If there is a picture-perfect town in northern Greece, Parga is it – the hollow castle perches above a sandy bay, rock islets stick out of the sea sporting slanting pines, and the surrounding beaches and coves are as inviting as the transparent turquoise waters. Add to it a labyrinthine and charming old quarter, and you have the ideal Greek seaside town. Yes, it's a little on the touristy side (quite a lot in high summer), but it's a beauty. This former Venetian possession is an excellent base for swimming, historic sites and excursions to the Ionian Islands. After the sun sets, a slew of seafront tavernas and bars give Parga plenty of fizz. Outside May to September, Parga snoozes: expect shutdowns of some restaurants and activities if you visit during the low season. Centuries of turbulent history have taken their toll on Parga's castle, now a romantic ruin with remarkable sea views. Dating to the 11th century, the castle passed from Venetian to Ottoman control with numerous invasions and bouts of rebuilding in between. The ramparts are uneven, so wear sturdy shoes and hang on to the kids. Pause for a drink in the cafe (open from 11am until late) to watch ferries, rather than invading pirate ships, ply the shore.