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Corfu simply ouzos charm… Forget the Greek island’s party image and discover its quieter side

Palaiokastritsa is ideal for families or couples
Palaiokastritsa is ideal for families or couples

NESTLED in north west Corfu, Palaiokastritsa is one of those places where time just seems to stand still.

As soon as you step off the plane, your only agenda will be to grab a book, hit one of the beaches, and debate what time you can have your first drink of ouzo. It really is the ultimate relaxation destination.

While the younger crowd heads towards the party centre of Kavos on the island, Palaiokastritsa attracts a mix of families, couples and friends looking to refresh and recharge.

After a three-and-a-half-hour flight and a short transfer, our first port of call was a sun lounger by the pool at Angel’s Pool Bar & Apartments – our accommodation for the next seven nights.

In less than five hours after leaving Glasgow, we had our feet up, relaxing in the sunshine with our first gyros (a traditional Greek dish of meat and vegetables wrapped in a pitta flatbread with tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce).

Our first night happened to coincide with the BBQ Night at Angel’s Pool – a must-do while you’re here.

Think delicious Corfiot BBQ food, wines, ouzos, great banter and the highlight of the night, traditional Greek dancers.

Waking up with slightly delicate heads the next morning, we headed straight to Agia Triada, a beautiful pebble beach with bars, more sun loungers (that you can rent at a small cost) and the clearest, turquoise blue sea for which Corfu is famous.

It’s the place to be whether you fancy a cocktail on the beach, a boat trip around the hidden coves and nearby islands or simply to lie back and relax.

Corfu usually basks in sunshine in the summer months with limited rain, however, during our time there, we were treated to a spectacular thunderstorm or two.

It was awe-inspiring to sit on our balcony as rain poured down around us and watch lightning strike over the sea and mountains.

On the wetter days we headed to Corfu Aquarium to learn all about the sea life and reptiles on the island.

We also visited the charming Monastery of Paleokastritsa.

Even though there were lots of tourists, I still felt a sense of peace, calm serenity while exploring the grounds.

It’s quite a trek up to the monastery so take a pit stop at the café at the top with sweeping sea views while you catch your breath.

Canal of Love (Canal d’Amour) on the island of Corfu

Itching to get out and explore more of the island, we rented a quad bike to go round the north coast.

Our first stop was Canal D’Amour, a beautiful cove where you can walk far out into the sea and the water is still only up to your waist.

D’Amour Beach Bar Restaurant is a great place to rent a clifftop sun lounger (yes, more sunbathing!) and to grab a bite to eat.

Hitting the road again on our quads, we passed beautiful Greek village after village as well as some of the most stunning beaches on the island (Agios Georgios being one of our favourites).

We stopped several times to explore the local stores and pick up olive oil, beauty products and herbs.

Tourists enjoy the beach in Pelekas

Our next stop was Castel Angelokastro – a Byzantine castle on the highest peak on the coast.

Perched atop a clifftop, it really is a spectacular location.

Eventually we headed back to Palaiokastritsa via the hilltops and the pretty village of Lakones.

Before we even realised, we were very (very) high up above the coast taking in some fantastic views with memories we’ll treasure forever.

We finished our trip back in Palaiokastritsa with a drink at The Grotto Bar – a rather hip beach bar hidden in a cove with music and customers diving off a board into the sea.

It was hard to tear ourselves away from Palaiokastritsa but it served as a reminder to take a time out when you need it to come home feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the world again.

Facts

Jet2 flies direct from Glasgow to Corfu International Airport. Return flights in September start at £171 per person. jet2.com

To learn more about visiting the island, see corfu-greece.com