Arillas is Magic
So many people come to Arillas and can’t get themselves to leave! It is unbelievable how many times a year we have guests coming to the office telling us “I changed my ticket! Do you have a room for me for another week/month/forever?”
If you are looking for a place to stay in and around Arillas, please visit our “Where to stay” page!
Arillas in the past
...boats instead of beach chairs...
There was a time, not so long ago, when Arillas was a small village with people working their land, growing their chickens and animals, making their wine, fishing, and enjoying life. Most houses in the villages were clustered around the church, more than a kilometer uphill from the beach. For many years, the beach was used for fishing boats, not beach chairs. Then, in the 1970’s some hippies from Switzerland and Holland discovered Arillas, they told their friends and so tourists started coming! A couple of tavernas opened, the first hotel was built, and the rest is history! That Arillas is gone forever….
What is Arillas today?
... depends who is asking ...
Arillas is the base of Green Corfu and one of the most beautiful villages of Corfu. It is situated in the northwest corner of Corfu, 37 km from Corfu town. It is a village with more than 500 permanent inhabitants, most of them Greek, followed by Albanian, British, German, Swiss, and some from all over the world. There are a lot of children in Arillas, with the majority being Greek or half-Greek! You will meet funky people, among others musicians, healers, artists, bodyworkers, permaculturists, digital nomads, and happy hippies who are moving to Arillas every year. Some of them manage to get through the cold, damp, and muddy winter, some don’t…!
Arillas is also a relaxed and relaxing tourist resort from April to October, which is growing into a favourite destination for people appreciating meditation, yoga, holistic healing, and good music. During the high season, Arillas hosts more than 2000 people from all over the world. You do hear a lot of German, but the common language is English and almost all continents are represented in the colourful crowd of visitors. The funny thing is it still feels more like a village than like a tourist resort!
There is an active local (Greek) community centered around the local cultural club that organizes traditional dance lessons and three village festivals per year. There is also an active local foreign community, meeting in different kinds of circles, community, sharing, women, men, drumming and jamming, ecstatic dances, solstice and equinox, new and full Moon fires, exploring new ways to connect to our fellow human beings and the rest of creation circles!
... positive energy and good vibrations...
First of all, Arillas is blessed with a beautiful setting in a fertile, green valley, with a stream running down from Kavadades. The surrounding hills are full of green-silver olive groves, sloping down towards the shore. The seaside itself is dominated by cliffs dropping down to a golden sandy beach and clear waters. The main boulevard of Arillas is a couple of hundred meters long and this is where access to the beach is easy. Along the boulevard, you will find restaurants serving local homemade food, Mediterranean cuisine and of course fresh fish. There are also a couple of lovely cafes and beach bars with great sea views.
Both to the north and to the south, the beach extends for hundreds of meters, flanked by high cliffs of clay, offering privacy for nature lovers but also a natural cosmetic! Indeed, many people use this clay to cover their whole bodies with it. When you wash it off, your skin feels silky smooth afterward. The beach consists of fine golden sand, ideal for building sandcastles and all kinds of sculptures. The downside is that it’s so fine that it tends to stay with you for a long time after you leave the beach! The waters off Arillas Beach are shallow and perfect for children to play in safely.
But, next to the natural beauty, there is the energy of the place and the energy of the Arillas that are quite unique. The whole area of Arillas is bustling with positive energy and good vibrations and people are feeling that. People have been coming to Arillas to relax and meditate for more than 30 years! Nowadays there are many meditation centers in Arillas (Corfu Buddha Hall, Alexis Zorbas, Ouranos Club, Mythos Club) offering organized group holidays and workshops around themes such as dance, music, singing, yoga, meditation, qigong, massage, tantra, and much more.
There are also festivals held in Arillas, like Sound and Silence, Evolve Festival, Agape Zoe, Colibri Festival last year. Over the years we have had the pleasure of meeting and hearing some of the world’s most amazing musicians, such as Deva Premal, Estas Tonne, Mose, Mirabai Ceiba, Nessi Gomes and many others! There are many people giving different sorts of massage and individual sessions and in the high season, you can see several groups of people doing their morning Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, or other routines on the beach. Great wellness options await you!
Apart from the summer guests, many people have moved to Arillas and spent most of their time here, forming a vibrant international community. A lot of families with young children are choosing Arillas as the place they want to raise their children. This community is growing and raising the energy field of the place in a very tangible way. There are discussions, circles and future projects about sustainability, permaculture, self-governance, education, music, art, healing, connection, trust, and co-creation. Of course, not everything works as intended, plans change, projects fail, and hopefully are transformed into learning experiences!
Arillas also has a very active local community, consisting mostly of Greeks but also some expats who have been living here for years. There is a cultural club that organizes dance and music lessons, an annual beach cleaning, and traditional village festivals. There is the Ascension festival on Ascension Day (40 days after Easter, in May or June), the Andamoma Festival on the first Saturday of July, and the Wine Festival on the first Saturday of September. There is also the Arillas Recycling Center (ARC), run by volunteers. Next to regular recycling, there is also a growing multilingual library and a free second-hand boutique at the ARC! Arillians are very hospitable, friendly, and open, and at the same time proud of their village and culture. By the way, the best microbrewery in Greece is also situated in Arillas!
Problems in Arillas
... not all rosy ...
Arillas is growing fast as an alternative holiday destination. Houses are being built and more people are moving here from all over the world. This is already causing changes in the landscape, with trees disappearing and houses being built on previously virgin hillsides. Due to this expansion, locals have turned their gaze to the situation! We are calling for awareness on the topic. In the high season, the beach gets quite full, especially when the water is high and the sand low, which does happen regularly. The beautiful double bay in Afionas is also overcrowded from June till September, as is the whole village of Afionas. So, over-tourism will be one of the issues we will have to face in the near future.
Another issue that is getting more vivid in Arillas (and the rest of Corfu) is the Water. There are abundant rains in the winter, and a house with a water cistern could be self-sustainable, nevertheless, in the summer water is scarce. Even though there may be sufficient sources of water, the transportation network is old and always leaking, leading to the loss of water and the deterioration of water quality. The old wells have run dry, as modern boreholes go down 50 or even 100 meters to find water to fill the swimming pools for the villas! In the meantime, crops may go unwatered in July and August. Sustainable water collection, water recycling, and water purification methods are urgently needed.
One more serious challenge facing Arillas in the coming years, in our view, will be the integration of the new, international community with the local Greek community. It is essential for us to respect the traditions and habits of the locals as much as possible. This integration should not happen in a colonial way, where foreigners displace the local population and impose their rules on the place. Mutual respect, patience, and the right communication will be necessary if we want to thrive and collaborate on a societal and interpersonal level. Joint actions to improve things in our village, as well as communal celebrations and festivals are the main place where this osmosis is taking place. Like Carnival…!
The Future of Arillas
We would like to see Arillas grow as a conscious community, finding new ways to connect to each other and Nature, in harmony and synergy with the local population. We would like to see young children growing up in Arillas without fear, without trauma, in harmony with Nature, loving themselves and their fellow beings on this planet. And these children will create the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible!