Agios Gordios – a Corfu budget beach destination

posted in: Greece | 21

After four weeks backpacking throughout Eastern Europe, my final country of the trip took me to Greece and after exploring the capital, Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki, my travels took me to the island of Corfu in the Adriatic Sea. A few days relaxation before taking the flight home back to England was needed and I found an awesome place on this beautiful island which also matched my budget (which was to do things using not a lot of cash).

Agios Gordios, Greece, Corfu
A view of the beach looking from the balcony of my room at the Pink Palace hostel

An overnight coach journey from Athens and a ferry crossing later, I arrived in the resort of Agios Gordios on the western side of the island. Known for its beautiful beach and rugged coastline, Agios Gordios provided the much needed rest.

Agios Gordios, Greece, Corfu
The beach at Agios Gordios
Agios Gordios, Greece, Corfu
The view looking south from Agios Gordios
Agios Gordios, Greece, Corfu
A much needed dip in the sea after four weeks on the road.
Agios Gordios, Greece, Corfu
Sunset at Agios Gordios
Agios Gordios, Greece, Corfu
Nightime on the main street of Agios Gordios

Where I stayed in this stunning destination is a place I recommend anyone who is doing this on a budget and wants to let their hair down. I stayed at the Pink Palace hostel which turned out to be one of the best hostels I have ever stayed at. Located on a hill overlooking the sea, the hostel offers dorms plus private room. The private rooms were fantastic for the price, offered a large bed and a private washroom. Also included in the price was a buffet style breakfast and dinner. I couldn’t complain about the price at all.

Agios Gordios, Corfu, Greece
A view to the north from the Pink Palace hostel

Also in the hostel known for its ‘tonga parties’ and having a fully stocked bar with a nightclub, Pink Palace also offers a range of activities to keep visitors entertained (for a price of course) such as booze cruises, kayak safari, volleyball and the rental of quad bikes. I also managed to arrive at Agios Gordios on the night bus they provided which runs between the resort and Athens and the price included the ferry crossing which I thought was a bargain and was another reason for me to stay here. They also now provided bus service to Thessaloniki as well. One fact I found out about this hostel is that rock band Queen’s leading singer, Freddie mercury stayed here a few times before his passing in 1991.

Agios Gordios, Greece, Corfu
Still can’t beat this view. May not be outstanding but is one of my favourites I have come across whilst exploring the island.

Whilst staying at the hotel I also did a couple of day trips. First one was to Corfu Town which I manage to take a local bus from the nearby bus stop and dropped off on the outskirts of the centre (it’s a small centre). The town reminded of any other Greek town, white buildings, scooters parked all over the place and plenty of eateries to choose from. I remember walking pass the parks and seeing how green the grass was despite the strong heat of the summer sun blazing down on the town.

Corfu Town, Greece, Corfu
Lunch in Corfu Town
Corfu Town, Greece, Corfu
Corfu Town
Corfu Town, Greece, Corfu
Corfu Town

My favourite place in the town has to be the Old Fortress which was built by the Venetians (from modern day Italy), replacing the fortifications which stood here beforehand which were built in the Byzantine ear. The Venetians then also had the clever idea of building a moat around the citadel and turned it into an artificial island. After that, three battles with the Ottomans took place here and the Venetians held off and won.

Corfu Town, Greece, Corfu
Old Fortress
Corfu Town, Greece, Corfu
Old Fortress
Corfu Town, Greece, Corfu
A view overlooking Corfu Town and right across to the New Fortress in the far background
Corfu Town, Greece, Corfu
A view to the south from the Old Fortress

I find the history behind some castles and fortresses quite interesting and found this place to be the same. After a few peaceful years (or centuries), the Venetians buggered off and the town (and the rest of the island) belonged to the Greeks. However, Nazi Germany invited themselves in for a stay during the Second World War and used the fortress to imprison the jewish communities of the island. It was on the 8th June 1944 that the Nazi’s announced to the Jews that they were to present themselves the next morning at the fort. Some of the local Jews said buggered this and fled to the countryside but most of the Jews went to present themselves because they feared for their families. At the fort, the Nazis did the usual thing to them (like everywhere else in Europe) and collected jewelry, cash, anything worth valuable before being lead into the prison inside the fortress. They were held here for a few days before being shipped over to the mainland and eventually were put on a train to the Birkenau extermination camp in Poland. 1,800 jews from here were taken and after the war, only 120 made it back.

Corfu Town, Greece, Corfu
A view to the north where Albania can be seen from the Old Fortress

Across the town is the New Fortress which was built by the Venetians from scratch but was built slowly over time. The new buildings I came across were actually built by the British when they ruled the island in the 19th century (something I didn’t know about my home country ruling Corfu). I loved walking around here and taking in the breathtaking views of the sea and the other side of the water where Greece mainland and Albania can be seen.

Corfu Town, Greece, Corfu
The New Fortress
Corfu Town, Greece, Corfu
New Fortress

Mentioning Albania, a day trip with a local cruise company is offered and can be booked at hotels and other tourist information points on the island. The cruise (well, its a boat journey but it felt like a cruise with the summer heat and bright blue skies) takes thirty minutes from Corfu Town and comes into the Albanian Riverian town of Sarandë (or Saranda). Known for its deep blue waters and for its Greek communities living here, a lot of visitors come here over from Corfu to chill out on the beach and eat at the restaurants (which are cheaper than Greece). Walking along the promenades was also one of my favourite things to do and sitting on the sea wall and just watching life go by.

Saranda, Albania
Arriving into Saranda
Saranda, Albania
The beach at Saranda
Saranda, Albania
Saranda

I only spent a few hours in the town of Saranda but it was more of a relaxing day tour and just checking out another beach, however, I still recommend doing a trip from Corfu if anyone wants a tastier of Albania. Corfu island itself is beautiful and has fantastic beaches. I wished I had more time exploring the place before flying home but I hope to return one day.

Saranda, Albania
Saranda
Saranda, Albania
A view to the south of Saranda
Saranda, Albania
Saranda
Saranda, Albania
Saranda

 

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Agios Gordios is the perfect summer destination for those wanting to do Corfu on a budget - Corfu, Greece

21 Responses

  1. Greece is just filled with so much history! We were in Athens a few months ago, we have not been to Corfu yet, but looking at your pics, it should be on our list so we can escape all of our rainy days here in England. And I can’t believe how nice your hostel was, and it offered breakfast in the price?! I have found that is hard to come by. Lots of great info here!

  2. I haven’t spent any time in Corfu and I’d love to do so. The beaches look great. The only time I went, we actually ended up in Butrint, Albania (it’s a long story). But, I’d love to see the old town as well.

  3. Danila Caputo

    Corfu is very famous here in Italy! Is it very crowded? And I read also about the Pink Palace: a good view is absolutely mandatory in a place like Corfu! It seems you got quite the deal!

  4. I visited Corfu once for work, but sadly didn’t get to see much at all as I was stuck in our office the entire time. I’d love to go back as your photos really make it look very appealing and it looks particularly good for those travelling on a tight budget.

  5. It all looks so fantastic! I bet it felt incredible to be in that water after four weeks on the road. The history is so interesting, I would love to explore it and get to know the story better!

  6. The place looks so serene and peaceful, even the nightmarket seems like there’s nothing much going on. I don’t know if that’s a good thing. I guess if you are looking for a place to just unwind and get away from the city, this is the place to be. You said it yourself, “relaxing” as you described. As for the beach, wow, a lot of people!

    Looking forward to your next travels!

  7. Kelly Keegan

    This looks beautiful! I love a budget too! I will definitely be checking this out for the summer. Thanks

  8. I love the connectivity Pink Palace provides. Bus trip from Athens – score. Arranging other transportation including getting to Albania which isn’t on the train grid – score. Finding quality in country providers like that could really help in arranging a pretty cool DYI tour.

  9. Corfu is such a beautiful place to visit! The beach looks really inviting and indeed worth a very nice dip. Also, the sunset from there looks so lovely and very calming.Thanks for sharing this very informative post.

  10. I’ve never been to Greece, but have friends who visit Agios Gordios every year and they love it. I love the fact that Freddie Mercury stayed in the Pink Palace hostel – what a claim to fame that is! I didn’t realise Albania was that close – what a cool idea to be able to pop over for the day!

  11. Yet another island in Greece that will now go on my list for ‘when i visit Greece again’ 🙂 It’s beautiful, as one would expect from any Greek Island. By the way, what are tonga parties?

  12. Wow so much history there in the fortress. Sad story about the Jews again.
    The place is scenic and I hope I can visit some day.

  13. Corfu is beautiful. Did not you see Sisi’s palace? It’s really worth it!

  14. This looks like it was such a nice trip. I love Corfu town. I had no idea you could do a daytrip to Albania from there, it’s so cool! Sardana looks really pretty too!

  15. Well, never thought that some beaches in Greece could possibly be hit on a budget. I always imagine Greece as an expensive place because it’s just sooo beautiful! But Corfu is so gorgeous too! The turquoise water is just so inviting! And how was the hostel that is known for ” tonga parties ” that means non stop drinking? Tonga in the Philippines mean endless drinks!

  16. Oh nice beach destination in a country full of beaches! And that too in budget! Good one to be included in travel list. Looks very untouristy.

    Good to know history about the fortress. Why o why does it happen with Jews?

  17. I think when I go to Greece, I like to do some day-trip too. I have read a novel was about Corfu Town, You remind me the book, so I have to add it to my list now 🙂

  18. I´ve been in Greece but only Mykonos. I liked the island, so i want to go back and visit Corfu, and some other islands.

  19. I’ll be there in 5 days ! Thanks for the tips 😀

  20. Man, it just snowed yesterday where I am, so I would give anything to be on a Greek island! Corfu looks really cool and it seems like you can do a good amount on a budget!

  21. Corfu looks so beautiful. I love the history associated with and the view of Corfu town from the Old Fortress looks amazing ?

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