Epirus, in the far north-western corner of Greece, has crept into the travelling consciousness in the past decade. This is partly because tour operators have learnt to make more of the convenient positioning of Preveza Airport, the arrival point for Lefkada, which actually sits on the mainland; and partly because Parga, an endlessly pretty former fishing village, 40 miles to the north, offers sunshine escapes of excellent value.
But the wider region often goes unexplored – which is a shame, as there is a great deal to see. Syvota, a further 15 miles up the coast, is a lovely small town where tavernas adorn the waterfront and Gallikos Molos Beach winks at the Ionian Sea.
Ioannina, the regional capital, offers just the right amount of urban interruption, its old town fortifications remembering Byzantine and Ottoman rulers past. Most striking of all is Vikos Gorge, cutting a 20-mile dash through the Pindus Mountains at a scale – almost a mile deep in places, up to a mile and a half wide in others – that the Grand Canyon would appreciate.
Olympic Holidays (020 8492 6868) is offering a seven-night stay at the Salvator Villas & Spa – a four-star boutique hideaway on the hillside above Parga – flying from Manchester to Preveza on May 7, from £743 per person.
Second helpings on Evia
It is no great revelation to say that Crete is Greece’s biggest island. The second biggest is more of a mystery. Rhodes? Lesbos? Naxos? No, no and no.
The silver medal goes to Evia, an outcrop so vague of identity that it has two names (it is also called Euboea) – and so indistinct of geography that, at the narrowest point, only the 130ft (40m) of the Euripus Strait separates it from the mainland.