Preveza is a gem of a city, nestled in the crystal clear blue water of the Ionian Sea in north-west Greece. Relatively untouched by time, it has yet to be discovered by tourists, and is relatively calm even in the busy summer months.
The importance of Preveza’s location has not gone unnoticed, with regular tussles for control over the centuries, starting with the Battle of Actium in 31BC where the forces of Octavian defeated those of Marc Antony and Cleopatra, bringing an end to the Roman Republic and ushering in the start of a new era with the Roman Empire. After this, the Turks, Christians, French and Austrians all vied for control, and ultimately Preveza was annexed to Greece following the Greco- Balkan War of 1912.
With a wealth of history, Preveza is the ideal getaway for the traveller tired of over-crowded, over-priced tourist traps, offering up an array of different activities, including beaches, historical sites, museums, bars and restaurants, as well as an immersive experience in authentic Greek life.
How to get there
Regular charter flight from major European cities make getting to Preveza really easy. The airport is located just a few miles out of the city and car hire is easy and straightforward. For the more adventurous, the city is a couple of hundred miles from Athens, offering a glorious cross-country road trip.
One great way to navigate Greece is by boat. The topography of the country is such that it is possible to get from the Aegean Sea to the Ionian Sea going through Athens, and it is even possible to hire a yacht from Athens to explore.
Things to do
1- Explore the nearby islands
There are so many islands dotted around Preveza that it can be hard to know where to go. The easiest way to make the most of the time is to hire a yacht from Preveza to do some island hopping. From Preveza, you can visit the numerous bays and sandy beaches, from the enclosed, tranquil waters of Alonaki, to Ligia Bay, with the famous panoramic views of the Ionian Sea, and everything in between.
2- Visit the Nikopolis
The Nikopolis, meaning City of Victory, was built by Octavian following his victory at Actium. It includes Roman and Byzantine walls, Byzantine churches as well as a stadium and two theatres. The city is now in ruins, having being destroyed in the 12th Century, but visitors can immerse themselves in the history of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, and see remnants of a bygone era in the museum
3- Pay homage to the dead at the Nekromantio
One of the Gates of the Underworld leading to the Kingdom of Hades, the Nekromantio of Acheron has inspired generations of artists and writers, including Homer, and has been a place where the living and the dead meet, with people bringing offerings to those who have passed on.
4- Marvel at the beauty of the Holy Monastery of Agios Dimitrios in Zalongo
With a number of ancient monasteries dotted around the region, there is one for every day of the week and then some! The Holy monastery of Agios Dimitrios is one of the most complete, despite being over 300 years old. It is also next to the archaeological site of Kassopi offering a glimpse of one of the most populous and important cities in the region prior to the Roman Settlement at Nikopolis.
5- Enjoy a gastronomic experience like no other
There are many opportunities to savour local cuisine, primarily in the centre of Preveza. Hidden in the little cobbled streets, there are many unassuming local restaurants offering high quality and low cost options, as well as the fancier places catering to special occasions.
To Rempetiko Steki: Serving up traditional seafood and Mediterranean food, this is the top rated restaurant in the area. It is also one of the most affordable, proving that good food doesn’t need to cost the earth!
In a similar vein, Ventura Tavern is also a purveyor of fine seafood and Greek cuisine, with special mention going to their prawn dishes and wine pairings.
In nearby Parga, Agali Restaurant is famed for its unique position at the top of a cliff overlooking Sarakiniko beach, where the climb to the top is well worth it.
6- Visit a traditional Olive Oil Factory
Olive oil is one of the most basic building blocks of Greek food, from feta to hummus, baklava to dolmades, and a tour of this traditional factory gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of olive oil, the pressing process, and the different types of olive oil produced. Visitors are treated to a tasting tour of the different oils, and have the opportunity to purchase some locally pressed olive oil and other traditional produce at the end of the tour.
7- Dance the day away at the Sardine Festival
Once a year, the town pays homage to the humble sardine. This locally sourced fish is one of the traditional foods of the area, and each year around two tons of sardines is grilled and distributes for free (with wine, of course!) to celebrate this little fish. There is always a live band for entertainment, and other market stalls that come together to celebrate.