“Be one of the first to discover Greece’s Preveza region. In this part of the country, beaches are footprint-free and towns look much the same as they did 100 years ago.”
Sweeping down the western coast of the mainland, the Preveza region is Greece laid bare. Most people come here for the beaches, which have shied away from the trappings of tourism. In places like Monolithi and Kastrosykia, the white sands are endless and untouched.
The region’s interior is just as undressed. Olive groves, mountain ranges and nature reserves colonise the backcountry. The Vikos National Park, for example, is contoured with canyons, giant gorges, caves and rivers.
Then there are Preveza’s towns to consider. Even the main tourist spots cling to the apron strings of tradition. In Parga Town, the narrow streets are still lined with classical villas and ancestral mansions. And, although you’ll find a clutch of cosmopolitan wine bars near the harbour, family-run tavernas and ouzeries are still in the majority.
At the tip of the Preveza region you’ll find the unsung hero of the Greek Islands. Lefkas is wrapped in a band of unspoilt beaches, its interior is covered with vineyards and pine forests, and its hilltop villages have barely changed in the last century.
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Looking for holidays in Greece? Our Greece holiday destinations include Corfu, Crete, Halkidiki, Kefalonia, Kos, Lefkas, Meganissi, Parga, Paxos, Rhodes, Samos, Santorini, Skiathos, Skopelos, Thassos and Zante.
Honey-coloured sand stretching as far as the eye can see. And long strips of pebbles kissed by luminous jade-turquoise sea. Beach lovers simply couldn’t want for more from Preveza. Some of the finest beaches in the region can be found in and around Parga. Here, the pebble-sand beach comes complete with views over a pretty white-chapelled islet. It may get busy in summer, but you can always hotfoot it over the headland to Valtos. This crescent of sand is big, beautiful and brimming with tavernas, watersports and sunbeds. On Lefkas too, beaches beckon from almost every direction. Watersports fans will love the 5-kilometre sands at Aghios Ioannis, where offshore breezes and sparkling seas make it a Mecca for wind and kite-surfers. Further south on the west coast, white-pebble coves and cliff-framed bays lie in wait for more intrepid beach-hunters. While over on the east coast, Periyali, Nikiana and Lazarata offer beautiful stony beaches within touching distance of waterfront tavernas.
The first thing you should know about food in Preveza is that it’s 99% Greek. Tavernas, ‘kafeneia’ – traditional cafes and ‘ouzeri’ – simple snack bars, are the order of the day. From a visitor’s point of view, we’re talking about tucking into a banquet of local dishes. Think ‘moussakas’, Greek salads and vine-wrapped ‘dolmades’. And that’s nowhere near the whole list. Add sizzling ‘souvlakis’ – skewers of pork and lamb marinated in lemon juice and herbs. ‘Saganaki’ – oozey chunks of fried cheese to the menu. You’ll also find local specialities. In Parga for instance, look out for ‘bourtheto’ - clusters of tiny fish baked and smothered in rich tomato sauce. And we should say that Parga’s perhaps the only exception to the ‘strictly Greek’ rule. Its tourist credentials mean it’s got loads of restaurants serving British and Italian dishes, too. In Lefkas though, the ‘keep things local’ rule really sticks. In Lefkas Town and the small fishing villages, you’ll find places specialising in all the classic Greek main courses. And don’t forget to sample some of the country’s famously sticky-sweet puddings like syrupy ‘baklava’ and Greek yoghurt drenched in honey.
Whether you’re in the dance-till-you-drop brigade or belong to the drinks-and-dinner camp, Preveza’s got the lot. It just depends on which resort you plump for. For high-powered partying, there’s no place but Parga. In high summer, its waterfront and old town simmer with packed out clubs and bars. And even then, there’s still plenty for those who prefer a slower pace. Almost everywhere you go, cosy tavernas and romantic bars offer up intimate suppers to the soundtrack of the sea. In contrast, Lefkas is much lower key. In Nikiana, Periyali, Aghios Ioannis and Lazarata, we’re talking cheerful waterside tavernas. However, if you’re hankering after a higher tempo, there’s always Nidri or Lefkas Town. Just a few minutes’ cab ride from Nikiana and Periyali, Nidri’s harbourfront ripples with music bars and popular outdoor cafes – it even has a couple of discos. There’s plenty going on in Lefkas Town, too. Park yourself at a popular main square taverna and you may just be entertained by strolling jugglers, ‘bouzouki’ troupes and even fire-eaters. Alternatively, hang out with the locals at the cocktail bars along the harbour before hitting the town’s discos.
Parga’s great for shopping. From the stepped streets of its warren-like old town to the narrow alleyways stuffed behind its waterfront, this is one place that’ll definitely rev up your retail ramblings. Almost everywhere you turn, you’ll stumble across jewellery shops, beach boutiques and gift shops. On Lefkas, the capital Lefkas Town is prime shopping territory. Here, pedestrianised streets fanning out from the main square tempt you into perfume shops, designer boutiques and quirky gift emporia. The usual souvenir suspects here include ceramics and lace scarves hand-made by islanders. Of course, Lefkas Town doesn’t hold the total monopoly on shopping here. All over the island, the seaside and mountain villages are home to interesting curio stores, delis and roadside stalls choc-a-block with treats. How about some olive oil or thyme-infused honey from the village of Athani? Some embroidered linen from the mountain hamlet of Karia? Or a bottle of ‘soumada’, the rich almond liqueur? Just take your pick – they’ll all be wonderful reminders of your holiday.