On an island notorious for its party resorts, is it possible to enjoy peace, quiet and a gorgeous setting? If you stay in Kalami, the answer is a resounding “Ne” (
that’s yes in Greek).
Kalami has one of the most picturesque settings I’ve come across, as you can see from the top photo. While Kefalonia had Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Skopelos had Mamma Mia, the Roger Moore-era Bond film For Your Eyes Only was filmed in Corfu’s Kalami, and it’s not difficult to see why location scouts chose the bay.
If it wasn’t for the deafening chirruping of the thousands of almost invisible cicadas hidden amongst the olive groves and cypress trees, it could be the most peaceful spot on Earth.A sign by the road outside Kalami says it’s 29km to Corfu Town, but the transfer takes at least an hour. Not only does the coach drop-off at numerous resorts on the way, it rarely gets above 30mph (and often labours at under 10mph) as it negotiates switchbacks on the coastal road to the mountainous north east of the island.
As we arrived in Kalami, my phone beeped and I received a text from my network operator: “Welcome to Albania”. The Albanian coastline is only a couple of miles across the Ionian Sea, and we were looking forward to a daytrip there, although I wasn’t expecting to be on the Vodafone AL network quite so soon.Three wooden jetties protrude from the village’s pebbly beach – they are ideal for diving off into the crystal-clear turquoise waters, although their intended purpose is to secure boats to. I’ve swam in some pretty special places, but a dip here is in my top-5 swims and is so refreshing when the beach temperature hits 35°C. I don’t make a habit of getting up early when on holiday, but the photo below, taken from the balcony of our sixth floor apartment at the Adonis & Asonitis apartments when a daytrip meant a 6.30am wake-up call, was just about worth it. After a hard day on the beach, a pre-dinner drink on the balcony became our ritual. We could just about make out Corfu Town and the huge cruise-ships docking there in the distance. The best view is from the terrace of Dimitri’s taverna alongside the main road above Kalami. It’s too far (and dark) to walk there and back, but if you call ahead (6977 389481), the friendly driver George will pick you up and drop you off in his minibus. Watch the colour of the clouds change from white to orange to pink while you feast on tzatziki, steak and the best homemade puddings we tried in our week in Corfu. There are only four tavernas in Kalami itself, all on the seafront. The White House may not be able to compete with Dimitri’s for views, but for food, service and the x-factor, it cannot be beaten. This was the home of Lawrence Durrell, the English author (“Prospero’s Cell”) and brother of Gerald Durrell (“My Family and Other Animals”). It has now been converted into a taverna downstairs with accommodation upstairs. While cats prowl the other restaurants in Kalami hoping for scraps of souvlaki, the White House has its own resident duck, pecking away. The grounds feature statues of ducks, foxes and rabbits in homage to My Family and Other Animals.
By the end of the week, we were so relaxed and used to the noise of the pesky cicadas, we didn’t notice it anymore.Inspired?
Go packaged: There are very few package tour options to Kalami from the UK. The only one we could find was to the Adonis & Asonitis apartments with Thomson – basic rooms in a hillside complex with great views and two pools.
Go independent: Ryanair fly to Corfu, so bag yourself a cheap flight with them (or with one of the charter airlines) and stay at the White House apartments – its accommodation rentals can be found here.