Transport around Corfu
If you have come with a tour company it is certain that during the 'meeting'
you will be urged to rent hire cars. The argument is that if you rent through
them you have the rep to fall back on if anything goes wrong. This is a
valid point for car hire. However for boat and coach trips I cannot see a rep
helping much other than to complain about something - which will probably
be a waste of time and effort.
Do not fall into the trap of booking a lot of trips at the meeting. They are
expensive and if the weather is rough or too hot or you have over imbibed
you will be wasting your money. There are plenty of trips to choose from
with a day or two's notice.
You must have a valid full licence and usually be over 21 years old.
If you shop around you will obtain car hire at least 30% less. I always asked
for the cheapest 4 wheels that they have. There is usually some old banger
nobody in their right mind would be seen dead in. Mind you driving on the
'wrong' side of the road in Greece you probably will be ( joke - I think ).
It is well worth shopping around for the best deal.
Please check the insurance arrangements and that it is FULLY COMPREHENSIVE
IN WRITING AND SIGNED, has little or no excess and personal injury cover. Also
make sure you have a breakdown telephone number to use if the vehicle falls
apart. There is usually a fee to pay if you damage a tire. Check the vehicle
over first of course.
Scooter & Motorbike Hire
Scooters are only available third party so remember if you bend one you have to
pay for the damage. Crash helmets are available for a small fee or free. You
will notice that the Greeks never wear one, or gloves, or boots - nothing. No
doubt you will be looked at as a wimp but at least you stand a chance of
surviving - they seldom do. If two of you are going to use one I would
recommend a 90cc or bigger. Many of the 50 cc scooters seem to have an
elastic band instead of a gearbox which tends to lay a smoke screen on a 1
in 6 hill - or stop completely. Take a warm coat with you. At night it is very
cold on 2 wheels. Expect to pay £50 maximum per week for a little scooter.
There is a bus service to Corfu Town from Sidari. Every other service goes on to
Peroulades. They are very cheap, I believe about £4 or less to Corfu Town.
The ride takes about an hour. The buses themselves are now modern and
comfortable. Some are air conditioned. Timetables are posted on the bus stops
the same as the UK. Bus drivers seem to be a lot more careful. Unfortunately
when better services have been attempted in the past the taxi drivers have
intimidated the bus drivers.
Taxis are cheap compared to the UK.
NOT ANY MORE THAT AREN'T.
As an idea the 10 minute trip from Sidari to Peroulades (or about 2 minutes if
the taxi has another customer waiting) used to be betweent £3.00 and £4.00.
Now after changing to the Euro it has more almost doubled to between £5.60
If it as all possible try and use the local municipal bus service for at least
one way. Very good air conditioned coaches, very cheap, but they do wander
around the countryside between destinations. Nice little coach ride actually.
The bus timetables are 'different' to ours.
There are several places where you can hire mountain bikes in the area. They
are reasonably cheap and crash hats are available. I would be careful where you
leave them. Not everybody is as honest as our Greek hosts. I would also check
that the saddles are comfortable. Some are definately NOT. If you are thinking
of using a bycicle a lot - take your own saddle and an adjustable spanner or
something soft to put over the one supplied.
Be carefull when you are walking. The roads tend to be very narrow and the
coaches and taxis drive at ridiculous speeds around bends. The rain ditches at
the side of the road do not help. There are no footpaths. Walking in the heat of
the day is only for the very fit and healthy for any distance. Wear a hat and
take a bottle of water with you. Trainers are not a good idea due to the heat.
I will say no more.
Driving the Greek Way
The general rules for some taxis ( like some taxis and BMW drivers here ) and
coaches are don't give way to anything - not even an ambulance, don't overtake
unless it is a blind bend, don't take any notice of any road sign - and unless
you can see the individual hairs on the neck of the driver in front you are
on holiday from Athens. In house joke. Greek tourists from Athens drive down
the middle of the road at 20Km an hour, bit like our Maestro's, Volvo 343's and
cyclists with yard long lollipops sticking out sideways.
In many places 20 Km (12mph) is the speed limit, this is almost dangerously
slow on a scooter. I have been in a taxi doing 110 Km an hour in a 30 Km limit.
It was 'interesting'. Don't even think obout saying you are late for the
airport. If I remember correctly there are even 10Km / hour speed limits.
In theory this means you could be done for pushing your bicycle too fast.
I gave up hiring cars mainly due to a wet road covered in oil from those quaint
little olive trees and a 10 tonne lorry on a hairpin bend on a 1 in 6 hill
whilst driving on the left (oops). No damage but it was CLOSE. Take note. Wet
roads and olive trees are dangerous. Don't even think of driving a motorbike
or scooter if it rains late in the season.
I would not advise anybody to drive in Greece. We are not used to driving on the
'wrong' side of the road, the roads are often poor but improving a lot. Although
tour operators always say never use a scooter I think that poodling along on a
scooter at 15mph in the gutter gives you more chance of evasive action
be it a 6" pot hole, a lizard or one of the macho young locals almost naked
trying for Warp Factor 9 on a 1400cc Kamakasi Super 96 valve GT, TC, CD, V*,
Turbo Injection that he had last week for his fourteenth birthday. It's quite
cheap to get buried in Greece.
What's the hurry? I have been twice overtaken by Greek gentlemen on bicycles.
Drinking and driving a car in Greece is not a good idea. Apart from the chance
of ending up in hospital, or worse, if you are caught by the police you will
find the penalties just as sobering as the UK.