The west coast of Greece is famous for being one of the most popular places to spend your summer holidays in Europe.
Every year, people from all over the world come here, attracted by the combination of sun, turquoise sea waters, emerald green landscapes and good food.
One of the popular tourist centers in this part of the country is the small coastal city of Parga, which has a population of less than 4,000 inhabitants.
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However, the city is not just an important port ensuring the regular connections with the Ionian Islands, but it is also an attractive tourist destination.
With its beautiful beaches, crystal clear sea and green hills, Parga is a very good choice for people seeking tranquility and a place for stress relief.
1. Enjoy the Old Town of Parga
Because of the combination of colorful buildings and picturesque location, Parga is a very pleasant and relaxing place to stroll.
It offers dozens of souvenir shops and craft workshops scattered around.
The biggest part of the small tavernas and cafes are managed by nice and friendly hospitable people, most of which are locals.
Tourkopazaro is probably the most attractive area where some of the most beautiful buildings are located.
One of them is the Old Town Hall Building, which today serves to accommodate tourists.
2. Explore the protected area of Acheron River
One of the must-visit places in the region of Parga is the protected area around Acheron River.
Part of Natura 2000, the river is nearly 52 km long and is considered one of the most beautiful places on the west coast of Greece.
Despite the entire river area being very beautiful, it is particularly attractive at the springs and in the delta region in the outskirts of Ammoudia.
At some parts the turquoise waters of the river are so clear that any pebble and any creature under the water surface can be seen.
3. Enjoy the beautiful Agios Giannakis Beach
Less than 10 kilometers east of the heart of Parga (en route) you will reach a beautiful bay.
Its azure waters are crystal clear, and its shores are covered with lush Mediterranean vegetation.
Here you will find a lovely little beach known as Agios Giannakis.
It is located one of the most secluded corners of the quiet bay.
It is covered with light coarse sand and the sea water is smooth and irresistible with its emerald color.
Since the place is located away from Parga and there are no hotels in the area, it is a little more difficult to reach, but on the other side, the beach is never overcrowded and you could easily find some privacy.
4. Visit the Venetian Castle of Parga
The Venetian Castle of Parga is located in one of the highest points of the hilly peninsula in the heart of the city.
Under the pleasant cool shade of the trees you will find a fortress dating from the 11th century.
Despite being repeatedly renovated and strengthened, the fortress is still considered one of the oldest in this part of Greece.
While strolling down the narrow shady paths beneath the large conifer trees, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the most beautiful views of Parga.
5. Go to Vlacherna Monastery
To see some of Parga’s greatest beauties, you have to be ready to travel beyond the city’s borders.
An example is the Vlacherna Monastery (do not be confused with the Vlacherna Monastery of Corfu!), located on a forested peninsula west of the town.
Although outside Parga, the monastery is within a walking distance of the city center of the tourist city.
Built in the 14th century, it is famous for its exquisite 15-meters-high elegant bell tower.
6. Discover the fantastic Paralia Vrachos
It probably looks like the coast of South Florida, but actually, this is one of the top rated beaches along the western coast of Greece.
Better known as Paralia Vrachos, it is a real paradise for lovers of water sports, swimming and sunbathing.
Located half an hour drive southeast from Parga, the beach offers an outstanding 3 km long stretch of fine golden sands and turquoise waters.
The beach is Blue Flag-awarded and is very well-organized so you will definitely love it.
7. Visit the Krioneri Beach
If you are not willing to travel a lot and want to visit some really good beach nearby, Krioneri is the best choice.
Being the main stretch of sand of the small tourist city, the beach is just a few steps away from the best tavernas and bars of Parga.
It offers a top quality stretch of golden sand and shallow pristine waters.
Most of the city’s attractions are in the area, and the only disadvantage is the fact that it is probably the most crowded in the area.
8. Go to Ali Pasha Castle
Ali Pasha Castle is an old but very well preserved fortress, situated on the top of a hill, not far from the city of Parga (about 5km from the center of the city).
Built in the 18th century, today it is one of the most interesting tourist attractions in the vicinity of the Ionian city.
Reaching the place, you will be able to enjoy a breath-taking view.
In clear and sunny weather you can easily see the islands of Corfu, Paxos and Antipaxos in the distance.
9. Visit Sarakiniko Beach
About 9 kilometers west of Parga, you will find the small coastal village of Sarakiniko.
The place is quite attractive as it combines a superb beach with ivory-colored sand, azure sea, lush vegetation and fresh air.
Although a little far from Parga, the beach can be quite lively in the heat of summer because there are tourist villas and small hotels nearby.
Situated in the middle of the forest and just 20 minutes from the heart of Parga, they attract many visitors.
10. Go to Panagia Island and visit the chapel
Panagia Island is located in the central part of Parga Bay, less than 100 meters from the coastal promenade.
Stony and covered with coniferous trees, it is extremely picturesque and is one of the main tourist attractions.
Easily accessible even by swimming, the island is famous for its small white Orthodox church.
The name of the chapel is Koimisis tis Theotokou, which translated from Greek means Dormition of Virgin Mary.
11. Enjoy the wonderful Ammoudia Beach
With its irresistibly white sands and azure seas, Ammoudia Beach is among the most popular beaches in the vicinity of Parga.
The 700-meters-long stretch of sand is part of a small bay whose shallow waters are excellent for swimming.
The place is especially popular with lovers of ecotourism.
The beach stretches along the coast of the village of the same name.
In its southern part you will find the beautiful wetland of Acheron River.
12. Visit the Olive Oil Museum
One of the most recommended places to visit in Parga is the Old Olive Oil Factory.
In the past, it was one of the most important olive oil production sites in the area.
Nowadays, however, it operates as a museum and is known for its very rich collection.
Housed in an old stone building, the museum still keeps perfectly preserved machinery for the production of this valuable olive oil, which is known for its numerous healthy properties.
13. Snorkeling and diving around Panagia
Less than a hundred meters off the coast of Parga there is a small island.
Rocky and covered with trees, it looks easily accessible from the coast of the city, and it really is.
Despite the lack of sandy beaches, Panagia (the name of the island) attracts a number of visitors.
In fact, it is a popular spot for divers and snorkelers.
The rocky bottom and the lack of sands along the shore are the main reasons why the pristine water is full of a wide variety of marine creatures.
14. Spend a day at Lichnos Beach
Lichnos Beach is extremely attractive, and it is advisable to visit it at least once while in Parga.
It is easily accessible and offers all kinds of facilities.
With a length of more than 700 meters, it is rarely overcrowded, although tourists like it a lot.
The beach is especially attractive because of its azure waters and very light golden sands.
Facing south, the beach is well-known for its smooth waters.
It is a great place for swimming and having fun on the shore.
15. Discover the little paradise of Karavostasi
Another hidden gem to discover along the coast of Parga is the less-known Karavostasi Beach.
It is located in a less crowded area, about 10 km west of Parga.
It combines golden sands and emerald waters.
The beach is well-organized but you still can find a lot of free space as the number of visitors in the area is relatively small.
Facing to the west, the beach is surrounded by forested hills to the north and to the south.
16. Go to Aphrodite’s Cave
The Aphrodite Cave is located in the vicinity of Lychnos – a small coastal village 2 and a half kilometers east of Parga.
The cave is part of the Blue Cave complex, which is located on the seashore.
As a great tourist attraction, the place is extremely popular and attractive.
It is easily accessible and the nature in the area is very beautiful.
The best way to explore this place is to join one of the cruises organized in Parga.
This way you can see the cave from the sea and swim in the sapphire blue waters.
17. Try local wine
Greek wine is among the top ten in the world.
No matter what city or island you are in, you can always find and visit a more or less well-known winery nearby.
This is the best way to find and buy a bottle of wine for your family and friends at home.
If you just want to enjoy the taste of a glass of the top quality beverage with your meal, however, you can do that in any of the great local tavernas.
Since Parga is a popular tourist town, most of the local wineries offer their production in the tavernas and bars in the area.
Practically, at any restaurant you can get recommendations on which wine to try, especially if sharing your personal preference for the drink, but also according to the food you are going to consume.
18. Enjoy the great water sport opportunities at Valtos Beach
Parga is well known as a place to practice various water sports.
This is an attractive destination to enjoy water skiing, diving and jet skiing.
The coastal tourist center is especially attractive for parasailing as you will be able to see from above the entire scenic area.
This place is also very popular with windsurfing lovers.
The weather conditions in the area during the summer season are perfect, combining high temperatures, constant and refreshing sea breeze and smooth seas.
The most recommended in this respect is Valtos Beach.
This is the longest stretch of sand in the area of Parga and is located in the western-most part of the city.
It offers white sands and emerald waters.
19. Discover the beauty of Paxos and Antipaxos
The islands of Paxos and Antipaxos are located about 20 kilometers from the shores of Parga.
They are considered one of the best swimming and snorkeling sites in Greece and Europe.
It is especially advisable to join a day boat trip, with the best choice being the northeast coast of Antipaxos.
Here you will find three magnificent bays known for their crystal clear turquoise waters and visibility under water of more than 50 meters!
20. Don’t miss to visit Meteora
It takes about two and a half hours to get from Parga to Meteora, but the trip is worth it.
Along the way you will have the opportunity to see and enjoy the mountain scenery of Western Greece, and at the end of the trip you will be amazed.
The Meteora area is unique and certainly cannot be compared to anything else.
At the top of the hundreds of meters high cliffs are some of the most impressive monasteries you can imagine.
The oldest of them were built in the 14th century.
The monastic republic is considered the second oldest in Greece after the one on the peninsula of Mount Athos but the site was actually inhabited by monks since the 11th century.
21. Amvrakikos Wetlands National Park
The Amvrakikos Wetland is a protected area, which is located not far from Parga.
It is located 82 km southeast of the city and is an important tourist attraction.
The bay is quite large and is an excellent habitat for a wide variety of species, including fish, birds and mammals.
The place is idyllic and nature is very well preserved.
Although the bay has the fame of being shallow, in fact the depth of some places reaches almost 60 meters!
22. Go to Igoumenitsa
With a population of 25,814 residents, Igoumenitsa is a small but beautiful city in northwestern Greece.
It is situated on the picturesque shore of a deep bay with mirror-calm cobalt-blue waters.
Igoumenitsa is an important port in this part of the country.
It is famous for its beautiful nature, dense forests and rich archeological heritage.
There are beautiful beaches in the area and most of them are rarely overcrowded.
23. Day trip to Lefkada
Lefkada is definitely one of the most beautiful islands in Europe.
Most of its territory is covered with forests, and along the coast you will find some of the most irresistible beaches on the Mediterranean.
Lefkada Island is located less than 60 km south of Parga.
It takes about 2 and a half hours to get there if you travel by bus and about an hour and a half if you are by car.
The biggest attractions are Navagio Beach, the capital Lefkas and the small charming coastal village of Nidri.More from Greece: