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12 Sep

The Mail on Sunday's Helen Atkinson Wood enjoyed an escape to Corfu
She stayed at the Rou Estate, a hilltop oasis perched above Kassiopi
Helen argues that the Greek island is even better in reality than on TV

Corfu is a cliché when it comes to the most perfect of Greek Islands. It has all the comforts of familiarity, and plenty more besides. We took ourselves out there at the start of the season to find a tingling freshness to the Mediterranean.

A straight six-hour journey, door to door from London to the Rou Estate, a hilltop oasis perched above Kassiopi, couldn’t be easier. You could make it to Cornwall in the same time.

Both have dramatic, craggy coastlines, secluded white-sand bays and crystal-clear blue water.

But Corfu is 10C warmer and, for me, the local Greek yogurt – with the consistency of clotted cream yet a fraction of the calories – must be worth considering at the beginning of the bikini season. The Rou Estate is hidden in the foothills of Mount Pantokrator and has breathtaking views across the sea to Albania.

Architect Dominic Skinner lifted the shroud from this forgotten hamlet to create 14 imaginatively restored properties, each with a pool and swathed by terraced beds of rosemary, white iris, lavender and agapanthus.

There is a stunning landscape to paint, infinity pool, a perfect yoga platform, and olive groves to walk up through and out on to the famous Corfu Trail. There is no doubt that this north-east corner of Corfu is the island’s most beautiful and exclusive area

The Rothschilds’ private estate there is a billionaires’ bunker, while the Durrell brothers, Lawrence and Gerald, brought literary éclat and, more recently, a huge television following to the dizzyingly picturesque bays of Kalámi and Kouloura.

We drove the four miles from luxurious Rou to Kassiopi. Full English breakfasts, Sunday roasts and fish and chips are all on offer here, but they are not for us when the warmest of Greek welcomes awaits at the Tavernaki taverna. A waterfront table, tzatziki zinging with garlic and lemon juice, charcoal-grilled sea bass and a hunky Greek salad remind us why we came here.

The Filippos family run a boat rental company from the quayside and are the Kardashians of Kassiopi, all glamorous wraparound shades and apricot bottoms snug in impossibly tiny white shorts, and, just like everyone else on the island, fluent in English. Aladdin, a nifty motorboat, bounced us around the bay, liberating and empowering as we anchored for a swim before lunch.

We all know Greek menus off by heart, but I could eat Galini’s (in San Stefanos) velvety taramasalata until I pop, and I would make a barefoot pilgrimage to Taverna Kerasia in Sinies for the best Briam vegetable bake on the island.

Comforting familiarity in every sense sums up Corfu. We’ve grown to know it and love it from watching The Durrells, but let me tell you, it’s much more beautiful and exotic to be there.

26 Aug

London based, Greek indie-pop act, Leon of Athens, has announced his sophomore album and a London show.

Timoleon Veremis is a Greek musicology and philosophy student turned singer/guitarist now living in London, writes electronic pop songs inflected with folk and other flavours, about everything from love and death to the recent upheavals in his home country.

The London-based indie-pop act will put out ‘Xenos’ on January 19, with a show at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen set to precede it on November 17. Tickets are on sale now, priced at £8.00 plus fees.

Discussing the video for his new single, Fire Inside You, he said: “I chose Corfu because it’s one of my favourite places in the world. The director Steve [Glashier] had the idea of shooting this video in a place where I feel really comfortable, where it feels like home.”

Leon of Athens will be appearing live in London, in Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, on Friday, November 17, the day Greeks all over the world are commemorating the 1973 Polytechnic School student uprising against the military dictatorship.

DOP: Jack Wells
Drone: Orfeas Kalafatis (Cinedrone Productions)
Edit: Bastian Kempf
Production Assistant: Yannos Spyrou

Special thanks to Yannos Spyrou and Andriana Pouli

Produced, Engineered and Mixed by David Kosten
Mastered at Gateway Mastering by Bob Ludwig

24 Aug

The Smile of the Child (Hamogelo tou Paidiou) charity has issued its annual call for donations in school supplies ahead of the start of the new academic year.

The organization, which last year helped 3,695 students start their school year fully prepared, is asking the public to donate items like book bags, notebooks, pencils, markers and erasers, atlases, geometry equipment, rulers, pencil cases and other necessities. “In just a few days, families will have to cover the cost of a plethora of expensive supplies required for their children’s studies,” the charity said in its announcement.

“For some families, this is a time of joy… for many others, though, it is a time of stress and anxiety over how they will manage to meet their children’s needs with some dignity.”

The charity has collection points at its offices in Maroussi, Ilion and Nea Makri in Athens, as well as in Thessaloniki, Patra, Pyrgos, Corinth, Halkida, Corfu, Hania, Iraklio, Larissa, Tripoli and Kavala.

To find out more about how to make a contribution, call 210.330.6140 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

20 Aug

By Tasos Kokkinidis

Following the example of Malia in Crete, another popular resort for young British tourists is taking measures to combat rowdy and drunken behaviour.

Kavos in Corfu island is a resort attracting young Britons, whose only purpose seems to be to drink as much as they can and to indulge in rowdy behavior under the influence of alcohol.

In a lengthy report from Kavos, the British tabloid Daily Mail writes that the souvenir vests hanging in the windows of the tacky gift shops proclaim the aim: ‘Made in the UK — Destroyed in Kavos.’

Plastic beer glasses, discarded fast food and the odd patch of vomit cover the main strip, with its brightly-lit bars and clubs pumping out high-decibel music.

Groups of bare-chested males and scantily clad girls amble along in search of the next drink. Others are slumped by the roadside, semi-comatose.

However, the town is determined to change its image. Already the police have a much more active presence, patrolling the streets and imposing severe penalties to bars and nightclubs that continue playing loud music until late in the night.

“It is not a normal holiday,” says Vagelis Aspiotis, president of the Kavos Cultural Association. “These kids just stare at the internet on their phones, use balloons and get drunk. We feel embarrassed for our town.”

It has been like this since tour operators realised there was big money to be made from shipping thousands of young Brits to Greece, Spain and Cyprus for coming-of-age flings.

And the fuel for this clubbing industry is alcohol, together with copious amounts of ‘party’ drugs.

“You can get anything in Kavos, if you ask,” says Yannis Kantas, who grew up in old Kavos and still fishes the waters in the strait separating Corfu from mainland Greece. “The big problem, though, is the drinking. Kavos has changed from the paradise it was when I was a child, into a dirty paradise — dirty streets, dirty beach.”

Kavos residents, who have long endured sleepless nights from the techno-music pumping through their walls until dawn, are only too relieved that action is finally being taken, says the Daily Mail.

They say that the late-night drinking culture has driven decent family-tourists away. Kavos used to boast 10,000 visitors at any one time in the peak season, but that number has now dropped to about 7,000 —and the number of young tourists has increased in proportion.

15 Aug

By Philip Chrysopoulos

Social Affairs, Solidarity and Volunteer Counselor of the Corfu Municipality, Andreas Skoumbouras, took the initiative to make the beach fun for people who are physically disabled, says an Athens-Macedonia News Agency report.

Skoumbouras told AMNA that Corfu was the first island in Greece that gave wheelchair users the chance to reach the water and fully enjoy it, by using the floating wheelchairs and direct access ramps in the water that have been placed on many beaches of the island.

Having mobility problems himself, after three years of initiatives and efforts, the deputy mayor has managed to install nine floating wheelchairs on the island’s most popular beaches that give joy and satisfaction to everyone who had previous difficulties to access the water.

The beaches that host the floating trolleys have gained notoriety worldwide, as they give the opportunity to tourists with mobility problems to come from all over the world and enjoy their holidays. The floating wheelchairs are installed in the beaches of Dassia, Gouvia, Alykes Potamos, Bouka Lefkimmi, Agios Georgios Argyradon, Moraitika, Sidari, Agios Georgios Pagon and Arillas, while in the effort to facilitate the people with moving disabilities, ramps with direct access to the water, can be found at NEAK, Dasia, Gouvia, Ipsos, Agios Ioannis Peristeron, in Paleokastritsa, and in Benitses.

The immediate plans of the municipality are to make Corfu the first destination in the Mediterranean with regard to beaches accessible to people with physical disabilities. “Floating wheelchairs provide easy access to the beach, and help movement on the sand, but also the possibility of moving in the water. The floats offer great stability on the water surface,” Skoumbouras said.

“Our goal is to reach 25 wheelchairs so that we can cover most of the well-known beaches of Corfu,” Skoumbouras said, pointing out that by 2019 Corfu will claim the prize for friendliness in the annual European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT).

15 Aug

By Theo Ioannou

Former Boyzone member and solo pop star Ronan Keating, along with his wife, fashion model Storm and their three month old baby, are soaking up the sun in the beautiful Ionian island of Corfu.

The pair – who have been married for five years – have been sharing a string of photographs from their sun-soaked break away, through their Instagram account.

Clearly indulging during their time away, Ronan also appeared to be sharing a delicious chocolate ice-cream with his boy, Cooper, finished with a patriotic Greek flag on top.

Revelling in yet another day of her Greek holiday, Storm Keating, the 35-year-old stunning blonde model, looked sensational in a red bikini as she cradled her son beside the sea.

Announcing her little one’s penchant for the water, she enthused alongside the snap: ‘Water baby #timeforasnooze #toomuchexcitement #firsttimes #funtimes #baby #swim #cooperkeating #familyholiday #summertime.’
The snap comes just a few short days after Ronan shared a snap of the mother-son duo reclining on their sun lounger with a comical filter.
The gushing dad captioned the heartwarming image: ‘My heart could burst #Love #summertime #Laughs #cooperkeating.’
Storm wrote beside the image: ‘Poolside #intheshade #chillin #giggles #cooperkeating #daddy #summerdayz #greece.’

 

19 Jun

The green, or eco-tourism, is a current strongly evolved over the past 5 years in Europe and other selected destinations around the world. And so, this current couldn’t go around Corfu, a place so endowed by nature, with such surprising alternations of landscape between vast green areas, rivers, waterfalls (yes, you heard me), and caves. Areas labeled as parks, and/or protected natura places are waiting to be explored. In northern Corfu the excursion program for demanding travelers fills easily.

We will stay in 7 benchmarks of green tourism in northern Corfu:

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19 Jun

SEVEN FESTIVAL and JOHN LANASISproudly present: SEVEN CORFU BLUES ROCK FESTIVAL 2017
Event Date: 15 July 2017
Venue: Corfu Beer Arena, Corfu Beer, Arillas, Corfu NW

This year’sfestival, in its second edition, features two of the world’s most renowned rhythm and blues bands, the UK’s DR FEELGOODand Greece’s BLUES WIRE. Joining them are NEVER THE BRIDE, BLACK STRAT BAND, DEEP IN THE TOP, and BLUES LATITUDE with Maria Goros.For morebandinformation, please visit www.greekislandblues.org/bands

All the profits from this year’s festival will be donated to two Corfu-based charities:MELISSA –The School forSpecial Needs Children MELISSAis a vocational school for children over the age of 14 with Autism Spectrum disorders, Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and other intellectual and developmental disabilities. The school’s program provides special training, socialisation, psychological support, sports, theatre, games, independent living skills, music, computer training, educational excursions and summer camps.

The centre also operates a fully-functioning bakery out of the school and sells three types of cookies to visitors and several retailers on the island.CARE –Corfu Animal Rescue EstablishmentSince their foundation 11 years ago, CARE has re-homed thousands of animals in Greece, Germany, Austria and the UK. CARE presently has a small shelter near Sidari,situated in the north of the island. With limited space and facilities, this means they sadly cannot take in all the reported strays, but CARE has a mobile unit and along with groups of volunteers, CARE has set up feeding stations and the sterilization ofthese animals wherever possible.

The CARE sanctuary offers temporary lodging for these animals whilst new homes are sourced. Donations go towards vet bills including injections, operations, blood and urine tests and microchips. Food, bedding, rescue travel costs and a stray feeding programme are just some of the other areas funding helps with.For more information on the charities, please visit www.greekislandblues.org/charitiesGet more information about the festival and buy tickets at www.greekislandblues.org

Contact:

SEVEN CORFU BLUES ROCK FESTIVAL 2017 SamNahas This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
John LanasisTel: +44 7763 411122 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
SEVEN FESTIVAL 2017Andreas Trifonas This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

18 Jun

Corfu, Greece’s most northern Ionian island, is a gem of tranquility all year round, writes Ellie O’Byrne.

The tiny monastery island of Vlakhérna is lit for a wedding with hundreds of candles that barely flicker in the still evening air as the sun sets. The picture-postcard Ionian sea, dazzlingly blue and calm, is dotted with white fishing boats. Little ripples of laughter and snatches of conversation from arriving guests punctuate the warm evening and, in the background, the even tinier island of Pontikonísi, or Mouse Island, is crowned by a whitewashed Byzantine chapel surrounded by cypress trees.

Corfu, the northernmost Ionian island, has been a holiday destination since Roman times, treasured into antiquity for its beauty. Such a gem, combining fertile agricultural land and a safe harbour, it’s been the centre of many the historic battle, but its tranquillity and laid-back, cheery inhabitants bely its military past. Everything is to a charmingly diminutive scale in this Lilliputian paradise where olive groves climb up the craggy, mountainous uplands and archaeological ruins, beaches and tavernas compete for sun-drunk tourists’ attention.

The capital, Corfu town or Kerkyra as it’s also known, is a good place to start as, unless you arrive by ferry from Igoumenitsa to Lefkimi in the south, you will arrive in either the port or airport, both of which are adjacent to Corfu town. Corfu Old Town’s elegant Italianate architecture and worn flagstone paving is charming, but in peak season it’s thronged with shopping tourists and the boutiques full of ostentatious riches and big-brand fashion seem somehow sad.

Gerald Durrell’s autobiographical accounts of his life on the island as a child spring to mind: what would it have been like to see this untouched, in the 1930s

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