Barbati’s Blue Flag beach is one of Corfu’s best, and has not been spoilt or over-developed although it has all the essentials such as toilets, showers and changing rooms. You walk or drive down a steep, rough track from the coast road. When you get to the beach there are sun loungers and umbrellas for hire and several tavernas to keep you topped up with snacks and cold drinks. You can try the various water sports based around the jetty, including parascending, ringos and water skiing and there are pedaloes and dinghies for hire. Children will be intrigued by the remains of an ancient church waiting to be discovered on the beach, adding to the photographic potential of the place. The water is shallow and clear but then shelves quite steeply so it is important to keep a keen eye on small paddling people! The beach is rarely overcrowded and you can usually find a secluded spot if you are prepared to walk for a few minutes. The quietest part is the south end which remains just as nature intended with no sun loungers and great snorkelling potential.
Barbati is about 13 miles away from Corfu Town, with its narrow cobbled streets, museums, 10th-century fortress, pavement cafes and hidden leafy squares. Local buses are frequent and comfortable if you don’t fancy the hassle of parking, or for a more romantic and scenic journey to Corfu Town you can catch the Nautilus motor yacht from Nissaki harbour, a short drive away. The Nautilus will also take you on a trip ending with a beach barbeque after exploring the North East Coast from the sea. Campiello, the oldest part of Corfu Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with historic churches and a maze of narrow streets. Here you will have a great choice of local handicrafts such as gold and silver jewellery, things made from the local olive wood and very good soap made from olive oil. You will also find ceramics, lace and embroidered linen as well as leather belts, wallets and bags all made on the island. However, you may want to take some time out and laze all day by your own private pool at the villa, relax on the beach or go for a stroll in the foothills of Mount Pantokrator, enjoying the gentle slopes and lush landscape.
Mount Pantokrator, looming behind Barbati, is the highest mountain on the island at 906 metres (2,972 feet). There is a good, fairly new twisty road that takes you to the summit, but our more hardy visitors have been known to hike to the top! However you get there, it is worth the effort for the views alone. You can see the whole of Corfu spread out below you, as well as the mountains and coast of mysterious Albania across the Ionian Sea. If you are very lucky and have a clear bright day you might even see the southern tip of Italy which is over eighty miles away. Looking south, you can see the islands of Paxos and Antipaxos and looking north, you can see the islands of Mathraki, Erracusa and Othondi. When you have enthused long enough over the views, you can have a rest and refreshments at the café. There is also a monastery up there and rather less romantically, an impressively large radio antenna that is part of a telecommunications station. The first monastery on the site was built with the help of villagers from Old Perithia using local wood and limestone. It was destroyed around 1537 and the one that is there now dates from around 1689, with a 19th century facade.
Beneath the foothills of Mount Pantokrator you will find Old Perithea, a very special, ancient and atmospheric village, 400 metres above sea level, the only original inhabited mountain village of its kind on the island. The first records of Old Perithea date back to the mid-14th century, but its origins are much older than that. Many of its 130 houses were abandoned and are now in ruins, although the village has more recently been recognised as an important part of the island’s heritage. Some of the buildings are being restored and there are four tavernas trading here as well as a successful B&B. (There is also a village known as New Perithia set along the main coastal road from Kassiopi to Sidari, so don’t get confused!) Old Perithia is in an outstandingly beautiful setting, surrounded by vines and oak trees, looking out to sea on one side and to the mountain on the other, with rolling valleys in between. It is a lovely place for a day out.