Pool at Magdas

For the second week of our Greek trip, we finally went to Parga on the mainland. It has been on our list for years, having heard such good things about it. We booked eight nights at Magda Apartments. We arrived on a ferry from Corfu at the port of Igoumenitsa and one of the owners, Kostas, came out to pick us up. This free transport is a massive, big plus, as they also took as to the airport when we left. We reckoned this saved us about €150, as taxis are very expensive in Greece.

The topography of Parga is difficult to describe, but effectively it is an old fishing port that has developed into a resort. Somehow it has managed this tastefully and the dynamics of the old town still dominate Parga today. Magda Apartments is well situated, has great reviews, and a pool. It is built against the slope that makes for the central rocky spur that reaches out into the Ionian Sea with (naturally) a ruined castle on the promontory. First time we went, we chose a room at the top and back of the hill which had great view but it was a bit of a climb. This put us away from the town side, but nearer the Valtos beach side, a bonus, as this was a favourite spot. The second time we went lower down the slope, swings and roundabouts really. They showed us around four or five rooms and let us pick our favourite (it was late in the season).

On top of the location, Magda’s has a cosy bar and breakfast area, shaded by olive trees and it’s nice and quiet, being on the outskirts of town. There is some live music in high season but we went in October. We loved the place and would go back. There are a few pictures in the video to give you a flavour. They even had a guitar in the reception bar area, which they let me play in the evenings. For such a great place, it’s not expensive. In the same week, a youth hostel in Keswick was charging twice as much… with a shared bathroom!

Valtos beach from Amico’s Bar

There are several beaches nearby and all have their appeal. We only visited three of them. I can’t speak for the others (the pictures look great though). The town beach is small but facing a gorgeous little bay with cutsey islands that you can easily swim over to. It’s backed up by the promenade with its many restaurants and bars. Good but, I like ‘em quieter. Lichnos beach is accessible via a ten minute journey by water taxi. It’s made up of fine pebbles, so the sea is very clear and the bay is backed by olive groves sweeping up the slopes. There’s a good taverna there and lunch was splendid. Valtos beach lies between two headlands with a ruined castle, backed by the ubiquitous olive groves… Well, you’ll just have to see the video. It’s so gorgeous it verges on cliché, with its postcardy, Instagramable beauty. Because of our spot in Magda apartments, it was our nearest beach.

View over Parga from the Venetian Fort

There are a lot of restaurants around and we didn’t hear of a bad one. You could spend a month there and go to a different place every night. Sakis is very highly rated on TripAdvisor. It would be wise to book in high season and a few people were queueing after 8.00pm. There’s little point in me listing every place we ate in. Go and find out for yourself!

Our second favourite eatery was Oskar’s. We went there twice and ordered the same thing. It’s a little Italian pizzeria, on the seafront with lovely views. The seafood risotto is stunning. Everywhere we dined, the house wine was €6 for half a litre and, unlike the muck I’ve drunk elsewhere in Greece over the years, it was absolutely fine.

Sunset cocktails at Amicos

Naturally, we quenched our thirst from time to time, in far too many boozers to list here. However, Johnny’s Place is very popular with British holidaymakers, understandably at €2 a pint. So, there’s too many to mention, but I’m going to pick on one, as I simply fell in love with it. It was only a ten-minute stroll from our apartment, but that usually took twenty minutes because the view is so lovely we had to keep stopping to take photos. Amico’s has the perfect sunset view over Valtos beach. It’s a bar and a restaurant with its own distillery. Their Ouzo, normally a ropey drink in my view, was smooth and moreish. The food was good, and I had some gorgeous calamari. The music was just right, not too loud, not intrusive, and created such a mellow atmosphere (the backing track on the video is an example of it, chill lounge). €5 a pint, but worth every zloty, I LOVED the place. Once we found it, we went every night.

Our favourite meal was at Restaurant Ostria I’m something of a pizza fanatic (sad, I know), I’ve even got a wood-fired pizza oven in my garden.

So, my standards are high, as are those of the vast majority of eateries on Parga. I had the ‘Hot’ pizza, and it was superb. It was the quality of the dough base that made it so superb; light, crispy and fluffy. If I was judging it on Strictly Come Dancing, it would get a 10. I’ve eaten pizzas all over the world, including most Italian cities. I make mean pizza myself, but I’ve never had better than this, even in Naples. Well done, and I’ll be back.

Generally speaking, the town isn’t expensive, if it seems so at times that’s because the value of the pound has dropped since the Brexit vote. There aren’t the bargains to be had that you’d find in, say, Benidorm, but Parga is a thousand times classier.

There was only one trauma on our first trip. My wife was reading and sunbathing on the beach when a wasp became trapped in the gusset of her swimming costume. In pain she leapt in the air and screamed for my help. I’ll spare you her actual choice of language. I leapt into action, grabbing the only weapon to hand; my mobile phone. When I got round her side, I could see the beast stinging away and, with repeated cries of ‘you little bastard’, I bludgeoned the hapless insect into an early grave. Naturally, we attracted some attention. It’s not everyday you see a man whacking his wife’s lady parts with a mobile phone in public. I’m not sure what the onlookers made of it. Ah well. I wouldn’t mind, but as my worthy opponent slumped onto the sand in its death throes, one of its mates flew by and stung her on the toe.

Should you go?

This blog could have been longer, but I didn’t want it to be just a review of bars and restaurants. To sum up; what a fantastic, beautiful place. Despite its popularity, Parga still feels quite Greek. I don’t know what it would like in high season, we went in mid-September. In cooler weather there’s lots of walks you can do with interesting places to visit. We’ve been twice and will go again.

For help and advice, thanks go out to Jason Kilshaw, Karen Robinson, and the ‘Parga Paradise’ group page on Facebook.

Click image for link

If you liked my blog, there’s every possibility that you’ll like the comic novel I’ve recently published. It’s brilliant, and the reason my friends worship me as a god. As much as I enjoyed teaching, and respect those who do the job, there’s plenty to laugh at. I spent 30 years giggling 😊. It’s a bargain at £2.21 for the Kindle! Click on the image for the Amazon link.

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