Family Holidays on Corfu’s Mythical North Coast

Corfu comes in at No. 7 on USA Today’s list of the 10 best European honeymoon destinations, but it’s also a beautiful, diverse island to visit with the kids in tow. This mythical Ionian island off the western coast of Greece mainland is quite small (merely 60 by 24 kilometers at its widest) and best navigated with a rental car—just be sure to invest in a solid local map and allow plenty of time to traverse twisty turns. This is particularly true on the north coast of Corfu, a beautiful, mostly low-key region which offers scads of great adventures that will delight parents and children alike.

If you’re planning a family holiday to Corfu, consider basing yourself in the resorts of Sidari, Acharavi, or Roda on the northern coast, a short but scenic drive up from Corfu Town. You’ll find all the mod-cons and amenities you’d expect to help keep the wee ones and teens entertained at the area’s large package resorts. That said, if you’re keen for an authentic Greek experience, stay at a modern resort and then use your rental car to explore some of the unspoilt villages and beaches along the coast.

holiday to Corfu

For instance, enjoy a morning spent learning to windsurf on the beach. After lunch, pack the kids in the car, then diverge from the main road at Sidari and meander slowly through countryside dappled with olive and orange trees. Stop at Peroulades, a particularly sweet time-warp village, and stroll the winding streets with an ice cream or gelato. Eat an early dinner at one of the village’s picturesque tavernas — or dine on freshly caught fish on the Peroulades beach, a narrow sandy strip justly renowned for its amazing sunset panoramas.

Another day on your family holidays to Corfu, use the morning to explore Acharavi’s two miles of sandy shore — the beach is pretty and very safe for younger children, gently sloping into the Ionian Sea. Again, you’ll find tons of water sports available, including windsurfing, paragliding, and even old-school water skiing. After lunch, rent bikes and check out the lovely cove at Agios Spiridion or drive up to Perithia, a desolate “ghost town” arranged around the green slopes of Mount Pantokrator, the island’s highest peak. Stroll through the winding lanes of this 13th-century village, and wonder aloud who once lived in its deserted Venetian houses and worshiped in its empty churches. There’s even a pirate story for the kids, as Perithia’s inland locale once made it a safe refuge from the raids that regularly plagued coastal residents.

For dinner, check out one of Perithia’s handful of tavernas serving hardy, authentic Corfiot cuisine. Corfu’s gastronomy is unusual: because the island has been occupied by the British, French, and Italians at various times, its menus reflect twinges of those culinary heritages in addition to what we usually consider “Greek” fare. Expect to see a plethora of fresh (albeit costly!) seafood, either grilled as elsewhere or served in a French-inspired wine-based sauce with a side of pasta. Libations include tsitsibira, a tasty local ginger beer, and be sure to take home some of the local kumquat jam, sold at many local shops.

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