For anyone who was lucky enough to visit Greece for the first time 40 years ago, every return is accompanied by a twinge of apprehension. Between one visit and the next, how much will have changed? How different will it feel, and how many memories will have disappeared? And given its current economic and political situation, and the way the media has insisted on portraying Greece as a country reeling between crisis and catastrophe, will there be anything left to recognise?

Parga Beach Parga Beach

But in a few hours, even by the time you settle down at a table, nod to the waiter and order your first drink, just as your eyes rest upon the great shimmering blueness of the lapping sea, something almost miraculous occurs: you’re back, and all is well.

We’ve just returned from Parga, a typical small resort on the western mainland. There are a couple of lovely beaches either side of the town, plenty of taverna, a Venetian/Ottoman fort atop a leisurely hill (known as Ali Pasha’s castle, no less), a cosmopolitan mix of holidaymakers (including many Greeks) and an easy-going tempo as far away from frenetic as you could get. Each day white-painted boats leave from the little harbour for short trips to the nearby islands of Paxos and Corfu. In effect, a classic Greek coastal resort, effortlessly appealing.

Monastery, Meteora Monastery, Meteora

In the main, the beaches remain dominant; it’s as if holidaymakers are transfixed by the sea and can only look in one direction (rather like the Gormley figures staring out across the Mersey on Crosby beach). If you’re staying in Parga, though, or anywhere on the mainland, this singular view means you miss out on mountains, gorges, ravines, caves and some of the most spectacular and extraordinary sights in the world. A couple of hours drive from Parga, inland through the Vikos National Park, you climb up to the most stunning and dramatic Byzantine monasteries of Meteora, perched precipitously on columns left behind when the seas of pre-history rolled away.

Epirus, a short drive from Parga Epirus, a short drive from Parga

Sun, sea, beaches, sights… it’s a formula shared with other countries yet Greece manages to remain unlike anywhere else. Sitting in a moonlit café, enjoying a glass of local wine, listening quietly to the darkened sea, it may be preposterous but you don’t need to be a scholar in Classics to imagine yourself connected in some mysterious way with the mythic trials and adventures of Odysseus, desperate to return to Ithaca. There’s no need for costumes, re-enactments or charades as we might need in the UK to convince ourselves that history has meaning; it’s the effect of the landscape, the permanence of the spirit of place, the unbroken bonds of a culture.

Parga, Greece Parga, Greece

In the UK, it can feel as if the country is at odds with its own values and is chronically confused about its identity. It soon becomes reassuringly apparent that whatever problems Greece may be facing, identity is not one of them. The ancient Greek ethos of welcoming the stranger is as evident now as ever; indeed, the ease and relaxation a holidaymaker feels in Greece is partly down to the comfort and assurance the Greeks feel in themselves. In a sense, Greek life is the way it is because the people themselves are happy for it to be so. Hospitality is not a burden but an instinctive gift.

Anxiety? Trepidation? How much has changed? Perhaps much; but one thing feels certain; Greece will remain Greece.

Paul McKeever

The Sunvil Family

By The Sunvil Family

20th June 2016



The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family
The Sunvil Family

Sunvil's holidays are designed by passionate travellers just like you. Our reservations experts and product teams, many of whom have been with us for many years, are passionate about our destinations and, through their personal, first-hand knowledge can answer any questions that you may have. They are well qualified to advise and recommend, based on your own holiday criteria. We can point you to those special, little-known places, some not found even in guidebooks.

Call one of our experts to discuss your next holiday with Sunvil on

020 8568 4499

We open today at 9:00 AM

Make an Enquiry

Please use this form to request further information about a Sunvil holiday or destination.

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify

Details

Preferred departure date *
Duration *
Preferred UK departure airport *
Party size *

Back

  • Adults(12+ yrs)
  • Children(2 to 11 yrs)
  • Infants(Under 2 yrs)
Budget range
Other comments:

Email newsletters

We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Required Information

* Mandatory Information
Title *
First name *
Surname *
Telephone number *
Alternative telephone number
Email address *
Confirm email address
Preferred method of communication *
If you would like to be called during a specific period, please specify
Booking reference number *
Alternatively, please enter your query in the box below:

Email newsletters

Thank you for your enquiry

Thank you for your enquiry. A member of our specialist reservation teams will be in touch shortly.

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

Your details have been saved

Feel free to continue to browse the site and add to your enquiry. Don't forget to send the enquiry before you leave!

My Suitcase

We understand that so much choice can be overwhelming which is why we have developed 'My Suitcase'. This facility allows you to save and compare your favourite holidays, and even allows you to return to your selection at a later stage.

Why not use 'My Suitcase' to compile a wish list of your future Sunvil holidays?

 

Sign in


New to Sunvil?

Create Account


Already have an account?

Password reset

Back

Close

Close