SIVOTA is a Greek village complete with school, church and village square which also happens to be a small resort. It's a bit off the beaten track but well worth the effort for the independant traveller or for those who like low key holidays, booking through the one or two travel companies who provide packages to this destination.
WHERE? It's on the mainland opposite Corfu and the deep bay nestles amidst pine and olive clad hills. As such it is a safe haven for yachts and popular with flotillas and independant boat owners alike. So, lots of activity to watch from your harbourside bar.
GETTING THERE: from Corfu take the local ferry to Igoumenitsa (E10 in 5/11, time 1 1/2hrs. They run from about 6am to 23.45. Boards outside the ferry terminal show the next sailing and the tickets display the name of the boat. These ferries are the supply ships for Corfu so they have car decks. Once on board stow your bags just inside and go up to enjoy the view, get a snack and/or watch the telly.
Alternatively, fly to Preveza, hire a car and head for Igoumenitsa turning left for Sivota after about 1 1/2 hrs. Transfers will be by coach if on a package.
FROM IGOUMENITSA: buses are not an option as only one aday at most goes through to Sivota though all will stop on the highway at the Sivota turning. Taxi is your best bet. Local taxis meet the ferries or book your Sivota taxi through their website or by 'phoning ahead from Igoumenitsa or the ferry. Sivota taxis are grey, transfer about 20mins E35 in 5/11.
WHY BOTHER: as I said, it's a little gem; peaceful, low key,popular with international clientelle as well as the localsand whilst quite smart, is not particuarly expensive and utterly unpretentious. Just enjoy being in a Greek village with the children fishing off the pier or chasing up and down on their bikes.
ACCOMMODATION: a good selection of rooms, studios, apartments and hotels. In May 2011 we apaid E50 per night for a lovely apartment with harbour view which we booked from the UK through Isabella Tours. They are local, not Uk based - contact Vasso or Georgia through the Isabella Tours website. This is our 5th visit and Vasso has always come up trumps. There are other travel agents locally but we find Vasso to be a mine of information who has helped with onward bookings (hotels) and day trips.
ACTIVITIES: sun, sea, sand(sometimes gritty, a few rocks). take the taxi boat or hire your own boat and take yourself to your own off shore beach. Try Mega Ammos for sun beds, shades and a taverna or Zavi, set in a small waterside garden of olive trees. Both are 1/2 hr. and 15 mins walk from the centre of the village or get a taxi. Water sports are at Bela Vraka, otherwise there is bike hire, small boat hire, taxi trips to Perdika (hilltop town, fab views) and Parga, or day long boat trips to Paxos and Anti Paxos. Fast boat is fun as is the sailing boat trip E50.
EATING & DRINKING: there's an excellent choice but for us Blue Coast is a must (international menu including Turkish foods plus all the Greek favourites superbly cooked, also does accommodation), or Spiros set back behind the harbour which is a carnivor's delight or on the front, Georgios for good homecooked Greek dishes. You will find a warm welcome from whereever you go in search of your own favourite taverna. As usual there are a string of comfortable bars along the front but for a masterclass by an owner in a class of his own, try Bamboo Place where Andreas will be delighted to meet a new friend.
LANGUAGE: almost everyone speaks Englsih however you will hear many other languages spoken the predominant being Greek. The bars and tavernas are popular with locals as well as Grek people from inland towns.
EXPLORATION: we have travelled fairly widely from Sivota hiring a small car from Vasso. Try Necromanteon (Hades) or the magnificent amphitheatre at Dodoni both about an hour away. Ioannina has Ali Pasha's castle, a lake, an island and just outside, on the Thessalonika road, stunning staligmites and staligtites in the caves of Perama about 1 1/2 - 2 hrs. Further afield are the ancient villages of the Zagoria also the Vikos Gorge (2 hrs+) or the monasteries at Meteora (4hrs+). Hire a care, stay over. We've also meandered around Lefkas, Ithica and Megonissi before returning to Sivota - depends how long you've got.
OTHER STUFF: the village is well appointed with butchers, bakers, supermarkets, hairdressers, pharmacies, ice-cream parlours gift shops and some limited personal shopping for clothes/beachwear. We don't find a down side here but are told that August is very busy. You make your own nightlife in the bars and tavernas but that works for us.