Igoumenitsa: The Gateway to Mainland Greece and the Ionian

Igoumenitsa is a small port town on the west coast of Greece. It is the main connecting point for ferries to and from the Ionian, in addition to services to nearby Italy. 

Let’s call a spade a spade here. You are not going to travel to Igoumenitsa on vacation. 

Sightseeing opportunities here are few and far between. Passing through the port town is something of a necessary evil in order to get to where you’re going.

However if you do find yourself needing to transit through Igoumenitsa, and transport schedules dictate that you need to spend the night here, you will not be short of dining and evening entertainment options. The sea front is lined with tavernas serving up sumptuous marinated meats, fresh fish sourced from local waters, and quality Mediterranean vegetables. 

A Little History of Igoumenitsa  

Greece, as a whole, has a fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. Every Greek city and town has links to Greek mythology and Igoumenitsa is no different.  

Legend has it that the great Odysseus passed through Igoumenitsa numerous times on his great adventures and sailing voyages around the country. The city was called “Grava” during the medieval and Ottoman eras – a name meaning “cave” in Greek. 

In 1938, Igoumenitsa became the capital of Thesprotia prefecture. At this time, it received its current name “Igoumenitsa”. Igoumenitsa means “Commander”. 

Cuisine and Dining Options in Igoumenitsa 

There are no specific regional delicacies that are exclusive to Igoumenitsa. Greek food on the whole is simple, filling, and flavourful. This is one of the reasons that it has captivated the hearts of all those that have sampled it around the world. 

Many favourite national dishes can be found at the restaurants here. For instance, pastissio, moussaka, souvlaki, and sharing platters of grilled meat. 

Igoumenitsa’s oceanfront location means that local fish make a common appearance on restaurant menus. If you want to try something truly Greek, consider ordering up a serving of Barbatus – fried fish that is served with a selection of sauce for trying. 

You can also find many dishes with squid, shrimp, and calamari. It’s advisable to avoid the restaurants immediately in front of the port and walk a little farther down Eth. Anthistasis towards the more local tavernas.  

Some recommended dining options in Igoumenitsa are provided below. This list contains a selection of tavernas and Greek street food eateries.

Alékos

Where: Ethnikis Antistasis 84, Igoumenitsa 461 00

There are a number of excellent traditional restaurants in Igoumenitsa that serve hearty Greek favourites. However, Alékos has an ambiance unlike any other.

The food and the service here are great. However, the piece de resistance is Alékos’ restaurant terrace. 

The seafront outdoor seating space boasts incredible panoramas over the water. This is especially beautiful if you happen to stop by at sunset. 

Μπριζολάδικο του Λούη (To Mprizoladiko Toy Loyh To)

Where: Ethnikis Antistaseos 110, Igoumenitsa 461 00

To Mprizoladiko is a bustling Igoumenitsa taverna that is crowded with local patrons virtually every night of the week. This is mainly a steakhouse and the majority of the menu consists of meat dishes.

For mouthwatering steaks, souvlaki and kontosouvli cooked on spits, smoked country sausages, and handmade burger patties, this is a great choice. Mprizoladiko’s seafront location ensures that you will enjoy a wonderful al fresco dinner with a view. 

Kochyli 

Where: Grigoriou Lampraki 3, Igoumenitsa 461 00

Kochyli is a very well-regarded traditional taverna in Igoumenitsa town centre. The menu here boasts a selection of national and wider Mediterranean plates.

If you wish to enjoy fresh fish, grilled octopus, and seafood dishes, Kochyli  is one of the best places to do so. The restaurant ambiance, like the menu, is simple yet tasteful.  

Cucine Ristorante Italiano

Where: Eth. Antistasis 90, Igoumenitsa 461 00

There are a couple of excellent-quality Italian restaurants in Igoumenitsa, Greece. Being so close to Italy has had something of an influence on the local food.

Cucine Ristorante Italiano is well regarded as being one of the best dining spots in town. You can enjoy mouthwatering handmade pizzas here, along with pasta sauces prepared with fresh tomatoes and local vegetables.

The Village Igoumenitsa 

Where: 4th km Igoumenitsa – Sagiada, Igoumenitsa 461 00

The Village is one of the best restaurants in Igoumenitsa for enjoying good food on a budget. You can easily enjoy a three-course meal here for less than €15.

The restaurant is set within the hotel of the same name. Since it is slightly out of town, it can be a little tricky to reach it without a car.

The Village restaurant boasts a separate lunch and dinner menu. Portions are generous, and all dishes are prepared with love by the local family that runs the restaurant. 

Kontogiannis Ice Cream

Where: Grigoriou Lampraki 1, Igoumenitsa 461 00

If you find yourself waiting for your ferry in Igoumenitsa, Greece on a hot summer’s day, consider swinging by Kontogiannis’ for an ice cream. This quaint ice cream store serves ice creams in a plethora of different flavours – from stracciatella to good old fashioned vanilla.

All of the owner’s homemade ice creams are made with bio milk. A range of weird and wonderful toppings are available – from mini marshmallows to nuts and chocolate sprinkles.

Kontogiannis’ old-fashioned ice cream shop design seemingly transports you back in time. This is arguably one of the best dessert spots in Epirus. 

The Gyros Factory 

Where: El. Venizelou 7, Igoumenitsa 461 00

If you want to grab something quick and convenient, The Gyros Factory is a good shout. As the name suggests, this place specialises in… gyros! 

For just a couple of euros, you can purchase a sizable chicken or pork gyro. Opt to have your gyro filled with “everything” – potatoes, fresh tzatziki, salad, and mustard. 

Accommodation Options in Igoumenitsa 

There are plenty of hotels and accommodation options in Igoumenitsa that suit a range of budgets and travel styles. If you have to take an early morning ferry, you may wish to consider a hotel close to the port. 

A selection of reputable options are detailed below for your consideration. 

Alexander Rooms & Apartments

Where: Eth. Antistasis 8, Igoumenitsa 461 00

Alexander Rooms & Apartments are clean, spacious, and modern apartments and suites close to the port in Igoumenitsa. The rooms are excellent value, and the host offers a very convenient self-check-in service – perfect for early morning and late-night port arrivals.

Rooms start from €29 a night.

Selefkos Palace 

Where: Nea Selefkia 461 00

Selefkos Palace is a nice place to consider if you are seeking affordable luxury in Igoumenitsa. The rooms are simple yet spacious. 

Guests can enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast, while the rooftop pool and terrace is a nice place to relax. Rooms start from €65 a night. You can browse the latest rates and availability here

Parting Words 

Planning a trip to Greece and in need of some advice? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I have been living in Pagrati, Athens for three and a half years now. 

I am happy to assist you with any questions. Safe travels! Geia sou! Melissa xx


Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

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