I went to Prince Philips birthplace in Corfu – I got the royal treatment and its now my favourite Greek island

With so many Greek islands worth visiting, it’s hard to choose which one to go to first. Corfu, or Kerkyra to the locals, is one of the most stunning, with charming beaches, mountain landscapes, rustic villages and magnificent views.

One big difference between Corfu and the likes of Mykonos and Santorini is its Venetian history. The influence of the Venetians can be seen in the colour scheme of ochre and terracotta, rather than the familiar white and blue of the other islands.

The Venetians also pushed the cultivation of olive trees. Corfu is adorned with more than four million olive trees, as we learnt on a brilliant walking tour of the old town, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

A Superb Stay

The newly refurbished five-star Kerkyra Blue Hotel N’ Spa has several pools and restaurants – and, of course, a spa. As the only hotel within walking distance of a beach and Corfu’s old town, it is ideally located for both relaxing and exploring.

We stayed in a superior family room with a rattan vibe, queen-size bed, Nespresso coffee machine and cosy bathrobes and slippers. But the highlight for us was the chef’s welcome treat. Enjoying local delicacies of kataifi and baklava on our balcony overlooking the pools and the ocean was the perfect way to begin our trip.

Culinary Delights

The one problem you’ll have while holidaying in Corfu (and it’s a good problem to have) is choosing where to eat. Around every corner there are coffee shops and restaurants offering mouth-watering menus. On the old town walking tour, we were taken to Liberty Avenue, which looks like a Parisian street lined with cafés. We were told the locals love to spend their evenings there, when the bars come alive.

Be sure to look for the old Town Hall Square, which is so beautiful it looks like a film set. Don’t worry about getting lost in the little streets – the locals will be happy to help direct you. And when you find it, you can enjoy a delicious Corfumade ginger beer known as tzitzibira.

The Kerkyra Blue hotel has many different options for dinner, including the Naiada All Day Dining buffet and Japanese fusion food at Fiki. But the real gem is the Alati restaurant, featuring Greek dishes. Our favourites were beef cheeks with crumbled feta and graviera saganaki with kataifi, a sweet pastry dish.

Fabulous finds

There are many sights to see in Corfu, such as the old fortress and the cricket square in the old town. Or you can walk in the footsteps of actress Keeley Hawes, who starred in ITV’s The Durrells, based on the real story of naturalist author Gerald Durrell, who moved to Corfu as a boy in 1935.

Filming locations include Mon Repos Palace, the residence of Countess Mavrodaki, which is the real-life birthplace of the late Prince Philip. Fans of The Durrells should also head to Kalami Bay to see the White House and the villas Jasmine and Josephine House.

To get more of a taste of the island, we visited the olive grove and farm that produces the award-winning Dr Kavvadia olive oil. After driving only 10 minutes from our hotel, we were met by a lovely family who provided a tour and tasting.

If you have a day to spare, it’s worth taking a boat trip to the neighbouring island of Paxos. The white pebbled beaches are breathtakingly beautiful.

Sit Back and Relax

After spending a day seeing the island’s sights, make the most of the spa at the Kerkyra Blue hotel. Treatments on offer include facials, massages, scrubs and wraps.

Our preferred place to relax was the secluded beach around the corner from the pools, which is tranquil and sandy with shallow water and views of Albania’s coastline on a clear day.

If you want to stay active, there are tennis and beach volleyball courts, as well as a watersports centre on the pier. Our favourite way to spend the evening was at the Nymphy Day N’ Night Bar, cocktail in hand, watching the sunset.

How To Book

TUI offers seven nights at Kerkyra Blue Hotel N’ Spa on an all-inclusive basis from £717 per person (price based on two adults sharing a deluxe double room with sea view, partition and balcony or terrace), including flight, hold luggage and transfers (based on a May 2024 departure). To find out more, visit tui.co.uk, visit your local TUI holiday store or download the TUI app.

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