At the mouth of the Ambracian Gulf in the North-Western Greek mainland
Epic Roman conquests are never far from the surface – it’s here that Antony and Cleopatra were defeated and separated. Today, we’re more likely to go for great yachting and dazzling coastline.
Since international flights began serving its airport, Préveza has had a facelift, especially its compact old quarter. But despite being a provincial capital it’s no shopper’s mecca, with just a handful of clothing shops (chains and one-offs). Main south-north artery Ethnikís Andístasis, bounding the old quarter on the west, is a likely hunting ground. You’ll probably find something more interesting at the gift shop of the archaeological museum, just north of town towards ancient Nikopolis, with tasteful Roman- and Byzantine-themed reproduction items.
Food & Drink
The Amvrakikós Gulf, lapping Prézeza on the east, is famous for its sardines and shrimps. In the town’s old pedestrianised bazaar, on the lane (Grigoríou tou Pémptou) leading east from the Venetian clock tower towards the gulf, are some tavernas (like Amvrosios) specialising in grilled sardines and bulk wine; better choices can be found by strolling further south into the bazaar, for example Kohyli (Parthenogogíou 9), with a wider-ranging, keenly priced menu, also being open at lunchtime and out of season. With a car, it’s well worth heading north to Lýgia Port where Skaloma (O Gios tou Foti) attracts diners from some distance for the sake of its excellent meze and scaly fish, or east to the islet-village (accessible by a causeway) of Koronísia, where Myrtaria Patentas (shore road) dishes out gulf-sourced seafood.
Préveza Jazz Festival
This well-established three-day weekend gig sees mostly foreign bands perform for free on the seafront in front of the courthouse.
International Choral Festival
With a well-respected local music school and choir, this is a natural event for Préveza to stage; concerts by top-notch foreign and domestic choirs, in atmospheric settings like the odeion of ancient Nikopolis, or the seaside Pandokrátor fortress.
Funding permitting, the municipality organises a programme of music, theatre and dance in various local outdoor venues. Past appearances have included Eric Burdon and the Animals, Greek composer Eleni Karaindrou and Goran Bregovic.
Sardines from the adjacent Amvrakikós Gulf are a local speciality; reputedly two tonnes of them are grilled and distributed for free, with wine and to musical accompaniment, in the grounds of hulking Ágios Andréas castle at the waterfront’s north end.
Amissos sees folk dances, music and a fig-eating contest (!) take over the village square of Néa Sampsoúnda, 18km north of Préveza; as the name indicates, it’s a settlement of refugees from the Pontos (Anatolian Black Sea coast), so Pontian customs are duly showcased.
Few visitors stay in Préveza itself, with its several uninspiring hotels – best of these are the Avra (Venizélou 19), with gulf views, and the superior Dioni (Kalou 4), a block inland in the old quarter. Far more, and better, options lie out behind the magnificent beaches to the west, beginning just out of town at Monolíthi and extending north along the Ionian Sea coast to Vráhou. Closest, in the suburb of Kalamítsi, is the studio/apartment format Hotel Kalamitsi, just back from the open sea; further along, 18km from town, the recently renovated Poseidon Beach Hotel (Kastrosykiá) backs one of the better local beaches.