Parga is a beautiful holiday destination in Epirus, also known as the "Bride of the Ionian" because of its unparalleled beauty. It is located in the northern part of the prefecture of Preveza. The picturesque town is built amphitheatrically under the Venetian Castle. It is considered one of the most cosmopolitan holiday destinations. It has approximately 3,000 permanent inhabitants, while in the summer this number greatly increases due to its many visitors. The narrow streets, the traditional buildings, the neighbourhoods, the castle and even the traditional tavernas give a special ambience with an island feel to Parga. The castle of Parga can be reached via the narrow streets and steps from the port and there is a cobbled stone road which leads to the beach of "Xrysoyiali" of Valtou.
Parga was known in ancient times as Parayeiros, Parayaia and Ymaryos from which its present name is derived. It was occupied by the Normans, who built the first fort in the 14th century and was later occupied by the Venetians, the French, the British and the Turks. With the Venetian occupation came stability, great economic growth, with Parga acting as a bridge between Turkish-occupied Greece and Venice.
Parga’s history goes back to antiquity and includes many struggles for freedom. During the Venetian occupation, Parga was fortified and became a commercial centre (at Valto, "Xrysoyiali", the Custom house (Doyana) of the time can still be found). The town was accorded many privileges including its own government and thrived economically. During this period, the Venetians ordered the planting of olive groves and as a result a significant number of Pargans are involved in the production of olives and olive oil to this day!
Thomas Metland, the British governor in the area following the liberation of Corfu in 1814, looking for the support of Ali Pasa in efforts to undermine the Russian influence in the area, decided to sell Parga to him. Ali Pasa had been trying unsuccessfully for years to conquer Parga. In the past the Ottoman lord had even built a castle at Anthousa on a ridge above Parga to try and control the city. His efforts finally bore fruit with the English.
Even this complete upheaval did not discourage the Pargans and the Souliotes who continued to offer their services to the Greek revolution. Amongst them were Markos Botsaris and Kitsos Tzavelas, who became Greek heroes.
In 1913, Parga is incorporated into the Greek state. The Pargans return home after its liberation on the 23rd of February, 1913.
Our family is always willing to give information concerning excursions and trips or even reserve an excursion with the very well organized tourist offices of Parga! We can also help with car or motor bike rental.
ON FOOT BY CAR, AT A RADIUS OF 10km (6 1/4 miles).
- The historical Venetian Castle of the city was built around 1450 and completed by the Venetians in 1792, resulting in a perfect and strong fortification, which remained unconquered until 1819.
- The little island with the church of the Virgin, which was at the forefront of the defences during times with raids.
- The ecclesiastical museum in the centre of the city with the marvellous attractions of the time such as the legendary coat of arms of the Pargans.
- The church of Agios Nikolaos, Patron Saint of Pargas with its marvellous icons.
- The Monastery of Agia Vlahernas at Xrysoyiali. Tradition says that its high bell tower had nine bells which could be heard at a distance of 12 miles.
- The little church of Ai.Sosti in a unique spot under the cliff and above the beach of the same name.
- The picturesque cobblestoned streets in the city, parts of which are unchanged since the time of their construction!
- The castle of "Ali Pasa" at Anthousa, which Ali built to launch his attacks against Parga. He did not succeed in conquering Parga through warfare and only obtained it due to its sale by the English.
- The underwater spring in the bay of Ai.Yiannaki. The strange physical phenomenon of bubbling freshwater in the sea, which can also be seen from above.
- The natural caves of Lichno where according to myth, whoever dives into the water of one of the caves becomes younger!
- More than ten churches within the city - the church of Agia Eleni, (mount Agia Eleni) with its wonderful panoramic view of Parga, the church of Agiou Athanassiou (Krioneri), the church of Agios Sosti (Agios Sosti - beach) hidden within the rocks, the church of Agia Marina, the church of the Virgin ( on the island of the same name), the church of St. Nikola (at Haliopoulo), the church of the Twelve Apostles (where the sacred relics of Parga such as the coat of arms, icons, church vessels are found) and the church of Agios Spiridona (at Valto).
- The traditional small paths which offer marvellous walks through the ancient Venetian olive groves next to crystal clear rivers. Walks where you can see traditional old cobblestoned roads and restored water mills!
BY CAR AT A DISTANCE OF 20-55km (12 1/2 - 34 miles) FROM PARGA
- The Skala of Tzavelainas near the Aheronta river. One of the most well-known passes of the legendary Souliotes.
- The mythical Aherontas river, where souls passed to the underworld.
- The sources of the Aherontas river after a wonderful excursion at the heart of nature.
- The Nekromanteio which was the second best known oracle of ancient times (following that at Delphi) where the living communicated with the dead.
- Ancient Nikopolis at Preveza with its new history museum.
EXCURSIONS BY SEA
- The nearby islands of Paxos (Paxi), Antipaxoi and Corfu with their natural beauty.
AT A DISTANCE OF 90-150km (56 1/4 - 93 3/4miles) VIA EGNATIA HIGHWAY
- Wonderful Ioannina with its beautiful lake and abundant history.
- The picturesque Zagorohoria and Metsovo, with their stone built houses and their traditional pies and cheeses.
In the area of Parga there are many different beaches and bays. In the old days its ports and shelters for naval vessels helped to make Parga into a former commercial centre. Today they contribute to the development of the city and the surrounding area as a tourist destination. "To Xrysoyiali": a large well-organised beach, with tavernas, cafes, sun beds and sea sports. From the centre of the beach little boats (like taxis!) depart until well into the night, to and from the centre of Parga. The beach faces the back of the castle and the houses of the most picturesque area in Parga called Tourkopazaro. On the opposite side of the bay is located the beautiful "Monastery of Vlaherna". To the right there is the small picturesque port.
CENTRE OF PARGA
Within the city of Parga you will find the beach of "Krioneri". A lovely, picturesque and well-organized beach facing the island of the Virgin. Opposite the centre of the beach is a small high rocky islet which is named Skorda. Just to the east of this islet is a small beach called Piso Krioneri, within the settlement of Parga and surrounded by high cliffs.
5km (3,1 miles) east of the city is Lichnos beach which also has two small sea caves. The beach offers many amenities and water sports.
About 7 km (4,4 miles) east of Parga next to the village of Agia Kyriaki is Ai. Yiannakis. One of the most beautiful small beaches in the area.
Finally, 6km (3 3/4 miles) west of Parga, near Aghia village, is Sarakiniko beach. A beach which takes you back in time with its simple tavernas and surrounding natural beauty. All the beaches mentioned above are accessible by road. There are also a number of beaches which are accessible by sea, such as Agios Sostis, Spartila, Poyonia, etc.