Nestled among Greece’s North-West coast lies a little town you’ve probably never heard of, but that doesn’t stop it being one of the most beautiful locations in the country. Parga is one of Greece’s best-kept secrets, and despite being off the beaten tourist trail, it can provide the quintessential Mediterranean holiday for anyone looking to tick Greece off their bucket list. Surrounded by silver beaches, crystal clear sea and blessed with a simple, unhurried way of life, a trip to the tiny port town of Parga can be totally magical.
When most people think of Greece as a holiday spot, they think of the numerous islands that surround the southern mainland. While these are undoubtedly beautiful, they’re usually packed with tourists and seasonally besieged by hordes of drunken youths. A much better idea is to aim for the less-obvious, but much more traditionally Greek surrounds of Parga.
Check out BUCKiTDREAM to see if any other adventurers have uncovered Greece’s hidden gem; but if not, get inspired by some Greek-inclined photos and posts. Then, keep your trusty BUCKiTDREAM planner handy as we give you the definitive guide to the port town of Parga!
Hit the Beaches Parga has more than its fair share of beaches to offer. The town itself resembles a cove, and it’s shaped like an amphitheater; this unique geography allows clean water to be refreshed with each tide, while the lack of strong currents keeps potential swimmers safe. In other words, the beaches of Parga are the perfect place to take a dip!
Valtos is probably the most popular beach in town. Situated a short walk or scooter ride to the west, the long, sandy stretch of Valtos also features some of Parga’s stunning mountain scenery, and it’s capped off by the ancient Parga castle, which sits overlooking the bay.
Lichnos is the other heavy hitter in Parga’s beach arsenal. Located on the opposite side of the city to Valtos, and shorter than its big sister, Lichnos has more of a cove-like feel. It’s also surrounded by copious olive groves, which provide Parga with one of its main industries.
Set Sail on the Ionian Sea Parga is a port town, so it offers its fair share of cruises, most of which depart from the main pier in the center of the town harbor. The cruises set sail to a variety of places, including the main islands surrounding Parga; Corfu, Paxos, and Antipaxos, all beautiful and worth visiting in their own right. But other routes might just take you to less-frequented gems along Parga’s coastline.
There’s plenty of secret caves, beaches, and coves that lie waiting to be discovered, so jumping on one of these cruises and not quite knowing where you might end up is a large part of the fun. The boats will routinely stop and let passengers jump into the sea for some swimming, too!
Traverse the Styx The legendary River Styx was said to guard the gates to Hades in Greek mythology. Corpses were buried with two silver coins so they could pay the ferryman, Charon, to guide them across the Styx and land them (safely?) in the Netherworld.
It might surprise you to learn that the Styx, or Acheron as it’s also known, is a very real place. In fact, the mouth of the River is just east of Parga, and there’s a pretty awesome necropolis at the other end of it. You can charter a leisurely cruise down the Styx from Parga Harbor, and while it won’t transport you to the Hades, you will still have to pay the ferryman. Some things never change.
Wander Around the Town You should take a couple of days to wander ’round Parga and explore some of its nooks and crannies. Like a lot of European towns and cities, the layout is labyrinthine and fairytale-like, with winding stairways and mysterious alleys. There’s many traditional shops and restaurants to peruse, as well as cafés, bakeries and seafront bars.
A car can be difficult to maneuver through Parga’s narrow, hilly streets, so the coolest way to get around is to do as the locals do and rent a scooter. There’s nothing better than tearing through rural Greece on a breezy scooter during a lazy, high-twenties afternoon.
Lay Your Head Down There’s a number of accommodation options in and around the town, from apartments overlooking the harbor to villas nestled in the nearby mountains. Magda’s Hotel Apartments is a happy medium; located at the top of the town with a great view of the surrounding bay and Parga castle, Magda’s feels like your own special retreat, while still within walking distance of the town.
The best times to visit Parga, unless you’re a fiend for excessive heat, are late May and early October, especially the latter, when the sea is fully warmed up from the summer sun. Bear in mind that the terrain is pretty unforgiving, too; even the main part of the town is full of uneven steps and hills, so come prepared for a ramble!
Parga is just one of many reasons to visit the beautiful country of Greece; the people are warm, welcoming and will make you feel at home in no time at all. If you’re looking for that dream Mediterranean getaway, with all the usual trappings, then give Parga a chance. It might become your new favorite hidden gem! Then once you visit there, you can add a Legendary Adventure to Santorini to your Greek bucket list.