It was the spot a shipwrecked Odysseus was soothed by Athena and sent on his way home. It was the subject of the writings of Durrell and Gerald, a paradisiacal place of cerebral wonder. And today, despite bouts of mass tourism, Corfu, the most Northern island off the Ionian coast in Greece, remains both an artistic haven and idyllic escape for many, both beautifully rugged and serene all the same.
And no one knows Corfu better than honorary Corfiot, Christina Martini. The co-founder and creative director of Ancient Greek Sandals, moved to the charming Greek isle after giving birth to her first child and has lived there ever since, and with its resplendent beauty, its turquoise coves, its Cypress tree-lined hills, it’s easy to understand why.
Much like a souvlaki is not complete with tzatziki, a summer (and especially a Greek summer), is not complete without a pair of Ancient Greek Sandals. From Corfu to Coogee – the warmer months are defined by the godly sandal, which pay tribute to Greek craftsmanship and centuries-old techniques. Be it in their cult Eleftheria Sandals, or their classic Demos slides, the an Ancient Greek Sandal is now but a rite of passage for anyone – intrepid traveller or not.
In an ode to her adopted island, the talented designer shares her favourite ceramist, where to eat and the ultimate spot for a dip on the magical island of Corfu.
We love to go out on little excursions by boat. Erimitis, on the northeast of the island is a great little swimming spot. Also south, Issos and Chalikounas have endless sandy beaches.
Kontokali bay, close to town in front of the beach, ideal for families. A 70’s building with exotic vegetation. There is a spa and pool. Pelekas Country club, close to the 60’s hippie village of Pelekas, a group of old refurbished villas with a pool and a tennis court, you can also book horse riding trips. Locandiera, a bed and breakfast hidden in the back streets of the old town. Nancy the owner is a great host and cooks an amazing breakfast.
Mezzo Mezzo is a brilliant multi-brand store in Corfu town. It sells brands such as Mary Katrantzou, Cult Gaia and Comme des Garcons. We also have a sandal pop-up in there too. The building itself used to be a house & it still has a large stone bread oven.
Salto in Corfu Town is an amazing restaurant. It’s small and intimate with a good selection of wines and tapas. Otherwise, Klimataria, which is in a small village called Benitses, which serves amazing seafood dishes. Both aren’t extremely fancy but the food is the best.
Tavernaki tis Marinas – in the Jewish Quarter of the Old Town. Eating there is like eating at your mother’s home – they serve the most delicious local dishes. Try the Rooster Pastitsado – a traditional pasta dish, with a secret recipe sauce.
Mirko Cafe, hidden in the old town of Corfu or Imabari, where you can enjoy cocktails and a swim.
Naok Azur is a great little cocktail bar on top of the sailing club, and it has a huge balcony overlooking the sea. It’s the perfect place in summer for a drink and dance.
Favourite Greek meal and drink
I love eating fresh fish just with olive oil and lemon with a good Greek wine or tsipouro.
A hidden gem
A small ceramics studio called Myrto Zirini Ceramics.
Greek summer outfit on repeat
I love to wear light airy dresses in the summer – like a kaftan style dress by Lem lem.
dream Summer look
A dream summer day would be spent wandering around the old town with my husband and children – perhaps stopping off at my favourite book shop, Plous, to treat the children to a new book, before taking them to Spathis Esplanade where we can sip coffee and get ice cream for the children and spend some quality time together.
Favourite Greek saying
‘Halara’ which means not to hurry and relax!