Friday, August 11, 2017

Road Trip: A Day in Preveza, Mainland Greece

When we were summer holidaying on Lefkada Island the other summer year ago (2016), we did a day road trip to mainland Greece, in the coastal town of Preveza located in the region, Epirus.

Church tower in Preveza centrum
Preveza in the evening

The evening scene in Preveza town.

Lefkada Island does not have an airport but luckily it is connected to the mainland in the area of Preveza by a small bridge. The nearest airport is, in fact, the Preveza Airport, approximately half an hour travel to reach the island and about an hour to Nydri where we were staying for the holiday. This is where we landed and then transferred by buses to our hotels.

We normally go for a 2-week summer holiday so that gives us enough time to explore the island and the nearby surroundings.

[To read the rest of the post and see more pictures, click the READ MORE link below]

As a rule on our summer holidays, we never start our day very early, although as a habit I tend to be awake by 07:00 so I then start my day slow by reading a book on the terrace for example. Mornings are my “me” time so it’s special to me. Unless we have arranged a tour or trip somewhere which means we have to be up and ready early, we gravitate on spending our days leisurely, which usually starts with a lazy brunch. But since we are doing this day road trip on our own, we have the ultimate freedom.

We left Nydri early afternoon arriving an hour later in Preveza town. This is our driving route:

Because the bridge connecting Lefkada to mainland Greece was under maintenance, they placed a big enough ferry to act as the temporary bridge. Quite an ingenious local solution actually, although the owner of the hotel who was Greek-Australian (born in Australia from Greek migrant parents and emigrated back to Greece) we stayed at in Nydri had other opinions.

Considering that it is summer, ergo peak season, he thought the whole planning was just a total failure. With a resigned and frustrated voice, he sighed, ‘That’s how they do it in Greece.’

Temporary ferry bridge Lefkada - Preveza

The ferry acting as the temporary bridge between Lefkada Island and mainland Greece in the summer of 2016.

Temporary ferry bridge Lefkada - Preveza

Did you know that the towns in the Greek islands during the summer months can be a bit dead? The Greeks adopted the Mediterranean siesta culture so this means that most retail shops and some commercial establishments are closed between 14:00 and 17:00. However though, cafes, bars and restaurants are open, but most people go home for a long lunch and afternoon siesta, while the holidaymakers are gone to the beach.

So we first did a bit of sightseeing and getting our bearings right in Preveza and afterwards, we had a delicious late vegetarian lunch on the marina boulevard. I love this lunch by the way because the salads we ordered were very fresh and colourful.

Lunch Preveza harbour

Late lunch on Preveza harbour.

After the lovely lunch, we piled back in the car and drove to Kanali Beach, 20 kilometres north of Preveza town. Kanali is a long stretch of (not so) white sandy beach and home to many beach clubs and bars equipped with sun loungers and parasols. Here we spent a long lazy afternoon. Doing not much really. Taking a dip in the sea. Beach lounging. Sleeping. Well, I read a book. Oh, I ordered a margarita cocktail as well.

Read here: An Afternoon at the Barracuda Beach Bar on Kanali Beach

Billboards in Preveza
Kanali beach in Preveza

Kanali beach and bar cafes.

Moi at Kanali Beach
Kanali Beach - Preveza, Greece

Kanali Beach in Preveza on the Ionian sea coast.

The good thing about Kanali Beach is that it is facing the south where the sun sets, so the coastal stretch has the longest reach of the sun’s rays. We took our time lounging her and waited until the beach bar closed. The best part of the day on the beach is when the people are almost gone and you are left with a deserted beach to enjoy the magical hour – enjoying the warm colours of the sun going down slowly on the horizon. The whole setting is natural and very elemental yet it gives you some form of hidden pleasure, and somehow, some contentment.

Before the road trip, I did some online research on which beaches to go to in nearby Preveza. This is how I found Kanali Beach on Google Maps which was also confirmed by the waiter serving us lunch on the harbour of Preveza. So that is a tip from me when going to a place where very little travel information is written online. Check out Google Maps.

At past 20:00 we were back in Preveza. The town is now full of life and music, with many people sitting carefree in outdoor cafes and bars and well, the whole shopping scene alive and kicking too. It is a totally different Preveza from what we have seen earlier in the afternoon. So we made a decision to walk around a bit to enjoy the summery and lively atmosphere whilst searching as well for a restaurant to have dinner.

Harbour boulevard of Preveza
Outdoor cafes at the harbour boulevard of Preveza

The outdoor scene at the harbour/marina boulevard of Preveza. We came back here after dinner to hang out and have coffee.

Evenings in Preveza centrum
Preveza centrum

Strolling around Preveza centrum just before dinner.

Shopping scene in Preveza centrum
Preveza liqueurs

Looks like Preveza has its own local liqueur. This one has different flavours which remind me of Palinka in Eastern Europe. 

Shopping and night life scene in Preveza
Outdoor cafes in Preveza

This black cat kept staring at me.

I spotted the restaurant called Amvrosios Fish Tavern and I remember I read about it on Tripadvisor. On the first impression, the place looks nice and very promising. The tables were nicely presented and positioned on a small passageway alley where other tavernas are also congregated. The atmosphere is busy yet relaxed. The restaurant is #3 on Tripadvisor and the reviews were good. But other than that, I love its ambience and location. I have a direct view of other diners and people passing by from my table.

Check it out below...

Amvrosios Fish Taverna in Preveza, Greece

Outdoor eating area of Amvrosios Fish Taverna.

Tripadvisor is my go-to for searching restaurants. I, personally, however, do not believe that the top 10 restaurants are the best there is in that particular place, but it gives me a rough idea of what kind of restaurants there are available, the type of food they offer, their ambience and the sensory gratification possibilities that I can look forward to. Personally, I tend to combine good food, decor/ambience, location and view as important things to consider in choosing a restaurant. Because we eat out every day during our summer holidays, I really have to rely on sites such as Tripadvisor to give me a variety of options.

Dutchman and the Dutch mother both ordered grilled pork steaks with fries and I settled for some grilled cuttlefish. The speciality of this Greek taverna is fish after all. We also had steamed Greek spinach as a starter paired off with some bread. You squeeze some lemon and add a dash of salt and pepper on the spinach and its heaven.

Amvrosios fish taverna Preveza
Amvrosios fish taverna in Preveza

Finally seated here at the Amvrosios Fish Taverna. We chose a nice table outside on the alley and ordered drinks as we checked out their menu.

Greek spinach Amvrosios fish taverna in Preveza

We started with some boiled vegetables, Greek spinach with lemon.

Grilled cuttlefish Amvrosios fish taverna in Preveza

I am having grilled cuttlefish. Delicious!

Grilled pork steak fries Amvrosios fish taverna in Preveza

Dutchman and Dutch mother had grilled pork steaks with fries.

Dinner Amvrosios fish taverna in Preveza

We really enjoyed the dinner, my cuttlefish, in particular, was very fresh and grilled simply the Greek way yet it was packed with just the right flavours. Looking at the empty plates of my company, I did not hear any negative comment about the grilled pork steaks. We really liked the atmosphere of Amvrosios. I especially love it when I can dine slow, with good company, having a bit of convo whilst enjoying my direct surroundings.

We did not take any dessert though but moved on to an outdoor bar cafe on the marina harbour for some needed coffee and people watching.

It has been a long yet relaxing day in Preveza. We were back in Nydri, Lefkada just before midnight.

Night life scene in Preveza centrum, Greece
Cafe and night life scene in Preveza centrum, Greece

The night life - restaurant, cafe and bar scene in Preveza centrum.

Bars and cafes at the marina boulevard of Preveza, Greece
Coffee at the marina boulevard of Preveza, Greece

To close the dinner and our day off in Preveza: Coffee at the marina boulevard.

Travel Period: July 2016
Destination: Preveza (Epirus), Greece

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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