Kalamaki, Perithia & Agios Ioannis holiday guide
Corfu’s north coast, where the lower slopes of its highest mountain Pantocrator sink below the waves, is gentler than the north-east, and provides excellent bathing too. The stretch between Kalamaki and St. Spiridion faces the mountains of Albania stacked up across the straits; it is quiet and user-friendly, yet close enough to buzzing towns like Kassiopi and Roda for tastes of a party atmosphere. A holiday in Perithia, puts you in the island’s oldest village, sitting three kilometres behind and well above the coast, about half-way to Pantocrator’s summit.
The Blue Flag beaches at Kalamaki (with its rickety jetty) then St. Spiridion, out towards Corfu’s most northerly point, are long and sandy. They are lapped on one side by shallow sea, which provides safe bathing, and on the other by olive groves. Both villages offer a range of shops and restaurants, and views of Albania’s mountains.
Things to do
This is an area for visits to the beach punctuated by trips to bustling and pretty Kassiopi, or lively Roda. Sidari, with its water parks and eerie canals, is a short drive away. For a different Corfu experience, head up the mountain to 14th-century Perithia, and explore its abandoned houses, stripped of their inhabitants by generations of depopulation. Beyond it lies the summit of Mount Pantocrator, with views of the whole island, the mountains of Albania, and even the Italian coast, nearly 130km way.
Eating and drinking
Relaxation is the order of the day: long drinks at the beach, then al fresco dining with the stars and Albania’s lights twinkling. Kalamaki, St. Spiridion, and Perithia offer food similar in type: Greek staples such as mezzedes (small dishes of meat, fish, and vegetables), kleftiko (lamb cooked slowly in an outdoor oven), and sheftalia (a spicy baked sausage), with wine sometimes served in old-fashioned aluminium containers. Kalamaki and St. Spridion go in for village tavernas or terraced al fresco dining overlooking the sea. Perithia’s elevation, on the other hand, gives views across the whole of the north-east coast to the mountains opposite.
Around Perithia you will see buzzards circling lazily, and at night hear the rhythmical screech of the Scops owl. Swallows and housemartins nest under the eaves of houses. In coastal Kalamakiand St. Spiridion cormorants dive for fish, and lazier herring gulls follow the fishing boats in droves. Everywhere the cicada chorus is present, sometimes deafeningly so