Corfu Town

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October, 2019

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Like us, I suspect a number of Silver Travellers have stayed in Corfu Town and seen Albania on the horizon.

25 years after holidaying in Corfu, we were visiting Albania and decided a ferry trip to Corfu Town was a must. There are three lines, Finikas, Saris and Ionian, and the only discernible difference appeared to be the timetable. We booked tickets at the Finikas office on arrival in Saranda and discovered that credit cards were not accepted and that the €76 for two return tickets had to be paid for in cash.

Fortunately, our hotel, “Vila Kalcuni”:, was only a five-minute walk from the ferry terminal. Arriving relatively early, the formalities of luggage screening and immigration were quick and simple. We took the fast boat at 8.45am which, because of the one-hour time difference, meant we arrived at 10.15am. It looked as though it was going to be quiet until the last minute when a huge noisy group boarded, and the boat was full. It wasn’t in the best condition and the seats were a bit tatty and worn but at least the journey was quick.

We’d arranged to meet a friend of a friend who now lives in Corfu and Jenny’s flat was a 20-minute walk to the Jewish quarter and New Fortress Square. She took us for brunch in one of her favourite cafes, “Bistro Gabao”:, which was off the tourist drag. It was a small place, in a narrow street and as it was a hot day, we were lucky to get one of the three tiny pavement tables. The menu was simple but lovely and I chose bacon baskets with eggs and a side salad whilst Roy and Jenny had baguettes with interesting fillings.

Fortified we set off on our orientation tour through a maze of small alleys, calling in at ceramic shops and art galleries belonging to her friends. We walked around the coast to the old fortress (where a bar was pointed out), passing old churches and through to the Liston, an arcaded café-lined, beautiful street with a cricket pitch at the northern end and Maitland Rotunda at the southern end.

Jenny then left us and although I’d originally had a list of things I’d wanted to do, including the two forts, palaces, art galleries and museums, we ditched it and simply enjoyed exploring the picturesque town and souvenir shops.

We then headed to the recommended coastal bar which gave views of the Old Fort and across to the island of Vido. Wandering back into town we enjoyed cocktails on the balcony of Jenny’s roof top apartment (68 steps up, no lift) as the sun was setting.

We caught the 7pm ferry, the last of the day, and once again found everything straightforward. It was originally meant to be the car ferry which took 90-minutes and were therefore surprised to find it was the fast boat again. On return we called in at the office and found that because of an impending storm and rough sea, the Greek port authorities had prohibited the car ferry. However, the advantage for us was that we left at 7pm and arrived back in Albania at 6.30pm.

Helen Jackson

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