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Travel:Corfu’s Northeastern Coast by Speedboat Date: Oct 9th-10th/2020

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

Date: Oct 9th-10th/2020

Place : Corfu’s Northeastern Coast by Speedboat

By: Lili Naveh

This past weekend the young parents took time off from work, assumed their full time parental responsibilities, and agreed to venture off on an excursion away from the Northwestern Agios Stefanos.

45 minutes car ride, from the Northern-west to the North-east side of the island, took us on bumpy narrow serpentine roads, from which spectacular panoramic vistas were revealed. Scenery of green steep rolling hills, Olive trees groves, the Ionic bluish sea, and Albania’s coastline across, had vividly unfolded on those most sunny sharp-clear 2 days, throughout the entire rides,

Our plan to spontaneously hire a speedboat to navigate along the Corfu’s north-eastern enchanting rocky coast, soon evaporated for that day.


For add reason, and despite the fact that the season was over, and the mass of tourists had departed, all "Felippos" boats for hire at Kassiopi port were reserved, and out in the sea on that Friday’s early morning.

Kassiopi

This charming, once a small fishing village, with a traditional port, still in use today by local fishermen, is the most lively resort town.

It is a main port for trips all over the island of Corfu by both boat and coach

Located at the tip of a small peninsula on the north-east corner of the island, 36 km north of Corfu town, it is now the largest town in the northeast shore of corfu.


Situated just across the narrow water channel from the Albanian port of Saranda, it is one of Corfu’s favorite resort abodes, surrounded by green vegetation,a very picturesque setting, and the looming Mountain Pantokratoras behind it.

The lively busy town center has many attractive stores and boutiques.The shops include, bakeries and supermarkets, tourist shops selling leather goods, gifts and souvenirs, great cotton and linen clothes shops, some good lace, ceramics, jewelry, and English newspapers.

The bars and restaurants by the harbor, few hotels, many rooms to let, and upscale architecturally beautiful villas hanging off the hills above the coast, make the visit in town most rewarding.


Kassiopi also bears a fair amount of history.

Kassiopi and its small quaint tranquil port were during ancient Roman domination a rich place due to a great naval trade.

It is said that Nero watched a play in the theatre and that Antony and Cleopatra stayed there before the huge defeat in the Battle of Actium.


The impressive ruin of a Byzantine castle, which we climb up the hill to visit, offers wonderful views of the picturesque harbor below.

Regarded as one of the most important architectural remains in the Ionian Islands, It was one of the three castles of the Byzantine period ensured the defense of the island before the Venetian period ( 1386-1797 )


The town’s 3 different beaches are all covered with white/Grey pebbles.

The first one is a rocky bay on the left side of the town, is very wide and there are beach umbrellas, deck chairs and water sports.

The other two beaches are just behind the cape, they are smaller than the first one but more picturesque.

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Once realizing that all boats were pre-ordered and gone that day, no available boats of the incidental renters, nor even those of the largest Filippos operating service, we made sure to book one, for the following day -Saturday.


Had we consulted with Mike and Vera as some attractive ad suggested, we might have had a better plan and a boat for hire.

Mike and Vera at Cosmic Tourist Centeron the road leading down to the harbour offer to discuss and answer any questions regarding available trips. Tel:26630 81624


Instead we continued the excursion on the mountainous road above the coat by car, bird-viewing from afar, the breathtaking panoramic scenery of the attractive beaches, bays, coves and spotted red roof villas.

What was missed by the car ride on Friday, was complemented with the hired

speedboat repeating the same track at sea, on Saturday.

This time scanning the views from near, we enjoyed the fantastic coast all the way up to the rocky hills.


The 30 feet “Poppai” named touring speedboat which we hired for the entire day and which also came with a cooler and shaded roof, was a source of a tremendous family joy,

Felippos Boat” Hire - Kassiopi Harbour

+30 2663081911 felipposboats@gmail.com

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The fabulous Northeastern coast line we toured between Kassiopi and Glyfa, is a host of several small villages, bays and beach communities.

Agios Stefanos (of the Northwest), kouloura, kalami, Yaliskari, Gialiskari, Barbati, Agni, Kaminaki, Nissaki and Glyfa all worth a beach visit.


Many offer beautiful coastal and scenic walks, vivid green and crystal water, a wide range of water sports including water-skiing, canoeing, pedalos and boat hire, as well as tavernas and restaurants.


Though there are several larger hotels, the accommodation is mainly apartment type, with larger villas on the outskirts and the area surrounding.

The architecture is definitely more upscale than on the island’s northwestern side, where we have been staying.

However at our end the beaches are sandy and much friendlier to walk on, and easier getting into the water, than those of the Northwest, which are full of rocks and large pebbles, a sheer torture to barefoot walk or to lie on.


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One beach and village that should definitely be visited:


Kalami Beach

This horseshoe-shaped most picturesque bay, 30km from Corfu town, is endowed with a rare natural beauty of greenery accompanied by the tranquility of the Ionian Sea and the hillside villages around it.


Kalami beach is worldwide famous as its unspoiled landscape inspired the British Nobel Prize nominated author Lawrence Darrell for his excellent novel “Prospero's cell”. It is also known for the author’s former residence. He lived there in the “White House” by the waterfront in the 1930’s with his wife, Nancy. Lawrence Darrelll also wrote the“Alexandrian Quartet” which I enjoyed reading.

The “White House” home was regularly visited by the Darrell family including, a young Gerald Durrell who later became a leading conservationist and popular author, and who throughout his life referred to Kalami, as “paradise”.


These are the same “Durrels In Corfu” family mentioned on my Travel log from Sept 29-30th, so I was excited to visit that house.


The “White House” is situated at the end of Kalami bay, is preserved from the beginning of the 20th c, and has been a popular vacation hotel owned by the Atheneos family for generations. The hotel owners are proud of their close personal relationship with the Durrells.

The "White House" Hotel & Restaurant

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Another quint beach where we had a good lunch is


Agni Bay/Beach


We got to Agni Bay by car, which isn’t the easiest, as it has a steep, winding narrow road heading down to the bay.

Many arrive there by boat which is being tied to a small doc.

The petite bay which is 11 km of Kassiopi is surrounded by steep slopes that profoundly drop into the sea with numerous ragged submerged rocks.


The beach consists of wild vegetation, pebbles, a few patches of sand and

3 taverns that are open only during the summer season.

Lunch at Taverna Nikolas- a known traditional Greek restaurant which was recommended to us and which has a long history and a very old tradition.

It was opened by Periclis Katsaros in Agni beach three generations ago and today his nephew with his son runs it.


Taverna Nikolas- Agni Beach

Boats can also be rented on the beach at "Agni Boats to hire"

info@agniboats.com Alex +30 6973836433 George + 30 6948083897

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The EOS largest Yacht

Very close to Kassiopi, during our speedboat ride down south along the coast, to our amazement we encountered one of the largest and most elegant yachts, anchored at sea, which we had kept circling and admiring.

Few of the uniformed crew waved to us but declined to let us know who the yacht's owner was.

And no... in case you wondered.. we were not invited aboard..

The Yacht was named - “EOS, George Town made by Lursson”


A brief Google search revealed that it is a 93m Bermuda rigged schooner with three exceptionally long masts. Launched in 2006 it is one of the biggest privately owned yachts in the world. It was bought by Diane von Furstenburg, an internationally renowned fashion designer and her husband the media magnate Barry Diller in 2009.


Incidentally I personally know the Jewish parents - Helen and Stamford Diller - great philanthropists from the Bay Area (Atherton) California.


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Heading further down south, basking in the amazing views, and taking short swim breaks, during which even Leo - our almost 5 years old grand, had bravely jumped off and on the boat into the turquoise tranquil water at various coves, we eventually stopped at midday by the lovely “Taverna Yiannis” at the small beach of Nissaki.

Although we once owned a speedboat,and had enjoyed boating and even water-skiing when we resided in Madison Wisconsin, about 40 years ago, David boat’s parking skills got a bit rustic.


A stocky tanned mid-aged handsome guy took pity on us and our maneuvering efforts to park the boat by the flimsy dock, where we thought the restaurant we booked and aimed to have lunch at, was located.

The agile husky man rose quickly onto his feet off his comfortable beach chair and got into the water, pulled the boat closer to the dock, then leaped chivalrously into our boat, and effortlessly tied up the rope onto the dock.

Only after all these lengthy parking efforts, and help from a stranger we realized we mistakenly pulled into the wrong restaurant in the wrong beach


As is so common among our ancient tribe, only “2 degrees of separation” into our most friendly conversation, during which we expressed our profound gratitude for this kind assistance, lo and behold, it was revealed that there is much more familiarity to the incidental encounter, than the naked eye could see…


Once Nick, an originally Jewish Greek who resides in the UK with his attractive wife Debra, but often vacation in Corfu, shared that his daughter - Sofie and her husband Raphael and 2 grands, had made Alia, few years ago, and now reside in Tel Aviv, our daughter’s “computerized" brain, had started rolling.


In brief seconds Inbal divulged that she knows Sofie and Raphael whom she had met several times at mutual friends who both couples share.


That pleasant revelation prompted a mutual photo taking and email/whatsup exchanges between all the parties involved.


Nick and Debra also painfully shared that they have not seen their daughter and grands over 9 months due to the corona visitation restrictions in Israel. Their plea for their daughter to meet them in Corfu where they have a second home, had not materialized either.


I could only imagine what a longing sense our care-free united family with our grands on the boat had invoked in them, seeing us touring on their turf.


Our "good Samaritans" also endowed us with a recommended list of restaurants not to be missed on the island. We also exchanged addresses before our pleasant but too short encounter, came to an end and we rushed to the correct

beach and restaurant to feed the hungry family.


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This time after getting a brief "refresher course", the boat parking went smoothly and the food at this recommended "Taverna Glyfa" was great!

"Taverna Glyfa" - Sea Food Taverna

info@tavernaglyfa.com +30 26630 91090

It is located on a tiny beachfront between Nissaki and Apses bay


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This most fun weekend will be engraved in our family history book as a

glorious memorable experience we were lucky to have during the dreary

Corona times.

At the end of this friendly forecast weekend, the sky opened their chimneys and the downpour of rain showers, meticulously erased any trace of the earlier fantastic weather.

To be continued...