The north east corner of Corfu is full of beautiful villas owned by the great and the good – and one of them, Villa Yeraki, is available to rent out. Toby Keel paid a visit.
Villa Yeraki doesn’t just sit on the north-east corner of Corfu; it clings to it, like a puffin nesting in a cliffside, built spectacularly into a vertiginous slope dropping down to the warm, blue Adriatic. Every element of the architecture works to underline the magic of this location. Every room points out to the sea and every outdoor seating area (there are at least half a dozen) is arranged to remind you why you came.
Modern planning rules mean that such a home couldn’t even be built today, but thankfully no such restrictions were in place when Yeraki was first erected in the 1960s on the outskirts of Kassiopi, in the very smartest corner of Corfu. In the early 1980s it was bought (as a near-wreck) by Patricia and Richard Cookson, the husband-and-wife team whose company Corfu Villas did a huge amount to fuel the island’s tourist boom. The family transformed it into a serene six-bedroom villa surrounded by olive trees and Mediterranean flora, with an infinity pool and its own private jetty.
The bedrooms are split two each between main house, pool-house and a lower level terrace;. With easy chairs, hammocks and sun loungers in the nooks, crannies and terraces all around the property, you could easily have the full complement of 12 people staying and never feel as if you’re getting under each other’s feet.
Adding to that sense of ease are Joanne and Eleanor, Yeraki’s manager/in-house chef and housekeeper respectively, whose discreet presence means that you never have to lift a finger – or figure out how the cooker works.
Today the villa is managed by Nick Cookson, son of Richard and the sadly-departed Patricia, and let out via a new company, the Villa Collective. The company might have changed but the clients haven’t: as the guest book testifies, many have been coming here on a regular basis for 30 years or more. It’s absurdly easy to see why they keep coming back.
Villa Yeraki, just outside Kassiopi in north-east Corfu, sleeps 12 people and is rented out at between €7,500 and €32,500 a week. See www.villacollective.com for more details.
Things to do
Get out on the water
Enjoying the water is one of the key draws of this spot for many visitors, and several companies in Kassiopi will rent you a launch for a few days – Nick will happily provide a list of trustworthy contacts. As well as being a joy in itself, it’ll allow you to explore the coves, beaches and headlands which would otherwise involve a hairy drive down a dirt track – and which in some cases are otherwise inaccessible.
The spectacularly pretty island of Corfu has been drawing visitors from across Europe for hundreds of years, and has gone through periods of occupation by the Venetians, the British and many others. All have left their imprint on Corfu Town, whose glorious mix of old forts, delightful Mediterranean architecture, cafés and restaurants really shouldn’t be missed.
Beaches and mountains
You could quite easily arrange an airport transfer to Yeraki and enjoy several days in pure bliss without going anywhere. But getting out and about proved a real joy, and the fear of some mishap on the Corfiot roads was significantly lessened by the fact that our hire car was already a battered wreck – like an unloved station car, you don’t worry about the odd scratch or ding. If you’re feeling brave (and don’t suffer from car sickness) then the mountain road up to the Pantokrator gives stunning views across the island.
As for beaches? At every turn you’ll find an idyllic new cove, but Agios Spiridon, a 10 or 15 minute drive around the coast from Kassiopi, proved perfect while travelling with small children. It’s sandy and unspoilt with warm, calm, shallow water, a beach bar and a mini supermarket. What more could you want?
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