Parga is almost too pretty for its own good. With a lush countryside which remains fresh and green throughout the summer, magnificent beaches, and a characterful harbour topped by a castle, it is no surprise that this bustling little town has become so popular.
It is the only true resort in Epirus, that mountainous province of north west Greece. Like Sivota further up the coast, Parga has beautiful natural surroundings. Its hills are covered in olive, pine and cypress, a perfect complement to the attractive indented coastline and wooded islets just offshore.
The town shelters behind a rocky headland crowned by a Venetian fort. An array of brightly canopied cafés and restaurants lines the waterfront. Behind, narrow lanes, small shops and old houses climb the hill. Nightlife is whatever you want to make it, from traditional tavernas to lively music bars.
There is a perfectly fine town beach, from which you can pedalo or swim to one of the islands in the bay. However most head for magnificent Valtos beach just around the headland, or Lichnos further south.
Both are long and largely sandy, and have a full range of water sports. Water-taxis shuttle ‘twixt harbour and beach. The more energetic can walk over the headland to Valtos in about 20 minutes.
Epirus is well worth exploring. You don’t have to go far to be in the midst of untamed country containing an abundance of bird and wildlife. Storks, their nests precariously balanced on the tops of telegraph poles, are some of the easiest to spot.
Excursions run to the island of Paxos, Zagoria, Meteora and up the acheron river (which, according to mythology, was the entrance to Hades!). You can also island hop to Meganissi, Lefkada, Scorpios, Kefalonia and Ithaca.
Parga is an organised resort which holds great appeal for all ages and nationalities. It gets particularly busy in the high season and sometimes at weekends with greeks.
So far Parga’s character and charm have enabled it to survive its growing popularity – there are still no big hotels for example. However, if you can, visit offseason when this still delightful town is at its best.