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06 Aug

When visiting Corfu, it can often feel as if you are being transported to another time and place. All the island has long been a haven of today’s rich and famous, there are moments when you feel as if you must take a step back and really view the island for what it is – a place where the island’s ancient history and modern sensibilities seem to coexist. On top of that, there are places that truly feel ancient, such as Perithia , the oldest village on Corfu. Here is an overview of Old Perithia and what you can do when you visit:

History of Perithia
Perithia, or Old Perithia, is an old village located in the northern mountains of the island. It is also listed as a UNESCO world heritage site because it is a gorgeous example of the history of the island. The village is dated back from the 14th Century A.D., but it is possible that there were inhabitants there from well before that. There were about 130 homes that were built here and all of them were made by hand. At its peak, there were as many as 1200 inhabitants according to the records. It was also considered to be one of the wealthiest villages on the island and the abundance of natural beauty around it was also a revenue generator, as is evidenced by the leftover grapevines that are still in existence in the area.

Escape from the Tourist Crowds
Corfu is a popular island for visitors and it can often get busy, especially during peak tourist season. Although this is something that attracts people to the island in the first place, it can be nice to find a place to escape and get away from it all. This is one of the reasons why many people visit Old Perithia. Since it is tucked away in the northern mountains on Corfu, it isn’t exactly easy to get to, which means that this historical site doesn’t get the as many visitors as some of the popular resorts and beaches on the island do. You can visit here to truly unwind and take in the island’s beautiful scenery.

What to Do in Perithia
Although the village was abandoned at one time, there are still some inhabitants in the area. However, many of the homes are abandoned. For visitors, this is simply a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the regular tourist crowds. Spend some time looking around some of the older homes. You can also hike in the surrounding mountains and take plenty of pictures of the beautiful sceneries. There are also some tavernas in the area, which offer the visitor a chance to eat a traditional Greek meal in a natural setting. If you are interested in learning more about the village and its history, you can also either take an official tour or do a self guided tour.

Although Corfu is a busy island, it is nice to get away from the tourist crowds and enjoy the beautiful environment.

05 Aug

In northern Corfu the rich natural variety forms a surprising landscape alternating from vast green areas to rivers, waterfalls and caves. Areas defined as parks or protected Natura locations, are waiting for you to explore them. Includes several admirable monuments and historical sites, even for the most demanding visitors, thus the higher value of tourist product. 


1. Trekking on Mountain Pantokratoras (Almighty)
Pantokratoras is the highest mountain in Corfu with an altitude up to 917m. There you’ll discover the traditional small villages Palia (Old) Perithia and Nea (New) Perithia. Prepare yourself to walk on paths  among cypresses and buildings in a mix of Greek and Italian style. If you approach the start and ending point of the mountain on foot, you can notic e the Italian influence in the architecture of this quiet mountain village. This wonderful ride takes you on a circuit of the high ridge of the Cross. All the way you can enjoy the fantastic view from the altitude of Pantokrator. Following the road to the Cross, you’ll pass the house in Dafnata and than, walking on the main road, you’ll see the Stroggyli valley, the Korission lake and the mountain villages Agios (St.) Mathaios and Vounatiades. On our way up we’ll find a magnificent cave, used as shelter years ago. Once again, the geographical landscape looks amazing. A little further, after a short detour, there is a magical chapel, built upon rocks overhanging the hill. At this point, we leave the path behind us, and continue on the local road, always having as companion the fantastic view from Pantokratoras. Here you’ll find yourself in front of a dilemma; you can either to continue the road, or to walk through the picturesque village so you can admire the old traditional Greek buildings. Either way, at the end of the road, a refreshing soda and a good tavern with traditional food will be waiting for you.Required equipment: climbing boots or any other shoes suitable for walking.

2. Discover the Caves (Loutses & Klimatia)
The Cave of Loutses (Grava for the locals) is situated near the village Loutses on Pantokratoras, at an altitude of about 300 meters. The entrance of the Cave of Loutses is located in a deep hollow with imposing, vertical walls. A path that requires special attention during winter due to slipperiness, takes you inside the cave where, the soil is completely flat and above you, the roof is full of geological formations. If you are inside the cave and look upwards at the opening of the cave, from which comes the sunlight, you will be impressed by the sense of isolation and serenity that this dark cave offers. The Cave of Anthropograva is located near the village Klimatia, at an altitude of 270 meters, just a few meters from the road which leads to the monastery of Agia Triada, in the northern part of the island. The Cave of Anthropograva is the most interesting among the recently known and accessible caves of the island. The road which reaches very close to it, is covered with asphalt, while access to it is through a cobble-paved path. The entrance to the Cave of Anthropograva has an opening reaching 4 meters and a height reaching approximately 2,50 meters

3. Discover the Waterfalls (Nymfes & Kyprianades)
The Waterfalls of Nymfes are the most impressive of the whole island and they are located just outside Nymfes, this lovely village which, is built on the mountain Pantokratoras , in a verdant area with oak and holly trees. In order to reach the Waterfalls of Nymfes you must cross through the village, pass outside the local football pitch and follow a rural dirt road for about a half kilometer. The scenery in the Waterfall of Nymfes is enchanting. Rapid waters fall from a height greater than 10 meters into the verdant ravine. Two other, smaller waterfalls are also nearby. The waterfalls are best visited in the spring after the winter rains.The second largest waterfall on the island of Corfu, right after the waterfall in Nymfes, is the Waterfall in Kyprianades, of about 8 meters high. It is formed by a tributary of the Tyflos River, the creek of Klimatia which on its course towards the north Ionian Sea also passes outside the village of Kyprianades. Access to the Waterfall of Kyprianades is relatively easy. It is possible through a small path of about 500 meters which starts from the fountain in the southwest of the village. For those who love nature and hiking, an excursion to the Waterfall in Kyprianades, will be unforgettable.

4. Met the Antinioti Lagoon
Antinioti Lagoon or Limnothalassa Antinioti is situated on the North of the island off the main road towards the coast in the region of Thinali. At the far end of the main beach at Agios (Saint) Spyridon on the North of the island is an inlet for the Lake, there is a small bridge here that will take you to the area known as Nissos Island. This is a protected area in Corfu and is abundant with flora and wildlife including the threatened Otter species Lutra-lutra, and many rare orchids and offer great environmental interest. The lagoon area is about 1,000,000 square metres in size, comprising of around 400,000 for the lake with the remaining area accounting for the marshes and reed beds. The lagoon area is listed on the European Environment agencies website and is a protected area categorised on the European Nature Information System (EUNIS) under Natura 2000. In 1992 legislation was introduced to protect the most seriously threatened habitats across Europe and Natura 2000 was the result of this legislation bringing together special areas of protection and conservation. This wetland situated on the northern coast of the island of Kerkyra (Corfu) is important for the threatened species Lutra lutra as well as for the ecological balance in the area. In addition, the site is characterized by a variety of habitats, and human activities have not yet exerted much influence upon it. This is of great importance for an island like Kerkyra which shows great tourist development and great pressure due to building construction. The wetland and the nearby habitats are kept in rather good condition.

5. Discover thw Erimitis park (As much as you can)
A verdant paradise with deep blue waters, a labyrinthine coastline where, beaches, coves, capes and three lakes are formed that make it a significant wetland, called Erimitis which is located between Agios Stefanos in Sinies and the beach of Avlaki, in the north-eastern part of the island. The position of Erimitis, right across the Albanian shores, exactly in the northern strait of the island, prevented any development or activity in the region which was used by the Venetians for defensive reasons. In order to eliminate hazards to ships passing through the strait, during the English occupation, in the islet Kapareli a lighthouse of a height of 9 meters was built, the second oldest of Corfu. The oldest lighthouse is the one of the Old Fortress.Erimitis includes a continuation of six beaches, a complex of three lakes (Vromolimni, Akoli , Savoura) and is a shelter for a number of rare birds and animals, such as otter. Along with the Lagoon of Antiniotis in the west and the wetland of Vouthrotos (Butrint) in the opposite Albanian shores, they constitute a single wetland system of great ecological value.Erimitis has remained intact from tourism as it is only accessible on foot through paths or by boat from the sea. A resort will soon be built in the area. Soon to prevent...

6. Cycling in traditional mountain village Perithia
Mountain routes, on road routes, trails of differential altitudes, a huge network of unpaved roads, places that can only be reached by bike, cliffs and mountains are abundant in Northern Corfu welcoming all kinds of bikers. Spring and autumn are the seasons than can make you enjoy this experience to the full as nature is at its best decorated with a colourful wildflower patchwork and mesmerizing scents that soothe even the wildest of souls. Whether an on road route or off road route lover, all your five senses will be fine-tuned as your bike will become your means to a trip to paradise. Cycling through traditional mountain villages, like Old Perithia, is a trip through time. Old stone houses, friendly hospitable people and a breathtaking view is an experience not to be missed. As you ride your bike on the narrow cobbled streets, your mind travels back in time as if in a time machine. Old people will put a spell on you with their wide smiles and warm your heart and like the Sirens from Odyssey will make you  not want to go back. The luscious olive oil, the fruity local wines, the sweet kumquat liqueur and the overpowering scents of local herbs, are these people’s magic potions. As your trip continues, tamed creatures that roam the mountains will accompany you along the way.

7. Discover the natural of Nymphs’ Hermitage
Abandoned for a long time, the monastic Hermitage complex stands Northern to the village Nymphes (Nymphs). It’s considered one of the oldest Christian monuments on the island. Recently, there was a study on its buildings aiming their restoration presented as “Interpreting the breath of history edifices”. Beyond its historic value, the beautiful environment, the dense forest and the bordering valley constitute an interesting destination for all nature lovers and trekkers. According to the famous legend, in this corner of the world there was a hermit monk from Epirus in the 5th century. An older reference to the Hermitage is from a document in 1371, period when Corfu was ruled by Andecavi, sovereigns from Naples.

8. Diving in Kerasia beach
The Kerasia beach is a particularly lovely area to visit, so be sure to do a couple dives here. The sea is a wonderful place to discover, full of rare fish species and impressive sea plants. In one of the most beautiful locations of the island, Kerasia is hidden away, an impressive beach with white pebbles, luxuriant vegetation and clean, crystal clear waters. It is not random that in this region many luxurious villas have been built, including the mansion of the family of bankers Rothchild who host personalities from the international jet set. Bathers of this beach are mostly foreign tourists who stay in the rental villas in the region. Kerasia is a peaceful beach where there is only one tavern and a mini market on its outskirts. There are also parasols and deck-chairs for hire. You can also rent a pedalos and a canoe in order to enjoy a small ride on its lovely waters. Across, in the distance you can see the coasts of Albania. In order to get to Kerasia beach you must follow the road which passes through the picturesque fishing village of Agios Stefanos Sinion and continue by the coastline for about 1,5 kilometer.

9. Meet the organic oil in the monastery Kamarelas
The Monastery of Pantokratoras Kamarelas is located in the region of Agioi Douloi in northern Corfu. It was establish as a convent in 1800 and continuously operates since then. The Sanctuary of the Monastery of Pantokratoras Kamarelas was established in 1890 and is dedicated to the Metamorphosis of Sotiros and still operates. The dense vegetation of the verdant Corfu surrounds the Monastery of Pantokratoras Kamarelas which was named after the homonymous spring with the name Kamarela that is nearby. Three chapels, among them the old Sanctuary, decorate the monastery, while the Monastery of Pantokratoras Kamarelas is celebrated on the 6th of August. Inside an estate, far from the eyes of passers-by, the women of the monastery are engaged in the production of excellent quality organic oil, soap and wine, which are supplied by many locals and foreigners (oil awarded in 2006 as Europe's best oil during organic products exhibition in Switzerland - and 23rd in the world). In the area of Pantokratoras Monastery, there is also a small museum where you can see how it was a traditional olive press.ality organic oil, soap and wine, which are supplied by many locals and foreigners (oil awarded in 2006 as Europe's best oil during organic products exhibition in Switzerland - and 23rd in the world). In the area of Pantokratoras Monastery, there is also a small museum where you can see how it was a traditional olive press.

10. Discover the natural whith Horse riding
Horse riding in northern Corfu is an unique experience due to its natural beauty, pathways and beautiful beaches. There are a lot of places worth enjoying where you can reach only by foot or horse riding. There are a lot of horse riding centers, in Sidari, Acharavi, Peritheia, Kassiopi and Agios Stefanos, where you can enjoy mountain and sea rides. Further information about the centers is available on our business catalogue. You can enjoy single or group rides, always with a trainer by your side, mostly the centers’ owners. The routs last from 20min up to 3h for the most challenging and experienced. All organized centers offer all necessary equipment, while the horses are friendly and well trained for tours.

02 Aug

By: Richard Betts

Richard Betts' Corfu experience puts a new spin on the idea of a conducted tour.

A young woman has just thrown a bunch of roses at my feet. I'm almost certain they're not for me. Almost. We're about to hear Christoph Willibald Gluck's opera Orfeo ed Euridice, so I'm forced to assume the flowers will be for the conductor or one of the singers.

For a moment it's possible to dream, though. The setting, the neoclassical Church of St George on the Greek island of Corfu, is after all the sort of place you might expect a floral miracle.

The building was constructed by the British in the 1840s but looks like an ancient temple, and we are surrounded by Greek Orthodox icons; gilded Christs stare at us from every angle, who knows what could happen?

What happens mostly is music. Corfu is overflowing with it. The music never stops here.

The air is full of jazz (as I write, Charles Mingus' Goodbye Pork Pie Hat is wafting through the open window), as well as chirruping swallows and swifts, and speakers blasting Greek cover versions of pop hits — rarely the originals, oddly.

Despite a population of only 100,000, the island boasts three orchestras and nearly 20 "philharmonic bands".

So in the church, as elsewhere on the island, there is music. But there is magic, too. The opera is performed by students of the Ionian University, and you get the fizzing excitement of young musicians testing themselves, cracking their knuckles in preparation for an assault on the professional music world.

Not all of them will make it. The historically informed orchestral playing isn't as polished as it could be, but they are stylish and committed, and the phrasing is excellent even if the intonation isn't.

Much of what is good is thanks to the conductor, Kyriaki Kountouri. When I catch her after the concert she's clasping a bunch of congratulatory roses. My roses. She says she's from Cyprus and in just her third year of five at the music school. Aged 21 at the most, Kountouri understandably doesn't have a clear idea of what the future holds, but she has the stage presence of an old hand, with a rock solid down beat and charisma to burn — remember her name.

Kountouri's mentor is Miltos Logiadis, the university's professor of conducting. His aim for these students is to get them to Athens: "They are very talented and deserve to be heard."

Some of them are very talented indeed.

As well as Kountouri there's the mezzo-soprano Nikoletta Ierides who's singing the lead, Orfeo. It's a tough gig. One of only three soloists, Orfeo's on stage for almost the whole opera. Ierides's concentration never flags, though, and her molten chocolate voice is a thing of wonder. Giouli Lygda's Euridice — for whom Orfeo braves the underworld — is, if anything, even better. The soprano has a lovely sound and superb characterisation. She is riveting, and makes the most of a limited role. The pair's Act 3 duet is, for me, the concert's highlight.

Both Lygda and Ierides are in their final year, and Kountouri says it was the serendipity of having two equally gifted singers that prompted the choice of Orfeo ed Euridice, rather than the opera's basis in Greek mythology.

Greece's classical past has less of a grip here than on the mainland. Corfu has been variously Venetian, French, Russian, British, and an independent state, before unification with Greece in 1864.

History is folded over on itself. As an example I'm in a 19th century copy of a 5th century BC building, watching an opera written in the 18th century. While we're contemplating dates, St George's lies within the island's Old Fortress, built mostly in the 15th century but with foundations believed to date from the 6th century. (The Old Fortress should in no way be confused with the New Fortress, which is new-build muck dating from the 1570s.) None of this is old by Greek standards, but still.

Other than the setting, though, the concert is music-making as we know it in New Zealand. The audience is perhaps younger than we're used to (the fact this is a student performance accounts for that), but there's a similar sense of pre-concert anticipation that's recognisable from home.

There's a similar sense of making do with a tight budget, too. The staging is by Panagiotis Adam, an experienced director and guest professor at the university, whose philosophy is that everyone on stage should be moving. The chorus is present for the whole of the first two acts and is in constant motion, contributing a dynamism to the pared-back set.

The applause at the end is deafening, and the delight of the musicians as they take their bows palpable. As the cast and crew drift away into the night I catch a glimpse of a singer leaving. One of her hands is entwined in someone's fingers; in the other she's clutching flowers.

Photo: Stamatis Katopodis


02 Aug

By Noreen Kompanik*

It’s no wonder legendary writers like Homer and Shakespeare used the Greek Island of Corfu as a backdrop for their epic tales. Just as it served the crafty shipwrecked Odysseus as a refuge and respite from his journeys, the island today welcomes travelers with open arms and a warm heart.

The second largest of the seven Ionian Islands, this magnificent sun-kissed archipelago is known as the “Emerald Island” because of its lush greenery and breathtaking beauty.

The island encompasses 230 square miles and 60% of its hilly, mountainous surface is covered with olives, cypress trees, citrus trees, and vineyards. The olive oil produced on Corfu is widely considered to be Greece’s best.

As a port stop on our 7-night Mediterranean cruise, we were determined to experience what we’d missed on our first visit to the island many years ago. And that entailed thoroughly exploring Corfu’s historically evocative Corfu Town.

Corfu’s stunning natural landscape, crystal clear tourmaline seas, and lapping rocky coves greeted us as our ship entered port. Catching a local transport, we headed directly to the beautifully preserved Corfu Town. We quickly discovered why the town’s designation as a UNESCO world heritage site is so richly deserved.

Imbued with a myriad of grace and elegance the town is situated at the half-way point on the island’s east coast. Built on a promontory, the town’s diverse architecture is a fascinating historic blend of its Sicilian, Venetian, French, and English influences.

It’s the melding of all these cultures that seems to bring a unique charm and character to Corfu Town. Coupled with the fact that it’s located right on the sparkling azure Ionian Sea, you have the recipe for the perfect Greek Island experience. With so much to see and do, it can feel a bit overwhelming without a plan. Here are some of Corfu Town’s not-to-be-missed highlights.

Exploring Historic Sights & Landmarks

Known as The Old Castle by locals, the 16th century Old Fortress is a medieval Venetian fortification perched on a rocky peninsula surrounded by a boat-lined moat. Its strategic location has harbored a fortified redoubt since the Byzantine period.

The fortress, built to withstand Ottoman sieges contains the historical records of more than six centuries of history, the Byzantine collection of sculptures, images of the Byzantine era, and the public library.

But it’s the massive central gate and arched entranceway with the Greek flag flying overhead that’s the showstopper of the fortress.

Nearby, the New Fortress is a massive well-maintained citadel hailing from the same century. It defended Corfu Town port entrances and is connected to the town and the Old Fortress by a series of underground tunnels. Its most notable feature is its impressive gate guarded by classic Venetian lion sculptures.

The Palace of St. Michael & George in the heart of town once served as the official residence of the Governor. Known as the Royal or City Palace, it was built with Maltese limestone. Constructed in the Georgian style in the early 1800s, the palace features gardens and fountains fronting the palace courtyard.

The maze of narrow streets in Corfu Town contain numerous historic mansions, secret garden squares, and churches that pay homage to its multi-cultural heritage. And somehow it all melds together in one incredibly magical architectural feast for the eyes.

It’s quite impossible to miss the Venetian-style Church of Saint Spyridon towering over the center of town. Its massive bell tower is Corfu Town’s highest tallest structure. Inside the church rests the mummified remains of the saint. According to legend, he saved the island four times from Ottoman invasions and performed numerous miracles.

Dining in Old Town

There’s no shortage of restaurants here and given Corfu’s temperate climate, outdoor dining is immensely popular.

Traditionally, Corfiats as the locals call themselves, eat their main meal midday, enjoying lighter foods in the evening. After perusing a few menus, our group agreed on the highly recommended Restaurant Rex. It was an excellent choice.

Family owned and operated, the charming eatery has been serving tourists and locals alike since 1952. Rex occupies the ground floor of a historic building in the heart of Old Town.

Yes, they offer traditional foods like Tzatziki, Greek Salad and Moussaka. But, they’re prepared with a creative twist. Our shared green salad was a superb explosion of flavors from locally grown figs, hazelnuts and Corfiela cheese, tossed in a Tsipouro (Greek brandy) vinaigrette.

Fresh seafood is immensely popular here, especially the octopus. Our deliciously slightly warmed delight was accompanied by a Greek salad “stew” of tomatoes, cucumber, capers, olive oil, vinegar and oregano.

Stopping for a drink or cocktail at the Bristol Cafe was a real treat. For us, it was like discovering a secret treasure. With its eclectic turquoise walls, colorful prints, and stylish décor, it’s a favorite with locals and we could see why. It’s one really cool place.

Browsing and Shopping in Old Town

Old Town is a tightly-packed warren of meandering lanes and timeless back alleys where clothes hang from above stretching from balcony to balcony.

Even for those who are not really into shopping will find themselves, like us, first browsing, then looking, and then, yes, buying at the classy unique boutiques of Corfu Town.

Maybe it’s the quaint alleyways; each one more alluring than the last, or the scent of fresh leather or aromatic spices wafting through the air that enchanted us. Or perhaps it was the glimmer of the fine pieces of jewelry, the colorful scarves and bags, or the eye-catching and soft-to-the-touch cotton and linen clothing that was seducing our eyes and yes, our wallets.

In celebration of Corfu’s amazing olive production, the aromatic and savory oils are sold everywhere, along with every other olive-related item imaginable.

But unlike other towns we’ve been to highly frequented by tourists, Corfu Town’s merchants are there with friendly help with no pressure on shoppers to buy. This made our browsing even more enjoyable.

As we stood on the deck of our cruise ship departing the Isle of Corfu’s harbor, our friend mentioned that to his surprise, Corfu was an unexpected delight.

How fitting. For it was ancient Heraclitus of who once said that “If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not recognize it when it arrives.”

photo by Ani Skevi

* Noreen L Kompanik is a Registered Nurse and published freelance travel writer and photographer based in San Diego, California. She has written about green topics, healthy living, family travel, history, wine and food along with inspirational prose. She is a member of the International Travel Writers and Photographer’s Association and International Food and Wine Travel Writers Association. Noreen is a columnist for, Traveling Mom,, and a regular contributor to several San Diego publications. She is married with two grown children and two grandchildren. She maintains a Facebook page  where readers can find her published articles.

01 Aug

The great pilgrimage to the Holy Monastery of Pantokratoros for the celebration of the Transfiguration of the Savior begins on Wednesday 1 August 2018. Many believers ascend daily to the highest point of Corfu, a mountain of 914 meters high with an amazing view. The pilgrimage lasts six days.

In antiquity the mountain was called “Istoni”. Its current name owes it to the homonymous monastery built almost on the top of the mountain during the 14th century.

On the day of Savior, August 6 and on the eve, the traditional feast is held in the picturesque village of Strynilla at the foot of the mountain. On August 4, a feast is held in Petalia.  Petalia is a very beautiful, picturesque village on the mountain of Pantokratoras. It is built on a slope that has the shape of a petal on this enormous mountain, a fact that gave the village its name. Read more about Petalia

The Monastery of Pantokratoras is built at an altitude of 914 meters, on the tallest mountain of Corfu and it is named after it. According to the charter of the monastery, which is saved in a parchment in the General Archives of Corfu, the Monastery of Pantokratoras was founded in 1347, when the residents of 23 villages of the mountain built the monastery.

23 Jul


Green hills, blue sea and endless olive groves: the colours of Corfu make it one of the most beautiful Greek islands.

Its position in the Ionian Sea, closer to the heel of Italy than to Athens and just a three-hour flight from London, makes it a long-term favourite with UK visitors.

Most head to the built-up southern coast, while further north lie blissfully secluded coves — but be prepared to pay for this special location. Richard Cookson, a visitor for decades and now very settled on Corfu, says this is his favourite part of the Med.

“On the north-east coast where the Albanian coast gives protection from the wind, villas close to the water are in high demand and can rent for up to £44,000 a week.” With his late ex-wife, Patricia, Cookson set up CV Travel in the Seventies, bringing an elegant crowd to the smart villas along the rocky north-east coastline, which became known as “Kensington-on-Sea” because of its popularity with well-heeled London families.

The dreamy waterfront villa he and Patricia built, Villa Yeraki, now owned by their sons, can be rented through Villa Collective from about £5,000 to £29,000 a week.

British buyers love north-east Corfu’s wild beauty, agrees Andrew Langton of Aylesford International, but that’s only part of the appeal. “There are villas that are wonderfully peaceful and private yet within easy reach of the shops and facilities in Kassiopi, for example,” he says. “Visitors feel very safe here. The Corfiot people, like the Greeks in general, are overwhelmingly friendly and welcoming. You quickly feel you’re part of their family.”

On an exceptionally private peninsula north of Kassiopi, British owners are selling a substantial villa they designed and built 12 years ago. The airy, five-bedroom house comes with a wonderful swimming pool, white gravel paths meandering towards the sea and olive groves that produce 150 litres of oil a year. The villa and eight-acre gardens are priced at a steep £7.5 million, through Aylesford.

Above beautiful Agni Bay with good sea views, Savills is selling a homely three-bedroom detached villa and pool for £790,000. The 1,990sq ft house built in 2006 has gardens filled with lavender and rosemary and comes with a strong rental history.

“The three best bays in the northeast are Agni, Kassiopi and San Stefano,” says Nikos Nitsos of Savills Corfu. “Agni is popular because it is close to Nissaki and only 20 minutes to Corfu Town.”

Gentle Agni Bay has three tavernas. The oldest is Taverna Nikolas, overlooking the Med, opened by the great grandfather of current owner Perikles in the 1890s before any roads had been built.

All deliveries and customers came by boat and still today, many of Perikles’s customers, some loyal regulars for more than 30 years, arrive by boat, mooring on the wooden walkway before feasting on fresh fish and traditional Corfiot dishes.


Mark Hendriksen and Saskia Bosch from West Hampstead lead a double life. Mark is a publisher and Saskia is a well-known Dutch voiceover artist but together they transformed three derelict properties into The Merchant’s House, a boutique B&B in north-east Corfu.

"I came to see Old Perithia having read about deserted ghost villages,” says Mark. “It was a virtually abandoned Venetian mountain village where nature had taken over. We bought three terrace houses, renovated them and opened with six suites in 2012.” Guests come to walk among the wild orchids in the hills, to paint, write and enjoy the peace while being served fig-cherry jam, sourdough bread and lemonade, all made by Mark.

The Merchant’s House has won one of TripAdvisor’s highest ratings. “There’s no light pollution and the main noise is from owls but Old Perithia is very much alive,” says Saskia. “It’s popular for day visits and now has five tavernas.” Work commitments mean they have decided to sell The Merchant’s House through Aylesford International for £1.3 million including all furniture and two acres of land.

09 Jun

When visiting the Greek island of Corfu and wandering around the picturesque little roads of its old town, you are likely to see a variety of bottles containing an enigmatic orange liquid. This is simply called Kumquat and is the local spirit that has become a trademark on the island.

Several distilleries produce the liquor, but also many other culinary products use this fruit as the principal ingredient.

The tiny orange fruit is originally from China and South Japan. In Asiatic countries they also use the kumquat in bonsai, and as an emblem of good luck, it is sometimes given as a gift. The meaning of the term is golden fruit and it was introduced on the island by an English agronomist in 1860. Kumquat has, since then, turned into one of the main agricultural products of the island.

The tree, also known as Marumi kumquat, produces a small, round or oval-shaped golden-yellow colored fruit with a sweet peel. The pulp, nevertheless, is rather bitter, and is mainly used as an ingredient for spoon sweets, marmalade, and jelly — although it is possible to eat the kumquat raw.

The color of the beverage determines whether the liqueur has been made from the rind or from the fruit itself. If the color is bright orange spirit, then it has been made only with the skin. It is very sweet in taste and exceptionally fragrant as well. Being also quite strong in taste, it is the favorite choice for making cocktails, as well as for adding flavor to creams, puddings, and other desserts.

The white liquor, instead, is considerably less sweet and locals usually serve it after meals, the same way they serve ouzo, tsikoudia, and tsipouro in other parts of Greece. In Corfu, many local companies produce a variety of delicacies from the fruit such as kumquat syrup (perfect on Greek yogurt), marmalade, and even cookies.

30 May

by Spyridoula Kokkali

-A tribute to Northern Corfu’s natural sights -
(With the compliments of S Bikes & Stamatis Banos)

Cycling is not just a sport or a free time activity; It is an experience and northern Corfu makes this experience unique for any kind of biker, since the diversity of its landscape invites everyone to discover the natural beauty of this magnificent part of the island. A biker then becomes a traveller.

Mountain routes, on road routes, trails of differential altitudes, a huge network of unpaved roads, places that can only be reached by bike, cliffs and mountains are abundant in Northern Corfu welcoming all kinds of bikers.

Spring and autumn are the seasons than can make you enjoy this experience to the full as nature is at its best decorated with a colourful wildflower patchwork and mesmerizing scents that soothe even the wildest of souls. Whether an on road route or off road route lover, all your five senses will be fine-tuned as your bike will become your means to a trip to paradise.

Cycling through traditional mountain villages, like Old Perithia, is a trip through time. Old stone houses, friendly hospitable people and a breathtaking view is an experience not to be missed. As you ride your bike on the narrow cobbled streets, your mind travels back in time as if in a time machine. Old people will put a spell on you with their wide smiles and warm your heart and like the Sirens from Odyssey will make you not want to go back. The luscious olive oil, the fruity local wines, the sweet kumquat liqueur and the overpowering scents of local herbs, are these people’s magic potions. As your trip continues, tamed creatures that roam the mountains will accompany you along the way.

Uncharted places are waiting to be discovered. The Grava cave, one of the most important caves on the island,is found in Loutses at an altitude of 300 metres on Pantokratoras mountain and offers travellers the chance to discover hidden natural sights and become witnesses of natural wonders. A feeling of isolation and peace is overwhelming as you enter the cave and leave the rest of the world behind you.

Antinioti Lake lies in every local’s soul. The serenity of its waters along with the unique flora and fauna create a mystery longing to be unraveled. The 7km flat route around it, offers the traveller this very chance. Antinioti lake is home to Lutra Lutra the European otter, which swims all the way from Lake Butrint in Albania, to nest and home to hundreds of rare plants and birds. It is protected by Natura 2000 as it is considered to be one of the most precious natural jewels of the island.

Sandy beaches with crystal clear waters that stretch as far as the eye can see give bikers a sense of freedom and eternity. Majestic sunsets and the sea breeze are healing to the mind and soul. Sand dunes in Almyros beach create a natural maze and add a bit of adventure to the traveller before moving on to the next destination.

Nymfes village hosts nature’s most impressive wonder; a waterfall with blessed waters that have been giving life for centuries. The tremendous sound of water falling is dominant to a place full of life turning it into a nature lover’s paradise . The remarkable route that begins in Askitario in Nymfes and ends in Platonas village is an unforgettable one as you travel through springs and small lakes, huge old trees and lush vegetation. The myth of “nymfes” the goddesses of water who have given the village its name, comes alive.

The routes through Northern Corfu’s numerous olive groves cannot be missed. Hundred-year-old trees that have been providing locals with their miraculous olive oil for centuries stand there motionless, untouched by time creating their very own ecosystem. Their silver leaves rustle with the slightest of wind and sparkle as the sun shines upon them.

A picturesque natural harbour is found in Kassiopi village. The boats seem to be dancing on its waters and the reflections of the lights at night create such a magical illusion that you cannot tell the difference between the waters of the sea and a starry night.

Drastis Cape is a must for every biker. A place waiting to be discovered to unveil its remarkable beauty through dense vegetation and steep cliffs. A place taken straight from a fairytale.

Canal d’ amour –the canal of love-is an impressive natural bay in Sidari created by clay cliffs, a very common sight in the area. The sea waves have the power to change the shape of  both the cliffs and the bay thus the scenery is different every year. Every visitor leaves with a different image in his mind.

People say that the trip is more important than the destination. In Northern Corfu, the trip within the ideal destination is simple perfection. No biker’s life will ever be the same again.

28 May

A new charity working to improve the health and safety of tourists

We all want to keep ourselves and our families safe and well on holiday. However, accidents do sometimes happen, so we want to help you avoid them wherever possible. For practical and simple advice on staying safe on holiday, visit the Safer Tourism Foundation website. Visit the Safer Tourism Foundation website here.

How to stay safe and well on holiday

Whether you are a solo traveller, part of a couple or in a family group, planning and booking your holiday is an exciting time. With so much choice of where to go, the type of accommodation you stay in and the activities you do, you can put together exactly the kind of holiday to suit you.

When we go on holiday we all assume that we will come home in at least as good a shape, mentally and physically, as we left. And for the vast majority of travellers that is the case. Holidays relax and refresh us, help us to re-charge and re-connect with what is important to us.

But for thousands of tourists each year, that is sadly not the case. Every year travellers suffer injuries from accidents that could have been prevented. Some of these end tragically in a fatality, turning a holiday into a nightmare.

No one wants to experience this. Reputable travel companies work hard to make a safe environment for your holiday, whether that is on the flight out, in your accommodation or during activities and excursions. But nothing is risk free, and things do still go wrong. If that happens, you should expect your travel company, accommodation or service provider to be responsive and to address the things within their control and within reason.

But sometimes things happen that are just bad luck, something no one could have foreseen or done anything to prevent. And sometimes we as travellers have a part to play. An unfamiliar environment, whether it is on the beach, on the roads or in and around our hotel, presents the potential for accidents to happen.

Added to that, when we go on holiday we sometimes behave a little differently than when we are at home. We might take a more carefree approach to life (that’s part of what a holiday is about, after all) but this can put ourselves at risk. If we hop on a moped wearing only shorts and flip flops we might ask ourselves, would we do this at home?

The Safer Tourism Foundation has been set up to help us all stay safe and well when we travel. We are a one stop shop for practical, down-to-earth advice for you to use at all stages of your holiday, from planning where to go to what to do if you need medical help abroad.

There is a huge amount of useful information available from travel companies, government websites and specialist advice sites, all aiming to help you and your fellow travellers stay safe and well when you are on holiday. But it is sometimes quite hard to find, and can look a bit overwhelming. We have pulled all of this together in one place to distil the most important things you need to know and what you need to think about to make sure you have the best possible holiday.

We are an independent charity so we do not represent any travel company or holiday provider. Our main aim is to reduce the number of people who are hurt or killed when on holiday, whether they are travelling independently or with the support of a travel operator or agent. From our website you can get a clear explanation of how to use the government’s advice on travelling to different countries (for example, what is the terrorist threat?), you can see what to pack in a first aid kit, and we highlight the particular things to be aware of if you are camping or if you are on a party weekend (like a stag or hen party).

We hope you find the advice useful and practical. Let us know.

Stay safe and well and, above all, enjoy your holiday.

27 May

By Claire Webb

Where’s your favourite place on Corfu?
Sidari Beach, on the northwest coast of the island, for the astonishing sunsets and scenery. And I love to drive up to Kaiser’s Throne – a panoramic viewpoint on a cliff in central Corfu.

Is filming The Durrells as idyllic as it looks – or does it get hot and sticky?
We shoot a little before or after the tourist season when the weather is perfect. I prefer spring, when the wildflowers blossom. Also, the actors and crew are like one big family now, so it doesn’t feel like work.

How do you spend your days off?
I wake up early and go to one of the small, private coves by Glyfada Beach on the west coast. I stay there the whole day until late at night – swimming, playing my guitar and hanging out with friends.

Have the locals welcomed you?
Look, all Corfiots are crazy. I haven’t met a Corfiot who is normal. They’re very fun people, always making jokes, and their culture is very different from the rest of Greece. I’ve made a lot of good friends there.

Different how?
They are very into music. All Corfiots can play an instrument, and all of them sing as well, especially when they’re drunk! They even speak differently, with a singsong intonation.

Do they have any culinary specialities?
Like everywhere in Greece, they have great taste in food. The most famous dish is bourdetto – a spicy tomato stew made with scorpion fish, or sometimes you can find it with octopus.

And to wash it down?
They have very nice wines and a digestif that can only be found on Corfu – a sweet, orange-coloured kumquat liqueur. Bourdetto is very nice with a glass of raki or tsipouro, a Greek brandy.

Where’s your favourite place for lunch?
Marina’s Tavern in Spilia, the old Jewish neighbourhood in Corfu Town. Marina serves Corfiot recipes and even a simple salad is delicious because she sources her ingredients from local gardens, so the tomatoes are very ugly but taste beautiful.


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