The colourful Varkarola Festival celebrates the return of Greeks to Parga back in the early 20th century, after a 100-year exile. On the night of the 14th, boats take locals and tourists 100 metres across to the islet of Panagia for a huge traditional fiesta. The next day, Venetian-style boats leave from the islet and sail to Parga’s harbour – a ceremonial return to their homeland. Beachside fireworks end the 2-day festival.
Rising sharply from sea level, the winding roads and paths around Lichnos make rewarding hiking and biking terrain. Along the way, you’ll see wildflowers and orange and lemon trees, and birds of prey often come in to land on the cliffs. You could take a 2-hour round trip to the tiny chapel of Agia Eleni – perched high on a steep hillside, it has a clear view of Parga town and beyond.
Next to the beach at Lichnos, a fringe of low-key tavernas and bars serve fresh fish, local wine and traditional Greek specialities. For a change of scene you might want to dine out at Parga’s little harbour. Grilled sea bass often tops the menu, but for a side dish try feta souli, a local version of grilled feta cheese mixed with tomatoes and herbs.
Parga is the place to go for leather handbags, jewellery, pottery, embroidered linens, as well as edible treats like honey, ouzo and soumada – a sweet syrup drink made of almonds. Fashionistas, meanwhile, should head to the designers clothes and shoe boutiques in Preveza, an hour’s drive away.
Steeped in ancient mythology and drenched in natural beauty, the Acheron River is a must-visit on your holiday to Parga. The river is located over 50 kilometres from Parga, the river flows into the Ionian Sea in Ammoudia.
This little seaside village is less than 20 kilometres away from Parga by road, a journey that takes around 25 minutes. There are a number of places you can head to where you can enjoy the waters of the Acheron River though, and there are tours that take you to some of the best bits.
In ancient Greek mythology, the Acheron was one of the underworld’s five rivers, and it had to be crossed by the newly dead. It was known for its healing properties, where sins could be washed away, rather than as a place of punishment like the Cocytus, which means the ‘river of wailing’.
Look forward to lying in the golden sunshine when you spend a day at beautiful Valtos Beach. Just a short walk from the centre of Parga, it’s the perfect place for you to relax and unwind.
From Parga Beach you can also take a quick water taxi around the Castle of Parga. The beach is a near-three kilometre stretch which you approach on the water taxi. If you’re staying at the Valtos Beach Hotel, you’ll be just steps from the white shingly sand.
Whichever way you get there, you’ll be greeted by wonderful sights when you arrive at the beach. A pstcard picture bay with the castle at one end and a small harbour at the other, you’ll see the green hills rolling down into the crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea.
There’s a good selection of bars and restaurants along the beach. Or if you need some action then rent a jet ski or grab hold of a Crazy UFO as you go whizzing around the bay.
After a relaxing day at Valtos Beach, head to Sugar Bar for a cocktail as the sun goes down, then go to Mango Club for some dinner and poolside entertainment.
Marco Polo Boat Trip
Set sail across the crystal waters of the Ionian Sea with a Marco Polo Boat Trip. As one of the best boat trips you can find from Parga, you’re sure to create lots of great memories on your exciting adventure.
Based at Parga’s port in the town’s pretty bay, you’ll meet your crew for the day as you climb aboard the Marco Polo. As you leave the harbour behind, look back for views of the town where it spills down towards the sea. Then turn your attention to what’s in front of you, as you gaze out across the sparkling waters.
The captain will steer you towards the island of Antipaxos first, a pleasant journey takes about an hour and a half. You’ll have the breeze on your face the whole time. Sit back and enjoy the sunshine, and keep your eye out for dolphins swimming next to the boat.
You’ll have the chance to go swimming and snorkelling when you get to Antipaxos, before you move on to the incredible Blue Caves. Jump into the clear waters and swim into the caves, feeling the
temperature dip as you move out of the sunlight. After exploring the inside of the caves, you’ll feel the sun on your face again as you emerge from the cavern.
From the Blue Caves you’ll carry on to Paxos and the island’s biggest settlement, the port of Gaios. You can get off the boat here and wander around the village, trying fresh fish in the traditional
taverns, or shopping for jewellery and handmade crafts down tight alleyways.
You’ll get back to Parga before the evening sets in, so head to Valtos Beach for a romantic sunset before going for a few cocktails at Sugar Bar.