Avlaki, Corfu

Chasing the sun, dodging quarantine

Like most people I’ve longed to travel this year and, perhaps, because we couldn’t, the urge was even stronger. 

With travel restrictions lifted for the main European tourist season I set my sights on an Autumn trip to the Greek islands due to family commitments I couldn’t travel earlier. It would be chasing the sun at this time of year, but I eagerly anticipated the sense of freedom a holiday provides.

As the dreaded virus wreaked havoc for a second time across Europe, countries previously deemed ‘safe’ were put on the naughty step. It became a game of chicken where to book; a game of chance where to find sunshine. I signed up to the FCO alert emails, checked flight schedules and temperature charts daily. With the prospect of a difficult winter looming large and limited choice of destinations I booked adjoining beachfront villas in Avlaki, North East Corfu, large enough to take the children and grandchildren – a last family hurrah before an inevitable lockdown.

Avlaki Villas, Corfu

Sadly, the weather wasn’t great – storms and torrential rain most of the week. On the sunny days and in between showers, though, it was blissful. I’d previously stayed at the wonderful Bella Mare Hotel in Avlaki with Simpson Travel, which, sadly, closed earlier than usual this year, so was familiar with the area – unspoiled, verdant, wonderful tavernas and my favourite part of Corfu.

Avlaki Beach, Corfu

Many places were closed but the excellent Cavo Barbero, handily next to our villa, and tavernas in nearby Aghios Stephanos were open. We feasted on fresh fish, Greek salad and local specialities. At Eucalyptus Taverna we ate courgette flowers stuffed with herbs and soft feta cheese; so melt-in-the-mouth delicious the taste lingers.  Most of the time, though, we ate in our extremely comfortable villa with its excellent kitchen and facilities, though Nana did most of the cooking! My 3-year-old grandson learnt to doggie-paddle, skim stones and was entranced watching fish from the end of the jetty with his Granddad. Through an agency we hired a daily morning nanny so our children could work or catch up on some much-needed sleep. Plenty of family fun! Although it was not quite the ‘holiday’ we had hoped for, as my son remarked, it was a very welcome and refreshing change from WFH in the UK, so definitely felt like a holiday for them. Mission accomplished. Well, almost. Nana was still in need of some sunshine and a holiday!

Typically, when we left Corfu the weather was sunny with a great forecast for the rest of the week. Always a risk of rain at this time of year, but we were very unlucky. Back home the following day, Crete and other Greek islands were removed from the FCO quarantine list so perhaps still time for some sunshine and travel-free restrictions. Crete, the most southerly point of Europe and Greece, generally has a longer season with more sunshine than most European destinations. Ryan Air flights (£14.99, Birmingham to Chania), was the only call to action needed! 72 hours later my husband and I were on a one-way ticket to Chania, Crete. No plans, other than our first two nights accommodation booked in the Old Town. We were almost delirious with the liberating prospect of an adventure.



See also

176 people found this helpful

Share Article:

Chrissy Nason

Travel writer & hotel specialist

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Ambassador offers unique ways to focus on health and wellness while enjoying the beauty of the sea….
Who can resist an invitation to a birthday party in Paris? Gillian Thornton celebrates 40 years of Riviera Travel, the…

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.