I stumbled across flights to Corfu whilst on the British Airways website looking for reward flight availability for a short summer getaway. Up until this point I didn’t even know British Airways flew there, and when I looked into it I found out that it is one of their new routes that started in May. The 3 hr 15 min flight departs Heathrow Terminal 5, four times a week direct to Corfu.
Thanks to British Airways’ new Avios peak and off-peak structure it cost even less Avios than I was expecting, just 34,000 Avios per person for a Club Europe return. I don’t usually redeem reward flights within Europe as I prefer to save them for long haul First or Club World flights, but this time I used an American Express companion voucher that was due to expire, and this made the deal even more worth while.
Somewhere to Stay in Corfu
After finding my amazing flight deal I needed to choose somewhere to stay. For a short break I would usually look for something within a city, within easy reach of restaurants and attractions, and places to explore. However, for the first time in ages I decided to go for an all-inclusive beach hotel, so I could have a few relaxing days in the sun.
The Blue Princess Beach Hotel and Suites, is just outside the quiet village of Liapades on the north-west coast of the island. I booked a junior suite, on an all-inclusive basis, and this cost just £325 for 3 nights.
On arrival I was greeted by crystal-clear turquoise water in a stunning picturesque bay. The water looked so inviting that I just wanted to dive straight in, however my room was not quite ready so I was invited to enjoy some drinks in the beach bar while I waited.
Then one of the hotel staff took me to a small area a few hundred yards away, perched on the side of the hill over looking the bay. The area was laid out with a number of small stone cottages, and a pool, set in lush green countryside and many olive trees. One of these cottages right on the edge of the hill with a view to die for was to be my room for the next few days.
The hotel had a pool area in the main complex close to the restaurants and bars, there was also a much quieter pool area on the hill by my suite. The main hotel complex was located right on the beach so you really didn’t need to travel far to get anywhere within the resort.
The all-inclusive package at the hotel included all meals served in the main restaurant, and all local drinks in the main bar. The local beers and wines were great, but I didn’t try any of the local spirits. In the main complex there was also an a la carte restaurant and beach bar. You could choose to eat and drink here, but you had to pay extra. Although all-inclusive guests were given between a 25-50% discount, depending on the time of day.
Things to do…
Hire a speedboat
Located on the beach right in front of the hotel was a local company that hired out speed boats. For a small speed boat they charge from 60 euros for 3 hours, to 90 euros for the day. As I was only in Corfu for 3 nights my time was precious and I didn’t want to commit a whole day to it, so I decided to hire one for 3 hours one morning.
The price didn’t include fuel, and I had to pay for what I used upon return – this wasn’t a problem and it was only an additional 15 euros. I set off to explore the stunning coastline around this beautiful part of the island.
I came across a nice quiet cove a few miles from the hotel so I switched off the engine, dropped the anchor, and dived in the cool clear waters to spend some time snorkelling with the fish. In fact over the course of the morning I found numerous coves and beaches to explore. It was such a perfect way to spend a morning with the sun beating down, a couple of local beers for refreshment. What more could you want?
Visit Corfu Town
Whilst on the island of Corfu, a trip to Corfu town, (Kerkira) should be on everyone’s to do list. Amble through the narrow marble streets lined with ancient stone buildings, and browse in the shops selling everything from beautiful cotton goods, to cosmetics, olive oil and local delicacies such as limoncello and koum quat liquor. A stroll through the streets of the old town will definitely give you a feel for the laid back life that Corfu offers.
Corfu old town is packed full of wonderful restaurants and tavernas, serving up anything from beautiful freshly caught seafood to traditional Greek dishes such as moussaka or stifado. There are some fantastic restaurants along Eleftherias, all with rows of tables outside which over look the park, and the fort in the distance.
I found a restaurant called Gondola Restaurant located towards the end of Eleftherias. I couldn’t decide on a starter so I decided to be greedy and have the mussels in tomato sauce, tzatziki and the calamari. For my main I had a traditional dish originating in Corfu called sofrito. This is veal cooked in a white wine and garlic sauce. Even though this was in a premium part of the city, and despite my having three starters, lunch was only 30 euros which included a couple of beers and a pre-meal cocktail. I can highly recommend this restaurant, but I’m sure all the places along this street would guarantee to please all palates.
Visit the Theotokos Monastery in Paleokastritsa
Located just four kilometres from the hotel is the village of Paleokastritsa. A trip here to visit the ancient Theotokos Monastery is also a must. Be prepared for a very steep climb up the hill, by car or on foot. Once you reach the top you will find the monastery as well as a museum.
The original monastery was founded almost 800 years ago, however there is little of the original monastery left standing today. The majority of today’s monastery is less than 200 years old, but it is an excellent example of Greek monastic architecture despite being relatively modern.
Also located on this hill is a small cafe with some stunning views of the dramatic coastline, from here you can really see just how clear the turquoise water below is. Relax here and enjoy a cool refreshing drink whilst taking in the views after the tiring climb up the hill.
There are so many more exiting things to do while in Corfu, but as I had only three days here I will definitely return to Corfu, maybe even to the same hotel again, but for a much longer stay. So my advice would be to go for a week or may be even longer!
Since returning I have been speaking to some family members who recently visited Corfu town on a day trip, whilst on a cruise. They found a real hidden gem for their lunch and it sounded so good I just had to mention it here.
They visited a restaurant called To Mike, which is located on the outskirts of the old town in Fortress Square. They sent me some beautiful photos of the mouth-watering seafood and salads which they had. I must admit, the dishes looked so appetising that it’s making me want to book a flight and go there now for lunch!