Cruising to Corfu: Italy – Greece – Corfu by ferry

After our restful and scenic journey down the east coast of Italy, it was a hop, skip and a 10 minute taxi ride to the port at Bari. From there we would be cruising to Corfu in no time. Or so we thought.

Man and child in front of "Superfast" ferry at port of Bari

About to board our Superfast ferry from Italy to Greece

We arrived at the check in desk to find that Greek Ferries – through whom we had booked our onward journey to Corfu – had, as we suspected, been somewhat economical with the truth. Apparently the ferry to Igoumenitsa on mainland Greece doesn’t stop at Corfu in May. It never has. On arrival at Igoumenitsa we would have to take a connecting ferry to Corfu adding a total of €44 to our return journey and all-in-all extending our one-way journey from a 40 to a 45 hour total. It was a blow but one we were half anticipating having contacted the booking agent a few days previously about another matter. Besides, by now we were fairly practiced at our zen-like approach to European public transport and also that bit closer to our final destination. What difference would adding one more leg to the journey really make?

sunset over the sea

Sunset from the Bari to Igoumenitsa ferry

After a rudimentary security check we boarded the once weekly Superfast ferry to Greece and settled down to watch the sunset with our now day-old French culinary tit-bits washed down with sweet Greek wine from the onboard shop. We also found the specially allocated seating area for those of us whose budgets don’t quite stretch to cabin class. Fortunately, it was mostly empty and contained a mini-cinema screen. Unfortunately, it was playing an especially rubbish Hollywood spy movie set in Turkey and featuring Liam Neeson. Having by this point shared a bottle of dessert wine, Nathan found it to be an enjoyable easy-watcher whilst I found it to be furiously frustrating, our individual responses perhaps saying more about the affect alcohol has on each of us than the merits of the movie itself. At around 11pm, we retired to the back rows of the darkened room where Zephyr and I curled up under our blanket and Nathan under his.

We were woken the next morning by the intercom announcing our imminent arrival at the port of Igoumenitsa. After gathering up our belongings we relocated to the upper deck with a still slumbering Zephyr all cosied up in his pushchair. As the darkness of night subsided and the ferry chugged along on its final approach, the mountains of Greece came into view for the first time. It was breathtaking. For Nathan, who had visited Greece many times throughout his childhood, returning to this place held a special resonance. And in the stillness of morning, nearing the end of our journey, it felt like coming home.

mountains behind the lights of Igoumenitsa from the sea

Mainland Greece in the morning

As we disembarked the ferry, we watched the sun rise over the hills. We followed the other foot passengers across the tarmac and into the terminal building, dodging departing HGVs as we went. On route we met another young family who were also destined for Corfu. We shared the short taxi ride to the next ferry terminal where we queued briefly for our tickets before heading to an undercover seating area and waiting to board the 0730 Corfu Ferries service to Kerkyra (Corfu Town).

people waiting outide ferry ticket sales window

Queuing with our new friends at the Corfu Ferries desk

The crossing itself turned out to be two hours long but by now time felt immaterial. We were so relaxed as we chatted to our new friends, comparing notes on travelling with toddlers, the realities of low sugar, screen-free parenting and the life-altering power of childbirth. Zephyr was in his element, marvelling at the intensity of the waves and curiously eyeing his fearless American girlfriend Evelyn. Even with the excitement rising within us, for the first time in the journey we were able to be totally present. It was as if time stood still. Very soon, the beaches of Corfu would be on the horizon.

Toddlers on a boat giving each other "high fives" with sea in background

Zephyr, Evelyn & the high fives!

And soon enough they were. We arrived at the port of Kerkyra at 0930 on Friday morning. We were met by our pre-booked taxi and after a quick photo and some friendly goodbyes and high fives, we set off for Mirage Studios in Arillas on the North West coast of the island.

author, partner and child in front of ferry on arrival at port of Corfu

We made it! Finally… arrival in Corfu

And so it was that 3 trains, 2 ferries, 3 taxi journeys and 45 hours later, we arrived at our final destination.

Any notions we may have had about resting in the room for a while went straight out the window. Within minutes the swimwear was donned, suncream applied and we were on the beach. After the journey of a lifetime, we had our whole holiday ahead of us and it was most definitely time to get stuck in!

Without a doubt we’d earned it.

Zephyr on the beach in Corfu, in swimwear, holding toy watering can

As you can see, Zephyr was really rather chuffed to FINALLY be on the beach!

This post is the fourth in a series detailing our adventures traveling by train and ferry for our family holiday to Corfu and Italy. Read part 1, part 2 and part 3.

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14 Responses to Cruising to Corfu: Italy – Greece – Corfu by ferry

  1. Sharon taylor says:

    Wow you are finally there and how proud you must all be.
    I’m am sure none of the lessons learnt and things experienced on route can ever be taught in a classroom and zephyr will have an documented account of this wonderful adventure.
    As they say life is a journey so enjoy the ride xx

    • Thanks Sharon 🙂 Yes – such a great experience and we absolutely plan to do it again next year! Enjoy your Greek hols next month… maybe next time you can take the scenic route?! xx

  2. Tom Newman says:

    Lovely . . . Have a good one . . . xxx

  3. Conor Murray says:

    Glad you got there safe and the latter part of the trip eased up on the old nerves. Enjoy the beach. I’m jealous.

  4. Trudie says:

    Glad to see you finally there safely. Zephyr looks like he is already having a fab holiday.

    Enjoy. You’ve earned it xxx

  5. Sophie Buxton says:

    Wow! Have loved reading about your journey to Corfu! It may have been testing at times but sounds like a lot more fun than on and off a plane – a real adventure that you will remember forever :)aye even more than the holiday itself! Have fun guys xxx

  6. Pammy O'Reilly says:

    Hey Kat- Have loved reading your ‘travel guide’ I get a real sense of the whole experience- you write beautifully and from the heart. Can’t wait to see little Z again, he looks like he’s having a whale of a time. Thanks for sharing. X x x

  7. Louise says:

    Lovin the blogs, and the fabulous pics and you all having an amazing time!!!!!

  8. Chris Thompson says:

    Hi Kat. Really enjoyed reading your travel blog. Corfu is my most favourite place in the whole world! I first went there in 1974, the Colonels had just been kicked out and tourism was beginning to take off. It was very different then. I remember having to queue for the only telephone in the village if I needed to phone home, and when you went to a taverna you selected your food from pots bubbling away in the kitchen!

    It was the first place I took Joyce after we met, and it was in Corfu when she first suspected she was pregnant with Holly in 1988!! We took Holly there many times when she was little and I think she now considers Greece her second home! She is in Greece as I write this on an island called ‘Evia’.

    Enjoy every moment with Zephyr. Joyce and I went back to Corfu in July this year and I really missed having no-one to build sandcastles with!! They grow up much too fast!!

    • Thanks for sharing your early experience of Corfu – what a different place it must have been from now! As you’ll know it’s totally set up for tourism these days! Thanks also for the reminder about savouring every moment with Zephyr – it’s going so fast already, even if at times bedtime seems a long way off 😉 Lovely to hear from you. Love to Joyce, Holly, Aunty Inez and all the family xx

  9. Chris Thompson says:

    I agree, but you can still find ‘old’ Greece in places, especially inland and in the back streets of Corfu Town. I always find it fascinating drinking coffee in a Venetian built town under a French built colonnade and looking at a British built cricket pitch!!

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