Sunday, June 1, 2014

CORFU

GENERAL
Corfu Trail – around island; thecorfutrail.com; covers whole island from Cape Asprókavos (south) to Áyios Spyrídhon beach, next to Cape Ayías Ekaterínis (north); avoids roads as much as possible & takes walkers across varied terrain (from beaches to highest peaks – passing by Lefkími, Korissíon lagoon, Áyii Dhéka, Pélekas, Myrtiótissa, Paleokastrítsa, Áyios Yeóryios Pagón, Spartýlas & Mount Pandokrátor; paths along route waymarked with yellow aluminium signs.
CV Villas – cvvillas.com/cvdestinations/greece/gated-pool; luxury villa rentals.



AFIONAS – charming, small community with winding streets and artist workshops.
Restaurants
Anemos Taverna – kinda waterfront (just follow signs & take meandering walk through village); 011-30-26-6305-2168; realcorfu.com/anemos-cafe-restaurant-afionas; spectacular sunset view; good cocktails and wine; excellent appetizers; worth special trip.



AGIOS STEFANOS
Hotels
Villa Lefki Thea – 21 Melisonia (Sinies); 011-30-020-3027-8675; vipgreekvillas.com/villa_lefki_thea.htm; wonderful view over Ionian Sea, surrounded by cypress & olive trees; 6-bedroom villa; swimming pool & terraces with sofas & sun beds.

Restaurants
Fagopotion – Ágios Stéfanos Sinión waterfront; 011-30-26-6308-2020; realcorfu.com/taverna-fagopotion-agios-stephanos-ne; accomplished waterside taverna with enviable reputation for traditional recipes; fresh, wild fish at fair prices (given location in posh “Kensington-on-Sea”; signature dishes include fluffy, non-greasy 3-cheese saganáki, succulent, pork-based bekrí mezé, baby squid (late spring), rabbit stew, chard-based tsigarélli & melt-in-mouth octopus (secret is to blanch prior to grilling); orange cake on house for dessert.



BENITSES – eastern coast; former fishing village & among most traditional Corfiot villages with unique natural beauty; popular tourist destination; surrounded by mountains on 1 side & Ionian Sea on other.
Restaurants
Klimataria Tou Bellou – main old village square; 011-30-26-6107-1201; klimataria-restaurant.gr; inconspicuously signposted seafood taverna known for wild, fresh (not farmed or frozen) fare; attentive service from father-&-son team (Nikos & Kostas Bellos); unusual dishes include sardine bourdéto; bulk white wine from Neméa recommended; try for tables outside this tottering 4-story townhouse.



BOUKARI
Restaurants
Boukari Beach – 2.5 miles beyond Mesongí, 700m before jetty; 011-30-26-6205-1792; boukaribeach.gr; cult seafood taverna in tiny hamlet on southeast coast; fresh fish, tender kalamári, octopus bourdéto & steamed mussels.



CAPE DRASTIS – notable for great beach & rock formations; use care when driving in (dirt track).



CHLOMOTIANA
Restaurants
Archontiko – Main Road Lefkimmi; 011-30-26-6107-5851; archontiko.com.gr; views are stunning, restaurant has wonderful décor & design; food considered excellent & service outstanding; have drinks on terrace; great steaks.



KALAMI – where For Your Eyes Only filmed.
Sights & Sites
Durrell Home – Gimari (on bay); 011-30-26-6309-; corfu-kalami.gr/durrell.html or white-house-corfu.gr; can be rented.



KASSIOPI – northeast coast; small traditional fishing village; founded during Epirus King Pyrrhus’ reign in 3rd Century BCE as supply post during war with Rome; Emperor Nero came to Temple to Zeus here; much of small headland to north occupied by Byzantine fortress.
Restaurants
Tavernaki Sinies – waterfront; 011-30-26-6308-1529; tavernaki.com.gr; average with bad wine.



KAVOS
Bars
TKD’s (Rodney’s) – Trabukos; facebook.com/tkds.rodneys.1; best for cocktails.



KOMMENO
Hotels
Greco Eva Palace – Tzavros (on bay); 011-30-26-6109-0003; evapalace.com; 5 star luxury hotel, probably best on island.
Grecotel Corfu Imperial – Komeno-Gouvia (on bay); 011-30-26-6108-8400; corfuimperial.com; another 5 star hotel and contends with Eva; more villa hotel; probably best place to stay.



KONDOKALI
Restaurants
Roula – road end on Nisí Gerékou Peninsula; 011-30-26-6109-1832; taverna-roula.gr; place for fish near Corfu Town; outside terrace looking towards Gouviá marina; fish skillfully butterflied (petáli) on request; only letdown is bulk wine, so get beer or bottled wine instead.

Sights & Sites
Villa Anemoyanni – Sotiriotissa; Durrell family residence at one time.



KORFU TOWN (includes Gastouri)
Beaches
Halikounas – agni.gr/Corfu/Corfu_Beach_Guide/Halikounas_Beach/index.asp; hidden treasure away from main tourist beaches; sandy, wide beach stretches along Lake Korission dividing lake & open sea.

Restaurants
Bakalogatos – 23 Alpíou (Spiliá district, on corner Prosaléndou); 011-30-26-6130-1721; name means “grocery cat”; relies on local products; indoor/outdoor tables; menu mostly vegetarian/cheese starters & pork recipes; what seafood there is tends to be salt cured (pastá) fish; friendly service.
Khrysomalis (Babis) – 6 Nikifórou Theotókou (just off Listón Arcades); 011-30-26-6103-0342; must visit; classic casserole restaurant; local clientele descends for such homestyle specialities as tzatzíki, angináres ala políta with fresh artichokes, not frozen hearts, stuffed cabbage leaves, hearty stews & lentil soup, washed down by heavy but palatable local red wine; Durrells ate here regularly during their sojourn, but it has existed longer than that.
Tsipouradiko – Prosaléndou (corner P. Gída, behind appeals court); 011-30-26-6108-2240; always packed with young university crowd & their elders; small plates of mushroom croquettes, marinated Florina peppers & octopus vinaigrette; summer courtyard seating.

Sights & Sites
Corfu Fortress (Paleo Frourio) – Esplanade; whc.unesco.org/en/list/978 or whc.unesco.org/en/list/978; Venetian fortress; worth visit; UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kynopiastes – 10 km from Corfu Town; must-visit traditional village; old mansions from 17th-19th Centuries, marble church, 17th Century monastery & museum devoted to olive tree; narrow, tiled paths.
Liston – old area of town with interesting architecture & cafes.
Museum of Asian Art – Palea Anaktora; 011-30-26-6103-0443; matk.gr; only museum in Greece exclusively dedicated to Far Eastern & Indian art and antiquity; housed in former Palace of Sts. Michael & George.
Sissi’s Palace (Achilleon Palace) – Gastouri (10 kms south of Corfu Town); 011-30-26-6105-6245; achillion-corfu.gr/default_en.html‎; palace built in Corfu by Austrian Empress (Kaiserin) Elisabeth of Bavaria, also known as Sissi, after loss of her only son, Austrian Crown Prince Rudolf in Mayerling Incident (1889); built in 1890 as summer palace; palace, with classic Greek statues that surround it, monument to platonic romanticism as well as escapism and was, naturally, named after Achilles; panoramic fresco on main hall upper level; imperial gardens on hilltop provide view of surrounding hill crests & valleys with Ionian sea in background; casino scene in James Bond film For Your Eyes Only (1981) filmed here.



KRINI – small village notable for local goods and produce shops.
Sights & Sites
Angelokastro – northwest coast (follow signs from Krini); if you do nothing else in Corfu, visit this Byzantine castle; located atop highest shoreline peak (steep cliff walk takes you above sea & surveys all way to mainland Greece mountains); exact building period not known, but attributed to Michael I Komnenos & son reigns; 1st documentary evidence dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Sicily King Manfred in 1267.



LAKONES – on Bay of St. George; typical Corfiot village on hill-slope; walk to Bella Vista to admire view over Bay of Paleokastritsa & relax in picturesque coffee shop; there is path leading down to Paleokastritsa.
Restaurants
Bella Vista Cafe – main road; 011-30-26-6304-9271; great pastries and perhaps best restaurant view on island.



MESSONGI
Restaurants
Bacchus (Vakhos) – main beach, south end; 011-30-26-6107-5301; bacchus.gr; unimprovably-set, beachfront taverna, going for 35 years now; prides self on sourcing local, fresh seafood like baby kalamári, large prawns, perfectly fried koutsomoúra & naturally colored (not pink) taramosaláta.



NISSAKI (includes Barbati)
Beaches
Barbati – Barbati; mile-long “shingle” beach with mountain backdrop.

Hotels
Barbati Beach House – Barbati; cvvillas.com/Destinations/Greece/Corfu/Barbat-Nissaki-S; sleeps up to 10 (5 Bedrooms); 2 Bathrooms/3 shower rooms; on beach; WiFi.

Restaurants
Taverna Nikolas – Agni Bay; 011-30-26-6309-1142; agnibay.com; lunch; mezes.
Toula’s Taverna – Agni Bay; 011-30-26-6309-1350; toulasagni.com/uk/restaurant-corfu.html; dinner; try spicy prawn risotto.
Taverna Agni – Agni Bay; 011-30-26-6309-1142; taverna-agni.com; try pickled octopus.



NYMPHES – notable for walk to waterfalls & wells; can visit Agriculture Co-operative, which raises kumquat & produces liquor & sweets (you will be offered some for free and have chance to try different liquor qualities; just outside village is Askitario, historic, small monastery; according to tradition, here lived 5th Century CE monk Artemios Paissios from Epirus.



PALEA PERITHIA – agni.gr/guides/what_to_see_and_visit/old_perithia.asp; oldest village on island & Heritage Protected Site in Designated Natural Beauty Area; one-time hideaway from pirate attacks; 8 churches & 130 houses; excellent Venetian influence example; Agios Iakovos Persis church (at village entrance) contains some remarkable frescoes inside (may not be open to public until late 2014).
Restaurants
Foros – old central square; 011-30-69-5595-0459; the-green-island.co.uk/to-do/item/347-foros-restaurant/347-foros-restaurant; among 1st tavernas established in formerly desolate Paleá Períthia; menu emphasizes grills, but can have very enjoyable mezédes-only meal (sausages, kremydópita (onion turnover), & stuffed peppers; save room for karydópita (walnut cake) with ice cream.

Sights & Sites
Mount Pantokrator – north-east; highest mountain on island; at summit, can see all of Corfu, as well as Albania; at top there is café for tourists & monastery; can walk to top (if you choose to walk, among best places to start is in Old Perithia, Corfu’s oldest village, where it takes approximately 2 hours round trip).



PALEOKASTRITSA (includes Doukades)
Beaches
Agia Trianda – take boat from Agios Spyridon beach.
Agios Spyridon – paleokastritsa-bliss.com; lovely, sandy beaches.
Alipa – take boat from Agios Spyridon beach.
Platakia – take boat from Agios Spyridon beach.

Hotels
Akrotiri Beach – Kastélli Cape; 011-30-26-6304-1237; akrotiri-beach.com; eyrie perching on steep-sided promontory; direct access to sea & pool terrace at cliff’s edge; not great.

Restaurants
Elizabeth’s – Doukádes (village center, 5km inland from Paleokastrítsa); 011-30-26-6304-1728; since late 1940s, now increasingly in hands of grand-daughter Elizabeth (though founder Granny Elizabeth still very much involved); homestyle fare: cockerel pastitsáda with big round noodles, wholesome peas with potatoes; more fun to eat at inside than at limited outdoor tables.

Sights & Sites
Caves – take boat from Agios Spyridon beach.
Corfu Aquarium – off Agios Spyridon beach, just before Monastery; 011-30-26-6304-1339; corfuaquarium.com; unprepossessing.
Monastery (Panagia Paleokastritsa) – above bay (can drive or walk); 011-30-26-6304-1210; panagiapaleokastritsa.com; spectacular setting in trees with lovely views; museum has ikons and some relics.



PELEKAS
Beaches
Pelekas – west (central); pelekas.com; isolated, sandy beach with small restaurant.



PERAMA
Hotels
Durell Strawberry Villa – up hill, 3 minutes to beach; ownersdirect.co.uk/greece/GR2478.htm; sleeps up to 8 (3 bedrooms).



PEROULADES
Beaches
Logas – narrow beach encircled by imposing hills.

Restaurants
Bikolis Taverna – Sidari Road; 011-30-26-6309-5291; tavernabikolis.wordpress.com; small, family-owned taverna serving grilled food.
7th Heaven Cafe – on beach, at top; 011-30-26-6109-5035; 7thheaven-cafe.blogspot.gr; open 12 years; unique view & lovely sunsets.



RODA – northern coast; traditional fishing village, area having retained character while developing into popular holiday destination; extensive restaurants & shopping.



SIDARI
Beaches
Sidari – fair-sized resort notable for “Canal de l’Amour” (sandstone cliffs with narrow inlets, natural archway & small paths to explore.

CRETE

AGIOS
Sights & Sites
Archaeological Museum of Agios Nikolaos – 74 Konstantinou Palaiologou Street; 011-30-28-4102-4943; odysseus.culture.gr/h/1/eh155.jsp?obj_id=3523; worth hike up; extensive & well-displayed eastern Cretan collection; while no major showpiece, significant Minoan collection (ceramic musical instruments, clay coffins, gold from Mohlos Island; exhibits begin with Neolithic finds from Mt. Tragistalos (north of Kato Zakros) & early Minoan finds (from Agia Fotia), then move on to finds from Malia & Mohlos; highlight is odd-looking Goddess of Myrtos (clay jug from 2500 BCE found near Myrtos).
Knossos – 5 km southeast of Heraklion; 011-30-28-1023-1940; ancient-greece.org/archaeology/knossos.html; largest Bronze Age site on island; Minoan civilization and culture center ruins uncovered in 1900 by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans; unlike other archaeological sites in Crete, substantial reconstruction helps visitor visualize what palace might have looked like at peak; get guide.



CHANIA
Restaurant
Dinos Fish Tavern – 3 Kti Enoseos (Harbor end); 011-30-28-2104-1865 or 011-30-28-2109-8101; chania-citizen-guide.gr/1-4197ccg_.html; among city’s oldest fish taverns.
Taverna Aeriko – 42 Ipeiroy; 011-30-28-2105-9307; facebook.com/aeriko.cafebar.5; traditional ouzeria and taverna.
Taverna Manolis – Old Village, Agia Marina; 011-30-28-2106-8311; agmarina.net/2007/05/taverna-manolis-agia-marina.html; traditional Crete food since 1978.



GOURNIA
Sights & Sites
Gournia – outside Heraklion; minoancrete.com/gournia.htm; town with Minoan ruins, not well-frequented, that are among best-preserved on island.



HERAKLION
Hotels
Blue Palace Resort & Spa – Elounda; 011-30-28-4106-5500; bluepalace.gr; peaceful resort set on beautiful and otherwise undeveloped stretch of steep north Cretan coast, 2 miles from Elounda; dramatic east-facing view towards deserted island of Spinalonga, set in natural bay; 5 superb restaurants.
Candia Maris Resort & Spa – 72 Andreas Papandreou Street; 011-30-28-9702-700; maris.gr.
Elounda Beach – Elounda; 011-30-80-0223-6800; eloundabeach.gr; world-class resort consistently on lists of “best,” “top,” and “great” hotels and resorts; isolated on own stretch of coast and built to suggest Cycladic village; deluxe, yet understated; guest rooms and bathrooms are appropriately luxuriously appointed; restaurants serve haute cuisine; 4 restaurants, 4 bars, pool (and 25 suites with own pools), 5 night-lit tennis courts, health club, sauna.
Elounda Mare Hotel – Elounda; 011-30-28-4104-1102; eloundamare.gr.
Porto Elounda De Luxe Resort – Elounda; 011-30-28-4106-8000; portoelounda.com; has 6 Senses Spa; luxurious.
Restaurants
Elounda Mare Hotel – Elounda; 011-30-28-4104-1102; eloundamare.gr.
Sights & Sites
Heraklion Archaeological Museum – 1 Xanthoudidou Street (Heraklion); 011-30-28-1022-6092; heraklion-crete.org/archaeological-museum.



PEFKI
Restaurants
Piperia Taverna – Pefki-Makrigialos; 011-30-28-4305-2471; makrigialos.wix.com/piperia; serves excellent Cretan food and stunning view over ocean; nerati (flat pie stuffed with ricotta-like cheese and drizzled with honey).



RETHYMNON (includes Adele, Kampos, Kissamos & Missiria)
Hotels
Agreco Farm – Adelianos Kampos (Adele); 011-30-28-3107-2129, 011-30-28-3105-4014 or 011-30-28-3102-0750; grecotel.com; privately-owned 40K square acre estate; farm & buildings are replica of 17th Century lodge, featuring traditional olive press, flour/water mill, wine press & grape crushing vat; complex includes church, village square & store.
Creta Palace – Missiria; 011-30-28-3105-5181; grecotel.com/crete/creta-palace.
Restaurants
Agreco Taverna – Adelianos Kampos (Adele); 011-30-28-3107-2129, 011-30-28-3105-4014 or 011-30-28-3102-0750; grecotel.com; privately-owned 40K square acre estate; everything grown on farm ends up in kitchen, where chef prepares traditional Cretan dishes; large olive tree 7 vines wrap around wooden pergola beams that shade stone-laid terrace with magnificent view over Cretan coast.
Sun-Set – Adele Kampos (Kissamos); 011-30-28-2204-1128; sunset-crete.gr; grills and large salads.
Sights & Sites
Apoplystra Folds – Agios Pavlos (between St. Paul & Sandhills); cretanbeaches.com/en/geological-formations/apoplystra-folds-agios-pavlos#ixzz4a79uyzYd); remarkably colorful geologic folds.



SELAKANO
Restaurants
Stella’s Cafe – on way to Selakano Forest; 011-30-28-4209-1235; fasolakia me katsiki (beans simmered with goat).
Sights & Sites
Selakano Forest – Lassithi (about 35Km from Ierapetra); selakano.net or ierapetra.gr/En/OurMunicipality/Siteseing/Selakanoforest/tabid/120/language/el-GR/Default.aspx; spectacular gorges.