Second article on my blog, I can’t believe it!
June 2015: fantastic experiences on the island, best friends and memories that would last a lifetime – please take me back! Corfu, or Kerkyra (which is the Greek name for Corfu) is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, after Kefalonia. It is renowned for the most attractive countryside, its impressive vegetation and the top-quality olive oil. And after spending a week there, I would add the most magnificent sea views! As you know, if you’ve read my previous article, we’re not keen on crowded places so Corfu Town was out of the question. Instead, another picturesque town caught our attention. Located in the North-East of the island of Corfu, 23 miles away (37 km) from Corfu Airport, Kassiopi, the once peaceful village, has been developed into a lively resort with one of the most charming harbours we’ve ever seen.
There are plenty of direct flights from the UK to Corfu: London Stansted (prices starting from £98 pp in September), Belfast, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Bournemouth and Bristol. 3 hours on the plane flew by in the company of my kindle and the super useful guide Corfu – a notebook. I love to learn about different cultures and places so before every trip, I spend my free time reading, doing research and taking notes!
The best option when arriving at Corfu Airport is to rent a car as this is the most convenient and probably the cheapest option to move around and visit all the attractions of the island. I have done a bit of research and the prices start from £84 for a whole week! Do read the terms and conditions carefully as different companies have different clauses; an ideal way to avoid hidden costs. I’d recommend booking online beforehand as the car will already be at the airport, therefore less time wasted.
We stayed at Memento Resort Kassiopi which is located in Kassiopi Village and boasts 4* modern accommodation. Our choice was an all inclusive package, but again, if your goal is to visit as many attractions as possible and you end up spending less time at the resort, go for another option: there are apartments, maisonettes and studios available from as little as £140 per week. The good news is that there are 57 beaches in Corfu and most of them are lined up with hotels and seaside restaurants. Bonus at Memento Resort Kassiopi: Free parking for guests with a vehicle.
DAY 1 – Memento Resort Kassiopi
Fortunately, we arrived at the airport before 12, paid for the car that we’d already booked and headed straight to Kassiopi. It took us approximately 1 hour to get to our resort. As you might have heard, the streets are extremely narrow and in Greece they drive on the other side of the road so drive carefully! When we arrived, the staff provided us with a booklet about the resort, explained details about the accommodation and facilities, and off we went. The rooms were very clean, beautifully decorated and we were pleased to have a large balcony with a garden view. All we had to do after lunch was to relax by the swimming pool and decide which one of the three bars we were going to try that evening.
DAY 2 – Kassiopi and Avlaki Beach
Just after breakfast, we decided to walk to Kassiopi village as we were wildly enthusiastic about the scenery. There are plenty of restaurants with great views over the charming harbour, shopping opportunities at every corner and warm, welcoming locals everywhere. We spent the afternoon exploring the surroundings and discovered an unspoilt bay, the Avlaki beach, armoured with pebbles and revealing the most crystal clear water. Do not worry about comfort – there are plenty of sun beds available, just make sure that you’re wearing your flip-flops if you go for a swim as some pebbles are quite sharp.
DAY 3 – Paxos, Antipaxos, Blue Caves cruise
I honestly can’t think of a better way to have spent day 3/7. There are daily cruises leaving from Corfu, offering coach transfer to and from the hotel. However, one could easily drive and park near the port. We chose one of the Ionian Cruises and let ourselves immersed in the pristine beauty of the scenery. I spent most of the day on the deck, taking photos and listening carefully to the guide; I always try my best to remember the places we visit and their legends. What we enjoyed the most about the cruise: entering the Blue Caves, swimming in the turquoise waters and admiring the enormous, white cliffs. Also, we absolutely loved Gaios village and the delicious icecream we had there. Looking at our photos and installing nostalgia in 3, 2, 1… Alternative sea cruise: Lakka village instead of Gaios.
DAY 4 – Paleokastritsa
Just an hour drive away from Kassiopi lies the charming village of Paleokastritsa. From the car park, it took us around 20 minutes to walk up the hill to Paleokastritsa Monastery, a place filled with spirituality, history and calmness. We loved the museum, the views, and the monastery itself was superb! The day would get even better as we had dinner at the Golden Fox. I would highly recommend the 15-minute drive as that experience was the highlight of the day! The views from the restaurant were breathtaking! 5 years later and I still remember everything vividly. When we returned to the village, we took a boat trip to the Caves with the Yellow Submarine. Honestly, first time observing underwater life from a glass bottom boat so I enjoyed it thoroughly!
DAY 5 – Achilleion Museum and Taverna Tripa
We headed south and drove around an hour to get to Achilleion Palace Museum, in Gastouri Village. This magnificent palace was built in Corfu by Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) of Bavaria, who used it as her summer palace. A couple of hours flew by as we were completely absorbed in the history, the numerous paintings and statues, and the most beautiful gardens. We were once more welcomed by stunning views! I was a bit disappointed as it was packed with tourists but it was quite obvious why. Another thing to do on a holiday in Corfu is to take part in a Greek night. For an authentic Greek experience, I recommend spending an evening at Taverna Tripa. We had so much fun! Plenty of delicious food, amazing music and traditional dances which we had a go at but failed miserably. On the bright side though: the wine was great!
DAY 6 – Kalamaki Beach and night out in Kassiopi
Day 6: sunbathing, swimming and relaxing on Kalamaki Beach! After all the driving and visits, it was well received. 28 degrees Celsius outside (hot, hot!) so we hired a couple of sun lounges, an umbrella and a paddle boat, and made the most of our day. We had dinner at the beach bar and walked around hoping to see some turtles as there were turtle nesting sites on the beach. Sadly, luck wasn’t on our side! Or at least not in the morning. We were much luckier in the evening though. A night out in Kassiopi village was the perfect choice; the Greek music created such a fantastic atmoshpere! We couldn’t believe it was our last evening in Corfu…
DAY 7 – Corfu town and heading home
Day 7 already, could we accidentally not get to the airport on time? Before heading to the airport though, we stopped for a brief shopping session in Corfu town. We wanted to get as many souvenirs as possible for our family and friends. Maybe that would have given them an insight of how charming Corfu was. It was difficult to leave this Greek gem behind… I love you so much, Greece, you will be forever in my heart!
I hope you liked our one-week itinerary in Corfu. Nevertheless, don’t let other people tell you how beautiful Corfu is, just go there and discover it!