The coasts of the Greek mainland hide a multitude of mesmerizing locations which promise to offer unforgettable moments to fortunate travelers. The Epirus Riviera, in the northwestern corner of Greece, just opposite Corfu, is undoubtedly one of these magnificent places, offering amazing beaches, crystal clear waters and secret coves.
Washed by the blue-green waters of the Ionian archipelago, the captivating Parga and exotic Syvota make an irresistible pair of islands, each with refreshing breezes and cosmopolitan auras. They are natural gems which enchant all their visitors at first sight.
Parga is a renowned maritime town belonging to the Prefecture of Preveza and is already well-known as a famous holiday destination.
It was built inside a natural amphitheater and is nestled along a picturesque crescent-shaped bay, while its wooded offshore island of Panagia lies under the shadow of the town’s Venetian castle.
You can take a stroll up to Parga’s Old Town, where you’ll enjoy the impressive architecture while wandering around its cobblestone streets, which are adorned by beautiful arches above.
End up by drinking in the mesmerizing sunset views over the emerald waters of the Ionian Sea from the castle, which was initially built in the 11th century by the residents of Parga to protect their town from pirates and the Ottomans.
The town of Parga and its castle were occupied by the Ottomans for two years, beginning in 1452; part of the castle was demolished at that time. In 1537, Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa burned it and destroyed the fortress and the houses within it.
The Turks demolished the castle yet again before it was reconstructed in 1572 by the Venetians. When this once-great maritime power rebuilt it for the third and last time, they created a stronger fortress which stayed impregnable until 1819 despite military attacks, notably from Ali Pasha, who ruled from Ioannina.
At nightfall, take a romantic walk by the waterfront, which is lined with tourist shops, stylish restaurants and cozy bars where you can drink or dine. You will certainly be drinking in the views of the castle, which is illuminated at night, as well as the idyllic islet of Panagia.
Not to be outdone, just thirty-five kilometers (22 miles) to the north lies one of the most exotic destinations within Greece, Syvota.
Pink-sand beaches, luscious green islets, and long, more sheltered beaches with crystal clear waters and secret coves are just some of the town’s many features which lure fortunate summer visitors.
Syvota is the perfect stop for sailors who are lucky enough to be plying the waters of the Ionian archipelago, but it is certainly a must-visit destination for any other Epirus-area traveler as well.
Just offshore from its coastline, you’ll find the small islands of Mavro Oros (meaning “Black Mountain”) Agios Nikolaos, and Mourtemeno, as well as other even smaller islets.
Take note that it is also worthwhile to rent a boat and sail the calm waters of the area. Discover your own secret coves or shores and let the magic of paradise overcome you this summer.
The area’s most renowned beach, located in the town of Agios Nikolaos, is none other than “Pisina;” you’ll enjoy its fine golden sand and transparent turquoise waters which lap the shores beneath its looming cliffs.
In Mourtemeno, head for the second “Five Star” beach of the region, “Bella Vraka,” which you can reach by foot just by crossing over a narrow strip of golden sand from the mainland.
Yet another beach near the town is the spectacular “Zavia,” which features yet more green and turquoise waters which not only offer a feast for the eyes but a blissful swim for those lucky enough to be able to plunge into them.