What To See And Do In Palairos, Aktio-Vonitsa, Greece

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Palairos is located in the south ionian sea on mainland Greece. Palairos is technically a City and a modern town but doesn’t feel like it. Instead it feels like a Greek village with all the charm and history to go with it. Palairos boasts one of the most beautiful sunsets i’ve ever seen and not as a one off but rather a daily occurrence.

I spent a couple of seasons living and working in this beautiful town and want to share with you the best things to do and see here and in the surrounding areas. This beautiful city has views in every direction weather you are looking back from sea, up the hill looking down over the rooftops or looking out to see, to view the stunning mountains across the bay and even a peak of Lefkada Island on a clear day. This sheltered area of the inland sea (an area of the south Ionian) gets all the sun and only a little wind, which can get very intense in summer.

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What To Do In Palairos

Whilst working at Neilson I took full advantage of my access to the water. If you are staying at Neilson most activities are included (See the section below on the Neilson Resort). However if you are not staying at Neilson you can still take advantage of this awesome location and the water conditions.

Scuba Diving

The scuba diving school is based on the Vounaki Beach Club (Neilson) site however it is also open to none guests. It is a PADI school and the instructor / owner is an Elite instructor and was fantastic. I would suggest reaching out to him direct to organise this. I believe he is also now based on Lefkada island Click here for his facebook. I did my PADI open water with him.

Sail a Yatch

There is a marina in town as well as the Vounaki resort marina. Here you can book on for day or multi day trips but you should do this ahead of time. It is very very rare you will be able to turn up and do this. You do need a day skipper license to be able to take a Yatch out on your own or you can join a trip with a skipper.

Paddleboarding and Kayaking

The water conditions here for the morning and early afternoon is calm and flat (perfect for paddleboarding. You can launch your own board or kayak if you have one from plenty of spots in town. Alternatively you can rent one from places in town such as Dionysis and Why Not or you can head to the resort and request to rent one for a day. If you haven’t done it before just ask your rental place if they have someone to teach you, there are plenty of people in town that could offer this too.

Mountain Biking

There are so many routes around Palairos that you could head to on a bike.

  • Just following the shoreline would give you the most amazing views with some steady hills.
  • Check the routes further out from town that offer challenge to those who are experienced mountain bikers.
  • There is a chapel (Agiou Athanasiou) up on the peaks behind Palairos which is a favourite.
  • If you don’t mind a bit of a challenge for epic views and stunning architectural buildings you could take a bike up to The Church of Panagia Parigoritissa.
  • There is also the ancient Palairos ruins which can be explored easy just outside of the main town for a more gentle ride.
  • You could down a town loop and circle back to finish at Senso Mare to enjoy the views and a drink by coming into the back entrance through the olive groves.

These can be rented for the visitor shop that offers car rentals. It is clearly labelled from the road too. Lucky’s Rentals offers Bike hire but I haven’t had experience myself to vouch for this. However their reviews and feedback online look very positive.

Top Tip: If you fly with British Airways they often offer flights with free sports equipment (including mountain bikes). I took my longboard and penny board with me on one of my seasons to get to and from the work.

Rent a Car or Scooter

This is the perfect way to explore. You will need to be over 21 to hire a car and have a full driving license. Prices are approx £30 per day. Lucky’s rentals which is a bit further north from the town offers rentals for scooters and bikes. I haven’t used them personally but their reviews and feedback are very positive: Click here.

If You Have Access to a Car:

  1. You could take a drive for the day to Lefkada Island which takes around 30-40 minutes to reach the island although you will want to explore the different villages, bays and mountains of the island – Click Here to read our article on Lefkada Island.
  2. You could also head north to Parga which will take about 1 hour – Click Here to read our article on Parga.
  3. Visit the famous and historic UNESCO World Heritage site of Meteora is also about 3 hour drive away.
  4. To purchase tickets for Meteora for less than £22.00 By Clicking Here.
  5. You can find tickets for a Sunset Tour Here.
  6. Or try an electric bike 4 hour tour of Meteora – Click Here to find out more.

Where To Eat In Palairos

Dionysis Restaurant

Dionysis offers a range of greek cuisine, sits on the water front and is ran by a local family. Their food and service is fantastic, their ingredients are all local and fresh and what they offer is great value for money.

I should point out that one of the Sons was trained as a chef at a top culinary school and worked in top restaurants in Germany for years. He now spend his year running these businesses with his family.

They also own a set of budget friendly apartments. These get booked up fast as many worker on the yatchs rent these for the season. To find out more Click Here.

Palairos water front close to the main square looking back towards the south of the town.
Palairos water front close to the main square looking back towards the south of the town.


Panorama offers a wide selection of food from different cuisines. It offers the usual greek cuisine and some others. The portion sizes here are pretty huge and the price for this is very reasonable, as with most places here (which will be a stark contrast to the prices you see in Santorini, Athens, Thessonaliki and Rhodes). My favourite here is their Greek meze or they do amazing Indian curry dishes.

New Mill Tavern

If you are looking for authentic Greek tradition and cuisine then this is the place to be. You will need to book ahead and they don’t have a traditional al la carte menu, instead you simply let the family know any allergies and they will prepare a large greek meal with Meze starter. You will be sat with others who have booked in (although there may be additional distancing measures going forward), with extra large Carafes of wine in the middle of the table to accompany your dinner. This place really makes you feel like you are a local.

  • Don’t forget every greek town has a local gyros bar that is everyones favourite. This one has two in town and I liked them both. At a couple of euros you will not be disappointed.

Where To Drink In Palairos

What To See And Do In Palairos, Aktio-Vonitsa, Greece
Sunset from Senso Mare – No filters, no edited just stunning sky taken on my old Iphone.

Senso Mare

As you have probably realised by now, the area is just stunning, and one of the things that makes is special is the sunset. If you are looking at the sea from Pailaros you are guaranteed unbelievable colours in the sky most nights.

Senso Mare made it on the list due to having more panoramic views than others in town. The bar sits back and high up on the roof tops overlooking the town, so make sure you don’t miss it. They also do some fantastic cocktails, great waffles and have lovely staff. The atmosphere is relaxed with chilled music playing throughout the day. The decor and seating here is comfy and stylish with a choice of big comfy outdoor sofa’s, traditional bar stools and seats, along with candles, lanterns and up cycled.

Lazy’s Bar

This is a personal favourite of mine due to the relaxed and fun atmosphere, it is a favourite for most of the staff working on the resort. With a pool table, good music and good drink offers, this bar looks out to the water front and is close to everything.

Ammos Beach Bar

Looking back towards Palairos from Ammos Beach Bar after a bike ride around the bay (Approx. 30 minutes)
Looking back towards Palairos from Ammos Beach Bar after a bike ride around the bay (Approx. 30 minutes)

Ammos is situated further around the bay outside town and past Mark Warner. It has a relaxed atmosphere and sits on the beach front. Having a sandy beach with stunning views of the peaks behind Palairos, it makes this bar a great place to head to on a bike ride.

  • Don’t forget to ask for a frozen cocktail whilst visiting here.
  • They have plenty of sun beds and shaded seating close to the bar

Why Not

Why not is a small and relatively new bar to the waterfront, it is owned by a local family who also own Dionysis and a group of holiday rental apartments. This one has made the list due to the service. Again, just like their restaurant the owners and staff are all lovely. You can sit inside the bar, outside or on the waterfront.

Yatch Club

I recommend this as a good place to relax, read a book and have a chilled swim and a drink during the day. They also do a great assortment of Ice Creams.

It is more pricey than others and most people go here have a couple of drinks, relax and then head off. They do offer a food selection but i’ll be honest it wasn’t as nice as the other places mentioned above.

The location is what makes this one, but there are others that I would suggest more.

Where to Stay In Palairos

Vounaki Beach Club and Marina

I worked in Palairos at Vounaki Beach Club in the summer of 2015 and spring to autumn of 2016 for Neilson. I also visited a few times for.a day trip from other areas in the following seasons. This was definitely my favourite resort to work at. I loved the location, the town and just the resort overall.

Vounaki Beach Club Panorama taken from the Marina looking back towards the town
Vounaki Beach Club Panorama taken from the Marina looking back towards the town

If you are a guest here all the activities are included – Mountain biking, road cycling, fitness, tennis, wakeboarding or water skiing, windsurfing, dingy sailing (chose from pico’s, lasers and small cats), paddleboarding and kayaking. All of these run on a timetable with tuition from qualified and experienced coaches but you can use any equipment not booked out and in between sessions.

The only activities you pay extra for are premium tows for waterski or wakeboard (if you want them multiple times throughout the week), private tuition, going on a yatch cruise or Scuba diving.

More Of What To Expect At Vounaki Beachclub

  • A large fitness platform with gorgeous views over the sea and to Lefkada
  • An small air conditioned gym (with life fitness equipment)
  • A Spa offering a range of treatments and products from temple spa
  • An onsite marina (you can book sunset cruises, half day or full day trips or have a flotilla holiday enjoying island hopping).
  • Great conditions for wakeboarding in the morning
  • Good wind for sailing and windsurfing in the afternoon
  • Two Pools (adults only in the infinity pool and the central family pool)
  • Beautiful rooms in the Resort (some with mezzanine).
  • There is a short trail along the water front that leads into town to avoid the main road and take in the scenery.

Elektra Hotel

My parents stayed here just a short walk down the road from Vounaki and a little further away from town. It was clean, had air con and lovely views over the water to the island.

The prices start from about £60.00 – £65.00 per room per night but if you book a week or more you generally get a discounted price. You can find the price comparisons on Trip Advisor and their reviews Here.

Villa Kastos

A bit further round the bay in the opposite direction you will see a range of villas for those who are bringing the family and want some privacy. Villa Kastos is a 4 bedroom villa and one of the of the favourites. It has its own pool with stunning views. The price from about £330 per night for the entire villa in peak season but is typically less in the shoulder seasons. Check out here for their up to date prices and reviews.

At the time I worked here, Neilson was the only large resort in the town. Mark Warner had closed down and become a derelict eyesore at the far end of the bay. We even nicknamed it ‘Dark Courner’ and some parts of it were used as staff accommodation at the time. I can’t lie, it was the accommodation that no one wanted to be based in. It was further away from resort and town, overgrown, had lots of frogs, it did have a pool but it became like a toxic pond and you got bitten a lot by the mosquitoes there due to the stagnant water. It just wasn’t as nice as other places (it has however been reopened and I imagine refurbished to a high standard since then). This may be worth checking out too.

More Of My Pictures From Around Palairos

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Owner of Travels and Wandering | Lecturer by Day, Nomad at Heart Adventure Travel Tester | Outdoor Instructor | Mountaineering and Outdoors Researcher | Strength and Conditioning Coach | Yoga Instructor | Personal Trainer | Fitness Pro | Endo Warrior, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, Spoonie

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