January 7, 2020
My boyfriend Andy and I had never considered a villa package holiday for just the two of us, but GIC The Villa Collection’s early summer sun offers were so tempting that we couldn’t resist booking a week’s stay in May. Our criteria were clear: we wanted a cosy villa, close to the beach and with all amenities nearby, so that we wouldn’t need a car – neither of us fancied driving abroad, plus we wanted to treat ourselves to a glass of wine at dinner.
Finding a villa was easy as we searched through GIC’s Local Collection – a variety of properties, each selected for its superb central location – and we settled on Barbati Beach Suite, which stood out to us, not only for its homely feel and nautical touches, but for its incredible position right on the beach.
We were not disappointed! Barbati Beach Suite is compact and stylish, with an open-plan living space and everything you could possibly need for a secluded escape. Despite the villa being wonderful, the real highlight for us was the garden. Sliding doors open on to a covered patio with rattan furniture, where we enjoyed breakfast each morning. The wooden terrace – with a table and chairs (under a sun umbrella), sun beds and Jacuzzi – leads on to the rest of the pretty garden, complete with brightly coloured flowers, a path leading the way to Barbati Beach and a tiled patio area (created with tiles from the original post office in Corfu Town).
We couldn’t believe just how quiet it was; perhaps it was because we travelled early in the season, but it was so peaceful; all we could hear from our villa was the sound of the waves.
Barbati is in North East Corfu and is truly Greek in feel. The small village has just a few shops, a bakery and some excellent tavernas – nothing is out-of-scale, it’s all locally owned and is roughly a ten-minute walk from the villa, so we didn’t miss a car at all. The local tavernas in particular are very special – especially the restaurants in the village, rather than on the seafront – the food is so fresh, and the staff so friendly. The elevated village’s position also means you can watch the sun set over South Eastern Corfu, which is stunning.
The week was the perfect combination of relaxation and activity. As we were based at the foot of Mount Pantokrator, we hiked up just beyond the village of Spartilas, which wasn’t too gruelling. The views over Ipsos and beyond were breath-takingly beautiful – we soaked them up whilst re-fuelling over coffee and cake.
Corfu has an excellent bus service, so we used this to get to Corfu Town for an afternoon and evening of exploring. The journey cost less than 3 euros each (one way) and the bus is clean and air-conditioned; the only downside is that they stop running early evening, so we had to get a taxi back to the villa. Corfu Town is enchanting – with little cobbled streets lined with shops, market squares with tavernas on each corner, classical Venetian buildings and plenty of ice cream stalls.
Our GIC rep, Julia, very kindly organised us a day trip to Anti Paxos – a satellite island off Paxos – which can only be described as paradise. After dreaming of idyllic sparkling waters and picture-perfect beaches for months, it was incredible to see them in the flesh. Photographs don’t do justice to the island’s beauty; the water is turquoise and perfectly clear; it doesn’t look real at times. The journey was very simple – an hour-long hydrofoil boat from Corfu Town to Paxos and then a short boat taxi across to Anti Paxos. I’d really recommend a day trip – as much as I loved Corfu, I was very tempted to stay in blissful Anti Paxos forever!
Written by: Charlotte Griffiths