Arillas is, according to many of our visitors, “the best place on Corfu” and according to others “the best place in the world”! But let’s stick to facts for now….
Arillas Bay lies in the north-western corner of Corfu and is flanked to the north by Cape Kavo Kefali and to the south by Cape Arillas (Porto Timone). It has a long, sandy beach flanked by cliffs offering a unique sense of privacy. The sand of Arillas beach is fine and perfect for building castles and making sand sculptures. Many of the beach visitors create ephemeral works of art with sand, stones, driftwood and whatever else they find on the beach.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries Arillas was one of many poor villages to be found throughout Corfu. The land owners held all the power and the villagers worked the land, labouring for and paying taxes to their landlord. Many men had a small boat and used it for fishing. Apart from that, people lived on what their vegetable gardens could provide and depended on the olive trees that provided oil, olives and wood for heating in winter. The vineyards brought some warmth to their bodies and their lives. Chickens, goats and sheep were kept for eggs, milk and feta cheese, and the women used to gather wild greens (horta) to supplement their diet. The famous healthy Mediterranean diet was actually born out of poverty. In the 1950s many men left the village and went to work in America or Western Europe, and many of them came back home years later with a little capital
1970 marked the beginning of a new era for Arillas as the first hotel was built and tourists started arriving. The first mini market appeared, the village café was renovated and expanded, a second hotel and some apartments were built and Arillas started to grow and to become what it is now – a friendly resort where tourists are heartily welcomed.
A long, broad promenade with restaurants and cafes runs along the sea front. Each restaurant has its own specialty – fresh fish grilled on charcoal, Corfiot specialties such as bourdeto, sofrito and pastitsada, grilled meats and kebabs, as well as European and more exclusive dishes, all of them served with a smile and a chat. After two days you’ll feel at home and will be greeted as a friend.
The last couple of years there have been new developments in Arillas. The local Cultural Club in cooperation with the local Business Union have undertaken many projects to improve the area and the image of Arillas. They have placed garbage bins on the beach, totally renovated the beach front with new lights, trees, flowers, benches, they repaired the pier and created a beautiful footpath. In 2019, the Arillas Recycling Centre was started. It was set up and is being run entirely by volunteers, and it has contributed greatly to Arillas being the cleanest village of Corfu. The essence is that Arilliots have decided to take care of their village on their own and the results are spectacular!
NATURE, WALKING AND MEDITATION IN ARILLAS
The countryside surrounding Arillas is ideal for lovely long walks, especially in the cooler months of May and June or September and October. To the north it’s just a short climb over the hills to the bay of Agios Stefanos. To the south you can climb to Afionas, a small hill village with one of the best sunsets on the island and a view of the mountains of Albania and the Diapontian Islands plus the small uninhabited islands off the north-west coast of Corfu. Or you can walk inland, where paths take you through olive groves, cypresses, orange trees and a wide variety of wild herbs and flowers including various types of orchid – a paradise for photographers.
The area around Arillas and Agios Stefanos has become a center for meditation holidays the last years. In the surrounding area you can find meditation centres, as well as several people practising different sorts of massage and alternative therapies.
Arillas has all the facilities you would expect from a tourist resort. These include:
- Car rental (a valid driver’s license is required).
- Motorbike and quad rental. Bike and mountain bike rental.
- Local travel agencies organise sightseeing excursions to the rest of the island, Albania, Paxos and Parga, as well as shopping trips to Corfu Town and Sidari.
- There are boat excursions to the Diapontian islands or you can rent a boat and cruise around on your own.
- Sunbeds and umbrellas for hire on the beach.
- Water sports.
- Shops and supermarkets.
- Foreign exchange.
- Internet access.
- Bus to Corfu Town and, in the high season, also to Afionas, Agios Georgios, Agios Stefanos and Sidari
Here are some more beautiful photos of Arillas: