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Igoumenitsa, Greece

For many people the port city of Igoumenitsa is the first or the last stop in Greece. Located in the northwest corner of the country almost at the border with Albania, it is an important harbor for trucks transporting goods to and from Europe as well as tourists. There are ferries between Igoumenitsa and the Italian ports of Brindisi, Bari, Ancona and Venice as well as to the Greek Islands of Corfu and Paxi. Connected to the rest of Greece by the new system of major highway known as the Egnatia Motorway the travel time for getting goods to Athens and Thessaloniki and even to Turkey has been reduced dramatically and the city is attracting the interest of developers who are suddenly realizing its potential as a commercial port and perhaps something more. Igoumenitsa is the second busiest passenger port after Pireaus and is able to service even the large cruise ships and in the not too distant future may become an international logistics center.

In ancient time the area around Igoumenitsa was known as the Kingdom of Thesprotis which had its heyday in the 4th Century BC and was part of the Epirote League until it was annexed by the Romans and later became part of the Byzantine Empire until it fell to the Ottoman Turks. In 1913, it was annexed by the Greek state after the First Balkan War. Since then it has been one of the most remote and poorest areas in Greece. The ancient city of Gitana (or Titana) was a meeting place for the Epirote League. Excavations have revealed an ancient theater that could seat 2500 spectators, and two temples and the city gates which remain from its destruction by the Romans in 167 BC. Igoumenitsa is now the capital of the regional unit of Thesprotia. The Archaeological Museum of Igoumenitsa, located at #2 28th of October Street, contains metalwork, stonework, architecture, sculpture, pottery, coinage, jewellery, miniature art and other artifacts from the Middle Palaiolithic (100.000 BC) to the Post Byzantine period (17th cent. AD.) found in excavations all over Thesprotia.

Drepano Beach, Igoumenitsa

Igoumenitsa Beaches

The two largest and most popular beaches in Igoumenitsa are Drepano (photo) and Makrigialos located around 5 kilometers from the town and both with sunbeds, umbrellas, places to get food and various types of watersports. The sea is shallow and sheltered and good for families with small children. Further along the same peninsula and more difficult to get to is Korfu Beach, a secluded pebble beach with no amenities or phone service. Paralia Mbouka is located on the delta at the mouth of the Thyamis River and has chairs and umbrellas but is difficult to reach by car. But those who walk will find that the delta is a favorite stopping place for migrating birds and contains many interesting plants and flowers, though the area has not been as protected as it should be. It was thought by scholars during the Renaissance that the Thames got its name from this river after Celts from Ipirus went north and settled in the British Isles.

Other nearby beaches include the pebble beaches of Keramidi and Strovili past the town of Sagiada as far north as you can swim in Greece before reaching a number of fish farms and Albania. Keramidi has a beach bar but the beaches of Strovili are for those who want to get away from everything and everyone.

Bella Vraka Beach

South of Igoumenitsa are where you find the truly spectacular beaches. In the seaside town of Plataria there is a long town beach with tavernas, cafes, umbrellas and beach chairs as well as shops and hotels as well as several smaller beaches and camping areas. If you continue south to Sivota the area is full of beaches, restaurants, cafes, small family run hotels and resorts all the way to the famous tourist town of Parga one of the most beautiful and most photographed towns in Greece. Mega Ammos Beach has white pebbles and turquoise waters and is about 1.5km from Sivota. It has umbrellas, sunbeds and water sports facilities. Bella Vraka (photo) on the islet of Mourtemeno is reachable from Syvota on foot. It has no facilities so bring water at least. Karavostasi is one of the most famous beaches in the area, a long beach with white sand, clear and deep waters, and green hills with tavernas, hotels and rooms. Between here and Sivota there are a dozen other beaches of various sizes, some organized, some not, some with restaurants, hotels and parking and others remote and reachable only on foot. Sarakiniko is a spectacular beach, excellent for snorkeling and has a couple tavernas and hotels. Parga has several beaches right in town or next to it. Lychnos is located in a bay about 4km from Parga. It has golden sand, clear blue waters, and beach bars, umbrellas, sunbeds, water sports, mini market, tavernas and hotels. As you can see one could base himself in Igoumenitsa and spend your days exploring the coast of Northwestern Ipirus, coming back in time for dinner. But why would you do that? Why not stay in Sivota or Parga? No good reason except that Igoumenitsa is much less touristy, and because this is a page about Igoumenitsa and not Sivota or Parga.

Kochyli Restaurant

Restaurants in Igoumenitsa

Igoumenitsa has loads of restaurants, most of them on the waterfront where they are visible to arriving and departing visitors and since it is a port many of them are fast food and souvlaki shops for people jumping on the ferry or getting ready to drive to Athens. But being a city of 20k year round residents means there have to be restaurants where locals eat and if they want to be successful then they need to be good. Facing due west you are going to get some spectacular sunsets too so if you are spending the night most likely you will be looking for the best food you can get on the waterfront.

Lithios is a family owned traditional restaurant with good food, friendly service and reasonable prices. Fresh fish and other seafood, grilled or fried, grilled meats, oven cooked specialties and even pastas for the Italians who can't wait to get home or have just arrived and are already suffering withdrawal symptoms. For those who are fed up with Greek food Cucina Italian Restaurante has very friendly owners, homemade thin crust pizza, pastas and lots of salads and other dishes, at reasonable prices in a nice Italian atmosphere. Both are across from the marina as is Alekos, another favorite of locals and visitors, serving your usual Greek restaurant dishes and fresh fish, with tables right on the sea, at reasonable prices. Kochyli (photo) is on Grigoris Lambrakis Street just a few steps up from the harbor. It is a small family owned restaurant known for its inexpensive and fresh fish and mezedes, a sort of ouzeri/psarotaverna that people come to town to eat, drink ouzo and tsipuro and enjoy the music and atmosphere. Timos Taverna is close to the international ferries area and has been open since 1964 serving the usual Greek restaurant fare of grilled meats, fried and grilled fresh fish and oven cooked dishes, both meat and vegetarian. If you are catching the ferry to Italy this is the most convenient place to eat and if you are looking for that old Greek style restaurant that is gradually disappearing you will find it here. I have read some complaints but it is mostly about the pizza and anyone who orders pizza in a taverna gets what he deserves. If you want pizza go to a pizza place. A couple blocks up from the harbor is Ambrosia, at 7 Megalocharis, another taverna (with pizza) that has a nice garden and traditional food with large portions at reasonable prices. No view but the food is good, the service is friendly and if you are staying in Igoumenitsa for more than a night this might be the place you come back to. Between Ambrosia and Timos at 49 Martyron is Oinorycheío, a small mezedopoulion/psistaria with grilled meats, grilled and fried fish, and interesting appetisers and salads and a fun atmosphere for eating and drinking and hanging out for awhile. There are also a number of psistaria-souvlaki shops where you can get anything from gyros to brizoles and paidaikia with fried potatoes, sadziki and salads, mostly located on the harbor road. Also if you continue north along the coast, past the sports complex you will find Maistrali Drepanou, one of the best and most interesting restaurants in Igoumenitsa, located right on the sea with an expansive view of the bay. This is a restaurant/cafeteria though the word cafeteria may give you the wrong impression since in Greece it means a place that serves coffee, snacks, burgers, deserts, cocktails, beer and wine. So in other words it is a restaurant as well as an all day and late into the evening hangout. Just go in the evening for a drink, have a snack and if you like the food and the atmosphere stick around. At Kentrikon, located by the beach of Drepano, you can combine a day of swimming with fresh seafood and other popular dishes in this family run restaurant beach bar combo. They also rent sunbeds.

Hotels in Igoumenitsa

Thirsty Dog Hotel


Holiday Zigos


Aktaion Hotel


Angelika Palace Hotel


Hotel Astoria


Marianna's Apartment


See More Hotels in Igoumenitsa
You can also find hotels in and near Igoumenitsa in
Matt's Ipirus Hotel Guide

Greece-Italy Ferry
The Igoumenitsa Ferries

As mentioned at the top of the article Igoumenitsa is now the second busiest port in Greece. The central pier that serves the international ferry lines has a large passenger terminal with waiting areas, ticket offices, shops, and a taxi rank. Inside the station, you can find the offices of the port authority of Igoumenitsa. Within walking distance from the pier, you can also find more restaurants, cafeterias and souvlaki restaurants for a quick snack before boarding. In the Central Passenger Station of the port of Igoumenitsa, there are also luggage lockers available for the public. The charge for the lockers is 2 € for 8 hours or 3 € for 24 hours. The ferry trip from Igoumenitsa to Italy is usually overnight and can last from 7 to 24 hours depending on the destination. Brindisi and Bari are the shortest trips and Venice is the longest. The entrance to the pier is connected to the highway of Egnatia Odos, and the gates, as well as the passenger terminal, are located near the entrance so they are easily accessible by car or on foot.

The northern port where you catch the ferries that leave frequently for Corfu and less frequently to Paxos is closer to the center of Igoumenitsa and to the central bus station. A 5 minute walk from the docks you will find banks supermarkets, shops and restaurants. There is a free outdoor parking lot in the northern port close to the departures of the domestic lines.

You can find ferry schedules and buy tickets at


Getting to Igoumenitsa

The port of Igoumenitsa is located on the southwest coast of the region of Thesprotia. You can reach Igoumenitsa either by road via the highway of Egnatia Odos or by bus from Thessaloniki, Ioannina, or Athens.

By car/motorbike to Igoumenitsa: Igoumenitsa is the most convenient departure port for the Ionian Islands and the Adriatic coast especially if you are based at, or coming from, the north of Greece. If you take the highway of Egnatia Odos (A2) all the way to the west it will lead you directly to the entrance of the central pier of the port. For the northern pier, you turn at the exit ‘Igoumenitsa / Preveza’ and reach Ag. Apostolon (E92) road and following the signs you will find the port entrance a few minutes ahead.

By bus to Igoumenitsa: The Intercity bus services of KTEL Thesprotias have frequent routes to Igoumenitsa from Thessaloniki, Ioannina, Patras and Athens. There are also regional buses that connect Igoumenitsa with smaller destinations in the prefecture such as Preveza or Parga. Indicatively, there are daily routes from Thessaloniki, Ioannina and Athens to Igoumenitsa, while the Patras - Igoumenitsa bus route operates at least twice per week. The journey Thessaloniki - Igoumenitsa is around 3.5 hours, the journey Ioannina - Igoumenitsa is about 1 hour, the journey Athens - Igoumenitsa about 5 hours and the route Patras - Igou menitsa about 3 hours.

The nearest airport to the port of Igoumenitsa is the airport of Ioannina, ‘King Pyrros’, which is about 1-hour drive from the port.

Thank you to for the above information.

This page is dedicated to Litsa at Fantasy Travel

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