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THE TRUE CORFU; Get off the beaten track and discover hidden gems on this beautiful Greek isle.

Byline: ADRIAN MOURBY

HERE'S a Greek island ideal for every type of holiday, whether you want a hilltop villa, a quiet cove, a family-friendly beach or a game of cricket. ADRIAN MOURBY reveals what you'll find where in Corfu...

CORFU TOWN

THERE aren't many Greek islands with their own cricket pitch, but when the British took over this one in 1814, they turfed over the old Venetian firing range in Corfu Town to make one.

Cricket is still played here in the afternoons opposite the Palace of St Michael & St George. Nursing a cold beer or hot cuppa while you watch play is a nice way to pass the time.

The style of the city is very French and Italian and hardly Greek at all. Wander round these narrow streets of the old town and you feel you could easily be in the South of France or some Italian port.

WHAT TO SEE The old castle is a romantic ruin with great views back to the town and down the east coast. On summer evenings there are sound and light shows and folk dancing displays.

WHERE TO EAT Aegli (00 30 26610 31949) is reasonably priced with a gorgeous setting on the Esplanade. If you're feeling flush, look in at one of the swanky coffee shops on the arcade known as The Liston.

WHERE TO STAY Corfu Holiday Palace (www.corfuholidaypalace.gr, 00 30 26610 36540) is about two-and-a-half miles out of town and set in woodland overlooking Mouse Island - the most photographed scene in Corfu. The newly-renovated hotel not only has its own swimming pools, but access to its own beach. Free bus service into town. B&B this month costs pounds 70pp per night when two share and kids stay free.

KALAMI

KALAMI is a village on the north-east of the island with a curved shingle bay fringed by cypress and olive trees. The town is very popular for boat excursions and daytrippers who come out in hired cars. In the evening it quietens down enough to hear dancing in the tavernas. Buses run to Corfu Town from the Kalami-Kouloura junction.

WHAT TO SEE Nearby Kouloura beach takes its name from the Greek word for a round biscuit. The bay here is an almost perfect circle.

WHAT TO EAT Kalami Beach Taverner serves both Greek and Corfiot dishes and the views across the bay are superb.

WHERE TO STAY The White House overlooking the bay is where English writer Laurence Durrell wrote one of the best memoirs of Corfu, Prospero's Cell. The Athenaios family let out the villa and various apartments nearby. The White House Apartments sleep up to four people and cost EUR500 per week (pounds 416) during summer. Go to www.white-house-corfu.gr

AGIOS YIORYIOS A SMALL resort on the north-west corner named after Saint George (Yioryios), who is patron saint of Greece as well as England. The beach is two miles long but because it's not accessible by road, it's a good place to get away from it all (though there is more and more jet-skiing and water-skiing every year). There are just a few small hotels but plenty of bars.

WHAT TO SEE Walk up into the hills through tall cypress groves. The hill village Pagi was originally a Roman settlement. The most common surname there is still Romaios meaning Roman.

WHERE TO EAT Delfini serves fresh local fish and lobster on its terrace at the north end of the beach. Akrogiali Fish Taverna (known as as Bennie's) is the best place to eat at the south end.

WHERE TO S TAY Costas Golden Beach is a pink-washed modern hotel five minutes out of the town and virtually on the beach.

Run by Dimitri and his son Spiros, the hotel Provides excellent food and a warm welcome.

Seven nights' half board late July costs 3pp when two share including flights from London through Thomson, go to www.thomson..co.uk

KASSIOPI

YOU can see all the way to Albania from the village, whose name comes from the greek words Kassi (border) and Opia (lookt).

The modern resort is made up of villas and a few hotels with discos and bars around the old harbour, where fishermen still moor their boats today. It's quieter than many resort but can get noisy at night.

WHAT TO SEE The white-walled church of Kassiopitissa was once a Temple of Jupiter Visited by Emperor Nero.

WHERE TO EAT Little Italy (00 30 26630 81749) offers Neapolitan cooking ser ved in a charming outdoor courtyard. Also try Three Brothers (00 30 26630 81211) a typical unspoiled Greek taverna on the harbourside.

WHERE TO STAY Apraos Bay Hotel (00 30 26630 98004) is a quiet modern hotel built in 1992 in the Venetian style. A little way out of the centre, it has a beautiful garden surrounded by olive and orange groves.

The private swimming pool has a panoramic bar and stone steps lead down to a tiny secluded rocky cove.

Rooms average pounds 27pp per night.

SIDARI

THIS northern resort is very popular with families be cause the beach is gently shelving and safe, even if it is pre dominantly shingle.

There are enough sand dunes to play about on and you can hire pedaled and canoes. It's big and busy - at peak season there are be ads for about 14,000 holidaymakers - but there is also quiet coves within easy reach.

WHAT TO SEE The channel known as the Canal tambour is actually a collapsed sandstone tunnel leading out to sea. Legend

Says if a woman swims through it she will win the man of her dreams and couples who swim through will stay together forever.

WHERE TO EAT Many people consider Oasis, run by amiable Gregory, is the best restaurant in town. The stiffed (large pieces of beef in thick red wine gravy with whole onions) is one of his best dishes.

WHERE TO STAY The two-star Memos a (0871 911 0 0 30 for bookings) was one of the first hotels built in Sidari and grabbed a good central position opposite the beach. Every room has its own balcony.

The air - conditioning is charged extra. Poolside snack bar and restaurant.

Rooms from pounds 27 for two people (pounds 13.50pp per night when two share) through www.lastminute.com

PALAIOKASTRITSA

THE most attractive resort on the west coast, Palaiokastr itsa has safe blue bays fringed by steep wooded hills. In the 19th Century the British High Commissioner Sir Frederick Adam had a road built between Corfu Town and Palaiokastritsa. He claimed it was so that a home for convale scing soldiers could be built.

That never happened - but the road allowed Sir Frederick to take lots of picnics on his favourite strip of coastline. Other visitors have included Empress Elizabeth of Austria a nd Kaiser Wilheim of Germany.

WHAT TO SEE Angeloskastro is a castle bet ween Pagi and Palaiokastritsa. It was built to deter Genoese pirates by Michael Angelos Kommenos Doukas, who ruled Corfu in the 13th Century. In 1571 when the Turkish army invaded, local villagers took shelter in this impregnable fort.

When the main army departed, the villagers re-emerged and killed the entire Turkish garrison. Today it's a ruin with a wellpreserved cistern, some hermits' cells and a shrine to the archangels Michael and Gabriel.

WHERE TO EAT The Rock (00 30 26630 41233) is said to take its name from the great rock on which Ulysses was shipwrecked coming home from the Trojan wars. The re staurant commands great views of the coastline.

WHERE TO STAY The four-star Akrotiri Beach (00 30 266 30 41275; www.akrotir ibeach.com) is the best hotel in the area. It's situated on a wooded peninsula and has two swimming pools, a tennis club, beach access and a nearby diving school. B&B high season costs pounds 60pp per night when two share.

What's the deal?

THOMSON (0871 230 2555, www.thomson.co.uk) offer a range of properties on Corfu from selfcatering apartments starting at pounds 169 per person to half-board at a four-star property from pounds 339 per person (prices include flights and transfers).

Holiday Autos (0870 400 0010, www.holidayautos.co.uk) offer a week's fully inclusive hire on Cor fu from pounds 127.

Boat trips are a must - see www.corfunext.com for more info.

CAPTION(S):

Corfu old town has a French feel about it; Chill out on the safe beaches at Palaiokastritsa; Enjoy pretty villages tucked in the hills; Kalami... take a day trip or linger a while Pictures: THE TRAVEL LIBRARY
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Article Type:City overview
Date:Jul 6, 2008
Words:1431
Previous Article:WIN FAMILY HOL IN CORFU; WORTH pounds 2,000.
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