you prefer the mountain to the sea, you can enjoy hiking, trekking and mountain biking. While on the river Acheron consider kayak, rafting and horse riding.

Transport

Parga is linked with direct suburban buses (KTEL) to other Greek cities and towns. It is located 68 km north west from Preveza and 50 km from Igoumenitsa. Tourists often arrive via the Aktio, Ioannina and Corfu airports.