Ionian Coast | Mainland Greece

38.7814° N, 20.8824° E

Ionian Coast

The Ionian coast extends from the upper end of Peloponnese until the northern borders of the country and is actually the west coast of the continental Greece. It is a place of untouched beauty yet all organized and ready to welcome guests for the most refreshing holidays. With a prominent traditional character adorned with Venetian elements, the graphic towns and villages of the area exude the essence of old-time splendor and authenticity.

Throughout its beautiful extend, the Ionian coast is rugged with picturesque villages and small towns, small resorts hidden within the lush vegetation of its treasured hills and white shores that offer everything a guest may need: from fully organized beaches to quiet, almost private hidden coves.

Visiting this part of Greece is an experience in itself; one can choose to either stay in one of its graphic areas and enjoy the utmost of relaxation, or take the opportunity to explore all the surrounding beauties by staying in different areas every 2-3 days. Whatever the visitor chooses, one thing is certain: the Ionian coast will lure them into its authentic holiday life with its vibrant resorts and its pristine natural diversity.

Ionian Coast Highlights

Syvota

Syvota is a seaside settlement a few kilometres north of Parga where the turquoise waters of the sea magically blend with the lush vegetation creating the most idyllic picture. Verdant islets featuring few of the best beaches of the area are located right amidst the emerald bay that make Syvota look just like a painting. Syvota has it all: vibrant nightlife, quality taverns and cozy cafes while it is the perfect spot to either visit the inner part of Epirus, and specifically the Acherontas river springs, or rent a small boat and explore all breathtaking surrounding coves for a magical day at the beach.

Paleros

Located only 30 minutes away from the beautiful island of Lefkada Paleros is a small graphic village famous for its surrounding beaches that constitute a must-visit for summer holidays. Paleros is built right by the sea and its original beauty roots in its resemblance to a mountain village built in the local architecture with stone-paved squares and alleys. Apart from its renowned beaches, Paleros is an ideal destination for hiking lovers as it features numerous paths passing through hills and mountains of unique natural beauty.

Preveza

One of the most popular places on the Ionian coast Preveza is a “mainland island” that will lure guests into its aristocratic ambience with paved alleys and pedestrian areas traversing its magnificent centre. A cosmopolitan yet authentic town built right at the edge of a peninsula between Amvrakikos Gulf and the turquoise Ionian waters, Preveza is indeed a sophisticated place amazingly combining contemporary facilities with traditional architecture and neoclassical mansions. Strolling around its seafront passage and having a taste of the local taverns is definitely a must-do.

Parga

Parga is a fairytale-like settlement amphitheatrically built right across the islands of Paxos and Antipaxos. Its vibrant seafront promenade with numerous taverns, bars and cafes is majestically completed by its colourful Ionian-style buildings. Parga’s picturesque castle is located at the hilltop right at the edge of its port and it’s a perfect spot to enjoy an afternoon coffee or a glass of wine overlooking Parga’s bay and the Ionian Sea through the pine trees. Right amidst the bay of Parga, Panagia’s verdant islet is found, named after the small church of Panagia (Holy Mother) built on its coast. Right on top of the islet’s hill stands the French castle built in the early 19th century by the French conquerors.
What to do & see in Ionian Coast

When visiting the Ionian Coast one can choose among countless things to do and diversified places to visit. To start with and as the Ionian Coast is vast and full of hidden gems, visitors should definitely make arrangements in order to visit as many spots and areas as possible. One can start from the southern part and spend two days at least in all of the area’s hotspots while heading to the north.

Countless beaches scattered either on the beautiful coast or the islets swimming in the Ionian waters are waiting to lure visitors into their magical bliss. Sailing around the coast is, thus, highly suggested in order to discover all those hidden gems of utter beauty and absolute isolation.

Diving aficionados will treasure the area as it boasts a rich seabed and waters bursting with all kinds of sea life. For nature lovers, the area is suggested for various hiking walks or biking trails within the mainland’s hidden trajectories.

One of the must-sees of the area is Acherontas River whose springs, during ancient times, were thought to be one of the gates to god’s Ades underworld. The site is found at the northern part of the area going towards the heart of Epirus; the river’s banks offer a refreshing walk through narrow paths and steep rocks during hot summer days. For the daring ones the freezing cold waters will definitely revitalize swimmers in their cold embrace. One can even swim to the springs of the river despite the strong currents.

And of course, as the entire Ionian Coast unfolds right across the beautiful Ionian Islands, a daily excursion to one of the islands will fill the canvas of summer holidays with even more unforgettable experiences. 

Best beaches in Ionian Coast
Alonaki Literally a hidden gem, Alonaki beach may be hard to find but it most definitely compensates visitors with its almost dreamy ambience and unparalleled natural beauty. Set within a small cove surrounded by high verdant cliffs, the coast boasts both sand and small pebbles while it offers some free umbrellas and sunbeds. The emerald, crystal clear waters of Alonaki finish the magical beach setting.
Bella Vraka Bella Vraka is not a literal beach rather a strip of sand serving as a joint between Syvota and Mourtemeno, the small islet right across the settlement. Due to the geomorphology of the spot Bella Vraka has no capacity for far too many visitors but you should definitely visit it in order to admire the magnificent scenery. You can also visit some of the small adjacent coves either on foot or by boat.
Kanali One of the most famous beaches of Preveza, the beach of Kanali is a very long coast with golden sand and deep waters. Fully organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, Kanali is one of the most popular places both for locals and visitors.
Karavostasi Karavostasi is located a bit south from Syvota and is actually a vast, wide coast of small white pebbles and sand featuring a few spots with sunbeds and umbrellas throughout its extend. Its quite deep cerulean waters are soothing and refreshing after lying under the hot summer sun. At times, when the weather is windy, large waves form making it ideal for watersports or just moments of sea fun with your company.
Kastrosykia Kastrosykia is the beach of the homonymous settlement, one of the most popular spots of the Ionian coast along with Parga. A vast coast of thin whitish sand and deep azure waters, Kastrosykia is quite organized while it boasts a lot of free spots for those who wish privacy and calmness.
Kiani Akti Only a breath from the aristocratic Preveza, Kiani Akti is the hotspot of the area attracting not only vacationers but also the majority of local population. A wide and long coast with thin sand and shallow waters makes it ideal not only for those who want to be within vibrant beach bars but also families with young children.
Lychnos Lychnos is also a very popular coast just a breath away from Parga nested within a lush verdant setting. A fully organized beach with emerald deep waters and a mostly sandy coast that offers anything a guest may want: water sports, diving, windsurfing, taverns and beach bars to name a few.
Monolithi Arrow-shaped with deep blue waters Monolithi will make you feel as if you are swimming in the ocean. The beach is sandy and fully organized while adjacent to the renowned “aesthetic” forest full of pine trees, eucalyptus, elms and wicker trees that will add to the cooling, tropical ambience of the place.
Mytikas Within the area of Mytikas and along its long coast one can find numerous small or larger beaches with diversified seabed. Pebbly, sandy and even rocky, the beaches around Mytikas create a lacy setting for those who wish to visit different places each day.
Odysseus A picturesque small cove found at about 24km north of Preveza, the bay of Odysseus boasts a mythical natural beauty that will definitely enchant visitors. Shallow emerald waters and thin whitish sand all surrounded by verdant sand dunes are the backdrop of a magical day at the beach.
Pisina (Pool) Pisina is the zenith of the tropical settings of the Ionian Coast. Located on the islet of Mourtos, one of the islets right across Syvota, Pisina is a narrow, sandy coast with transparent waters and exotic colours. Ideal for everyone, the beach is usually crowded as it is the main attraction of the area due to its magical beauty. One can reach Pisina by taking a boat or caique from Syvota as the beach is only accessible by sea.
Porto Varko A wide open gulf encircled by the mountains of the mainland awaits vacationers for a taste of paradise. Porto Varko is a coast of thin white pebbles and calm crystal clear waters all creating the perfect symphony that can be found only at the Ionian Sea. Sunbeds and umbrellas are available in a few spots of the coast for an utterly relaxing beach life.
Sarakiniko Tucked within a lush vegetated setting, Sarakiniko calls to be discovered by the discerning visitors who want to be among earth and sky in absolute serenity. A kind of closed bay, Sarakiniko is a place of exceptional natural beauty featuring a coast of sand and pebbles and a rich seabed ideal for diving. This is the ultimate place to get lost in absolute tranquility and calmness.
Valtos Contrary to what it names implies, meaning “swamp” in Greek, Valtos is one of the most beautiful beaches of Parga. Surrounded by a huge olive grove and encircled by high green cliffs featuring the castle of Parga on one side and the monastery of Vlacherna on the other, Valtos is a mostly sandy beach ideal for families and water sports lovers. Its deep yet calm waters are a refreshing shot in hot summer days.
Vathiavali One of the most famous beaches of the area Vathiavali was until recently a privilege of those on sailing yachts or boats. Quite recently and due to the unspeakable beauty of the coast local authorities have made the beach reachable by car and semi-organized. Thin white pebbles, transparent azure waters and an ambience of utter tranquility are the ingredients of its mezmerizing summer potion.
Vela – Agrilia At about 10km northern of Astakos on the way to Mytikas the two beautiful adjacent coasts with whitish sand and clean blue waters of Vela and Agrilia are found. They are the only sandy beaches in the surrounding area and the most preferred spots amongst visitors.
How to get to Ionian Coast

The Ionian Coast is actually the west coast of the country and, thus it can be reached by car. Driving from Athens, the Ionian Coast is at about 350km distance (first stop Paleros) while the entire coast is about 150km long. From Thessaloniki the driving distance is approximately the same (350km) while there are some flights from Athens to Preveza mostly during summer months. Flights from Athens to Ioannina, Central Epirus, are also operated and then one can drive to Syvota for 1,5hr (100km). 

Where to stay in Ionian Coast

The Ionian Coast extends at about 150km and boasts numerous towns and settlements where accommodation options vary from fully organized luxury hotels and resorts to luxurious private villas. Holiday villas with pool are the perfect choice for visitors to the Ionian Coast as their super full days here should close with cocooning at the cozy pool terrace overlooking the cerulean sea. As such, the Greek Villas’ team of experts has handpicked some of the best luxury villas in the Ionian Coast for those who want to taste absolute comfort and pampering.