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Epirus Riviera: Crystal Clear Waters and Secret Coves of the Ionian Sea

Parga Epirus
Credit: Steliosp97 – Own work, CC0

The coasts of the Greek mainland hide a multitude of mesmerizing locations promising unforgettable moments to fortunate travelers. The Epirus Riviera in the northwestern corner of Greece just opposite Corfu is undoubtedly one of these magnificent places, with 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 for an irresistible pair of holiday destinations, each with refreshing breezes and cosmopolitan auras. They are natural gems which enchant visitors at first sight.

Parga is a renowned maritime town belonging to the Prefecture of Preveza; built around a natural amphitheater, it nestles along a picturesque crescent-shaped bay, while its wooded offshore island of Panagia lies under the shadow of the town’s Venetian castle.

Parga Epirus Riviera
Credit: Numenor, CC BY-SA 3.0

You can take a stroll up to Parga’s Old Town, where you’ll enjoy the impressive architecture while wandering along its cobblestone streets adorned by beautiful arches overhead.

Finish up by drinking in the mesmerizing sunset views over the emerald waters of the Ionian Sea from the castle, which was built in the 11th century by 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 down and destroyed the fortress and the homes 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 the castle 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.

Enchanting Walks on Pink-Sanded Beaches of the Epirus Riviera

Panagia Island in Parga. Credit: Jennifer Slot – originally posted to Flickr as Corfu – Parga, CC BY 2.0

At nightfall, go for a romantic walk by the waterfront lined with tourist shops, stylish restaurants, and cozy bars where you may drink or dine.

You will certainly be drinking in the views of the illuminated castle at night, as well as the idyllic islet of Panagia.

Not to be overlooked, one of the most exotic destinations in Greece, Syvota, lies just thirty-five kilometers (22 miles) to the north.

Pink-sand beaches, luscious green islets, and long, sheltered beaches with crystal clear waters and secret coves are just some of the town’s many features which lure fortunate summer visitors.

Syvota Epirus
Syvota. Credit: Thanas Todhe (Guri Q…, CC BY 3.0,

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 and within reach of its coastline are the small islands of Mavro Oros (meaning “Black Mountain”), Agios Nikolaos, and Mourtemeno, as well as other even smaller islets.

Let the magic of paradise overcome you this summer by renting a boat and sailing the area’s calm waters to discover your own secret coves or shores!

Agios Nikolaos
Credit: Silar – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The area’s most renowned beach, located in the town of Agios Nikolaos, is named “Pisina.” You’ll enjoy the fine, golden sand and transparent turquoise waters which lap the shores beneath the towering cliffs.

In Mourtemeno, head for the second “Five Star” beach of the region, “Bella Vraka,” which you can reach by foot by crossing over a narrow strip of golden sand from the mainland.

Yet another beach near the town is the spectacular “Zavia,” which features even more green and turquoise waters. These are not only a feast for the eyes but also offer a blissful swim for those lucky enough to be able to plunge into them.

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