Updated: Jan 26
Paleokastritsa: The Greek Capri
Let me take you to Chomi, Stelari and Paradise Beach, some of the most beautiful spots in West Corfu, while we enjoy a great day out at sea in a small motorboat.
Living here doesn’t mean that you have plenty of time to enjoy all the beauties of the island, but on one of those days when, unexpectedly, my partner and I had a break from our duties, we planned to go on a boat trip to the coast of Paleokastritsa area.
This lovely resort, located on the West coast of Corfu and also known as “The Greek Capri”, is one of the most popular places to visit for everyone who comes to the island, due to the natural beauty of the area, full of small coves, surrendered by lush green forests of cypresses, orange trees, lemon trees, and, above all, centenary olive trees, which grow on every hill and rock until the seaside together with bougainvillaeas, roses, geraniums, bellflowers and many other varieties.
How to get to Paleokastritsa and its secret beaches
The area is very easy to reach, as you can drive from Corfu Town in around 40 minutes, or also use the KTEL - Blue Buses that depart from the Central Station and arrive in Paleokastritsa last stop in less than an hour.
The legend and the myth
Many legends are told by locals and tour guides: Paleokastritsa is said to be the area where Ulysses, the Greek hero, woke up after he shipwrecked during his trip back from Troy War to his kingdom in Ithaka island, escaping from Poseidon’s wrath. Princess Nausicaa, king Alkinoos’ daughter, rescued him from the beach and took him to her palace, which was located in this area. Boatmen know exactly the place where this event took place: inside one of the small caves where their 40-minute tour goes (what a coincidence!) The imposing rock that can be seen in the distance as we look southwest, Kolovri islet, is apparently an actual ship turned into stone, either by Poseidon -if the vessel was Ulysses’, or by the Holy Virgin Mary, who answered the monks’ prayers many years ago when an Algerian pirate ship was approaching the bay. Those monks inhabited the once remote Monastery of the Virgin Mary, watchpoint of the coast and nowadays a tourist magnet for all the ones who want to admire the landscape from above.
Rent a boat and go!
Aware as we were of the legends and myths, and hoping for Poseidon’s kindness on a shiny sunny summer day, there we went! An amazing emerald-blue sea, incredibly clean and transparent, was awaiting us to sail its summer waves on a small boat. We chose it, paid for the one-day rental, plus the full petrol tank (around 70 euros altogether), and we sailed away, not before having brought with us the supplies for the day: water, some snacks, sunscreen, and hats!
Paradise or Chomi Beach
There are many small coves all along the pristine coastline, only reachable by boat. Some of them may be a bit crowded during the summer, and, although we were looking for something quieter, we also wanted to see the popular Paradise Beach (or Chomi Beach), nestled underneath imposing white cliffs and surrounded by small grottos inside twisted stratum, crooked by Mother Nature millions of years ago and modelled by the waves.
The stop was really worth it, and here we took the first photos of the flawless cerulean waters, so transparent that you can see the sea bottom and lots of fish underneath.
This spot can be reached by boat only. If you want to spend the whole day here you can also hop on one of the wooden kaikia that depart from Paleokastritsa main port (20 euro per person, return ticket).
All you have to do is arrange your return time for the pickup with the captain, and he will come to bring you back to the port at the scheduled time. They speak English.
Take into account that this place is not suitable for persons with mobility issues: you must be a bit fit to jump off / get onto the boat (at least 1-metre leap), as there's no deck and the boats have to stop close to the shore. There's no sand here, but small pebbles and gravel, and the sensation when you walk on them are very nice, but the jump from the boat can be a bit painful as well, so we recommend you wear plastic sandals or water shoes. A good pair of goggles is also necessary if you want to practice swimming or snorkel.
Continuing our discovery route we sailed South, quieter and less popular. After fifteen minutes we saw our destination: a virgin beach, that's what we were looking for! It's known as Stellari, the Italian word for extraordinary, and indeed it was! This heavenly deserted place reminds me of a huge bite on the mountain. Maybe Poseidon had something to do with it!
We were so excited about the trip that kept on sailing a bit more. We almost reached Ermones beach, but we stopped at Giali beach. They say it's one of the most beautiful bays in Corfu, and I must admit that it really took my breath away, not only for the amazing colour of the sea but also for the shape of the lentil-shaped pebbles on the shore, which created a very pleasant massage while I was walking on it. I also had plenty of time to practise one of my favourite activities, swimming underwater, while my partner tried to take funny photos of me.
Warning to seafarers
Just one more piece of advice: the tides in Corfu usually change at 15:00 and the wind starts blowing more than expected, and this made me feel a bit seasick on the way back to the port, but thanks to my boyfriend's sailing skills we returned safely and happy for our gorgeous day at sea!