I travelled over to Corfu on the 15th June this year, for a week with my boyfriend and partner in crime, Andy. We booked it relatively “last minute” (as in 2 months before) with Thomson (TUI) as a package deal with half board. Greece is always my go to whenever I want to plan a holiday, I’ve visited 8 different islands now, and then some more of the little islands on excursions etc. over the years.
Our flight out there wasn’t until quite late on the Thursday evening, we took off around about 8pm, and landed in Corfu about 11pm local time (Greece is 2 hours ahead of England at the moment). I’m not a big fan of late flights, number one, because I find the day so stressful, you have more time to sit around thinking “oh wait, have I forgotten to pack this?”. I like flights that are dead early in the morning where you have to wake up at 4am or something silly like that! Another reason I don’t really like the late flights is because i like to see the place I’ve arrived in when we get transferred to where we’re staying. With it being gone midnight by the time we were on the coach to be transferred to the hotel, we couldn’t really see anything. If you’ve ever been to a Greek island, you’ll know that they’re nothing like England in that there are hardly any street lights, apart from in the built up parts. We saw a little of Corfu town and that was it really until we got to our hotel 90 minutes later.
We stayed in a small resort called San Stefanos or Agios Stefanos. San and Agio means Saint. A lot of resorts and villages in Greece are named after various Saints, as are the monasteries that are dotted around. You’ll also find that the islands have one specific saint who is the patron saint of that island. For example, on Zakynthos, the saint is Denis, and because of this, most of the men you meet are called Denis. The Greeks celebrate “name days” which are just as important as birthdays.
Our hotel was the Thomas Bay in San Stefanos which is very traditional Greek looking from the outside (nice pink exterior) as seen in the below picture.
The receptionist, who was English greeted us and offered to make us food even though it was nearly 1am by the time we arrived, to be honest all I wanted was a bed and sleep so we declined the food even though we definitely could have eaten.
She showed us to our room which had 3 single beds in it, 2 of them pushed together to make a twin. We also had a balcony which is always a bonus!
The following morning we sampled the full english breakfast which we paid €2.50 each for (it was worth it) and then we went exploring. First of all we went to hunt down the beach, and we were not disappointed when we got there. You get down onto the beach and it looks like any public beach you’ll have been to abroad, with millions of sun beds and parasols together in rows, in front of various bars and hotels. If you keep walking along the beach you come to the bit where everyone just lays out their towels and theres water-sports etc. available. Keep walking, and you come to a part of the beach where the cliff face juts out into the sea and there’s very little sand, we decided to keep going (the water was COLD at that time) and we came to a stretch of beach which was almost like our own private beach, there were a couple of other people who had also clambered over the rocks to get there but there weren’t many. The beach was quite narrow at this point too because the cliff came so far out but it was a beautiful and very peaceful stretch of beach.
The pool back at the hotel was just as lovely as the beach, slightly quieter though as the hotel is an adults only so there weren’t kids running and bombing in the pool (just me). I took 4 books with me and I flew through them (honestly, all I need is peace and quiet and a good book and I’m the happiest person alive), look out for a future post where I will go through my favourite holiday reads!
Back to corfu though..
As we went on a package holiday through Thomson, we were able to book some excursions through our rep. The first excursion we went on was one to Parga (on the mainland) and Paxos which is a small island not too far from Corfu. This trip was an early start (before breakfast early), we had to go on a boat to Parga which took nearly 2 hours, but the views once you pull into Parga harbour are so worth it…
The final picture is of a little church which was on it’s own island just out from the harbour, I’ve got a massive soft spot for Greek churches, I think they’re so pretty and honestly, adorable so when I come home my camera is usually full of photos of churches even though most of them look the same and I can’t remember which one is which!
We spent 2 hours in Parga, so we got some much needed food in a little taverna (I was boring, I just had a cheese toastie) but I also had Nescafe Frappe. If you’ve never had a Nescafe Frappe in Greece and you love coffee you are missing out, they are so so good! I always ask for mine medium in sweetness and they’re so refreshing.
Our next stop was Paxos, on the boat trip over there we were sat on the top deck and as the sea was so rough we got absolutely soaked which was funny until the salt water gets in your eyes! When we got to Paxos it was immediately obvious that it’s an island where the rich people go – the size of the yachts in the harbour!!! There were a lot of huge yachts (I was having a sneaky look to see if I could find a rich man to take me in but no luck [Andy if you’re reading this – I joke!]) the town we stopped in in Paxos was gorgeous and very traditional. There were a lot of tavernas and kafenions all touting for business, we chose one in the main square where we had ice cream (you can’t go on holiday and not have ice cream). We stayed again, in Paxos for around 2 hours, by that point we were pretty knackered to be honest. We got back on the boat and it was a nearly 3 hour trip back to Corfu town, another 45 minutes to an hour back to the hotel!
The second excursion we went on was a half day called “Beauty spots of the North”, as we were already staying in the north of the island this was a nice trip to do the day before we came home! We went to Paleokastritsa, which if you’re a James Bond fan, is the beach that the car comes out onto in For Your Eyes Only (#filmtriviafacts). We walked up to the monastery which looks over the bay and sells the local favourite – Kumquat liqueur, which no, I haven’t tried (I’m scared haha).
After a couple of hours in Paleokastritsa, we went up to see a couple of little villages in the hills, one called Lakones, and the other Makrades. Both these villages were very traditional and sold old traditional style gifts. They also made their own products like honey, olive oil and soaps.
We only spent a week in Corfu, but we certainly squeezed a lot in in a short space of time. We took €200 each, I survived on that (with tipping as well), Andy did not because he’s a lot less frugal than I am! We saved a lot of money by getting the bus into Corfu town, and paying €4.50 for a one way ticket rather than a €60 taxi fare, and also by filling up on as much food as possible at breakfast, and not needing lunch most days. If you can find a good deal it’s definitely possible to do a week on a Greek island on quite a tight budget.
If you’d like any advice or further details about Corfu, do let me know! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and I’ve painted as detailed a picture as you would like in a relatively short post!
Until next time, Yamas!