By Annick Dournes & Frédéric de Poligny
Epirus-Coast-a-country-of-pristine-beaches Turquoise waters, fine sand beaches, deep coves, picturesque villages, white cliff and green hills… they may all sound like tired clichés of a touristic brochure. But this is exactly how the Epirus coast looks like. Let us take you to chic Parga and relaxed Sivota, the two jewel seaside resorts of Epirus.
Epirus is a sparsely populated region in the remote north-western corner of mainland Greece close to Albania. Being far from Athens (about a 5-hour drive) this beautiful area is spared by mass tourism. Actually, you can make it easier with a direct flight from many European airports to local Aktion International Airport, often named Lefkada Airport, near the town of Preveza. Your search for sea, sun and peacefulness is within reach. Igoumenista port that is less than 25 km, offers ferry routes to near-by Corfu and to Italy.
Alluring Parga, a kind of Italian air
With its crescent beach and colourful seafront houses Parga truly is the sister village of Amalfi or Sorrento. Same charm, same joie de vivre, same liveliness. Like close-by Corfu Parga has been ruled by Venetians, French, Turquish and British. A stone fortress perched high on a cliff is a living memory of this period. It overlooks the beautiful beach and the maze of small streets that lead to the old port.
Driving through the tiny streets can soon become a puzzle, so the best idea is to park your car and discover the resort by foot. There are plenty of trendy shops to go window-shopping, plenty of “tavernas” to enjoy a delicious Greek meal and plenty of lovely spots for your Instagram account. Why not prepare a picnic basket and have a great time on the beach, swimming, enjoying the unique view over the rocky islets of the bay and wait till the end of the day to enjoy Parga’s famous sunset?
Sivota, perfect for family holidays
Sivota has been a popular seaside resort since the 1960’s when jet setters discovered its beautiful beaches and crystal clear water. Some of them, such as famous French fashion designer Guy Laroche, built classy villas turning the small fishing port into a trendy holiday resort. The site truly is enchanting with hills dropping into the sea, inviting sandy beaches and small deserted fjords.
Renting a boat is very easy even if you don’t have a boating licence and is the best way to discover the nearby coast as well as the numerous lovely islands of the bay. You can thus bask in the sun on the long and beautiful Plataria beach or if you want more privacy go to a remote beach in one of the small bays such as Zavia, Megali or Mega Drafti. Renting a boat will allow you to go to the amazing “Blue Lagoon Beach” on Mourtos Island that is only accessible by boat. There are also organised day-trips to beautiful Paxos and Antipaxos islands.
Along the crescent waterfront are many fish restaurants serving authentic Greek cuisine mostly made with the fresh catch of the day. They all have vast outside terraces and you will enjoy a relaxing sea view during your meal. We had a very nice and friendly lunch at Georgeos Tzovaras Family Restaurant, right on the sea front with delicious authentic Greek food.
For a different atmosphere there are also several more trendy-bars playing music late at night. Comfortably leaning in deep sofas or pouffes you will enjoy an ouzo or Tsipouro with local Greek “tapas”. Here both families and party lovers can have a good time, thanks to the Greek easy-going attitude to life.
Quiet luxury at Domotel Agios Nikolaos
Agios Nikolaos is a 5-star suites resort ideally located on a green hillside dropping into the sea. It was built in a preserved site planted with olive trees one kilometre away from Sivota town centre. The hotel is named after Agios Nikolaos islet set in front of the beautiful private beach. The Agios Nikolaos design definitely is contemporary creating a refined yet relaxing ambience.
In between the hotel’s buildings paved pathways wind up and down through gardens filled with bougainvillae and jasmine. One will take you to a large swimming pool, another to a large private decked area with comfortable sun loungers overlooking the sea, another one to the lovely sandy beach and to a long wood pontoon from where you can dive into the turquoise water. This is also the place where you can embark on a boat hired by the hotel to explore the surroundings.
All suites have a mesmerising sea view, each one with a vast balcony or terrace and some with their own private pool. They are beautifully decorated with relaxing colours, wooden separators and a separate seating area. They all have free WiFi, coffee and tea making set with Espresso machine, satellite TV, branded toiletries… Ready to excel all your expectations.
As is the rule at Domotel hotels food and cuisine is important business! During our stay we came to look forward to our next meal knowing that it would be a real treat. The chef surely knows how to surprise you with simple fresh ingredients turning traditional Greek recipes into modern tasty dishes. Simple seafood “meze” for lunch or more sophisticated creations for dinner are just delicious. There also is a bar by the pool and a second one near the beach to enjoy a drink anytime of the day. Of course as you can imagine the restaurant and bars all have wonderful sea views!
Text ©Annick Dournes
Photos ©Frederic de Poligny & Annick Dournes