Visiting the Greek islands in September is always a good idea. It’s that perfect end of summer weather where the temperature is balmy and warm, the gentle sea is refreshingly cool and the islands feel a little calmer than the hustle and bustle of the summer crowds. Corfu was our island of choice this time and it was actually one hotel in particular that enticed us to book a holiday on this Ionian island. Domes Miramare has always been high up on our list so after spotting some very reasonably priced flights to Corfu we booked this luxury hotel escape. Five days in Corfu was perfectly balanced with dining out at the quaint and quiet nearby fishing village restaurants, exploring the island’s sparkling blue beach coves and lounging at the hotel doing absolutely nothing. Bliss!
Lets start with the hotel.
As we’d booked this holiday with complete rest and relaxation in mind, that is exactly what we did at Domes Miramare. Every corner looks like the backdrop of a Slim Aarons photograph. It’s minimalist and modern with a touch of coastal chic. Natural materials and hints of blue running alongside elements of midcentury pieces make the design of this hotel a complete work of art. Hundred year old olive trees stand tall in the lobby and bar with the buildings carefully designed around the landscape. The hotel itself is impressive to take in even before we discuss the food…
But lets discuss the food…
Exquisite. There are four eating and drinking venues on site. Makaris is the main restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Raw Bar is the hotel’s sushi and sashimi restaurant, and Blu Bar and Verde Bar are lobby and pool bars where you can enjoy cocktails and order food to the beach. We enjoyed the food SO much at the hotel, in particular the cuisine served at dinner in the main restaurant. A local fisherman supplies freshly caught fish and seafood daily and the food changes based on what catch is brought in. We dined on red snapper, fresh crunchy griddled vegetables, melt in your mouth fava dip and homemade breads. You’re spoiled for choice with the wine pairings as the hotel boasts an extensive and impressive Greek wine list. The food is simple but elegant, every meal consisted of fresh, local and delicious ingredients. There is a limited menu at lunch and a small selection of cold and hot food at breakfast. This is by no means a criticism, they were still five star experiences and if anything it makes the catering better as the hotel has a strong focus on high quality over quantity. This ethos is easy to see in every aspect of the design, service and product.
The beach at Domes Miramare sits on the clear and calm shores of the Ionian Sea.
The pebble beach is small but there’s plenty of room for everyone, it doesn’t feel crowded even when the hotel is fully booked. The five star service continues at the beach with staff on hand to deliver food and drink direct to your loungers. We devoured many iced coffees and super chilled glasses of Santorini rose along with fresh and zingy tuna poke bowls as we spent our days reading, napping and chatting.
The rooms are simple and chic at Domes. The coastal chic interiors of linen curtains, coral shaped lamps and rustic wood decorative sculptures mixed with the clean lines of midcentury furniture pieces are repeated here in the rooms. Small and generous touches in the room like a local bottle of wine and candied nuts welcomed our arrival to the resort. One thing to note about rooms is that some of the “beachside” rooms within the U shape block closest to the sea are actually set back about 150 feet. Whilst it wasn’t an issue to most we had assumed that we’d be beachside so a room as close to the beach as possible is worth requesting when booking. Id also recommend going for a ground floor room not a first floor room. The ground floor rooms have small terraces that lead directly out to the beach.
The Spa at Domes is a heavenly experience not to be missed. Elemis and Codage Paris products are used in treatments. The couple’s treatment room has views of the ocean and mountains along with a private steam room and Jacuzzi to use at your leisure before or after treatments.
The hotel also has a tennis court which is free to use and can be pre-booked in advance. It was our favourite afternoon activity before having a sunset beer by the water.
Keen to venture beyond the hotel restaurant during your holiday to sample local cuisine? Make sure not to miss these local delights.
Spiros Karidis (30 minute drive) located in Boukari fishing village. Dine alongside the small harbour and witness your catch of the day be carried off the fishing boats gently bobbing in the water all with the backdrop of a glorious Grecian sunset. Before getting comfortable take a trip into the kitchen and select the fish and seafood. We opted for grilled red snapper, fresh prawns and stuffed calamari. Served with Greek salad, bread and taramosalata.
Bacchus Tavern (10 minute drive) is a family affair restaurant where three generations help prepare and serve your meal. We snapped up the last red snapper on the ever changing catch of the day menu and had it with all the regular sides and THE.BEST tzatziki we’ve ever tried.
The Village taverna (5 minute walk) serves good wholesome food. Located at the top of a hill in the centre of the town, the quaint restaurant houses its tables under a sweet pergola laced with grape vines. The food is traditional Greek cuisine and the owners are so friendly it feels like you’re dining in their home for dinner.
Pane e souvlaki (30 minutes) If you find yourself exploring Corfu town for the day and are craving delicious souvlaki then look no further than Pane e Souvlaki. The food is fresh, cheap & delicious. It’s very casual dining so if something a little more upmarket is on the menu then Avli, Fishalida or La Famiglia would be great options to consider in Corfu Town. We never dined at these three restaurants but they were recommended numerous times to us.
If you fancy some heavenly gelato for dessert then stop by Papagiorgis for rich and interesting flavours such as kumquat and cacao gelatos.
For any fellow aviation geeks out there Corfu airport is one of the best plane spotting runways in the world. The runway sits right on the waters edge and the planes fly extremely low when coming in to land. For the best and easiest access drop the satnav pin on the beautiful Vlacherna Monastery there’s a parking lot next to it which is the perfect view point to watch the planes. The monastery is pretty sweet to look at too!
The beaches in Corfu are exactly what you’d expect from a Greek island – glistening blue waters under the hot Mediterranean sun. There are many to visit but hands down our favourite beach was Porto Timoni. It’s an effort to get to but 100% worth the hike. We spotted Porto Timoni on the flight approach into the island and my first thought was if I do one thing whilst we are here it’s visit that idyllic looking cove.
An hour and a half drive to the North West coast of the island followed by a 40 minute rocky ascent on foot to the cove we arrived in what I can only describe as absolute paradise. There are two main beach stretches on this inlet but hidden, private quiet coves lie tucked away around the corner for ultimate Mediterranean beach experience. These secret swimming coves are the perfect place to spend the afternoon reading, sun bathing and swimming. There are no vendors here so make sure to pack water, snacks and sunscreen.
The hike back up from the beach is sure to muster up an an appetite. Grab dinner at Anemos and sit out on their grape vine laced terrace looking out over the spectacular panoramic view of the Ionian coastline. We tried the homemade moussaka and local tuna which we both equally incredible. Dishes are served with extra virgin olive oil sourced from the family’s olive grove. Fresh, green and ultra sharp!
Parking for Porto Timoni beach is best near Anemos restaurant. Drop the restaurant name in the sat nav and park up in and around this area.
All locations I’ve mentioned are saved to my Google Maps Corfu guide here.
We also visited Canal d’amour, the famous beach in the north of the island that has a famous tale if two lovers kiss in the waters when swimming they will love each other forever. The cove is small with beautiful rock formations in the water but it’s a very busy beach and beachgoers had unfortunately left a lot of trash in the cove. We hopped round to the next cove at Apotripiti beach which was a much quieter, cleaner and larger cove.
Other beaches to check out on the island:
- Rovinia beach – a calm aqua cove. Access is a small 5 minute hike and free parking nearby.
- Halikounas beach – a large islet stretch of sand with calm, shallow waters near Lake Korission.
- Paleokatstritsa beach – a very popular beautiful beach with boat rides taking you out to the famous blue caves
- Chomi beach – 5* white cliff drop behind aqua waters, very calm and quiet and only accessible by boat.
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The end of September Corfu is between 20 and 28 degrees daily with little cloud cover. A northern wind comes in to cool the humid and hot temperatures of the summer.