Our Grecian Getaway to Corfu
This time last year we were in Tulum, feeling smug at our capabilities of travelling with a baby. ‘It’s so easy’ we thought, as we wrapped up George in his muslin and spent his three hour naps reading while he snoozed peacefully in our room on the beach. Roll forward a year, and travelling with a curious, energised, wriggly toddler, and we were glad we didn’t attempt to fly to another continent. The flight to Corfu was a myriad of corn snacks, downloaded videos on our phone, nursery rhymes on repeat and pass-the-parcel (a.k.a. baby) between four adults. Phew. And we’re planning to head home to New Zealand for Christmas (#sendhelp #andwine #whatarewethinking).
Anyway, Corfu. We had heard many good reviews and decided it looked like a top-notch place to spend a relaxed week in the sun en famille. A very reliable source told us to stay in the north-east of the island. We searched for a place with a pool in the hills near Kassiopi, and were delight with our place which we found via CV Villas called Villa Lismonia. It was our first time using CV Villas and we were super impressed. The villa has three generous bedrooms and a cool, tiled interior with lots of little lovely local touches. It was just perfect for us, and I would highly recommend it. We flew with them too, and found the whole booking process super easy and very affordable. Ten points to Gryffindor, and we definitely plan to use them again.
We got super lucky with the weather - I find June is always a great time to visit the Mediterranean. It was summertime-holiday hot, but you didn’t sweat by just existing - which, ironically I am currently doing in London. Plus the crowds aren’t as bad as they are come July & August.
Our usual daily itinerary looked like this: an early start (thanks George) with black coffee and butterfly spotting on the porch of our villa. Then we’d scoot down into Kassiopi town for some fresh bread, juicy nectarines and tzatziki for a late breakfast on our deck. A morning swim would help George to sleep well over lunchtime (and enable plenty of book-reading and daytime napping for the adults). An afternoon dip was then followed by a trip to a taverna for an early dinner, topped with a nightcap and sweet greek treats watching the light fade over our incredible view (that’s Albania right across the strait - I had no idea we’d be so close!)
On our first night we wandered down to Tavernaki in Kassiopi town. With incredible saganaki (deep fried halloumi, a.k.a. food of the Gods), and fishing boats scooting into the harbour at sunset, it was an idyllic start to the week. To rank our favourite restaurant of the whole trip is a tough call to make, so I’m awarding a first equal. Cavo Barbaro in Avlaki has a charming, relaxed setting in a bay that almost feels private. Our other favourite was Eucalyptus in Agios Stefanos, with one of the prettiest dining situations I have come across. We visited both places more than once, charmed by their locations and lured by their kalamari. Stuffed courgette flowers and octopus were also a total culinary highlight.
On one of the days we hired a skippered speed boat from Gianni’s Boats in Agios Stefano. They came round to Kassiopi to pick us up, with a little life-jacket for the little man. We puttered round the bays down from Kassiopi: Kalami, Agni and past St. Arsenius’ Chapel. I read The Durrells of Corfu while on the island and I was so pleased I had - it gave me such an appreciation for the beauty and other-wordly-ness of the place. We had lunch at Taverna Agni that day, looking out onto multi-million dollar superyachts while feeding George greek yoghurt & honey (which he enjoys wearing as much as eating).
Corfu town was worth peeling ourselves away from the pool for. It is full of cobblestone streets and pastel-coloured Venetian architecture, with pink oleander wrapped around juliet balconies. Corfu was under Venetian rule for several hundred years, with leftover influences still going strong (read = phenomenal gelato, I went for dark cherry). We headed to Liston Arcade for a morning coffee, and George was treated to the biggest croissant we had ever seen. It took a solid half hour for him to demolish it. We were hoping to eat at Il Vesuvio but unfortunately it was closed until dinner - we found a lot of restaurants closed over lunchtime, so take that into account if you plan your trip around your stomach, like me.
Unless you have access to a super yacht, you need a car on Corfu - we used Corfu Explore and were very happy with the service. The roads are fine, not always the most fun (there are some questionable single-lane corners a little too close to the cliff for my liking), but the upside is you get the most stunning views of terracotta-coloured villas and cypress trees perched along the hillsides. Get a car with some grunt, as there some unsealed, steep roads to navigate to get to some of the smaller bays.
For a week in the sunshine, with delicious food and stellar views we were very happy with our time in Corfu. Thank you!