The Greek island of Corfu is off of the west shore of Greece in the Ionian Sea and affords the dramatic seaside cliffs, white sand beaches, and pinnacles of rock that jut out of the water so steeply that nothing but birds dare ascend them. But that’s ok, they look better from a beach chair holding a glass of Retsina anyway. Corfu is forty miles long and home to many luxury hotels and resorts, and my girlfriend Kristin and I chose to stay at one of the most famous hostels in Europe: The Pink Palace.
Best noted for its seaside parties, the hostel offered a lot more than just toga contests, though they were a little hard to ignore.
The hostel is located within a five-minute walk of the town of Argios Gordis, a small town with several good restaurants and the best spanikopita I’ve ever had. The hostel looks much more like a resort than a hostel, spanning several tiers of the dramatic limestone cliffs, and most rooms come with a balcony that looks over the incredible scenery (don’t hesitate to request a room with an ocean view). A short ten minute walk brings you down to the crashing surf and the long beach makes for wonderful strolls.
Upon arriving at The Pink Palace at eight a.m., after an overnight bus and ferry ride, we and the other guests that we arrived with were served pink shots of Greece’s best known liquor: Ouzo. The hostel’s reputation for hedonism was clearly accurate.
There is no end to the activities offered on Corfu. The hostel alone offers ATV Safaris, moped and sea-kayak rentals, cliff-jumping tours, and snorkeling. Volleyball and basketball courts are also available. We chose to rent two sea kayaks and explore the coast. An absolutely stunning cone of rock stuck out just off-shore and when we reached it in our kayaks it seemed truly immense. While debating whether or not to land we noticed hundreds of purple sea urchins with long needles, so watch where you step! We explored a tiny sea cave along the shore instead, and then landed on a beach that could only be accessed by sea. Now that’s what I call private.
A nice part about staying at the hostel was that the price of a room included three meals a day. The dinners were surprisingly good for cafeteria-style dining, and featured three courses each night. The food was healthy and filling. Dining was a time for meeting people, and each table seated eight. Most guests at the hostel were in their twenties.
The first night at dinner I remember seeing the giant disco ball that hung in the center of the room and wondering what it was all about. At the end of the third course, the dining room is instantly transformed into a club with a DJ, a very long bar, and lively dance floor. One wall of the large room is dedicated to pool tables. As one fellow hostel guest reported, “This is a great place to be single.”
When Kristin and I left for a 6am ferry—our next stop was Venice Italy, a 24-hour ride—and the sun was almost over the horizon, the bar at the Pink Palace was still going.
Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com