Wednesday, 17 September 2014


Six kilometers inland, high in the hills above the beautiful small coastal bay of Agni, in the North East of the Greek island of Corfu you will find somewhere very special indeed.  The magical drive up, along a dirt track through endless olive groves,  leads to the hidden gem that is 'Rou Estate'.  It was here that we as a family, plus the children's friends had the great privilege to stay last week, for a wonderful week's holiday all together.

Once a hilltop village, it was abandoned by farmers in the 60's and left for ruin.  In 2005 the entire village was bought and rescued by British Architect Dominic Skinner, who set about meticulously restoring the buildings….creating a boutique retreat of fourteen stunning holiday houses, surrounded by immaculate terraced gardens.  

With a spectacular infinity pool built into the rock face, maid service, a gym and holistic centre…it also offers all the comforts of an understated five star hotel.

With our party of eight,  we stayed in one of Rou's larger four bedroom villas 'Strelitzia'

With its floor to ceiling windows, and pale olive green shutters….

Open plan layout and spectacular vaulted ceilings….it was a holiday rental like no other.  I could have very happily moved right in!

A fabulous large kitchen and eating area looked down upon this beautiful sitting room, with other quieter areas off it, to read, watch tv or listen to music.  Great attention had been given to the interiors, with beautiful art work and carefully placed objects of interest throughout.  Every comfort and detail, both practical and aesthetic had been thought of.

The perfect home away from home….

With a view like this, across the glistening water over to Albania, to wake up to each morning, it was hard to leave... 

It is Rou's beautiful terraced gardens that it is also famous for…having attracted much media attention over the years.  Sadly taken on a slightly overcast day, and much of the flowering season over for now, my pictures don't quite do justice to what is the most immaculate and striking planting.

With plantings of lavender, agapanthus, wisteria and herbs….the blue, white and violet tones work beautifully with the mellow grey stone work of the houses, and soft grey/green of the shutters.

Evidence of the former village, in the form of original archways and an old well were reminders of what this special place once was….

What was originally the village's stone built sheep pens, is now the estate office, spa and gym…

My daughter and husband and I took time out from the rest of our party one morning to take in the magnificent landscaping, and heady herbal scent of these beautiful gardens.

Thoughtful seating areas around the gardens were tranquil places to take in the beautiful surroundings…

With candle lit lanterns and carefully placed flood lighting….you can imagine how stunning the gardens were at night.

When we could drag ourselves away from this beautiful oasis up in the hills, days were enjoyed down by the water….

Having fun in boats, hired from nearby Kassiopi…

Swimming in the warm Ionian sea, with its crystal clear waters...

…and stopping off at deserted coves for a picnic.

Not forgetting the delicious Greek food in the fun and friendly tavernas…all so fresh, with locally grown organic vegetables, tempting meze and wonderful fresh fish caught from local fishermen the night before.  

'Agni Taverna' in Agni bay...

'Taverna To Fagopotion' in Agios Stefanos...

Above were two of our favourites, and highly recommended if you are ever in either of these neighbouring coves.

Have you ever had the opportunity to visit this beautiful island, and in particular, the beautiful north/east?  If not, and you get the chance, you are in for a very special treat….

Rou Estate bookings via

Wishing you all a happy Wednesday evening!

Sophia xx


  1. What utter bliss! Such a beautiful place, I could almost smell the herbs, you described it all so beautifully. x

  2. What a fantastic villa and yes, this part of Corfu is so beautiful indeed!
    Wish you a nice day.

  3. This is one of the most beautiful blog posts that I have seen in a long time. And I have been blogging for over 7 yrs now. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful trip. The house you stayed at is dream like to me. And you and your family so beautiful. xx

  4. Great post Sophia, and what a wonderful holiday.
    Coincidently, you have re-introduced us to Simply Travel, so thank you for that.
    Glad you had a lovely time with your family, and you have a lovely week,
    Liz x