Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Guest Travel Blog - Arillas ~ Corfu, Greece - by Anne Cater

Welcoming Anne on her second guest blog travel post - This time she has left her home town of Lincoln and is telling us of her love of Corfu.

Welcome again Anne......

My first trip to Greece was in 1999 when we visited the island of Rhodes and fell in love with the Greek way of life.  The people, the food, the climate – we were hooked and knew that we would return.   And return we have.  We’ve been back twice a year for the last fourteen years, and although we’ve not yet been back to Rhodes, we have visited many of the islands including Crete, Kos, Paxos, Kefalonia and Ithaca.

However, it is Arillas on the north-west coast of Corfu that we have really adopted as our second home, returning every May for two weeks.

Arillas is a quiet, village resort – with a long beach and some beautiful walks.  There are just enough tavernas, a few bars and a couple of shops.  With many visitors returning year after year, there is a real family feel to this gorgeous place.  Walking down the street, regulars are greeted by locals and other tourists.  Bar staff remember your name, waiters remember your favourite dish and nothing is too much trouble.

Corfu has a mixed climate. Glorious hot sunshine can be followed within the hour by a sudden thunderstorm and torrential rain.  The rain rarely last long though and it is this climate that gives Corfu it’s beautiful flowers and plants.

The Arillas Trail, Corfu
The residents of Arillas are very proud of their little resort and work tirelessly throughout the winter months to repair and maintain the streets, the beach and the general surroundings.   A couple of years a group of locals got together and created the Arillas Trail – a footpath between the two roads in Arillas, as well as a walking trail that starts at the beach and goes through the village to the olive-groves.  It leads to areas that have not been easily accessible by visitors before and enables tourists to see Arillas from a different perspective.  The trail ends at the Corfu Micro Brewery where visitors can stop for a free beer sample and a guided tour of the brewery .   The Trail is fully sign posted throughout and there are short-cuts for those who do not want to complete the full 8km.

The local Corfu Beer
I think that in total there are around 15 or 20 tavernas in Arillas, with a wealth of choice from high-end fine dining to the traditional gyros and pitta.   We have never had a bad meal in Arillas, all of the taverna owners pride themselves on high standards and use locally produced produce where they can.  I’ve eaten some of the best fish dishes that I’ve ever tasted when I’ve been in Arillas, and all so reasonably priced.   Many of the tavernas produce their own wine, and I particularly enjoy the local rose wine although Martin prefers the beer brewed at Corfu Brewery.

Arillas Wine Festival
The Arillas Wine Festival is held during the second weekend in September.  Local people produce wine in the traditional way whilst music is played and souvlaki is cooked on a BBQ.   Visitors to the Festival purchase a carafe for around 3 Euro, this can then be filled with the wine that was produced last year  - and re-filled as many times as you like!   We’ve never actually been in Arillas during Festival time, but have heard many stories about it!


I’ve read and enjoyed many books set on Corfu, both fiction and non-fiction, here are a few recommendations:


I like Anne, love Greece and the Greek Islands. When hunting for a video to show you that gave you a run down on the Island of Corfu, I was disappointed to see that most of them were either from Tour operators promoting All inclusive holidays, or poorly made home videos. There was nothing found from the Tourist Board, promoting this beautiful Island.

I for one am totally against all inclusive holidays in the Greek Islands, as I feel it a/ stops you from experiencing the wonderful restaurants and tavernas, and b/ It takes away badly needed revenue from the local businesses who in this day and age are fighting for survival.

So if you want my opinion, having travelled to Greece many times, and going again in a week or so's time, immerse yourself into Greek life and book an apartment. The food prices are reasonable and the food is great! Plus you get to soak up the atmosphere, rather than eat in an ordinary hotel restaurant where you could be anywhere in the world.

Thank you again Anne for coming and sharing your wonderful experiences in Corfu. I know by the time this blog post has been published you will have just about returned from your annual pilgrimage to Arillas.

Visit Anne at her blog - http://randomthingsthroughmyletterbox.blogspot.co.uk/

Trip Advisor - Guide to Corfu - Click here
Corfu Tourist Board Guide - Click here