"Parga looks amazing. We have decided we want to visit it this summer, but have not yet decided whether to travel with a "package" or attempt to book independently. We would like to hear from anyone who has arranged their own trip, with recommendations of contacts for flights, good self-catering accommodation and suchlike. We will be travelling from the UK."
We get emails like this every week, so I will give you a rough guide to how we do the independent trip. Some people may also feel that using a Tour Company does not offer them any real benefit as they are 'seasoned travellers' who don't need the trimmings such as "Welcome Meetings" and "Bus Tours". Whatever your own views, it may be worth considering the option of travelling independently and comparing costs.
Two main ways of reaching Parga are readily available to the independent traveller and the choice largely depends on the availability of flights to either Preveza Airport (PVK) or Corfu Airport (CFU) from your preferred airport in the UK.
At one time it was best to wait until close to your chosen departure for a cheap ticket, but now it is better to book as soon as the flights become available as they tend to get more expensive the later you leave it. You are best to aim to arrive in the late morning or early afternoon then you should get to your accommodation in good time for check-in and to make the most of your first day. If you get a night flight or arrive late in the evening you either have to stay in a Corfu hotel for the night or sit on the ferry port until the first boat at 5-6am. If you do land late and decide not to use a hotel for the night, there is an all-night cafe at the port where there is comfortable seating, hot snacks and drinks and loos. It's along the quay, about 3-5mins walk from the ticket booths.Taxis are readily available at Corfu Airport (Ioannis Kapodistrias) to take you to the port - only about 15 mins away - depending on the traffic. Most will take you to the ticket kiosk and then round to the ramp of the ferry if one is waiting. The taxi fare is only €10-15 approx, depending on the drivers mood, but make sure you fix the price with the driver before you get into his taxi..
The ferry cost is very little (about €9.50 per person each way) and takes you to Igoumenitsa, from here you can get a bus or taxi to Parga. The bus timetables are on this website, the buses are reliable but only run a few times a day. The taxi is around €80 one way, or you can hire a car from most of the international car hire companies or the companies that are mentioned on www.parga.com. You can arrange pick-up a car at the port. From Igoumenitsa to Parga is about 40 minutes. Alternatively - flights to Preveza are available from some UK Airports. Preveza is on the Mainland - about 45 minutes drive from Parga on the main road.
Accommodation is pretty easy to get if you are in Parga in the low season. Most of the hotels and studios on www.parga.com have e-mail addresses and you will find the owners very helpful in every respect. It is an excellent way of developing a friendship with the people of Parga.
Most of the accommodation is pretty similar, basic but clean, although today there are a few very attractive spa/boutique hotels too. All the tourist offices on this website will be able to offer you rooms, you can also ask at bars or restaurants, most people have a cousin or uncle with rooms. It is also fun to a two/three centre holiday, staying a few days in Corfu, onto Parga and then maybe a day or two in Paxos and return to Corfu from Paxos . Regular posters on the Parga guestbook will be happy to offer advice.
With special permission you can hire a car in Corfu and take it across on the ferry (ferry price approx, €50 for a car), and take it to the mainland but it will have to be arranged first - however, hiring on the mainland is likely to be cheaper overall. Anyway have a good holiday and let us know how you get on in Parga, whether you travel independently or "package". Ferries run from 5:30 AM to 10:30 PM each way, and run about every 30 /40 minutes, the journey on the fast ferry is about 1 hour 45 minutes, slow ferry is about 2 hours 20 minutes