On my last trip to Corfu, I had the pleasure of staying in Benitses for a week. It was early summer and despite it being late May it was already very hot! During my stay in Benitses, I got to completely relax and I can’t recommend this place highly enough.
Benitses is situated along the east coast of Corfu and it’s pretty much in the center of the island. If you arrive in Corfu Town (By Ferry) you will find it is about a 12 km drive to Benitses. It’s a nice drive that takes you along the winding coast until you arrive at your hotel.
Whatever direction you look in whilst you are in Benitses you are sure to see something you like. You have the sea one way and lush green hills the other. In the middle is a traditional town that is steeped in tradition. Roughly 1,000 residents live in the town and they mostly work in the tourism sector. Before this, they would have been fishermen, windmill operators or working with the olives and citrus fruits.
The Beach at Benitses
The beach at Benitses (Loutrouvia) is a great place to relax and soak up the sun. Many of the restaurants and bars have put sunchairs on the sand for their customers. Normally as long as you buy at least a drink you can relax for as long as you like. Alternatively, there are plenty of open spaces along this Blue Flag beach where you can play games or take part in water sports.
The sea in this area is very clean. This is because a plant called Posidonia grows beneath the waves and it takes the toxins out of the water. Only the cleanest Meditteranean areas have this plant growing.
The beach at Benitses is not the best on the island (boo hoo.) However, due to the town’s fantastic location, you can drive to so many other beaches in just a few minutes. It wasn’t an issue for me though as I still fell in love with this town.
Eating and Drinking in Benitses
Benitses is gaining a reputation as being a bit of a culinary hotspot. There are many great restaurants to choose from and even the hotels are selling good food as well. The area is pretty friendly on the wallet and many of the restaurants serve up local food at a decent price. If you are looking to go for a drink you will find plenty of local tavernas happy to serve you. I also noticed that nearly all of the staff were happy to speak English if your Greek is a bit rusty.
If the drinks start flowing and you feel like heading to a club you have a couple of options. You can head into Corfu Town or make the short trip to Lefkimi.
Things to do
Due to its great location, you have things to do in every location. You can easily pick up an excursion to either the mainland or take a boat trip to the island of Paxos. This will only take a couple of hours and is a great way to spend a relaxing day.
If you don’t want to go too far you can visit the local shell museum for a couple of hours. Another option is Laopetra (people’s rock.) This rock is famous as it has a thin base and then a large rock on top.
Other options in the immediate vicinity include the ruins of the hot Roman Baths. These are located in the center of the town and as you are here already you can easily spend a bit of time looking around them.
Going for a long walk is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, (preferably later afternoon when the sun has started to drop a bit.) You can walk along the marina and enjoy the sights of the yachts. If that is not your thing there are plenty of small mountain paths that lead up the hill and past various villages or abandoned churches.
Where to Stay
Benitses is not famous for sprawling resorts or giant hotel complexes. Sure you will find some close by if you look hard enough. But, it is the smaller hotels and family-run places that really caught my eye when I was there. The hospitality was exceptional and everyone I spoke to was happy to help and excited about the town.
There is a great mixture of hotels providing all sorts of accommodation types along the coastal road. You are close to everything from here and it is very hard to go wrong.
When to go
The best time to go to Benitses would be from early May onwards. Any earlier and you run the risk of too many places being closed. The season stretches from May till October and starts off quiet before getting busy during the school holidays. It was very warm when I went in late May and everything was open and functioning well. With the option of getting a ferry from the mainland or a plane straight into Corfu, you are left with many choices. If you choose to go out of season you may need to take a trip into Corfu Town for supplies. There is a local bus service that runs so it is not a big deal.