The Durrells’ Alexis Georgoulis on his favourite corners of Corfu: “All Corfiots are crazy”

When he has a day off from filming, the actor who plays Spiros heads to the beach with his guitar

The Durrells - Alexis Georgoulis as Spiros Halikiopoulos

Where’s your favourite place on Corfu?

Sidari Beach, on the northwest coast of the island, for the astonishing sunsets and scenery. And I love to drive up to Kaiser’s Throne – a panoramic viewpoint on a cliff in central Corfu.

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Is filming The Durrells as idyllic as it looks – or does it get hot and sticky?

We shoot a little before or after the tourist season when the weather is perfect. I prefer spring, when the wildflowers blossom. Also, the actors and crew are like one big family now, so it doesn’t feel like work.

Rock formations at Sidari Beach, Corfu
Rock formations at Sidari Beach, Corfu

How do you spend your days off?

I wake up early and go to one of the small, private coves by Glyfada Beach on the west coast. I stay there the whole day until late at night – swimming, playing my guitar and hanging out with friends.

Have the locals welcomed you?

Look, all Corfiots are crazy. I haven’t met a Corfiot who is normal. They’re very fun people, always making jokes, and their culture is very different from the rest of Greece. I’ve made a lot of good friends there.

Different how?

They are very into music. All Corfiots can play an instrument, and all of them sing as well, especially when they’re drunk! They even speak differently, with a singsong intonation.

Do they have any culinary specialities?

Like everywhere in Greece, they have great taste in food. The most famous dish is bourdetto – a spicy tomato stew made with scorpion fish, or sometimes you can find it with octopus.

And to wash it down?

They have very nice wines and a digestif that can only be found on Corfu – a sweet, orange-coloured kumquat liqueur. Bourdetto is very nice with a glass of raki or tsipouro, a Greek brandy.

Where’s your favourite place for lunch?

Marina’s Tavern in Spilia, the old Jewish neighbourhood in Corfu Town. Marina serves Corfiot recipes and even a simple salad is delicious because she sources her ingredients from local gardens, so the tomatoes are very ugly but taste beautiful.

A 16th-century fortress presides over Corfu Town
A 16th-century fortress presides over Corfu Town

Do Corfiots dine late?

Greeks don’t think it’s late. If someone says, “Let’s go to dinner at 10 o’clock”, we ask: “Why so early?” It’s a Mediterranean thing: you don’t go out to eat because you’re hungry, this is not your first goal – it’s to have fun, to socialise.

How else can we Brits fit in?

Live for the moment. Go to the market and have fun haggling. Go to small tavernas and become friends with the owner or waiter. Stay up all night dancing and flirting, find a nice place to watch the sunrise and breakfast on the beach.

How do you spend your holidays?

I travel a lot, so I’m always in hotels surrounded by people and I really miss listening to silence. When I have a week off, I like to put my tent up in a forest or by the beach and just listen to silence and the music of nature.

If the Durrells decided to relocate, which other Greek islands should they explore?

Corfu is very green, so they should go to Paros because the scenery is totally different, with elegant villages painted white and blue. It’s lively but it’s not a party island like Mykonos. And Milos is magical – very quiet and unbelievably beautiful.

Townscape of Paros, one of the Cyclades islands
Townscape of Paros, one of the Cyclades islands

The Durrells is on Sundays on ITV at 8pm

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