Each year Richards parents take the boys on a 5 day holiday in the caravan to a nearby destination and we get to spend the week alone. For most parents the thought of that would be idyllic and believe me – it is!
Don’t get me wrong, spending time with our family is something we value highly and do day in and day out and it’s of course one of our favourite things to do. However, to be given the chance to spend 5 whole days alone – reconnecting as Richard and Kelly and not just Mummy and Daddy was a chance that we weren’t going to overlook!
In previous years we’ve visited many places in the UK and they’ve been wonderful; Cotswolds, Edinburgh, London and sometimes chosen to stay at home too and have some local days out but, not this year. We’ve spent the last two years at home, house renovating so this year we decided to head somewhere slower, somewhere sunnier and somewhere where we could relax, recharge and rejuvenate. After hours of research we decided on sunny Corfu and couldn’t wait to spend the time together reconnecting and rekindling our romance and I’m happy to say the island didn’t disappoint.
We chose to stay in the quiet resort of Ipsos, which is approximately 15km from Corfu Airport and is located on the East side of the island. It was pretty central to everything which made travelling to other places relatively easy.
We spent our mornings relaxing by the pool, reading and sunbathing and we ate breakfast at our hotel up in the mountains. The views were amazing and as I sit and write this blog I’m just remembering that yesterday I had that beautiful view and this time 24 hours on I’ve got the view of my lounge – nothing compares really! Our hotel served good food and had a great range of cocktails too, which came in pretty handy!
Then each day about midday we headed out in the car and travelled to a different destination each day, it felt like a daily adventure and we soaked it all up. During our first day we visited Kassiopi where we ate in Grill & Chill, this was number 1 in Trip Advisors listings and it lived up to its reputation. We both ate Gyros, the local Greek dish and it was delicious, it’s pork and chicken kebab style meat, served with fried pitta bread (yes, fried!) and plenty of fresh salad, it was one of our favourite meals of the entire holiday. The restaurant was close to the beach too and whilst dining the owner came over to chat to us, he was such a lovely guy and made us feel very welcome.
Whenever we go anywhere we like to chat to the locals and find out more about their culture, businesses and the country in general and he was more than happy to chat to us. It was fascinating to learn more about the country, its economy and the culture and he shared his story with us too.
Kassiopi was one of our favourite places on the island is a village, and is a resort on the affluent north east coast of Corfu. Historically, it’s a small traditional fishing village but, over the years the town itself has been heavily developed and with more luxury villas and hotels. It’s a popular destination for tourists and we could see why, it was such a pretty village.
Whilst in Kassiopi, we ate the most delicious gelato and walked along the coastline too, only pausing to admire the view. This was a very romantic place to be and we sat at the harbour and watched the boats coming in and going out, it was truly beautiful to see the sun set over this fishing village.
On Tuesday we headed into Corfu Town, this was one of the places I was most looking forward to visiting. We spent the afternoon wandering the cobbled streets of Corfu Town and taking in as much of the culture as we could. The streets were filled with market stalls and tavernas and the Greeks just went about their own business, quietly and unassumingly. One of my favourite things to do in new places is to eat, drink and people watch – I love observing everyday life in new places and it was good to watch others going about those business.
Corfu Town was so beautiful and the architecture and buildings were amazing to look at, every street corner was filled with even more impressive buildings and my obsession with beautiful doors continued and even extended to windows. Everything looked so beautiful, even the run down buildings looked pretty too, with their rusty balconies and sun damaged doors, it was good to see that even the oldest and simplest of things can still be so beautiful.
Later that afternoon we headed to Paleokastritsa (Paleo), this is a pretty little cove located on the North West of the island. This side of island is filled with long golden sandy beaches and crystal blue waters and the views are picturesque. Paleo was small yet, perfectly formed and it had everything you would want from a place. Some of the restaurants and bars were the best we’ve seen since we begin our trip and the coves were so beautiful to see, so pretty and picturesque, with a mountain backdrop. It was truly amazing!
As the climate was so warm, on average 32 degrees everyday we were able to stay on the beach until 7pm, if not longer, we made our days feel longer and that in itself felt good. This particular day we stayed on the beach until 6ish and Richard even went snorkelling in the cove whilst I sunbathed, read and sunbathed a little more (responsibly may I add). The temperatures were so high that we both sunbathed in Factor 50 as we didn’t want to burn, nowadays getting a tan is gradual as I’m much more educated about the sun and it’s dangers, more so than when I was a young 18 year old baking in the sun all day.
I love the warmth of the sun on my face but, I’m definitely not a sun worshipper. I enjoy reading or sunbathing for a while but, then I’ll need a dip in the pool or sea as it gets too hot!
Whilst in Paleo we decided to stop off for a bite to eat before heading back to Ipsos and thanks to Trip Advisor (again) we ate in the most beautiful beach bar restaurant. The restaurant was Akron and was one of the highest ranking in Paleo and was located deep into the village, we walked along the many steps down to the most beautiful views, located in the most stunning cove.
The restaurant served the most delicious food and cocktails and I myself couldn’t resist a Mojito. Poor Richard was driving us everywhere so didn’t have a drop of alcohol until we landed back into our hotel at the end of the day but, he insisted he wasn’t bothered, as this holiday was more about good food and good company. Luckily for me, he was keen to drive on this holiday and he took us from place to place safely. If you visit this island I would highly recommend getting a car as there are so many beautiful places to see and without a car it would be very difficult to see them all. The whole island is only 39km long so it’s all within a close proximity however, it’s not for the faint hearted as the driving entails driving up high into the mountains and the drivers in Greece drive fast and pull out at every junction without warning. I have to be honest and say at times it felt like we were in the wacky races particularly in Corfu Town, the traffic was so busy and it was sensory overload with cars and mopeds pulling out, people crossing the street in the middle of busy traffic and dogs as cats just taking a stroll in the middle of traffic too – it was pretty hectic! But, everywhere else was so picturesque and the majority of the roads follow the coastline so you get to see the best bits of the island by car.
The island is relatively easy to travel around and we used Enterprise rent-a-car, we used this car company as they had the best reviews for its service, price and ease of use. We were able to pick up the keys from the Enterprise airport desk and we were shown where to go to pick our car up. We’ve heard some horror stories about other car companies stating you’ve damaged the car when using it so Richard always takes photographs of any damage on our hire car before we set off so he has proof of any damage prior to us taking the car.
We’re never quite sure what car we’ll head up with but, Richard was pleased when the clerk told us we would be having a Mercedes for the duration of our trip, however was slightly disappointed when he realised it was an A Class as I think he was expecting a saloon.
Nevertheless, it drove well and we realised why the majority of drivers in Corfu have a small (ish) car. When driving on the smaller roads (and there are plenty of those) you are literally passing one another mirror to mirror and when it’s hectic in the centre you’ve even got to put your mirrors in to pass one another. It sounds horrendous but, it’s not, you’ve just got to have your wits about you!
During our trip we also visited Kavos and Sidari and their surrounding places and found some more beautiful coves and views of the ocean. It truly was an adventure and we thoroughly enjoyed driving around the island and we were never far away from a mountain and/or beach and ocean view. This island is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to and our favourite places were Kassiopi and Benistses.
The views were so beautiful in Benitses that we decided to stop there on our way back from Lepkimmi and we decided to soak up the last of the rays on this pebbles beach and Richard went snorkelling.
During our time in Benitses we found the most beautiful family run restaurant, Le Pergola which served the most delicious wood fired oven baked pizzas served with the freshest salad, olives an warm pitta bread. We chatted to the owners and and learnt how this restaurant used to be his fathers house. He told us tales of how he and his family renovated the house in 1987 and converted it into this beautiful restaurant. The owner and his wife were such a lovely couple and we’re so charming and took pride in their restaurant, if you’re ever in Benitses it’s definitely worth a visit, the pizzas an views are amazing!
Holidays are a time for relaxing and recharging the batteries and that’s exactly what we did. It’s also a chance to kick back and overdose on good food, good wine, a little sun bathing and quality time together – holidays are perfect for that. It’s also a chance to be completely care free too, I didn’t wear any make up the whole holiday (I never usually do), I had beach hair the entire time and it felt amazing!
During this holiday I’ve found a new love for Greece that I didn’t even know existed so well definitely be back and I’m keen to explore the other Greek islands too! This holiday has been everything I’d hoped it would be and Richard and I have loved spending this time together, to just sit and chat, reconnect at a deeper level and just enjoy one another’s company, it’s not often as parents you get the chance to do this. It just reminded us what life was like before we had the boys and even though we loved this time together we were definitely ready to see the boys, I couldn’t imagine what life would be like if we didn’t have them. It was probably be much more carefree, quieter and less chaotic but, we love all of those things and missed them so much.
The holiday was a success and if you haven’t visited this beautiful island before, it’s definitely worth a visit, I would highly recommend it!