Bicycling Mainland Greece

Bicycling Mainland Greece

There were no ferries from Lefkada to Paxos Island, our next destination. Lefkada is connected to the mainland by a causeway and bridge. It was very picturesque bicycling to the mainland across the windy isthmus.  The route we found bicycling mainland Greece took us into 4 wonderful beach towns…each entirely different from the other. It turned out to be a very pleasurable ride as we searched out the smaller roads next to the sea.

Bicycling Greece-The-major Ionian-Islands
Bicycling Mainland-Greece-Map-
Lefkada-to-Prevesa-profile

There is one giant hill about 1.3 miles long right in the middle of the ride to Prevesa. It has gradients up to 25%! Yes, they are short pitches, but with luggage, we definitely became well acquainted with each one.

Bicycling Mainland Greece

Day One-Lefkada to Prevesa

Distance: 26.2 km  (16.3 mi)/Ascent: 242.6 m  (796 ft)/Descent: 242.9 m  (797 ft)/Highest Elevation: 106 m (349 ft)

 

 

 

Our first impressions of Prevesa were negative. As we got closer to this small city, traffic increased significantly. Traffic is fed through a tunnel under the water at the approach. Bicycles are prohibited. The toll booth attendant, however, will call a pickup truck that takes bicycles through. It’s mostly a matter of waiting.

 

Once in the city, traffic picked up. It was difficult negotiating the narrow streets with the faster cars. Everyone seemed too busy to help us find our way. Eventually, we made it to the waterfront which is where we like to look for lodging. We found 3 Star Hotel Avra right on the waterfront. The owner and family restored our faith in Greek hospitality. A long pedestrian street along the bay offered restaurants, stores and access into the narrow streets of the old town.

Bicycling Mainland Greece

Day Two  Preveza to Nea Thesis

Distance: 19.5 km  (12.1 mi)/Ascent: 140.8 m  (462 ft)/Descent: 140.2 m  (460 ft/Highest Elevation: 18.6 m (61 ft)

 

Cold temperatures and rain. We have had several days of unseasonable weather. We got an early start and made 12 miles before getting soaked.

The main highway goes north to Parga, our destination for the mainland route. Since we don’t want to ride the highway, which is busy with traffic and has a minimal shoulder, we look for secondary roads. A network of roads goes through the villages and resort towns along the beaches. We find a beautiful coastal road that is level most of the way. No traffic, and beautiful views. It is raining hard. Shortly, in Nea Thesis, we come to Elenas Rooms on the beach. A friendly place with nice rooms overlooking the sea. They have heaters in the rooms!

 

We found this ocean side route and stayed off the main highway most of the way between Prevesa and Nea Thesis

A serious, cold rain hit hard. We found refuge in Nea Thesis at Elena’s Rooms. By evening, the rain stopped and we explored the long, empty beach. It was still too early for the tourist onslaught.

Bicycling Mainland Greece- Elena's Rooms
Bicycling Mainland Greece- Elena's Rooms
Bicycling Mainland Greece- Nea Thesis

Bicycling Mainland Greece

Day Three  Nea Thesis to Loutsa

Distance: 19.1 km  (11.9 mi)/Ascent: 285.5 m  (937 ft)/Descent: 294 m  (966 ft)Highest Elevation: 179.8 m (590 ft)

 

We got an early start this morning. We were afraid the rain would come in early again. It was a cold morning and the clouds were dark. We had a very nice flat ride for several miles, before we came to the highway again. This would be the longest stretch on the highway that we would have to ride. It would be about 5 miles. There was one big hill we had to climb; it was about 600 feet in 3 miles. The traffic is heavy on this road, but there is a shoulder wide enough for my trike to ride comfortably. We use flashing lights on the backs of our bike, and I have a big yellow flag on my trike. Apparently we are easy to see as people give us a good wide berth.

 

Bicycling Mainland Greece-Nea Thesis to Loutsa Beach

We turned off the highway at Riza. From that point on, the secondary road wound around through small villages and resort areas. There were some small short hills but nothing serious.

Bicycling Mainland Greece- Nea Thesis to Loutsa Beach
Bicycling Mainland Greece-Nea Thesis to Loutsa Beach

Loutsa Beach is long, wide and glistens with white sand. The road is right along the beach and hotels and restaurants and cafés are on the other side of the road overlooking the ocean.

Most everything is still closed, waiting for the tourism to come in June. The beach was so beautiful we decided we had to stay for the night. This is why we came. Why should we continue bicycling when we have such a beautiful spot to stay for the night. So we found an open café with a beautiful view of the ocean and had a Gyros sandwich for lunch. It was the best one we’ve ever had.

Bicycling Mainland Greece- Loutsa Beach

Bicycling Mainland Greece

Day Four  Loutsa Beach to Parga

Distance: 27.6 km  (17.2 mi)/Ascent: 476 m  (1562 ft)/Descent: 474.8 m  (1558 ft)/Highest Elevation: 224 m (736 ft)

There is a killer steep hill out of Loutsa to get back to the highway. The hill climbs 564 ft in 1.2 miles. At a viewpoint on the top of the hill there were many Greek men drinking their daily coffee. It seems they drink coffee all day. They also like talking in very loud voices even though they are not shouting at each other. It’s very animated shouting!

Bicycling Mainland Greece-Loutsa-to-Parga-Profile
Bicycling Mainland Greece- Loutsa to Parga
Bicycling Mainland Greece- Loutsa to Parga-Amoudia Beach

We get a long downhill to the turnoff to Amoudia Beach. We are tempted to make the side trip until we see the road climbing again up the other side of the valley. 

 

Bicycling Mainland Greece- Loutsa to Parga

The scenery is beautiful along this route; there are many vistas looking down on the ocean and on the villages below. We climbed and descended 3 more times on the way to Pargo.

The May flowers are in full bloom; it was like riding through a garden. There are so many flowering bushes along the side of the road, and beautiful grasses as well. I go so slow, I get a really good look at all the flowers. Mike is way ahead of me most of the time, but he’ll get off the bike at the top of the hill and wait for me.

Parga is a world destination resort. It is a tiny town, filled with restaurants and hotels. People come here from England, Germany, Greece, all of Europe. It has a very nice beach and there are rocky islands around the bay which provides for excellent swimming.

 

Bicycling Mainland Greece-Parga
Bicycling Mainland Greece-Parga
Bicycling Mainland Greece-Parga

We found a hotel for €40 a night at Dallas Studios. The room is extremely nice with a view of the ocean. It’s more than we normally spend so he dropped the price to €35 because we were going to stay two nights.

 

Bicycling Mainland Greece-Parga-Dallas Studios
Bicycling Mainland Greece-Parga-Dallas Studios
Bicycling Mainland Greece-Parga-Dallas Studios

There is a lot to do in Parga. There is a castle to walk to; the old village is on a steep hillside with cobblestone streets, shops and restaurants. There are excursion boats to go to every island. You can even get an excursion boat to Albania and visit their beautiful beaches.

Bicycling Mainland Greece-Parga

From Parga, we took an excursion boat to Paxos Island, the smallest in our route but with the steepest roads.

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