Sidari

I visited Sidari in the early eighties as a high school student along with two friends, armed with an old beat-up sleeping bag, a couple of T-shirts and a bathing suit. Back then Sidari was considered some sort of paradise. A place that emanated that "end-of-the-road" feeling with its youthful population of drifters and thrill seekers. We spent what little money we had on canned sardines and bread while we spent the nights drinking at the local bars and meeting people from all over the world that happened to be there just like us. I still remember our precarious steps in the pitch black of the wee hours of the morning when we made our way down the dunes, towards the soft sandstone fjords where we hoped to find a sheltered place to unroll our sleeping bags. The breeze tasted so good back then.

The summer of 2002 I arrived at Sidari again with an old beat-up car, but this time it was packed with a beautiful wife, two wonderful daughters and a trunk full of beach toys. My sister and her family traveled with us in search of a relaxing holiday away from the daily routine. We entertained no hope for endless

drinking hours under the stars, nor did we dare consider sleeping on a hard rock surface any more. We had booked ourselves a nice apartment by the beach. We we adults now, but it always feels good to revisit childhood memories even with no hope of recreating the magic of youthful exuberance and carelessness. We can however create new unforgettable memories. Besides, we are now the caretakers of our children's magical journeys as well.

We arrived in Sidari late on a hot August afternoon and a few surprises awaited us upon arrival. Firstly, the room we had blindly rented turned out to be a house fifty meters away from the beautiful Canal D' Amour beach and we had a clear view of the famous Sidari eroded rock formations. We also had a huge fenced yard where the children could run around all they wanted. Within a stone's throw there was a nice restaurant, a bar and a free swimming pool, while a few blocks away the small town was teaming with activity around the small grocery stores, restaurants, bars, pubs, and other tourist shops.

The other surprise had to do with my own memories from my visit long ago, and it was not a peasant one. Sidari as I remembered it used to be a wonderful beach with the town built a bit further up, away from the soft rock formations of the beach. Not any more! Hotel development had eaten away the cushion between town and shore, and the beautiful shore seemed to be desperately trying to maintain some integrity as a great deal of restaurants and hotels had encroached in its fragile space.

The Sidari unusual rock formations were packed with people in midday, but retained a quiet presence late at night and early in the morning. Despite all the hotels, the people just seemed to evaporate at these times, and that is when the coastline looks its best, as the low light strokes the soft eroded cliffs and the waves silently end their journey in shallow caverns.

The town of Sidari caters mostly to families and is full of stores, restaurants, bars, and cafés that are able to accommodate even the largest crowds comfortably. There are also plenty of facilities that cater to children as well. Many bars and cafes also have facilities for children of all ages to keep busy while the adults enjoy their evening nearby. Electronic games, pool tables, and playgrounds seemed very popular with the children as were the swimming pools in every hotel. There is also a waterslide park that was very popular with children and adults alike. It is notable that no mater where you stay you will have a choice of either swimming in one of the numerous small beaches in town, or in one of the swimming pools at any hotel in the area. A great deal of hotels offer free use of their swimming pool to anyone who wants to visit with no obligation whatsoever.

We expected night life to be vibrant given the number of people who visit the town of Sidari, and we found that the streets were full of life once the sun went down. People of all ages walked up and down the narrow roads of Sidari and the bars and cafes that line them left and right were full of patrons enjoying a drink or two. Never did the party seem to get out of hand and safety was never a concern in such a civilized environment. The one night we decided to venture out at a later hour we found that the crowds miraculously had vanished and the bars were half empty. So I would not say that Sidari is a place where partying all night is at the forefront, and if that is what you seek you might be better off at another town in Corfu like Benitses with a more notorious night life.

While Sidari is busy accommodating the great number of people who come to enjoy its natural beauty, a short drive outside of town will reward the visitor with even more beautiful scenery - sans the crowds. I rode my mountain bike around the area and I was able to visit a great deal of the coast which exhibits the same exuberant rock formations as the town of Sidari itself. Cape Drastis (picture on the left) is a few kilometers West of Sidari and the fact that there is no paved road that can take people to it allows it to remain remote and quiet even in the middle of a hot day. You can reach it by a dirt road from the village of Perulades, or with a boat from Sidari. On a calm day you can even ride a paddle boat to it, though renting a motor boat in Sidari (€ 70.00 per day) seems to be the best thing to do.

A little further from the traditional village of Perulades one can probably find the best beach in the area. Logas beach is also known (and marked) as sunset beach, and for good reason. The view of the sunset from high above the beach is fantastic as the sun sets far into the Ionian sea in an orgasmic display of color and tonal values. There is also a bar on site that is ideal for a quiet romantic drink with the sunset as the background.

The two beaches of Logas can be reached through a long precarious set of steps that lead right to the surf and divide the beach in two parts; one unfolding westward and one lying Eastward. It reminded me a little of Porto Katsiki beach in Lefkada with its narrow sandy belt and sheer vertical cliff that frames it. It is best to visit sunset beach in the afternoon since the cliffs hide it from the sun rays in the morning. From this vantage point is the best way I could capture the entire scenery from east to west looking down from the top near the Sunset bar.



 

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