This September, I went on my first solo travel trip since the beginning of the pandemic. I decided to visit the Greek island of Corfu, as, during the lockdown, I became a fan of the Durrell’s and realised they filmed it on the island of Corfu. Join me in this post as I explore some of the most popular places in Corfu, like Corfu old town, Paleokastritsa, Kanoni, Gouvia and more! Pssst, I also found The Durrells house!
Corfu is one of the most beautiful, laid back islands in Greece. I had so much fun exploring it by myself. Compared to other Greek islands, Corfu was lush, green and had lots of old architecture to see. If you love nature, you will love this island.
As well as a blog post, I have a full-length YouTube video showing the island and have some solo travel chats. So, if you are wondering what to expect when travelling in 2021, click this link to watch the video.
Where to stay on the Island of Corfu?
I choose the town of Gouvia as my base for exploring the island. Gouvia is about a twenty-minute bus ride to the old town and not far from the airport.
When booking accommodation, I settled on a resort-style hotel, as I wanted to unwind and relax, with a little bit of exploring thrown in.
The hotel I stayed in had its very own beach and was a perfect retreat from the world. Click here for more details on the hotel I stayed in, and I booked a standard room. However, when I got to the hotel, they put me into one of the bungalows that faced the sea, which was a treat! Overall the hotel was clean, felt safe and quiet.
The town of Gouvia is small and lively, and there are many bars and restaurants in the centre that you can explore in the evenings.
There is a beach in Gouvia but bear in mind that most of the beaches on the island of Corfu are pebbly and not sandy.
One of the evenings, I had a ramble down to the marina in Gouvia. If you are into boat trips or staying on a fancy yacht, this spot is for you.
How can I get around Corfu island?
From Gouvia, I used both the blue and green bus routes to get around the island. People recommend renting a car when visiting the island, but I am nervous about driving on the opposite side of the road, so I choose to bus it.
There is a great app called “Moovit”. On this app, you can type in the location you want to go to and then it gives you the best bus route to take. It even tells you which side of the road to get the bus on.
The blue buses in Corfu go to the city and surrounding towns like Gouvia, Dassia, Kanoni and some southern villages. The green buses are coaches and travel further around the island to places like Paleokastritsa, Kassiopi and down south to Kavos.
You can pay on the bus, but make sure to have cash. At some of the bus stops, there are kiosks to buy a ticket. Otherwise, you can buy one from the bus driver on the bus.
The buses are currently running at full capacity, and wearing a mask is mandatory on all buses. Also, the buses have air conditioning and wifi, which is a win!
Where is The Durrells house in Corfu? Did you find it?
Yes, I stumbled across it by accident. The Durrells house is a private residence, and most of the indoor scenes of the show were filmed in a studio in the UK, but you can still get a peep at the house.
The Durrells house is in Kontokalli, which is a 30 min walk from Gouvia. One morning, I was strolling, and I walked through the Gouvia marina into Kontokalli to find it.
To access the back of The Durrells house, walk to this beach. This beach is small and pebbly, but keep walking up to it for approx 5 minutes, and you will stumble across the back of the house. Make sure to access the beach by the main road.
The front of The Durrells house has a large green gate, and it’s a private residence. You can have a little peep through, and you see all of the olive and fruit trees and a grassy path to the house.
A lot of the scenes from The Durrells were filmed in Danilia village. Now, if you want to stroll up to this village, it is, unfortunately, a museum and is permanently closed at the moment.
Is Corfu old town work the visit?
If you are like me and love old buildings, then absolutely. All streets in Corfu town lead to Spianada. You can wander through the side streets that are full of markets and trinket shops. There is also the Cathedral of Saint Spyridon to visit when in Corfu town.
There are also museums in Corfu old town and loads of places to eat and drink. My hotel has a boat trip that brings you to the old town by boat, and they also have an evening boat trip. So you could explore old town Corfu in the evening.
There are plenty of bus routes to and from the old town, making it easy to visit.
From Corfu town, I got a bus to Kanoni to visit Pontikonisi island. This bus took about 25 minutes and left me at the top of Kanoni. From here, I had amazing views of the Monastery below.
I stopped here for lunch and watched the planes landing before walking down the steps to visit the Monastery. You can get a boat for about €5 to the island.
Exploring Paleokastritsa, how can I get there?
In Paleokastritsa, you will find the blue caves, beaches and a monastery with a stunning ocean view. One Sunday afternoon, I took the green bus and headed for a ramble around Paleokastritsa.
I got the bus from Gouvia to Paleokastritsa, and it cost €1.60. Just a tip, the bus tickets for the blue bus do not work on the green buses, but you can buy a ticket on the coach. The buses were also on time, and I wasn’t waiting long for one.
It took about 30 minutes to get to the other side of the island. When I arrived, I walked up the hill and headed to the Monastery. When you get to the top, there is the most beautiful view of the ocean and beaches, turquoise blue seas and an unspoilt horizon.
Next to the Monastery, there is a canon, and if you follow this trail to a cross, you will find another viewpoint further up. The path is off-road but safe enough to walk in runners.
Do you need to book in advance to visit Paleokastritsa Monastery?
The Monastery is free to visit and opens 7 am – 1 pm. It closes during lunch and opens back up at 3 pm – 7 pm. You can donate to the Monastery, and there is a church and a museum on site. There is also an adorable garden!
Many tours visit the Monastery, but you can get the public bus if you want to tour on your own time.
Modest clothing must be worn by both men and women to enter. On the day I visited, I wore a sundress, and my shoulders were exposed, but the guy at the entrance gave me a scarf to put over my shoulders and was very kind about it.
What’s it like to travel to Greece now?
Travellers from the list of countries allowed entry to Greece can skip quarantine, provided they have a negative PCR test within 72 hours before travel or proof that they are fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid. All travellers must complete a passenger locator form.
As things change quickly, check your official foreign affairs website before travelling and ensure you have the correct documentation on arrival.
I flew to Corfu with Ryanair and had my documents checked at the gate and in passport control. Before coming home to Ireland, I also completed a passenger locator form and presented this in passport control.
When returning home to Ireland, you do not need to quarantine if you have a negative PCR test within 72 hours before travel or proof that they are fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid.
There were plenty of doctor surgeries in Gouvia offering PCR tests with quick result turnaround times.
In Corfu, public transport is now at full capacity, and it is mandatory to wear a mask. Social distance and hand hygiene are still in place, but overall, it felt more relaxed.
In the hotel, you need to wear a mask in indoor public spaces and restaurants. My hotel had a buffet, and we were also required to wear a glove and mask when getting food from the buffet.
What about boat trips in Corfu?
There are loads of boat trips in Corfu, but I had read bad reviews on the popular ones. One of the popular tours is to visit Paxos and Antipoxos. However, when I read recent comments, they said the boats are overcrowded with no social distancing.
Also, I wanted to go on the boat trip to Albania, but this trip has been cancelled until 2022. You can get a ferry to Albania, but the tours to Saranda and Butrint are not currently running.
Now, I did manage to get my day at sea! From my hotel, I went on a boat trip to the North of the island. Some other hotel guests and I joined captain Spiros on his boat for an afternoon on the waves ( and the Ouzo)
We sailed to a small town for lunch and then headed to some caves for deep-sea swimming. This trip was much more relaxed and felt safer, the group was smaller, and I got to see parts of the island I would have missed.
Cash is king in Corfu!
When getting a taxi and in some bars, make sure to have some cash. While most shops and restaurants will accept cards, I did notice that some places only accepted cash.
Unlike home, where we casually pay for a coffee with a watch, over there cash is more common. However, don’t worry as there are plenty of ATMs around the towns.
Any taxi’s I got only accepted cash. So, keep in mind if getting a taxi from the airport to your hotel.
I hope you got a feel for Corfu, and if you plan on visiting and have any further questions, then comment below. Overall I found the island safe and clean. Whether you want to relax by a beach or hike and explore, there is something for everyone.
Have you visited Corfu? Let me know how you got on in the comments section. I would also love to know if you too got to see more of the Durrells house!
Thanks for reading! Catherine.