This Sunday, ITV drama The Durrells returns for its third series. Based on a British family’s adventures in Corfu in the 1930s, it features this Mediterranean island from its best angle – unspoilt scenery, wildlife and crystal-clear coves. Series one and two had us lusting after our own island adventures, and we’re sure series three will be no different. Here’s how you can discover the Durrells’ Corfu…
Explore Corfu Town
Much of the Durrells’ adventures took place in and around Corfu Town, a beautiful Venetian city on the island’s eastern coast. The city is flanked by twin hills, with little villages half-hidden in the Mediterranean vegetation that surrounds it.
In the city itself, spend a few days strolling through the maze of narrow streets in its old town, seeing its Byzantine churches and even catching a cricket match on the esplanade. Head to Boschetto Park, beside the medieval fortress, and you’ll find Boschetto Durrell – the twin busts of Lawrence and Gerald Durrell, created in honour of the island’s famous residents.
See the villas
The trio of villas rented by the Durrell family are characters in themselves. Skirting the edges of Corfu Town, two can be found in the little town of Perama, a picturesque spot complete with a tiny, unspoilt beach. The ‘Strawberry-Pink Villa’ and ‘Snow-White Villa’ are situated here, and it’s possible to snorkel in the clear waters around the pink villa, where a young Gerald Durrell once searched for sea life.
The ‘Daffodil-Yellow Villa’ is a three-storey Venetian mansion, hidden behind towering walls is one of the most impressive, peeking out from behind towering walls down a long, tree-lined drive in the bay of Kontokali. It’s privately owned, by the same family who rented it to the Durrells in the 1930s, but you can still spot it from the outside.
Dine in The White House
The White House is a former fisherman’s cottage in the little seaside town of Kalami. It was the home of Lawrence Durrell and his wife, Nancy, while he wrote his Corfu-influenced novel Prospero’s Cell. The couple famously received a host of literati guests, including Henry Miller.
Today, The White House is a hotel and traditional taverna, with its own fishing boat hauling in a menu’s worth of seafood every day. Perched right by the sea, patrons can linger over plates of Greek and Corfiot specialties, imagining what life here was like in the 1930s. Corfu may have changed since the Durrells’ time, but sitting in Kalami among the olive groves and Cypress trees, you wouldn’t know it.
Swim in Agios Stefanos
After lunch at The White House, take a walk along the coast towards Agni Bay, a beautiful and unspoilt stretch of Corfu’s coastline. Here you can find St Arsenius’ shrine, settled at the edge of crystal-clear waters described by Lawrence Durrell as his ‘second birthplace’, and famously frequented by him and his wife. You’ll recognise it from series one of The Durrells, where Margo Durrell was caught sunbathing by a scandalised local priest.
Visit the set
Much of the series was filmed in Danilia, a perfect replica of a 1930s Corfiot village owned by Grecotel Hotel & Resorts. The set of James Bond film For Your Eyes Only as well as The Durrells, it’s a quaint and colourful spot in a leafy part of the island, complete with chocolate-box village squares, a church, and traditional cafes and tavernas. If you pick Grecotel Corfu Imperial for your stay, they’ll arrange a tour of the village to let you walk in the Durrells’ footsteps.
The Durrells returns for its second series Sunday 23 April at 8pm, on ITV.