Gouvia holidays are the business for seafarers and sunbathers. The town lives a seriously laidback lifestyle, and boasts a marina that's punching well above its weight.

Italian back story

Gouvia might have its feet planted firmly on Greek soil, but it’s got the Italians to thank for the biggest chunks of its history. Venetian predecessors had a hand in nearly all of the historic sites around here, and the stone arches of an ancient shipyard are the best-preserved today. Pick up the trail in the island’s capital, Corfu Town, and you’ll see a similar set-up – the standout structure’s a whopping seafront fortress, which the Venetians built to ward off Ottoman invaders.

Chills and thrills

Timekeeping goes out the window here, as everything runs at a far-from-hectic pace. Pebble beaches are spread out from one another, and there are so many that it doesn’t matter when you rock up – there’ll always be space. July and August sees the biggest influx of visitors, many of whom coast into the marina as part of a day’s yachting. It’s Corfu’s place to be for boaters, who eye up each other’s rides and take breaks from bobbing by calling in at the crop of nearby restaurants. At the less swanky end of the scale, jet-skis and banana boats rip across the shallows.

Beauty spots

Gouvia’s waterfront is a bit of a head-scrambler, as the Ionian Sea looks more like a giant lake from the shoreline. It’s all down to the outline of the bay, which is a natural harbour that’s shaped like a big rectangle. Villas and beach hotels peek out from the fringe of trees, and the sheltered waters make for tip-top swimming. One of the most picturesque spots is the Church of Ypapanti, which pokes out into the water on a peninsula-style island.

At a Glance

  • Check out the yachts at Gouvia Marina
  • Tuck into dinner at a beachfront taverna
  • Snap pictures of the Church of Ypapanti