A guide to things to do in Parga
On the whole, Parga holidays are peaceful escapes centred around the town’s gorgeous beaches. Scattered along its coastline are a handful of activities to keep your holiday varied, most of which will get you outside and enjoying the Greek sunshine. Here, you’ll find everything from a 16th-century Venetian castle, a mini golf course and a set of ruins from Greek mythology, rumoured to be the entrance to the underworld.
Greek mythology comes to life
Greece holidays are laden with opportunities to explore sights inspired by the country’s famed mythology, and Parga is no different. Found about a 30-minute drive from Parga is the Necromanteion of Acheron, a ruinous building believed to sit atop the entrance to Hades. Onsite, there isn’t much by way of a museum or tourist information, so you’d be wise to pick up a guidebook beforehand or do your research before setting out.
The ruins give way to a maze of catacombs underground, and are also bordered by the Acheron River, which is said to be the River Styx. Also in Parga is Aphrodite’s Cave, where the Greek Goddess used to bathe. It’s reachable only by boat, debarking from Lichnos Beach. Once you park outside, you’re invited to hop out into the water and swim up to the cave for some up-close exploration.
Watersports and boating cruises
On the vast majority of Parga’s beaches, you’ll find a slew of watersports onshore. The main beaches like Valtos and Lichnos offer the widest range of seaside activities, from pedalos and canoes to rent, banana boats, wind surfing and paragliding. Smaller spots like Sarakiniko Beach keep things laid-back with quiet pedalo rides and snorkelling.
Boat cruises leave frequently from Parga’s harbour, taking holidaygoers to and from various beaches around the area, or just out for a relaxing ride on the waves. Some routes will take you out exploring the caves hidden in Parga’s coastline, passing pods of dolphins and stopping off in nearby towns for lunch.
Tucked into a scenic citrus grove is the JOIN mini golf course – Parga doesn’t have a wealth of activities for children, but a round of golf at this quaint little course is a surefire hit with kids. The course only features 12 holes, so you won’t have to worry about cranky little ones if 18 holes is too much – you can always go for round two as well, if you aren’t ready to leave, or pop into the cafe onsite for lunch or a quick post-victory bite to eat.
Castle of Parga
One of the most popular things to do in Parga for all the family, atop a hillside overlooking the coast you’ll find the Castle of Parga – a 16th-century Venetian castle whose views are second to none. On one side is Parga Town and on the other is Valtos Beach, not to mention its sparkling blue stretch of sea. It can be a bit of a hike to reach the castle, so if you’re up for the trek, make sure to bring good walking shoes.
The castle is now essentially in ruins, although cannons and the original stone walls are still stacked around the hilltop. At the base of the castle is a cafe where, after your hike, you can treat yourself to a cold drink and some of the best waffles in Parga.
The beaches remain a highlight of holidays to Parga. The coastline here offers so much more than just sunbathing spots, though they are a top priority for holidaygoers in this part of the mainland. Around the corner from Piso Krioneri Beach is a smattering of caves carved into the rock walls begging to be explored, while Krioneri Beach faces a tiny island known as Panagia Island.
It’s more of a small chunk of rock than a full-blown island, but it still somehow provides a home to a tiny church. You can swim out to the island or rent a pedalo and venture out at a more leisurely pace.
Set foot in the heart-racingly chilly water of the Acheron River, between towering rock walls and groves of lush trees, and you’ll feel a world away from Parga’s sandy downtown. Perfect for summertime hikes, the water is shallow enough in many spots to wade through easily. On your trek you’ll pass rustic, waterfront cafes, tiny caves and small zip-lining spots. You can also explore the river via kayak – the water is gentle, so it won’t be a white water rafting excursion – or by horseback.