Tourist holiday reviews of the Greek island of Corfu. Holiday reviews of Corfu resorts, beaches, apartments, tavernas and all aspects of Corfu holidays from people who have visited the island. I welcome all opinions on holidays in Corfu.
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Good: . . . while much of the island has been ruined, at least much of it has not. There are many places on Corfu where peace can be found.
Bad: If anyone wants to illustrate the unacceptable face of Greek tourism . . . once peaceful villages overwhelmed by drunken louts, once lovely stretches of coast littered with the debris of cut-price tourist development and sea pollution - it is to Corfu that they look.
Good: The island's 'delectable landscape' is still evident in some of the best beaches in the whole archipelago.
Bad: One of the first islands to attract mass tourism in the 1960s . . . Indiscriminate exploitation turned parts into eyesores.
Good: Corfu is a luxuriant Garden of Eden cast up in the northwest corner of Greece, a sweet mockery of the grim, grey mountains of Albania . . . the beaches that have managed to escape the infectious claw of package tourism are still gorgeous.
Bad: . . . the island has learned the consequences of run-amok mass tourism, of letting its beauty be cheaply brought and sold. Corfiots have been staggered by the Calibanish behaviour of British lager louts, then stung by the negative reports of their island in the British press.
I personally think Corfu has a lot to offer families. There are still lots of unspoiled areas, especially in the north, but it has direct flights from all over the UK and no add-on ferry journeys. Areas are really unspoiled and quiet to varying degrees. Kaminaki is ideal for quiet and messing about in boats. Agios Stefanos, west, has big sandy beach, developing but still quiet and peaceful. Acharavi is more cosmopolitan but quiet with more to offer - very much a family resort. There are so many good places to choose from, everyone will have a different favourite.
We have been going to Corfu for the last nine years. We have gone twice in June and September - need I say more? It is like going home. We are treated like the family. Yes it has changed in some places, not for the better, but if you go with the locals you find out what wonderful people they are. We stay at a small place right on the beach in Moraitika. We get up in the morning, walk down the garden, and we are on the beach. Great, but it's the people that are wonderful. I can't wait for when we'll be there again.
I don`t know where you got your information from about Corfu as most of it is inaccurate and misleading. My wife and I are discerning Greek Island travellers and have visited Corfu nine times. I do agree with you that some of the resorts that attract young people are tacky to say the least, as in most places, but there are still some very beautiful places if you know where to look, as you obviously do not. To call the Nissaki Beach Hotel "ugly" is way over the top. In fact it blends in well with the surrounding area quite well and the beach is very good.
We have stayed at this hotel many times and it is surrounded by olive groves and cypress trees and has beautiful gardens. The beach is also very good and we have eaten many times at Yanni`s taverna on the beach. Obviously you have never been to the unspoiled fishing villages of Kaminaki, Agni, Kaloura, Klarissa, San Stefanos to name but a few on the northeast coast. These places are totally unspoiled and beautiful with the best food on the island. As far as Kalami not having a beach according to you, totally untrue, it has one of the best beaches on the island and I doubt very much that you have ever visited the village of Perithia in the northern mountains, a place not to be missed. I suggest that you research your information more thoroughly before publishing this sort of rubbish on the internet in the future.
My family has now visited Corfu for many years and over time it has got more commercialised. We first went to a place on the north west coast called Agios Stefanos, a quaint old fashioned village with a couple of hotels and some apartments.
We stayed at the Kapiotanis. It was very nice but the only drawback was the walk from the road where the coach dropped us off to the apartment. It was up 12 steps then up a slope of about two in 10. About 20 yards up the gradient changed to about five in 10. When you are our age it was quite a climb every time. Mind you the view from the balcony when we did get in was fantastic. You could see the whole of the village spread out before you, including the beach and small harbour where there are a number of small fishing boats moored.
The taverna attached to the villas is the most friendly and run by Yanni with the help of a barman and two cooks. Food, I found, was of the best quality and always superbly cooked. There are about 10 shops dotted around the village and two places where you can hire a car and the same number of moped shops. There is a local bakery and most shops sell almost anything. Most open around 9am and don't close till around 10pm. There are Greek nights in a few of the tavernas which are worth seeing. Also, the sunsets and dawns are a truly wonderful sight to see if you are awake.
It is well worth hiring a car to tour round the rest of the island. We have visited places like Roda, Sidari, Arilis, Kassiopi, Nissaki, Dassia and Paleokastritsa - which is a must if you visit Corfu. Last, but not the least, is Corfu town itself where there are so many things to see. You need to spend the whole day just visiting the sights around this very busy town. We have found that wherever we travelled to on this very lovely, fertile island we have been made very welcome.
I went to Acharavi, Corfu, and it was wonderful. Yes, the main road through the town was busy and noisy but the several roads leading to the beach, which had loads of bars right on the sand, was very peaceful especially Skondros Bar, lovely food and friendly owners. We stayed at Hotel Panos, about a 15 minute walk up into the hills away from the main road. It was perfect, quiet, surrounded by olive groves and a sea view. Also, the place was spotless and had a nice pool and bar with friendly owners.
Our friends have been to the north and south of the island and rate the north much better. We also walked to Roda several times, which also had a nice beach and OK for fishing off the rocks which my husband likes to do. We never had a bad meal anywhere but our favourites were Skondras and Acharavi Garden, but the best was The Lemon Garden which has tables set out down through all the lemon trees, wonderful. We went to Kalamaki beach, which was very quiet, and to Kassiopi which was a pretty village. The weather was in the 80's all week. I will definitely return. I would be interested in anybody else's opinion and advice on the island.
Acharavi is a great resort, good beach, and everything in easy walking distance. What I liked best was how 'Greek' it was and has not gone downhill like a lot of Corfu resorts have. There's a good selection of tavernas and bars as well as decent supermarkets. We disn't see any nightclubs, which we didn't miss anyway and there are a few large hotels along the beach but nothing too yucky. We found Acharavi good value for money. We had a wonderful holiday there and we look foward to going to Acharavi again.
Acharavi is not at all bad! The beach is sand and shingle and the water is clean and clear. The afternoons can sometimes be choppy with a sea breeze but that's great because it takes the edge off the heat. Acharavi is not a Kavos or Sidari (though that is only a 15 minute taxi ride away) but it does have many bars and innumerable tavernas and a nightclub. There are yet more in Roda, only half an hour's walk away. Some of those bars play up-to-the-minute music (loudly) but are soundproofed for the benefit of those of us who are past it! There are lots of good trips too.
Have just returned from Corfu and had a really great holiday. Kassiopi is a super resort, plenty going on at night if you want it quite lively or visit sidestreets for quieter times. Though there is no immediate beach in Kassiopi, there is good swimming and snorkeling for the kids nearby.
You are quite welcome to use any pool though you are usually expected to buy a drink. A good thing for kids is the bars show all the latest DVD films - watched quite a few myself. For a change of scenery you can catch a bus to Acharavi and Roda, about 40 mins and very cheap. There is a waterpark just before you get to Acharavi which the kids will enjoy or, bigger and further away, is Aqualand, about one hour south.
Any trips you plan it pays to shop around the travel agencies. I found big variations in prices. Don't buy from reps. Eating out in Corfu is excellent value. A lot of tavernas display set menus at really good prices. I would think you would pay more eating and drinking on the harbour side.
Be prepared for very hot weather. Take the plug-in type mosquito devices, you can also buy locally a coil called Spirox any supermarket. Mozzys hate the smell and keep away. At lunchtime what better than Greek bread tomatoes and feta cheese for a cheap lunch?
I have been visiting road on Corfu for the last 13 years and found your article quite true on some points but also failing on others. We have been returning so often because we have some friends over there - not ex pats but real Greeks who are the best hosts I have ever met. They are very helpful and are family orientated. I have attended several Greek weddings and christenings in the beautiful little Rhoda village church, which is open to the public and dates back to Roman times. You failed to mention it's existence. There are also a lot of traditional tavernas in the old village, which again you don't mention. There are only steps to the beach at one part and being as it is only three steps then it hardly merits a mention. You are correct about the noise at night and karaoke and bingo but these are not all the bars but a few which are on the main street outside the village.
In all the years I have been visiting Roda I have never seen any trouble, apart from some mindless English hooligans after they got beaten in the last world cup who decided to pitch some pool furniture into the hotel swimming pool. It does have a very laid back relaxed atmosphere and is well worth a visit. If you enjoy the noisier part of town then head down to the Drunken Sailor or Mistral (both owned and run by local Greeks!) or if you go over the crossroads heading out of the town you will find the only disco, which changes names annually but is known to locals as the Millennium Club. The animals that roam around are not strays either, but get looked after by Maggie (owner/proprietor of a small restaurant with excellent food in the old town) as well as an animal charity called the Arc (Animal Rescue Corfu)
We really liked Kamari. There's loads of tavernas and bars and they're not as pricey as everyone seems to make out. Our favourite was the Sirtaki where we had free wine but its not the only good one. The Marias was another we frequented. Though Kamari is reasonably big it's still laid back and the sort of place where you just like watching the world go by. The beach isn't the best on the island, to be honest its rubbish - sharp shingle and frequented by packs of dogs. The only decent patch was near Hook bar. The sea gets very deep very quickly too so its not much use for paddling.
Then there's the planes what approach right over the resort, not really noisy as they are coming into land and you get used to them. Island buses are good if you don't fancy hiring a car. The island is not very big so a car hardly seems worth the money. You can get most places on the bus. The best thing I remember are the happy faces - everyone seemed very at ease, unpressured and at one with everything even for Greeks in general.
Rhoda is the best place on the island for me. Also they are very helpful there and you should mention the Golden Sand bar on the beach which is very hospitable. Also, they take you home after your very enjoyable evening for free because you have spent your money with them all evening. If you are over there you must visit this family run bar with lovely food and hosts - a very lovely family.
I just wanted to email and say thank you for the great website! We've just come back from two weeks in Sidari, and it was incredibly useful. Just a few recommendations to add:
The Venezian (left at the crossroads by the Oh La La Bar), absolutely fantastic, had three simply wonderful meals there, and really good value for money (2 courses, beer and half carafe of house wine for around 25 Euros for 2). Get there early to get a table and speedy service, or later for a more relaxed and slower paced meal.
Viva Dionyssos (right at the crossroads, opposite the Mimosa Hotel) - really good quality Corfiot food. Alto of the restaurants have all the same menus, and the food is not particularly good, but we went to Viva Dionyssos twice, and had really filling, cheap and delicious meals.
Athena (left at the crossroads, on the left hand side) - wonderful moussaka (melt in the mouth delicious), the only place that doesn't automatically assume you want chips with everything, and is the only place we could find that has houmous and pitta. Again very good value for money and gorgeous food (best souvlaki as well!).
San Remos (right at the crossroads) - this is more a lunchtime favourite, as they have a very wide menu, but they also do great club sandwiches. The portions are more than adequate, and it's very friendly too. We have seen several reps eating here as well, so it must be okay!
Hiring bikes- not as bad as we expected, but get them to check the brakes before you go off . . . Corfu is very hilly, and it's not nice to go bouncing down a hillside because you're going too fast to turn the corner! Don't expect many gears to work. Pink Panther has a range of bikes at different prices, but Mountain Mania has the cheapest, don't expect miracles though. Mountain Mania have a 15 mile cycle route, which takes in Agios Georgos and Kavadades - do not attempt this unless you are pretty fit, or don't mind pushing your bike up most of the hills.
This will probably take the best part of a day, including lunch at Agios Georgos and perhaps a dip in the sea. There are a lot of steep hills on this route. Alternatively you could cycle up to Peroulades the long way around, which is hilly, but not so bad, and then complete the circuit through Melitsa and back into Sidari. It's a good way to get out into the countryside and get away from the resorts - don't expect to see many other enthusiasts though, but you will see some breathtaking scenery and the views are amazing - take cameras and water!
Car hire - we hired a car through our rep (39 Euros for 24 hours) and they delivered it and picked it up, with a 100 km free, then 20 cents per extra km. We went to Corfu Town and Paleokastritsa. Be aware that everything in Corfu shuts at 3pm and then reopens later. We went on the glass bottomed boat trip at 2pm, came out at 3pm and the town was deserted apart from a few tourists with cameras. The fortresses are worth a visit, and interesting to know that from the top of the old fortress you can see both the Greek and Albanian coastlines!
All in all, we had a great break, though I must admit in the resorts the Corfiots weren't as friendly as I had expected. We made an effort to converse in Greek, and people became much friendlier when we did. It is very touristy, and don't expect to go to Corfu and find loads of museums, and ruins to visit. There is loads to see and appreciate, but only if you make the effort to find it, the guided tours are good for a starting point, but it was much more worth it to explore on our own. Thanks again for the great web site!
I read with interest and amusement your reports on the resorts at the north of Corfu. I have been there nine times so far in five years. I love Sidari. I can agree in part what you say about the tourism industry and how things have changed but the Corfiots do have to make a living, and whilst they may not understand that they are spoiling their own heritage it happens all over the world. We may want the resorts to stay in a time warp but it would cost a lot more money for us to go to there if that happened. It would become exclusive to only those who could afford it, and the tour operators of course (not much of what we pay to the tour operator goes into the resorts).
I also take the view that profits made from tourism on the island do not necessarily go back to the island for improvement. There are a few Athenians who have land on Corfu who exploit it for tourism and take their profits back to the mainland. They also own land which they leave to become overgrown and unsightly, knowing full well that in a few years time as tourism grows they can make a vast profit in either selling it or building an apartment for rent or a bar to drink at.
I have made many Greek friends who belong to families that have lived in Sidari and surrounding villages all their lives. They work very hard, take pride in what they do and put the rest of us to shame. They do not rest when the season is over. It is then time to harvest olive trees, do repairs and building work, which thankfully most don't do during the tourist season (unlike Spanish resorts).
I have never had such a warm welcome every time I visit. You are greeted like a long lost friend, it's like you've never been away. You become part of their lives for a time. They are very embarrassed and can't understand if you wish to give them something. I have lost count of the times we have given a tip for good food and service only to be given it back the next time we are there. I have been on holiday to many places, and have never had the inclination to go back, but there is something magical about the Greek people that can't be explained in words, their honesty, their pride, their eagerness to please, are only a part. That is why I suffer mosquito bites every year just to be there.