Sivota – Overview

Some call Sivota, on the north west coast of Greece, the ‘next St Tropez’. It certainly has all the necessary attributes: a pretty harbour town on a sheltered bay lined with pine, cypress and olive trees and fringed by rocky coves and sandy bays. Glossy yachts sway gently in its small marina; restaurant terraces open onto the wide seafront promenade with shops and low-rise Mediterranean-style houses terracotta roofs clustered just behind.

But unlike St Tropez, the service in the little waterfront cafes is warm and friendly; there’s very little tourist tat on display and no achingly hip beach clubs charging 10 euros for a cup of coffee.

We’re certainly not saying this is an undiscovered paradise – it’s long been a great favourite with Greek holidaymakers, some of whom own magnificent villas in an area nicknamed the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Sivota. In high season, so many yachts head into the marina that it’s generally full by early afternoon.

From Sivota, you can take a boat to nearby Corfu, Paxos or Anti-Paxos; explore the surrounding area full of lakes and wetlands where you might well spot storks, pelicans and several different types of eagle. Or you could head south by road to the ruins of a 14th-century castle at Parga, an hour away.

But the next St Tropez? We hope not.

Learn more about the peaceful village of Sivota or read about our chartered British Airways flights.

 

FLY TO

Corfu International Airport (CFU)

FLIGHT TIME FROM THE UK

3 hours 15 minutes

TIME DIFFERENCE

+ 2 hours

CURRENCY

Euro

Sivota – Location & Map

Sivota

Sivota – Villas

Our villas in Sivota

Indigo

  • Sivota, 3 bedrooms/sleeps 6
  • Stylish, contemporary design
  • Sivota 15min drive
  • Wifi and air-conditioning

Sapphire

  • Sivota, 3 bedrooms/sleeps 6
  • Stylish contemporary design
  • Sivota 15min drive
  • Wifi and air-conditioning
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Sivota – Regions

Corfu

With a dramatically mountainous interior and a generous coastline dotted with picturesque coves, sandy beaches and rocky inlets, Corfu has much to offer the discerning holidaymaker. Choose from pretty cottages that sit close to the water’s edge, spacious character homes and exclusive hillside residences overlooking tranquil bays.

Crete

Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands is a romantic one, retaining much of its character with stunning archaeological sites and medieval harbour towns. The Island can offer quiet relaxed experiences or a busy lively break. Explore the rocky landscape, unwind on golden shores lapped by azure waters or linger over a bottle of fine wine in a number of chic cafés.

Meganissi

Lying just off the coast of Lefkada, this petite and pristine island is characterised by countless hidden inlets, white pebble beaches and the clearest turquoise sea. Meganissi is wonderfully unspoilt with just a handful of tiny villages and a wild, forested interior.

Paxos

An hour by boat from Corfu, Paxos lies reassuringly off the beaten tourist track. It's somewhere to totally relax and reconnect with family and loved ones, this charming holiday destination - where time has almost stood still - is just 10km long and has three main villages. Daily activity should consist of no more than snorkelling from a bobbing boat and strolling down to dine at a waterside tavern.

Sivota – Our Guide

The charming harbour village of Sivota lies on the coast of Epiros, a rugged and wildly beautiful corner of north-western Greece. The region is little known outside of Greece, sparsely populated and wedged neatly between the Pindos Mountains to the east and the clear, turquoise blue of the Ionian Sea to the west. The coastline stretches all the way down to Preveza, punctuated by picturesque harbours, hidden coves and long, sandy beaches such as Arillas, Lygia and Monolithi.

Sivota has pretty beaches of its own, plus little boats to hire and enough bars and restaurants to let you try somewhere different every night, ideal for a low-key, revitalising break. Not too quiet and not too crowded, there are little shops and good quality tavernas for all tastes, plus visiting flotilla craft to add a bit of a buzz to the waterfront atmosphere. For those who like to explore, the real beauty of Sivota is its mainland location: if you tire of boats and beaches, you can simply hop in your hire car and discover the mountainous interior, take the ferry to Paxos or Corfu or even venture over the border on a guided excursion into Albania.

Sivota – History & Culture

The Epiros coastline
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The history of this little town mirrors the wider pattern of invasion and power struggles that have characterized the southern Mediterranean for more than 2,000 years. The earliest recorded inhabitants were Thesprotians, and village is believed to have taken its original name from a major sea battle in 433 BC between the Corinthians and Corfiots, known as the Battle of Sybota. According to scholars of the day, it was the largest naval battle between Greek city states at the time, and a main catalyst for the Peloponnesian War.      

 

In 551 A.D. the region was attacked and destroyed by the Goths. During the Middle Ages, Sivota, like the rest of Epirus, was ruled by the Byzantine Empire and subsequently the so-called Despotate of Epirus, established in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. In 1821, the islands off Sivota were used as a base for Kyriakouli Mavromichali during the Greek Revolution. After nearly 500 years of Ottoman rule, Epirus became part of Greece in 1913. The Epiros region is very rich in ancient sites, the most noteworthy being the vast Theatre of Dodoni.

The town of Parga
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Sivota – Climate

Sivota has long hot summers
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Sivota enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate with long, hot summers and mild wet winters. Spring runs from March to mid May, with daytime highs rising to 19˚C, feeling much cooler at night. By late May you can expect up to 9 hours of sunshine a day and temperatures into the 20s.        

 

From June till September, the days are long and hot, with temperatures peaking around 31˚C in July. Temperatures remain in the 20s well into October, when the sea is still warm enough to swim in although there may be some rain showers. The winter months are mild but significantly wetter than the rest of the year.

Enjoy the beach May through October
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Sivota – Activities

Islet of the Virgin Mary
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Sivota is a classic small beach resort, with two, pristine sand-and-pebble beaches within a short walk of the harbour, and many more to explore on the tiny uninhabited islands just off shore. You can happily potter from beach to beach in your own motor boat, lunch on the morning’s catch, or take a day trip to pint-sized Paxos and Anti-Paxos Islands. There’s also a diving centre offering trips, equipment hire and tuition.      

 

Bustling Parga is around 30 minutes away by car, with its Venetian castle and jumble of steep streets packed with restaurants, each vying to offer the finest view or the freshest fish. The town was once the most important producer of olive oil in the area, and there is a brilliant little museum dedicated to the history of this liquid gold.

Bustling streets of Parga
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Sivota – Feasts & Festivals

Parga harbour hosts the Kanaria Festival 
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Like the rest of Greece, the year’s major celebrations centre around religious occasions such as Easter and the important saint’s days. 15 August is the feast of the Virgin Mary, celebrated all over Greece with music, feasting, dancing and often fireworks. Dodoni Theatre near Ioannina hosts many performances and events over the summer, a memorable experience even if you can’t follow the Greek.

 

Parga harbour hosts the Kanaria Festival on 14 August. In 1817, the British, who ruled Parga at the time, sold the town to Ali Pasha, the Turkish ruler of Ioannina. To save themselves from the Turks, the residents of Parga moved to neighbouring Corfu, and the Kanaria festival celebrates the return of the residents after the town was freed.   

August 15th celebration fireworks
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Sivota – Food & Drink

Feta and olive oil are classic ingredients
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Epiros cuisine is typically Mediterranean, based around locally sourced food and simple recipes.
Local olive oil is a vital staple of traditional cooking; other classic ingredients are honey, feta cheese (which varies depending on whether it comes from sheep, cow or goat milk) and wild herbs. A meal generally consists of shared starters (orektiká), then a main dish which is likely to be grilled fish or meat, or a slow-cooked roast or casserole.     

 

There are many fish tavernas along the coast where you can eat right beside the water: they will almost always have a ‘personal’ fisherman (often the owner) who supplies the catch of the day. Fish is generally sold by the kilo, so you can ask your waiter what has been landed that day, and then have it weighed before it is freshly cooked to order. Greeks don’t normally serve dessert (though tourist restaurants will), preferring instead to enjoy a sweet treat in a local bakery or ice cream shop, of which Sivota has several.

Tavernas have their own fishing boats
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Sivota – For Families

Beaches are the main attraction
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Sivota is laid back and relaxed, a charming base for a low-key family break. As in the rest of Greece, families are warmly welcomed pretty much everywhere, and children can expect to be generously spoiled by all the shop-keepers and waiters! Sivota’s main attraction is its beaches and boat hire opportunities, but there is also plenty to explore in the surrounding area - about 40 minutes drive south of Sivota is the dramatic Acheron gorge, where you can trek, horse ride or take a rafting trip along the mythical River Styx.     

 

Just across the water lie Paxos and neighbouring Anti-Paxos, famous for its stunning white sand beaches and clear water. For more beaches, explore south along the Epiros coast: some stretches are wild and natural, others more ‘civilized’: try a few to discover your favourite. For a break from the coast, the impressive and Greek Theatre of Dodoni near Ioannina is likely to get the children clapping and shouting to test the acoustics of its amazing 18,000-seater space.

Explore the Epiros coast
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Sivota – For Couples

Monastery at Meteora
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The elegant, adults-only White Orchid Simpson hotel is a wonderful base for a couples holiday with stylish accommodation and breathtaking views. Sivota harbour is moments away by car with a good selection of bars and tavernas, plus a dive school and boat hire office. Exploring the coast in your own little boat is a nicely intimate way to spend the day, but if you prefer to let someone else take the helm, there are romantic sunset cruises around the little islands off Sivota.

Inland from Sivota, the traditional rural villages of Zagoria are famous for their unique stone and slate built ‘mansions’ and their tiny, elaborately decorated churches. Wander the ancient mule tracks connected by stone bridges and enjoy breathtaking mountain views, or tackle the strenuous walk along Zagoria’s Vikos Gorge, up to 700m deep in places and recognised by Guinness as the deepest in the world.    

 

Around 2 hours from Sivota, the ‘hanging’ Monasteries of Meteora form a unique collection of UNESCO-classified monasteries built atop rocky pinnacles, first inhabited by monks in the 9th C. Six of the original monasteries are still inhabited, and Meteora remains an important pilgrimage site.

Corfu is an easy day trip via Igoumenitsa: the transfer takes 1hr 45 minutes and the elegant capital is arguably Greece’s finest Venetian town. Enjoy stylish bars, quality restaurants and a spot of retail therapy. And if you’d like to tick off another country while you’re in Sivota, you can join a guided tour over the border into Albania. Butrint is a UNESCO site with Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Venetian remains, all contained in a beautiful natural setting and the local villages are renowned for their excellent fish tavernas.

Explore in your own little boat
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Sivota top properties