I chose to visit Parga in April, because a lot of those who were here, in the middle of the season, complained about the crowds, the heat, the parking spaces, or the long waiting times at the taverns to eat. Now don't let it be understood that in April the beaches and taverns of Parga are empty. There were quite a lot of fold tourists according to my logic.
You won't believe it, but on the first day we spent in Parga, we wanted to have lunch at a Greek-specific restaurant located near the place of accommodation and about 600 meters from the center of the resort. There were no more free seats and we had to go to the next one, Taverna Yannis. Here I found a place at a table and ate quite well. But I wonder how it will be here in the middle of the summer season...
Parga, the jewel of the Epirus region, is a small town hidden among rocks and gardens with olive trees, a settlement in the shape of an amphitheater, made up of buildings that start from sea level and stretch up to the height of the mountain that surrounds it. By their location, most of the houses perched on the rocks are reminiscent of the picturesque tourist resorts on the Amalfi coast in Italy, and the coloring betrays the Venetian story of the settlement.
Testimony of the past of the small town of Parga is the Venetian Fortress, which sits on a high hill and divides the town in two. Looking from the sea, we have Voltos Beach and the related buildings on the left, and on the right the city center, the most animated and crowded place of the resort. Also here, 50 meters and 200 meters from the center, are two other beaches with fine sand, Krioneri, and Piso Krioneri respectively.
Krioneri Beach is located on the edge of a bay designed as the city's port, from where you can take sea cruises or take a taxi boat to the main beach, Voltos, which I visited by car on my first day in Parga. There is also a third option to reach Voltos beach, namely on a path that descends from the fortress. A short distance from the beach is Panagia Island, which can be reached by hydro bike, boat, or even swimming.
Around the waterfront, the agreement area, and the promenade, there are numerous welcoming taverns and restaurants, where the waiters cross your path and invite you to step on their doorstep and eat their dishes. From here we started to visit the fortress by going up a narrow street, with many steps and interwoven with stalls and shops, where you can find all kinds of specific Greek products, religious objects, and miniature reproductions of ancient or medieval vestiges. Near the fortress are some taverns with terraces perched on the rocks, with dreamy images of the surroundings.
The Venetian fortress is an edifice dating from the end of the 15th century, when the Venetians ruled this area. They built the fortress in order to defend the town of Parga, from the attacks that threatened it, both on land and on water. Its history is written on a board behind the entrance gate. The citadel is now a ruin, but it is worth visiting, especially for the superb panoramic views towards Voltos beach and the city center.
Ali Pasha's Castle is another must-see not far from Parga. Built in the 18th century by order of the feared Pasha of Albanian origin Ali, it is located on a mountaintop above the village of Anthousa. Not much remains of the former castle, only windowless rooms, and dark corridors, but the view toward the Ionian Sea is incredibly beautiful.
You can easily reach the former castle. From the village of Anthousa, turn right towards the village of Trikorfo, then, after about one km, turn left and go up an asphalted road to the building's parking lot. Another way to get here is by train from the city center (costs 8 euros). Entrance to the castle and parking is free.
Anthousa waterfall is at the exit of the village and we visited it after coming down from Ali Pasha's castle. By car, you can get to Taverna Vassilis and you can park on the street without problems. From the tavern are signs to the waterfall. Once the car is left in the "parking lot", the paved road continues, then on a landscaped path, through an orchard with olive and orange trees. The waterfall is not so spectacular, but, hidden among the rocks, in a shady and refreshing place, it can be an alternative to hide from the hot summer sun.
Lichnos beach, located about four km from Parga, I visited by car quickly before and it was a bit empty at this time of the year. From what I found on the spot, it is quite beautiful and can be an alternative to those in Parga (crowded in a full season), even if it does not have fine sand, but small "pearl" type pebbles.
Acheron Springs was the tourist attraction that I liked the most during my two days in Parga. It is located approximately 30 km from the resort, near the village of Glyki. A wonderful natural setting with two pedestrian routes on the banks of the river Acheron, which springs from the mountains of Epirus, flows upstream hidden among the rocks, emerges near the village of Glyki, and flows into the Ionian Sea near the town of Ammodia.
As a result of the partial underground flow, the Acheron was known in Greek mythology as one of the five hells, with cloudy and muddy waters, which separated the world of the living from that of the dead. The god of the underworld, Hades, passed this evil over to those who had money. Hence the pagan ritual of the Greeks who inserted a coin into the mouth of the dead.
We arrived relatively early in this place and after leaving the car in a large parking lot, in the shade of a tree, we were directed by a kind of guide to follow the pedestrian route to the right of the Acheron River. It is the route most traveled by tourists and the most beautiful, in addition to the bad and the strange-looking trees, in addition to the plants that grow in the water and have an almost exotic appearance. The water of the river has an azure color that pleases the eyes, the surrounding vegetation makes you feel like you are in a little paradise.
At one point, the pedestrian route ends on land and enters directly into the river bed. Here the tourists divided into two camps, some stopped and returned to the parking lot, and others continued up the river, where apparently the most spectacular landforms of the gorges are. We were part of the first group and returned to the parking place.
We were not equipped to go on and besides the water was very, very cold. On the way back, about halfway along the route, we were met by a local man, who invited us to board the inflatable boat, to take a ride on the river for the sum of five euros.
Arriving at the parking lot, we got into the car and after crossing a bridge from the village of Glyki, we arrived on the left side of the evil. And here is a pedestrian route, but it is less spectacular compared to the one on the right. And this one has a portion of the land route and one through the water.
The strong point of this place is the Greek-specific restaurant, which has tables and chairs among shady trees and on the banks of the river. I haven't eaten here, but I think it's wonderful to be served at the table in the hot summer months, on the banks of the river, or in the shade of the trees.
That's all I visited in the two days I spent in Parga and its surroundings. From here we went through the mountains of Epirus to other Greek tourist destinations, which I hope to tell you about in a future review.
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