My sister and I are absolutely in love with Greece, Greek ancient history and Greek islands. The explanation? We’re half Greek, and everything Greek-related is just ah-mazing, everything comes from the Greeks, and we’re proud of being it. Hoppa!
So, last year, we decided to go on a road trip, just the two of us, and discover the island Corfu. It was a beautiful experience, and I would be happy to share this hidden gem with you guys. There weren’t a lot of tourists there at the time (late august- early september) and if I had one message for you, it would be: go now, when it’s still authentic!
Mpenitses. Lovely people, delicious food, crystal clear water. It is a perfect place to come to peace and meet the local people. It’s not so far from the airport – since our flight arrived at night, we took a cab, but the bus connection is pretty good by day so that’s also an option – and on the way, the taxi-driver stopped by a coffee shop to grab a frappé (an ice coffee). Now, you need to understand something very important: frappé is life, frappé is a gods gift in Greece. Whether it’s six in the morning or midnight, it’s always frappé-o’ clock.
Mpenitses is a small village with lots of local restaurants, bars, and shops. The beach is lovely, it’s a sand beach with clear water. There are bars that serve you while you’re laying on the beach and if you buy a drink, you don’t have to pay for a seat – a fair deal, since you have to drink while laying in the sun all day.
At night, Mpenitses is everything but boring – if you want to party hard all night long, this is NOT the place to be- I am talking about local bars and restaurants who have live concerts of greek singers (what else?!).
I strongly recommend – you can choose what suits you best, but this was my experience – to stay in a local hostel or guesthouse. It’s not luxurious at all, but it is authentic and it makes you feel like you are one of the inhabitants. There are also luxury hotels there, so there’s something for everyone’s taste.
The habitants have been super creative and Greek with the name of the capital of Corfu: “Corfu Town”. However, what I find so special about this capital, are the restaurants: they come together with a private swimming area. You can eat outside and when you’re feeling hot or the ocean is calling you, you can just take off you clothes (everybody wears swimwear beneath their clothes in Corfu because you never know when you’re going to swim) and jump into the water. Or, if you’ve eaten a bit too much, you can also take the stairs.
Corfu Town is all about climbing. No worries, I’m far from sportive and even I survived it, but the views are certainly worth it. This is me, feeling like a Greek princess – yes, we bought those authentic Greek dresses, yes, I wore a braid and yes, I walked with pride through the whole city like dis.
I have to be honest with you guys. If there is one place where I would live for the rest of my life, it would be in the Achilleion Palace. It was built by Empress Elizabeth of Austria who is also known as the queen Sissy. The palace is decorated with statues of ancient philosophers, heroes and mythical ancient gods. I’ll just show you the photos and announce you my future home. Welcome to my crib, MTV.
What you can also do is take a ferry from Corfu to Paxos island. If you’re lucky, the owners of the boats let you sit all the way in the front, like Jack and Rose in Titanic – but with a smaller version of the Titanic, and in the Ionean Sea – fresh air and a beautiful sight guaranteed. Paxos island is undoubtedly the place where the word “relax” was invented. It is a very small island of 30km². Again, the local people are very welcoming: they picked us up from the ferry to the place where we stayed – a pink guesthouse run by a lovely lady and an even more lovely little doggie. I will not share the name of any brands, properties, etc., as I don’t want to promote someone. The whole island was full of such properties, so you don’t have to look far to book one.
What do you do on a small island that consists of 80% coastlines and 20% village centre? Right. You lay down at the beach every day, you wander around the coastlines, hike through the island. I did see lots of people renting a boat (or owning one) and sailing around the island. That’s also an option when you’re visiting an island, of course. Or maybe you can summon some turtles and ask them to escort you to the nearest island, Captain Jack Sparrow-style.
This is the third and last island we visited. Antipaxos is smaller than Paxos, it is only 4km². Again, there is just one thing to do- swim!
On Paxos and Antipaxos, you can find great restaurants, tavernas, bars, ice cream shops,… they are all local of course, and they have that Greek authentic touch you can’t find anywhere else than the country itself. One thing that people in Corfu, Paxos and Antipaxos love are pancakes: crepes. You can find them literally everywhere. Why would someone want to eat hot and heavy (but delicious) pancakes on a tropical island where you are hot every single second of the day, you may ask? Well, the answer is always frappé. These two go great together and besides that, the pancakes are just too good. This is definitely a speciality you must try when you are there.
Back to Corfu itself and, to be honest, my least favorite part of the island: Kavos. (This is personally, and it can certainly different from other people’s opinions.) Kavos is a famous town in south Corfu and is known for its nightlife. The atmosphere, people and clubs are full of life, and the prices are great, too. There are bowling alleys, dance clubs, karaoke bars, etc. If you want to go on a party vacation with your friends, this is the place to be. If you want to go on a relaxing holiday, don’t go there. The beach is not so practical as in Corfu Town, Mpenitses or (Anti-)Paxos: here, there are more rocks and a lot of seaweed. But the coastline is much longer, so you can definitely chill at the beach.
These were my top picks at Corfu, which is still pretty underestimated and undiscovered, so if you found this interesting, if is definitely worth a visit. Also, when you land in Corfu, you just see the ocean until the very last second the plane hits the ground- let alone that was just amazing – as an aviation lover and flight attendant, my heart began to race when experiencing this. I hope I gave you guys some fun inspiration for a possible next holiday!