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Σάββατο, 12 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Corfu Restaurants, Nightlife and Beaches...

Most Corfu Town restaurants operate all year – though in the countryside and at coastal resorts, only those pitched at locals operate in winter, and often just Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.

Fagopotion (1)

The most accomplished of the waterside tavernas here, Fagopotion only opened in 2008 but has already garnered an enviable reputation for its traditional recipes, fresh wild fish caught around the Diapóndia islets and fair prices given a location in the heart of posh ‘Kensington-on-Sea’. Signature dishes include roast lamb, rabbit stew, chard-based tsigarélli (as against the usual wild greens) and melt-in-the-mouth octopus (Kostas’ secret is blanching prior to grilling).

Address: Mid-waterfront, Ágios Stéfanos Sinión
Contact: 00 30 26630 82020
Price: allow €25–35 a head
Opening times: Open daily for lunch and dinner Easter–Oct, Fri/Sat dinner and Sun lunch otherwise.
Reservations: Advisable in season
Payment: Cash or credit card

Boukari Beach (2)

Cult seafood taverna at this tiny hamlet on the south-east coast, with squirmingly fresh scaly fish, tender octopus and steamed mussels at very competitive prices. The friendly managing family keeps accommodation nearby if you can’t tear yourself away.

Address: Boúkari, 2.5 miles beyond Mesongí, 700m before the jetty
Contact: 00 30 26620 51792, www.boukaribeach.gr
Prices: Allow €23-28 a head
Opening times: Daily, May-Oct
Reservations: Not needed
Payment type: Cash or credit card.
Sofríto, a Corfiot speciality

Roula (3)

The place for fish near Corfu town, with an outside terrace looking towards Gouviá marina. Reasonable portions for starters, with fish skillfully butterflied (petáli in Greek) on request. Only letdown: bulk wine is so-so, so get beer or bottled wine instead.

Address: Kondókali, end of the road on Nisí Gerékou peninsula; well signposted
Contact: 00 30 26610 91832
Prices: €25–30 for 2 appetizers, a seafood platter and a beer
Opening times: Summer, daily lunch and dinner; Winter, daily dinner only except Sun lunch too
Reservations: Suggested for large parties
Payment type: Credit cards accepted

Klimataria tou Bellou (4)

Inconspicuously signposted seafood taverna known for its wild, fresh (not farmed or frozen) fare, and attentive service from father-and-son team Nikos and Kostas Bellos. Some unusual dishes include sardine bourdéto; starters like leek salad and steamed mussels are recommendable too, as is the bulk white wine from Neméa. Blink and you’ll miss the handful of tables outside this tottering four-storey townhouse.

Address: Main old village square, Benítses
Contact: 00 30 26610 71201, www.klimataria-restaurant.gr
Price: Allow €18–25 a head
Opening times: Open Mon–Sat dinner only, Sunday lunch; winter weekends only, but closed 1 Dec–15 Jan.
Reservations: Highly advisable
Payment: Cash only

Foros (5)

One of the first tavernas established in formerly desolate Paleá Períthia, and still one of the best – Rick Stein gave it his imprimatur in his “Mediterranean Escapes” TV series, but luckily that hasn’t gone to the proprietors’ heads. The menu emphasises grills, but you can have a very enjoyable mezédes-only meal – sausages, kremydópita (onion turnover), stuffed peppers – while downingtsípouro (clear grape-mash spirit) or bulk wine. Save room for karydópita (walnut cake) with ice cream.

Address: Old central square, Paleá Períthia
Contact: 00 30 6955 950459
Price: Under €20 a head
Opening times: Daily, May – Oct; weekends only otherwise.
Reservations: Not needed except maybe August
Payment: Cash only.

Elizabeth’s (6)

Elizabeth’s has been going as a restaurant since the late 1940s, now increasingly in the hands of grand-daughter Elizabeth (though founder Granny Elizabeth is still very much involved). The fare is resolutely home-style: cockerel pastitsáda with big round noodles, wholesome peas with potatoes. Purplish bulk wine is rough and ready, as is the decor (primarily ancient bottles, some still full of who knows what, and a 1960s jukebox which sadly is beyond repair). Unusually on Corfu, a place that’s definitely more fun to eat at inside than at the limited outdoor tables.

Address: Doukádes village centre, 5km inland from Paleokastrítsa
Contact: 00 30 26630 41728
Price: Under €20 a head
Opening times: Daily, lunch and dinner, most of the year.
Reservations: Not needed
Payment: Cash only.

Khrysomalis (aka Babis) (7)

Classic casserole cookshop just off the Listón arcades, where a local clientele descends for such homestyle specialities as stuffed cabbage leaves, hearty stews and lentil soup, washed down by a heavy bgut palatable local red wine. The Durrells ate here regularly during their sojourn, but it has existed a lot longer than that.

Address: Nikifórou Theotókou 6, Corfu Town
Contact: 00 30 26610 30342
Prices: €19-23 for two courses with a measure of wine
Opening times: All year Mon-Sat, 12 noon-10.30pm
Reservations: Not needed
Payment type: Cash only.

Tsipouradiko (8)

Always packed with a young university crowd and their elders, who scoff little platters like mushroom croquettes, marinated Florina peppers and octopus vinaigrette accompanied by vials of tsípouro, the mainland-Greek clear spirit. Summer courtyard seating

Address: Prosaléndou corner P. Gída, behind appeals court
Contact: 00 30 26610 82240
Prices: €15-20 for three platters plus tsípouro
Opening times: Mon–Sat, 8pm until late
Reservations: suggested for large parties
Payment type: cash only

by Marc DubinDestination expert
Marc Dubin has been writing about Greece for three decades, Cyprus for two. He is the author of several books including the Rough Guides to Greece, the Greek Islands, and Cyprus. He has also written about Greek cuisine, Greek music and Greek real estate


With a large student population, Kérkyra Town and environs stay lively all year. A bare handful of surviving dance clubs lie west past the New Port, while more sedentary bars are in the centre, especially at the south end of Spianáda. The summer festival calendar changes annually according to funding, but the Corfu Festival (jazz and classical performances) has in the past been a July–August landmark. An excellent venue for quality live Greek artists is Seven Arts, in the Víros village beyond the airport – watch for their posters.
Kérkyra Town and environs stay lively all year Alamy

Lucciola Bio Bistro Bar (1)

Although known primarily as an excellent, creative, organic restaurant, Lucciola is also a notable venue for live bands, who play Friday or Saturday evenings out in the tiered garden or inside according to season. The music tends to be rock or blues, reflecting a mixed foreign and local clientele. In case your were wondering, the name means ‘firefly’ in Italian – along with the Epirot mainland opposite and neighbouring Paxí islet, Corfu is the only place in Greece home to the creatures.

Address: Tzávros hamlet, about 12km out of Corfu Town on the Paleokastrítsa road, southwest side layby
Contact: 00 30 26610 91022 or 6993 330023, www.lucciola.eu
Opening times: daily lunch and dinner in season, winter Fri/Sat dinner, Sun lunch

Dizi Bar (2)

Doesn’t look like much with its relatively narrow shop-front, but a firm favourite among both locals and visitors thanks to Saturday-and-Sunday-night theme parties (trance and reggae predominating; look for posters locally on utility poles). Affordable drinks and an affable owner make DiZi likely to survive in a climate that has lately claimed the scalps of many other Corfu clubs.

Address: Érmones approach road, 200m before beach
Contact: dizibar@hotmail.com
Opening times: daily evenings in summer, weekends out of season

Au Bar (3)

Expect both DJ’d and live events and an eclectic playlist at this cutting-edge venue near the New Port; there’s been a club on this site since 1972.

Address: Ethnikís Andístasis 34
Contact: 00 30 26610 80909, www.aubarcorfu.com
Opening times: minimum Tue, Thur, Fri and Sat, 11.30pm-the small hours; may do extra nights in peak season.

Jazz Rock by Stablus (4)

By day a quiet café, these premises tricked out with pointed stone and plush seating in Ténedos district just below the Néo Froúrio are part of a three-in-one complex that includes a restaurant, garden bar and exhibition space.

Address: Solomoú 29–31
Contact: 00 30 26610 35720, http://jazzrock.corfuland.gr
Opening times: Daily, 1pm until late.

Café Bristol (5)

An old-town evergreen, with superb Art Nouveau tiles underfoot, quirky cluster-bulb lighting, good jazz, funk or Greek recorded sounds and fair prices for hot or alcoholic beverages. Standing room only after 7pm.

Address: Evgeníou Voulgáreos, corner Platía Vrahlióti
Contact: 00 30 69366 60101
Open: Daily from about 9am until small hours

Edem Beach Club (6)

The recession has cut a swathe through clubs closer to town on the traditional “strip”, but this remoter one – with guest foreign DJs and themed parties almost every night – looks set to ride things out.

Address: Off main highway, Dassia
Contact: 00 30 26610 93013, www.edemclub.com
Open: Nightly in mid summer until dawn, drops to weekend only shoulder season

Corfu Beaches 

Marathiá/Agía Varvára (1)

The coast southeast of Korissíon lagoon forms an uninterrupted sandy beach divided into various sections. Contiguous Marathiá and Agía Varvára (aka Santa Barbara, Maltás) have only a little stream (pedestrian ford) separating them, but a rather different feel: Marathiá is broad but shortish, Agía Varvára more linear. The sand is medium-packed and sharply shelving but golden, the offshore water pristine if sometimes wave-y (which delights boogie-boarders).

Who goes?

A mix of nationalities and ages, including naturists who shelter a discreet distance east under the low cliffs which fringe the remoter parts of Agía Varvára.

What is there to do?

Absolutely nothing on the beach itself other than swim, surf, flop onto a sunbed or jog – there’s little to stop the fit from reaching the lagoon, about 5km west.

Bars and bites

With a commanding position overlooking Marathiá, Akroama (0030 26620 52736) are well-regarded seafood specialists. Nearby Wave Beach Bar is the all-day-and-into-the-evening hot spot, with occasional live events at summer weekends.
Getting there

The closest public buses pass along the inland main highway, en route to Lefkími, leaving you some distance shy of the beaches. Driving yourself, look out for a ‘Paralia Marathia’ sign just before Marathiás village. Near the coast, the road forks – right heads towards Akroama (and easier parking), left goes towards the stream area. To reach diminutive Agía Varvára resort, turn down at Perivóli village.
Marathia beach's offshore water pristine if sometimes wave-y
© Jan Wlodarczyk / Ala

Ágios Geórgios Págon (2)

Scenically bracketed between Cape Arílla and palisades culminating in Angelókastro, this two-kilometre beach in Corfu’s far northwest is never completely packed out even in peak season. The water at the northwest end away from the stream mouth is reputed to be some of the cleanest around.

Who goes?

There’s something for everyone here – it’s a popular windsurfing spot, especially at the more exposed centre of the bay, but excellent, calm swimming beckons at the far end of the fluffy sand. Development inland is relatively low-key, with apartments outnumbering the few hotels.

What is there to do?

Aside from windsurfing, there’s a local scuba outfitter, Diving Fun Club (www.corfudivingfunclub.gr), plus many walks to be had inland through the olive groves to sleepy villages; the Walks in Northwest Corfu guide-with-map (order through www.marengowalks.com) details them all.

Bars and bites

There are a handful of tavernas in the resort centre, but it’s worth striking out further afield. A bumpy dirt track leads just over 1km south to Akrogiali (tel: 6977 334278) and its windmill, a little eyrie gazing north across the bay. Fish is keenly priced, and there are unusual starters like carrot salad or fish croquettes. Meat-eaters will love Xenykhtis (The Night Owl; tel 26630 51314) at the northerly approach to Afiónas, a tiny, somewhat ramshackle grill at its best on weekends, congenially run by returned New York Corfiots. In keeping with the family market here, Ágios Geórgios isn’t known for exceptionally lively nightlife, but there are a handful of beachfront bars towards the south end of the bay like Noa Noa, Katoi and Symposium.

Getting there

Just two daily buses (Mon–Sat) ply from Corfu Town to Ágios Géorgios Págon. It’s far more practical to arrive under your own steam, either on the fast road from town via Skriperó and Troumbétas, or the more scenic route through Lákones and Makrádes, which allows a detour to Angelókastro.
Ágios Geórgios Págon beach is a popular windsurfing spot, especially at the more exposed centre of the bay
© CTK / Alamy

Myrtiotissa (3)

Lawrence Durrell’s claim in Prospero’s Cell that this tiny cove in the middle of Corfu’s scenic west coast is “perhaps the most beautiful beach in the world” will seem overblown to many. Tucked beneath steep cliffs, this diamond-shaped lozenge of golden sand, barely 150 feet across at present (it seems to change annually), is now the island’s most famous nudist beach.

Who goes?

Frankly too many people in peak season, with quite a mixed crowd opting for an all-over tan – you needn’t feel obliged to be a bronzed Adonis or Aphrodite to strip off here. There’s something of a countercultural vibe, with a couple of stalls selling jewellery and other trinkets at the back of the beach, a significant gay presence, and occasional cannabis use.

What is there to do?

The lack of noisy boats and water sport facilities is one of the attractions here, so just lounging around and taking leisurely dips is the order of the day. A corral of evocatively shaped monoliths break what can often be a considerable surf here, and a spring channelled into a pipe provides showers at one end. If you tire of the beach scene, visit the 14th-century Myrtiótissa monastery (8am–1pm & 5–9pm) occupying a natural terrace 300m uphill, at the end of the road.

Bars and bites

There are just a couple of seasonal snack bars for refreshment down on the beach. For something more substantial, the nearest place is the Bella Vista taverna just below the monastery, which serves delicious home cooking and fine barrelled wine. For clubbing, the closest (most reliably at weekends) is DiZi Beach Bar, on the approach road for Érmones, just a short drive north.

Getting there

Buses to Vátos village from Corfu Town take around 20 minutes to the Myrtiótissa turning, just over half a mile back from the beach. Parking is free but spots are at a premium on the steep, narrow and ultimately unsurfaced approach road. There are proper car parks of sorts between the taverna and the monastery.
Lawrence Durrell reckoned Myrtiotissa “perhaps the most beautiful beach in the world”

Longás (aka Perouládes) (2)

The ultimate “sunset beach” on an island not short of contenders, fringed by sculpted reddish cliffs which culminate in Corfu’s northwesternmost point, Cape Drástis. They cramp the strand severely, and make for chilly morning shade, but all is forgiven after noon as one gazes out to the Diapóndia islets.

Who goes?

Foreign visitors (and a few locals at weekends), who don’t mind the complete absence of sunbeds, umbrellas, kantína or watersports, and can manage the steep stairway-path down to sea level from the cliff-tops.

What is there to do?

Absolutely nothing on the beach itself other than swim, and drink in the view. Perouládes itself, plus nearby Avliótes, are both handsome nearby villages with pastel-hued houses to explore.

Bars and bites

By the start of the path, Panorama Restaurant (0030 26630 95035) operates all day but really comes into its own towards sunset – half an hour before the event in peak season it will be standing room only on the terrace.

Getting there

Public buses run numerous times daily from Corfu Town to Sidári resort, several of these continuing to Perouládes and Avliótes villages. Otherwise, drive yourself there (though note that the clifftop car-park can fill in August).
The ultimate “sunset beach” on an island not short of contenders is fringed by sculpted reddish cliffs

Halikoúnas (5)

Essentially a duney sandspit dividing the open sea from brackish Korissíon lagoon, Halikoúnas is one of the wildest, most unspoilt beaches on Corfu, stretching 3km southeast to the little Venetian-dredged canal joining the lagoon to the Ionian.

Who goes?

Naturists (clothing-optional anywhere away from the northeast end), birdwatchers (Lake Korissíon is a major twitcher’s mecca in spring and autumn), windsurfers, kitesurfers.

What is there to do?

Aside from the above-cited activities – kitesurfers are served by a designated centre (www.kite-club-corfu.com) – not a lot except to jog along the sand, or swim. There’s nothing here but a birdwatchers’ platform at the northwest end of the beach, near the access road. About 3km inland, however, stands the Byzantine fortress of Gardíki (closed for restoration), mysteriously located as it doesn’t defend anything obvious.

Also nearby is a memorial to the Serbian army’s Drina Division which retreated (and bivouacked) here in 1916, hosted by Greece after being routed on the Austrian and Bulgarian fronts. Most recovered to fight with distinction on the Salonica front, taken there all the way around Greece without losses by British and French ships – a fascinating and little-known chapter of World War I documented in Corfu Town’s Serbian Museum at Moustoxydou 19 (Mon–Sat 9am–2pm; free)..

Bars and bites

A seasonal kantína may operate near the birding platform, but for more substantial fare head a few hundred yards northwest to Alonáki cove where the taverna Alonaki Bay (tel 26610 75872) is ace for own-grown vegetables and seafood. Their bianko recipe based on lagoon-raised mullet, garnished with marsh samphire, is to die for.

Getting there

The closest, and not very frequent, bus service from Corfu Town is to Ágios Matthéos village. Best drive there – plenty of parking along the dirt track backing the tawny dunes, but mind you don't founder in the soft-sand patches.

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