Warm sunny greetings from Corfu - which looks
just as stunning from space! Thanks to Leo for sending us the photo. (Click
to download a high quality 500k version.) Can you
see the snow on the Albanian Mountains? No! Well you would if the picture
had been taken during February!
Well, we have an outstanding
newsletter this month - packed to your screen edges with Corfu content! Take
look at what is included:
1) Corfu News - a frost!
2) Sampling The Local Cuisine.
3) Caption Competition.
4) Agios Stephanos in the winter.
5) Lynn's learning Greek!
6) Travel Offers.
7) Hilary's House hunt - local taxes.
For the first time in ten
years of my living here, we had a frost down at Agni! February, will go
down in the Greek record books as the coldest month ever. Despite this though, we have been having some super sunny days.
Snow capped Albanian
February saw the start of spring and anyone who had a small patch of land
started planting potatoes.
With the olive harvest over,
locals turn to their vegetables and from about the middle of the month, the
fever starts. Everywhere you look people are cultivating and planting.
Home grown potatoes have a similar status to 'the family' olive oil or wine -
theirs is the best!
The potatoes will be ready at
the end of May.
Other News: The main power
lines along the North of Corfu are being replaced - we have had a virtual
'power cut' over the last 5 days - even our office phones stop working, let
alone our computers. Now I realise just how much we rely on electric power -
our lives seem to fall apart if the power is off for any length of time -
worrying isn't it!
Olives: Yes the harvest is
over. Overall, very disappointing. A combination of the destructive 'olive
fly' and the weather have produced poor quality oil. The local mayor has now
started the yearly trimming of the branches that overhang the roads. Why? Well most of
Corfu's roads are olive tree lined - the olives fall onto the road to be
squashed by your rental Suzuki Jeep's tyres, ensuring that only the finest
quality cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil is drizzled onto the tarmac!
This combination is more slippery than black-ice.
Actually this year, the major
has been a little more ruthless and removed some of the trees near the bends
- much to the distress of some locals.
On the subject of roads, a new
law in Greece has been passed, banning all non government road signs. Any
offending signs have been removed. Now this law includes: any sign by the
side of the road not put up by the government, all villa and apartment signs
(you will need a map next year to find you holiday property), all business
signs for tavernas and bars etc. A business will now only be able to display
one sign which must be flat against the building (not sticking out at
right-angles) and must be no bigger than 70cm x 70cm! So we have to say good
bye to our famous taverna black board!
As you can imagine, local
businesses are outraged. But I am not sure it is such a bad thing.
Some of the resorts do look a
little tacky with each business touting for trade with larger and more
colourful signs than their rivals! Large imposing all day breakfast 'neon
signs' will be a thing of the past - now the quality of the product and
service coupled with word of mouth with be the only advertising for Greek
establishments - surely a good thing. Incidentally, petrol stations are
The Local Cuisine
Greeks is life itself. Sunday lunches - the traditional family favourite -
are long drawn out affairs - often lasting many hours.
eating establishments vary enormously; with locals themselves considering
the best places to be where the food
freshly cooked and plentiful. This is
often where the setting or cuisine is not the fanciest, so it is not
unlikely to find that one of the best 'eating' places is in a particularly
remote spot or in an unlikely location - resembling a front living room! The
combination of traditional cooking and outside influences has produced a
vast range of eating-places in Greece. The following outlines some of the
ones you will find on Corfu:
The most common and traditional Greek eating place, usually family-run and
open all day.
PsaroTaverna: A fish taverna offering fresh fish and sometimes some meat
dishes. Usually the taverna will have their own 'dedicated' fisherman
(person) - sometimes this is the owner. The menu will always reflect what
has been freshly caught.
These grill room style 'tavernas' are mostly found in the mountain villages
and are often one of the most overlooked tourist 'experiences'. Mostly they
offer just a few starters and salads and all sorts of barbecued meats.
Kokoretsi - goat innards wrapped in intestine and gently grilled over
charcoal - is a truly delicious Greek delicacy, but not for the squeamish!
It is not surprising to fine some great pizza houses on Corfu, considering
the Italian influence. Many also serve traditional Greek dishes.
Bars: Quick, easy and usually good value for money. Found in Corfu town and
some of the more touristy resorts.
Souvlatzidika: Great fun. A sort of takeout Psistaria offering small
souvlakis (kebabs) often made into 'gyros' by wrapping them in a toasted
pita bread with salad and tzatiki.
Zacharoplasteion: A cake and coffee shop- often combined with a bakery.
(need photo on the one near casa)
bar that offers a selection of mezes to go with your drink. This can range
from a few olives and a little feta cheese, to a large platter of mixed or
A meeting place, mostly for the local male population who manage to spend a
great deal of the day talking about politics and football!
pointers when eating out in Corfu:
and maybe surprisingly, fish tends to be expensive. Prices are usually per
kilo not per portion. Also when looking at a menu do not assume that
everything listed will be available! The golden rule - if the price has been
removed then it is not on. Most establishments work on a 'seasonal
availability' basis, as most produce is local. In some of the more
traditional places, it is usual (and fun) to go into the kitchen to be shown
what is available; great for those who can never decide from a menu.
timing. Greeks do not expect quick service and often frown upon food that is
too hot! Waiters will not rush you and will rarely deliver food in the same
order as it was placed. Dishes sometimes arrive as and when they are ready -
just sit back and relax and you will soon adjust to the Greek way of life!
menus by law have to be in Greek and English. Some of the translations may
cause you some amusement. As a guide, you will be offered:
A fish roe dip made with garlic, onion, breadcrumbs, olive oil and lemon
juice. Homemade versions are light salmon in colour and a delight. If you
are offered an artificial bright pink sludge, then it has been bought in;
drink up and find somewhere else to eat!
Tz-at-ziki: The famous yoghurt, cucumber and garlic dip. Scooped up with
fresh bread, it makes a refreshing snack.
many locals enjoy a thick slice of feta with a drizzle of olive oil and a
dash of paprika.
Vine leaves stuffed with rice or meat - normally served cold. Fresh ones are
only available early in the season (May, June) when the vine leaves are
fresh, otherwise they are tinned!
Filo pastry pies stuffed with feta cheese - they are a delight. Also look
out for Sp-ana-ko-pitta - which are the same but with a little spinach added
- my favourite.
A hard Greek cheese which is battered and shallow fried. Served with a large
chunk of lemon.
The Greeks love dips and this one is a very garlicky potato based one.
Served cold but it is yummy.
Gi-gan-tes: Large butter type beans, baked in a thick seasoned tomato, onion
and garlic sauce.
Fried meatballs with garlic and herbs.
Spicy local sausages - usually grilled.
Sag-an-aki:a rich creamy dish with king-size prawns, feta, tomato and a
little garlic. My favourite.
(Lobster) local lobster is very expensive and best eaten lightly grilled
with a little butter. Even though the menu says lobster, you will normally
be served a 'cray' fish - basically a lobster without claws - just as good
Baby squid, usually fried with a dusting of flour, but better grilled. Fresh
ones are normally only available when there is no moon - as they are caught
with a powerful 'gas lamp'. The light attracts them to the surface. Watching
dozens of 'lit-up' fishing boats on a dark summer night, dotted along the
coast is quite magical.
Ox-ta-po-thi: Octopus, often boiled and served in what the locals call a
'salad'. Actually this is a small pieces in olive oil - with no salad in
sight! It is though very tasty ( a little bit like chicken). Grilled is also
excellent - but often quite expensive as it shrinks to a tiny size when
cooked. The octopus is caught using a long pole with a few leaves attached
to the end - plus a liberal sprinkling of hooks! The pole is prodded around
the rocks to tempt the octopus to grab the leaves - a time consuming task.
Ka-kavia: Fish soup - often this will include vegetables, bones and heads!
But it is always excellent.
Ath-e-rina: White bait. Tiny fish that are fried and usually eaten whole.
Ma-ri-thes: Sardine sized fish which are fried and yummy. Incidentally,
sardines and (many other fish which are also caught at night) are not
available when there is a full moon. The reason is that the fish can 'see'
the nets and simply avoid them.
(Notice there is no 'r' in the correct pronunciation and the accent is on
the last 'a'.)
Layers of fried aubergine and minced meat (usually beef) topped
with a creamy béchamel sauce.
Stif-ath-o: A meaty red wine stew with baby onions and tomato. The meaty
chunks are soft and tender and the baby onions go soft and sweet - to be
eaten with lots of bread.
Tender beef steak cooked in a garlic and wine sauce.
Stuffed vegetables, usually tomatoes and green peppers. The filling is
usually a vegetable and rice mix with a little cheese. Sometimes beef mince
preferring not to eat meat, then you will be pleased to know that you will
not miss out. There is a wide range of tasty salads and vegetables available
- although some will of course be seasonal. Look out for bean dishes such as
fasolakia or gigantes. At Taverna Agni, we often suggest that vegetarians
order a selection of starters as their whole meal. This way of eating is
in Greece though, but mostly in the mountain villages, the idea of not
eating meat is somewhat foreign and you may be encouraged to eat something
that has 'just a little bit of meat' in it! Persevere and explain that
eating meat is like going against your religion - it will work eventually.
Firstly, take note of the following. When you see the word salad in a Greek
menu - it does not always mean it what it says. For example 'Aubergine
salad' is a creamy dip! A 'Russian salad' is potatoe and
Xho-ri-at-iki: A Greek salad. Literally translated it means 'village salad'
and includes tomatoes, cucumber, onion and lettuce or cabbage and topped
with feta cheese, olives and sprinkled with dried herbs. There are many
variations though - so expect anything!
Tomato and Cucumber: you get exactly what you would expect - and nothing
Chef's salad: Usually similar to a Greek salad but without the cheese and
instead topped with ham and garlic mayonnaise.
Hor-ta: Wild bitter greens. Locals go mad for these. Dandelion looking weeds
are carefully collected, cleaned and then boiled. They look similar to
spinach when cooked. Served with olive oil and lemon and sometimes new
potatoes - well worth a try if you see it on a menu, but needs to be eaten
with a meal.
Tavernas in Greece do not as automatically serve desserts or coffee - you
normally have to ask. The following is often available, but a small platter
of fruit is more usual Greek choice and often more refreshing:
Bac-la-va: (As with Mou-sa-ka, there is no 'r' in the correct pronunciation
and the accent is on the last 'a'.) Filo pastry layers with chopped walnuts
cinnamon and steeped in honey. Homemade versions are not too sweet and
excellent (in small dozes) - bought in versions are not!
Kat-ai-ifi: Something resembling a 'shredded wheat' stuffed
with nuts and honey.
Ga-lacto-bou-reko: Milk custard pie with filo pastry and a little honey.
Ch-al-va: A very traditional sweet from the mainland, made with semolina,
olive oil, almonds and a honey.
Yoghurt: Greek yoghurt is thick and creamy and usually served with a little
honey or fruits
You must try some of the local drinks:
Metaxa: The famous Greek brandy. available in 3, 5 and 7 star qualities
which is a reflection of its age and blend as well of course price!
Ouzo: Made from grape skins, stems and flavoured with fennel seeds give the
distinctive aniseed taste. The clear spirit can be drunk neat, but more
often with an equal volume of water - turning the drink cloudy.
Rumour has it that if you were drunk on Ouzo the night
before and drink a glass of water the next morning - it will intoxicate you
Retsina: Wine that is matured in cyprus
barrels. The resin seeps into the wine giving it its particular flavour.
Great at lunchtime, but takes some getting used to.
Local wine: Each Taverna usually has its own wine
served by the kilo (equal to a litre) - often served in metal tin jugs. The
taste and standard varies tremendously.
Beer: For beer, think larger! Mythos, Amstel and Hieniken are the locally
Greek Coffee: If you normally drink an espresso after a meal, then you must
try Greek coffee. It is quite strong and served in a small cup. Remember,
when you order it you need to indicate how much sugar should be used when
making it: Sketo - none; Metrio - one sugar; Glyko - two sugars. Also, do
not make the 'tourist' mistake of drinking the sludge at the bottom!
Finally, ordering one Sketos, one Metrio and one Glyko at the same time for
your table will really upset your waiter as each needs to be made
Frappe: Ice cold frothy coffee - just try in one warm summer morning. The
best hangover cure yet!
To add a caption to this
picture (of Alex at Taverna Agni),
Many of Corfu's regulars, are
intrigued to know what it is like during the winter.
During the summer, Agios
Stephanos is an up market resort with four super Tavernas by the waters
summer the bay is dotted with sailing boats and smaller day rental motor
The winter sees just a few
locals and the bay returns to its natural self.
OUR VISION - VILLA MICHAEL - Part 1
During a recent visit, Alan
and Bre purchased some land ready for building their house. This is the story:
Never in our ‘WILDEST’ dreams would we have imagined having the
courage to build a home on the beautiful island of Corfu. Well, here we are,
dreams can come true, we’re doing it. Let’s share our experiences, good and not
so good with you as things progress.
Our love of Corfu started 15 years ago, with our love for each
other, when all we needed was a room with a bed! We have always loved Greece,
the people, their kindness and the Greek way of life and especially Corfu, which
we go back to, at least once every year and which feels like home already.
On our first visit to Greece Al was asked by a waiter “why are
you wearing a watch? You take it off, give that to me, you no need that in
Greece”. Al took his advice, took off his watch and since then we have learned
the Greek word Avrio, which means tomorrow, definitely a more sensible way of
life and attitude.
Our initial contact with Nathan was via the Taverna
website last year. We liked the
look of Olga’s cottage, right on the beach at Agni and booked two weeks in May.
The location of the cottage was so idyllic and our visits to Taverna
so memorable that we decided to
re-book for October. It was then that our ‘WILDEST’ dream began to come into
We talked many times over a few glasses of wine, as you do, about
the possibility of buying a home on Corfu or perhaps buying some land and having
one built. It was when we went into Nathan’s website at the end of September
that we found a piece of land for sale in the bay of Agni. Utopia, we thought
…….. can we? Shall we? Are we idiots? Can we afford to do this? Yes, let’s do
it was our conclusion. Excitedly, we couldn’t wait to find out if it was still
available but when we asked Nathan, sadly (or luckily for us as the case may be
now) it had been sold.
The owner of this plot of land at Agni is the aunt of a lovely
lady and now a very good friend called
with whom we had met, along with Eleni and baby Aphrodite on our visit in May.
By sheer luck and joy Korina
invited us into her home for coffee one day.
It was then that she told us of another plot of building land
(1,300sq.m – 30,000 Euros £20,000), which was for sale.
We were, in true English spirit, itching to be shown the land,
described as being “up in the mountains” but in true Greek spirit Avrio, became
Avrio, became Avrio. The day before we were due to leave,
and her husband Spiros kindly drove us to see the plot – we cannot describe the
feelings that came over us when we saw the beautiful views.
Instinctively, even then, we
could picture ourselves sitting on a balcony sipping Ouzos and absorbing the
breathtaking scenery and didn’t for one minute think of looking anywhere else.
Nevertheless, no rash decisions were made and like kids with a new toy, we
played with our ideas all the way back to England.
(View from the
land, which doesn’t even begin to capture the magnificence)
It didn’t take us long to realise that this was the right thing
to do and what the hell were we waiting for, it was what we have always dreamed
of and by now we felt really comfortable with the idea. We did our sums, rang
and emailed Nathan to tell them the good news. They were delighted.
What next? We needed a Lawyer and an Architect. Using Nathan’s
website we contacted Spiros Desengrinis (Lawyer) and Yiannis Kakarantzas
(Architect), both of whom speak excellent English.
Spiros and Yiannis are both friendly and
professional and readily agreed to act for us.
Spiros advised us that there were two
We could sign all the documentation personally by going to
He could act for us, provided that we gave him Power of
The second option seemed to be the most sensible thing to do,
bearing in mind that frequent trips to and from Corfu would have been costly.
In order to acquire Power of Attorney next on the Agenda was to
get in touch with a Notary but at the time we thought the easiest option was to
contact a Greek Consulate in England. The nearest to us is Nicholas Koulades (Nikos@soton.ac.uk)
in Southampton. Prior to us contacting Nicholas, Spiros provided English and
Greek versions of a draft document, which we forwarded to Nicholas for him to
put together the final documentation.
Within two days, an appointment was made for us to visit
Nicholas. We drove to Southampton in the evening, during a horrendous
thunderstorm and torrential rain. In fact whilst with Nicholas, lightening
struck the house and we wondered then, whether we were being given a sign, not
to sign!!! Nevertheless, being the positive couple that we are, and being
reassured by Nicholas, who carefully talked us through the document, we signed
the documentation, handed over the fee of £55.00 and made our way back home like
cats that had got the cream, or Greek cats that had got the leftovers.
Bearing in mind that it is the middle of November and we only saw
the land at the end of October, everything is trundling along very well indeed.
Obviously we exchanged phone calls, emails and letters during this period but
everything was painless.
By the end of November we had been advised of the amount required
for the purchase of the land, taxes and legal fees. This was 32,870 Euros
(£21,330) and duly transferred the amount to Spiros. The only additional fee
was a bank charge of £35.00 for administering the transfer.
Now, this is the exciting bit. On this size of plot, Yiannis
advised us that we are allowed to build a property no larger than 154 sq.m and
in order to obtain Planning Permission we would need to design the house within
these parameters. Al took on this project, like a duck takes to water; pencil
and paper just weren’t good enough. Off we went to PC World, to purchase a home
design package (FLOORPLAN 3D), at a cost of £39.99.
After burning much midnight oil, drinking lots of wine, having
heated discussions and 11 versions later!, we honed down to 3 preferred
designs. We didn’t need to do any of this work ourselves of course, but we were
so excited that we wanted to be involved right from the start.
We also felt that by us putting in the extra time at this stage
it would give Yiannis a better idea of our design thoughts prior to our proposed
visit in February, albeit that our designs appeared to look a bit ‘English’.
Very proud of our work and satisfied with the results, we posted
the designs to Yiannis just prior to Christmas.
On the 31st January, “HOORAY!!!” we received a
fax from Spiros, WE ARE NOW THE PROUD OF OWNERS OF THE LAND AT SINIES, between
Kokkini and Porta, which is just about 15 minutes from our favourite bay and
Taverna at Agni. Crack open the champagne…… YIPPEE!!
The timing couldn’t have been better, we had already booked our
flights with Olympic Airways (Corfu via Athens - £158.90 each – what a deal!)
and Nathan had arranged some very comfortable and warm accommodation for us in
Loustri for our visit in February
– we stayed at their
We couldn’t wait.
We arrived on 21st February to watch the sunrise over
Albania and sat for a while at a viewpoint over Kouloura before taking to our
We would recommend a winter break to anyone. Our previous visits
have been during May, September or October, when it has been relatively quiet
but on our February visit, the island had an even more restful and tranquil
feel. The air was crisp and fresh and the scenery breathtaking with indigo sea,
snow-capped mountains, lush green trees, wild white and pink daisies between the
olive trees and pale blue skies enhanced by beautiful sunshine throughout our
For those who enjoy walking, peace and solitude, we find it
difficult to believe that there is anything better. Travelling to and from
Corfu by air and around the island by car is so relaxing and carefree and
extremely pleasurable. There are very few Tavernas open, particularly during
the week, only enough to satisfy local demand but we managed to find Tavernas
serving quality food with a reduced menu and Greek hospitality everywhere we
During our stay our plan was to finalise the Planning Application
with Yiannis obtain our Registration Contract and Tax numbers from Spiros and
open a bank account. These we managed to complete but not without some mishaps.
Now here is what not to do……..
Don’t leave your mobile phone in the apartment
Don’t lose the telephone numbers written on a scrap of paper
Don’t forget the surnames of people you are meeting
Don’t forget to leave plenty of time to find street names
Don’t try to work out the logic of street numbering in Corfu
All these, were lessons learned.
We left our mobile phone in the apartment, only finding this out
on arrival at the car park in Corfu Town. We dropped our list of telephone
numbers in the streets of the Town. We couldn’t remember Yiannis and Spiros’
surnames to locate their premises. After all, half the male population of Corfu
Town are named Yiannis or Spiros. Street names are in English on our map and in
Greek on the walls and to top it all numbering is hap-hazard e.g. next door to
No. 23 may not necessarily be 25 in fact there are large gaps of numbers
However, despite our total disorganisation we found Yianni’s
office not at 6.30pm as planned but at 8.00pm! Luckily, business people work
late, until around 10.00pm. Yiannis and his business Partner had combined our
ideas with theirs, added a Greek flavour and drawn the plans ready for us to
view. Following some minor changes, we signed the documentation, provided him
with the tax numbers and a copy of the Contract to enable the Planning
Application to be submitted. The anticipated time for the Planning Permission
to be passed is 2 months and will cost 6,000 Euros (£4,000), so hopefully on our
next visit in May Planning Permission will have been granted.
During the first week in March we will receive a more detailed
estimate, together with copies of the plans and Planning Application. From our
discussions and estimates, we believe the building cost will be within our
anticipated spend of £130,000. This of course depends upon many things, such as
the exchange rate, excavation costs, style and quality of interior and whether
we have a swimming pool now or later.
So far so good, things are progressing better than we could have
imagined. Our WILDEST dream is happening – Villa Michael (named after Bre’s
dear brother who was sadly taken from us in March 2002) could be completed
within a year to eighteen months.
We hope you find our ‘write up’ enjoyable and informative. We
will keep you posted.
Bre and Al Wild
some Greek with us! More>>
stay in Corfu with us?
Lynn's Travel Corner
Welcome to Agni Travel.
This month, I want to share with you my experiences with learning Greek!
During my three years here, I have picked up many Greek words and phrases
from family and friends - not all of them good and repeatable - I might add!
But, the time comes when you
want to know exactly what the neighbours are saying about you, or chat with
the locals about there olive harvest and home made wine.
So I was fast running out of
excuses and had put it off long enough - I had to enrol myself for private
Luckily a very good
friend of mine, Sophia, offered her help. She is a primary school teacher on
Corfu and fancied a challenge with me! (Sophia will also be helping us during
the height of the summer months.) Twice a week, I drive into Corfu town for
my lessons. Firstly, we begin with a steaming hot mug of tea and a 'catch up'
on local gossips - this is most essential! Then my homework from the previous
lesson is checked and if I am good I get a 'gold' star, my lesson has started
and I once again try to immerse myself in the Greek language. We use as
little spoken English as possible, but once Sophia sees the blank and
confused expression on my face, she has to explain in English. When I ask:-
Why do I pronounce that word like that? She answers:- because you do! I have
an exercise book and we write down in Greek every word that I do not know and
of course the English equivalent.
At the moment we are
acting out scenarios as if we have just met each other in passing, asking
each others names; where do you live; and what is your profession. As when
learning French, you have the masculine, feminine and plural words; making
the ending of the noun/adjective change, and respective pronunciation. Will I
ever learn this, I ask myself over and over again! It is a very difficult
language to read as not only do the Greeks have different/additional letters
to us, but they have the equivalent of five e's and three i's. The secret (so
I have been told) is knowing exactly which of the different e's to put where
in a word, and this knowledge only comes after learning to read the words
repeatedly. Sigar, Sigar (slowly, slowly) I regularly say to Sophia. It is
important to make the lessons 'fun' and 'enjoyable' because that is the way
to remember words easier. At home, I have put yellow post-it notes all over
the house attached to various household objects, with the Greek name of the
Most days I go around the room repeating the Greek words to my cat Tiger -
who so far has not complained or Theo, if he will sit long enough and listen
without laughing at my Yorkshire pronunciation of the Greek language! I am
determined to succeed and not let the language get the better of me.
Hopefully by the end of the summer most of our villa owners will be able to
understand what I am saying. I encourage all those who are trying to learn to
continue and keep up the good work - there is light at the end of the tunnel.
So, back to work!
This month I am going to talk about 'Maria's Apartments (Upper & Lower) in
Loustri, 'Giusseppe's Retreat' behind Agni Bay and 'Villelmina' in Sinies.
Apartments - Loustri
Firstly, Maria's Apartments in
Loustri. These two beautifully situated apartments are to be found at
one end of the village. Maria uses two of the four apartments just for her
private friends and family that are staying on Corfu to see her, so the other
two apartments are exclusive to Agni Travel.
They boast fantastic
sea views over to the Albanian mountains on your left hand side, and overlook
the bay of Agni to your right hand side. What more could you want as
you are enjoying your glass of wine on the balcony! Both apartments are
identical and sleep two people. As you enter the apartment you are in the
kitchen/lounge area, with the French doors and covered balcony to your left,
all the floors are made from the local stone.
The kitchen consists of a
coffee machine, fridge, plenty of work surfaces but limited cooking
facilities, due to the close proximity of excellent taverna's; so this is not a
problem. With the two simple but comfortable sofas in the lounge area,
and a small dinning table and chairs, there is more than sufficient relaxing
The twin bedroom is up a short
flight of steps and has cupboard space with a dressing table. The shower room
is just on the left.
Out on the balcony is
another table and chairs for your alfresco dinning with breathtaking views.
Car parking for
Maria's apartments is not a problem as there are two spaces under the olive
tree or near by parking.
For more details,
Next, moving on to 'Giuseppe's
Retreat' behind Agni Bay.
This once was an olive press and was converted by
the owner 'Giuseppe', an Italian from Milan some thirty years ago.
Now, as he
is retired, he visits the island for a short holiday in the summer, but
offers you his beautiful hideaway retreat for the rest of the summer season.
It is situated on the road that leads down to Agni Bay, with its own private
track leading right up to the front patio doors and car parking area.
Once here, all that is needed is a gentle stroll down the path that leads to
the beach front and the tavernas. The house easily sleeps four to six people.
On entering the house
you are in open plan kitchen/lounge area with a double fronted patio door and
side window allowing extra light and sun into the bright room.
It is a well equipped
kitchen with local stone features adding even more charm to the house.
The master double bedroom
boasts a wooden lattice style built-in-wardrobe with large window to the side
of the room. The other two twin bedrooms are located down the
hall way and one has the same large window, the other a double arched
door way leading on to the terraced gardens.
Both shower rooms are
new, modern and spotlessly clean with white fitments and pine doors
making them very light and airy. If you love walking, or just being
close to the beach and sea, but far enough away to be 'private' then this
property is for you. For more details.
Villelmina - Sinies
Sinies, above Agios Stefanos. For modern and spacious accommodation with a
view you could never tire of. This villa is in an ideal position to suit all
needs – with plenty of local walks through olive groves and pathways; nearby
thriving fishing village of Agios Stephanos with harbourside tavernas to
truly immerse yourself in local cusine; and then Kassiopi for a little more
adventure, lively nightlife, and a once magnificent 13th-century castle that
is a focal point of historical interest.
The village of Sinies hosts a number of ‘local
characters’ just wandering to and fro with stories to tell of bygone days.
Villelmina is a family
home, sleeping maximum 6 people, lovingly built by Leo and his father who
next year (2004) will have completed a swimming pool and an apartment below.
As you enter the villa you are immediately in the large open
lounge/dinning area, with panoramic views past the central balcony over to
the Albanian mountains. As this is the central point of the house, the arch
way into the well equipped kitchen leads off from here.
It includes gas hob, electric oven, washing machine, fridge/freezer and
dishwasher also not forgetting the spectacular views from both kitchen
The main double en-suite master bedroom is just off the lounge, having a
full sized bath with a shower over, and modern, white fitments.
two twin bedrooms are located at the other side of the villa with the
bathroom in the middle of them, both having cupboard space and front and
back views. There is plenty of car parking space at the rear of the villa.
FOR PHOTOS, AVAILABILITY AND PRICES.
If you would like any further help with
choosing your holiday, or would like to reserve a property, please email:
Hilary, the editor of the Corfiot newspaper,
gives advice on buying a dream holiday home on Corfu.
homes attract lower fees and taxes
One of the most frequently asked questions we are asked about house
purchases in Corfu concerns the tax you pay when you buy the property.
Buyers are usually advised that they should budget approximately 15% extra
on the price of the property to cover the purchase tax, and for fees to the
solicitor and notary who handle the sale.
What we discovered is that when the house is an old one, the figure the tax
is calculated on is the objective value, and this is much lower than on a
new home. Therefore by purchasing an old house, you are not only helping to
preserve Corfu’s heritage but you are also saving a lot of money in transfer
So when you purchase a property keep this in mind:
The tax department has a certain formula with which they work out the tax
value on each property. They start with a standard figure based on the
region and the size of the property. Then they increase or reduce the value
according to the property description. If the house is more than 50 years
old it attracts a massive 70% discount from the starting value. If it has no
central heating there is another reduction of 5%, and if it has 5% is added.
If it’s a shell the tax is less. And if it’s being used for storage the
value is reduced again.
To establish officially that the house is over 50 years old, ask for the age
classification which is issued by the local council, which classifies the
property as being built before 1950. The technical department of the council
issues this quickly when you take along some exterior photographs and two
copies of the topographical survey, carrying the original stamp of the
A simple rule of thumb is that if the house is constructed of stone and has
thick walls, it is over 50 years old.
By ensuring these criteria are employed we have been able to save our
clients much unnecessary expense.
Property of the Month:
Gastouri Olive Press
This attractive village house is located in a quiet neighbourhood in the
famous village of Gastouri, with its picturesque alleyways. The Achillion
Palace is nearby. The property fronts a small square shared by half a dozen
houses, and has vehicle access.
The construction consists of a two-storey house, with additional attics. The
ground floor is currently divided into two spaces, one a living area and the
other a storeroom. Internal wood stairs lead to the upper floor, where there
are two bedrooms and a sitting room. Total floor area in this section is 117
sq.m. The attached single level olive press is accessed through the
storeroom, and comprises an open space of 77 sq.m. Some of the original
press equipment is intact. A deep covered veranda runs across the whole
front of the building, with space for a car to park underneath.
In addition, there is a separate kitchen with old fireplace, and two small
outbuildings. These last two should be demolished to create a private walled
yard at the side of the building.
The house was occupied until a year ago, and now needs full internal
renovation. The roof of the main house is watertight, but should be replaced
in traditional style. Raising of the building at this stage would give a
third floor for an additional attic bedroom. The roof of the olive press
requires replacement. This area has space for two bedrooms at the back and a
large living area at the front. The separate kitchen would make a cozy
With imaginative adjustment of the existing space, a very fine family house
with up to five bedrooms can be created. Replacement of the sloping veranda
roof with a concrete slab would give a very spacious sun balcony, as well as
sheltered space underneath. An alternative conversion could provide two
adjoining homes, each with 2-3 bedrooms. Permanent or summer rentals could
be easily arranged.
The price of 75,000 euro is good for the size and the sought-after location.
Corfu Estate Agents.
Tel: (0030) 26630 64494 - 26610 52833
February - from the roof of Taverna Agni.