Home » Corfu Travel Blog: An Insider’s View of Corfu Greece » Benitses All Info » Benitses Corfu of The 60s to 80s and The Legendary ‘Spiros on the Beach’

Benitses Corfu of The 60s to 80s and The Legendary ‘Spiros on the Beach’

Posted in: Benitses All Info 28
Share this with your friends!

Last updated on January 19th, 2024 at 10:15 am

The First Tourists of the 60s in Benitses

When we try to bring memories from Corfu of the 60s, 70s, and ’80s the first place that comes to mind is Benitses.

In the early 60s, the first visitors began arriving in Benitses.

Vivien Leigh at Benitses-1960
Vivien Leigh at Benitses-1960

Many were wealthy and famous and were looking for beautiful traditional places such as Benitses.

Stage and screen designer Roger Furse and his actor and playwright friend Emlyn Williams had both bought land and built villas overlooking the sea, as had the publisher Hamish Hamilton.

Benitses was visited by famous actors and singers of the era, such as Peter Ustinov, Rex Harrison, Vivien Leigh, and Laurence Olivier.

Paul McCartney, Ava Gardner, Warren Beatty, Paul Newman, Doris Day, Gregory Peck, and Audrey Hepburn were among others who fell under the spell of the peaceful village.

Celebrities in Benitses of the 60s – With photos

Most of them saw it as an escape from civilization and the paparazzi of the era, they used to spend their time on the beaches and in the two or three traditional taverns that existed then.

Vivien Leigh planned to buy a home nearby and during the last years of her life, she visited her friends here in summer and winter.
George Harrison of the Beatles spent several days in Benitses water skiing.

Another regular visitor was John Lennon who stayed in Agios Ioannis, three kilometers south of Benitses in a room behind the restaurant of the Pachis family.

Inspired by the landscapes of Benitses in their songs were Moody Blues, they used to play their wooden guitars on the Kaizer’s bridge.

1967 - The old cafe "Skaloma"
1967 – The old cafe “Skaloma”

From a 1967 album, with paintings of the painter Giannis Migadis, is the old cafe “Skaloma”. The photo was found on a blog, unfortunately, it is of very low resolution.

The music producer of the Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever, Jesus Christ Superstar, and other notable productions, Robert Stigwood made his appearance usually with his large yacht and used to organize big parties before leaving.
We can’t forget Cat Stevens who, when out with a group of young friends, borrowed the guitar of the young Kostas Zochios. A few months later he sent a new guitar as a gift to Kostas, this guitar is still treasured.

Although we have quite a rich collection of old photos, unfortunately, there is none with these people, but as we are sure that somewhere there are some we will continue looking.
All of these may seem strange to today’s youngsters but it is part of our history and perhaps interesting for other people who are a bit older.

It was the time that Benitses began to build their reputation which during the 70s brought a big wave of organized tourism especially young women who came to Corfu not only for the sea and sun, it was the golden era of the “Greek kamaki”.
A beautiful era, a time that today’s sixty-year-olds remember with nostalgia.

Spiros on the Beach

Just saying it brings back memories

Saying Spiros on the beach means a small seaside restaurant which in a very short time became the ultimate legend of Corfu nightlife during the 1970s and early 80s.

All following photos belong and were made public on Facebook by Chris Hayward who was DJ in Spiros on the Beach during the 80s

The glorious decade of the 70s

Spiros on the beach was nothing remarkable, a small building a few square meters large, with an outdoor dancing area merging seamlessly with the beach.

This space was covered with the simplest material possible, with mats around the side and forming a roof.

Loud music of the era was played, simple lighting effects were used, and in the middle was a primitive wooden dancing floor.

All these were the ingredients that formed the almost legendary Spiros on the beach, the most “in” place of the 70s, the nightclub, the disco as they called them then, which every tourist visiting the island of Corfu was bound to visit!

From 1975 until 1985 it was the undisputed king of the Corfiot nightlife, gathering more than 3000 people every night, some to drink, others to listen to music, dance, and have a good time, and some to engage in the informal “sport” which increased the Greek reputation for being great lovers, the famous harpoon!… Kamaki!

The small bar was not able to accommodate all patrons and at some point, the customers paid for the drinks with banknotes without getting any change back, there was no time, and the pressure was so great, but despite paying three or four times more than expected they still felt happy that they had managed to get a drink at Spiros on the beach.

Music Hits Of the 70s – Oldies in 20 minutes!

This mix was created in 1982 and digitized in 2008. Our purpose was to provide just a taste of the 70s by playing only a few seconds from the most popular hits of that era.

Spiros on the beach had such an impact on youth at the time that the music sounded from the loudspeakers helped shape the musical taste of youngsters of the 70s.

Its reputation had surpassed the confines of Corfu and especially in Great Britain was well known, “Spiros on the beach” was a place that many older people still remember.

Today the area looks deserted, apart from some old abandoned buildings there is nothing there, as the owner Spiros Poulis died young at the age of 50.

This article was written to keep the memories alive. This disco was a big part of the history of tourism for our village and made a tremendous contribution to the tourist promotion of Benitses at the time.

We found a Greek night barbeque ad of Spiros on the beach, it was September of 1974!!!… Certainly written on a typewriter and then came out on photocopies, computers did not exist then either in our imagination, click it to read.

Benitses Spiros on the beach barbeque-1980
Benitses Spiros on the beach barbeque-1980

What was the nightlife like in Benitses Corfu in the 80s?

Benitses then was the center of Corfu nightlife, its name became synonymous with nightlife and it helped to bring more tourists in the following decade- the 1980s.

For over twenty yearsBenitses was the holiday mecca for hordes of young British tourists, who were brought by major tour operators from the UK- although some were Greek-owned.

There was a time when on a road only two kilometers long were over 100 bars, nightclubs, and dozens of shops, Benitses had 10,000 people every night.

Those who lived here saw many tourists, some staying in the village but others coming from all over the island who came to party the night away.

Meanwhile, the locals continued their lives by fishing as usual, that’s a small video from that era.

Then the problems began and increased every year, and there was a reaction by local people who objected to the drunkenness, promiscuity, and vandalism of some of these young people.
The tourists themselves were also unhappy, even young ones often complaining that they did not like to go out at night because of the bad behavior of others.

Inevitably there were quarrels between local and foreign men over girls.
The party had stopped being fun.

In the early 90s, the local people began to react, many tourists were also complaining to the tour operators, some demanding refunds.
Tour companies began directing young people wanting to go crazy to go somewhere else.

For years later the number of visitors continued to decline as the village tried to live down its ‘party’ image.
A large number of shops, bars, etc. could not be sustained and closed one after another.

What is left today of those Benitses Clubs?

Get a glimpse of what is left from the photos below, and just consider that some buildings are missing, for instance, the club Babylon, who remembers it? We will add some photos soon!

If you are wondering what is this below? It was the entrance of Paradise Club, I mean what is left now, there isn’t any better angle to take a good shot as the place is surrounded by uncontrolled vegetation.

Disco Paradise - Closed during 90s
Disco Paradise – Closed during the 90s

Summer Villa of the Shipowner Pateras

Benitses 1960, villa Patera at Chontrakia area
villa Patera at Chontrakia area
stadium club from outside Potamaki hotel- Benitses 2010
outside Potamaki hotel- Benitses 2010

In the above photo, you see the bay of Koutsomaroula as it was in 1960, then, there were only two or three houses with the biggest one in the center.

It was the summer villa of the shipowner Pateras (Pateras is the Greek word for father), the father of the former(2011) President of the football club Panathinaikos.

Later, shortly after 1980 the villa was sold and demolished, and a nightclub called STADIUM was built there, a nightclub with a huge capacity and full of life.

Today STADIUM operates as a nightclub and in recent years has become a popular venue for weddings, christenings, banquets, and other events.

What happened to the STADIUM Club?

Well, here’s the scoop: it’s recently changed hands, now owned by the same folks who run the swanky yacht marina in Benitses. Whispers in the wind suggest there are plans for posh villas to grace the spot, but that’s the extent of our intel for now. Exciting times are ahead, right?

Read More like this

6 Reasons To Visit The Village of Benitses Corfu


Benitses was the first tourist destination on Corfu since the 1960s. But why you should visit Benitses now? We give you at least 6 good reasons to do it!

Corfu Sea Shell Museum in Benitses


In Benitses there was the Corfu shell museum with one of Europe’s largest collections of shells and other marine species.

This is How Benitses Port Looked Back in 1981


This Benitses picture of 1981 shows the entire area of Benitses almost from Koutsomaroula bay up to Laopetra, seems to been pulled from the base of the then old pier in the harbor

The Old Historic Buildings of Benitses


Benitses has some very old and beautiful buildings, some of them more than 5 centuries old. We tried to collect as many information we could about the most important of them

Property Sales and Rentals in Benitses


Here are adverts for property sales and rentals in Benitses, mainly apartments, rooms, and stores

See How Benitses Square Should Look After a Reshaping


We see below some pictures – maquettes from the square in Benitses.
It is about the complete rehabilitation of the existing internal road with a pedestrian square

28 Responses

  1. Martin Armitage
    | Reply

    What memories! My wife and I stayed at Pitsounis Taverna in 1974. The “Master of Ceremonies” was called Costa. We had a very pleasant time there. I think that there was a restaurant called “Kefalonitis” at that time.

  2. Mari
    | Reply

    Var där 1980. Exakt där. Vi åkte även till Glyfada Beach med buss. Vi träffade ett Rugbygäng från Bristol, några höll vi kontakten med i flera år efteråt men Till slut rann en återträff ut i sanden. Det var nära jag gifte mig med en av dem ” Mike ” jag glömmer honom aldrig, jag var bara 20år för ung. Undrar vart han är idag. Glömmer honom aldrig. /Mari

  3. jeremy w
    | Reply

    whatever happened to the go kart track just out of town?

    • Teo
      | Reply

      go cart has closed many years ago, the area is a parking lot now.

  4. Vincent Jones
    | Reply

    I worked as a doorman in the mid eighties in the Blue Sea Disco for 2 years, I was 19 years old and had the best time of my life, great people and Costa the owner was an amazing guy, I also taught Water skiing in Perama during the day,
    Great times

    • Teo
      | Reply

      Great times surely.
      I was 25 in the mid-eighties and at the Blue Sea Disco, every night, must have seen you somewhere.
      Take care.

      • Vincent Jones
        | Reply

        Must of !!! was an amazing place, so many perfect memories of great locals, and happy people, some of reports i have read come across as if it was the wild west!! but in two years I only had to deal with one night of trouble!! and when i finished at the Blue Sea Disco i worked at the nightclub on the beach till sun up… Truly great times….
        Stay Safe GasTheo

    • Christine Jackson
      | Reply

      Hi Stayed in Benitses numerous times back in day ,What my friend and I can’t recall is what was the name of Costas wife a American lady can you remember we have tried and can’t , Thanks Christine ,

  5. Ged Sloan
    | Reply

    Worked as a Dj 1984-85 Spiros on the beach … best club in the world
    Chris,Mark … Tim Mabbot from Olympic Holidays JoJo

    Ged Sloan… R.I.P Spiros

  6. gazza B
    | Reply

    what was the name of the young dj at spiros in 1982? Harry someone?

  7. Samc
    | Reply

    There was a bar in Benitses is was a stone house, no windows, dancing on the tables…I think they turned it into a police depot/station?

    • Teo
      | Reply

      No, it is a drugstore now, the police station is on the first and second floor.

  8. Lydia
    | Reply

    My now husband cheated on me in 1981 with an Italian woman of low morals.

  9. Tara Cosgrave
    | Reply

    I worked in a club called Paradise and also am friends with the people who own the Perama ski school, Vanessa and Spiro. I agree, was the time of our lives the late 80’s there, HEAVEN

    • Ian
      | Reply

      I have some photos somewhere of Spiros and Vanessa. Some of my mates worked a few summers with them in the 80s and a crowd of about 30 of us went there for a happy holiday.

    | Reply

    Paradise Soul Club – 1985 amazing memories

  11. Mark Robinson
    | Reply

    This is Mark Robinson now living in Dallas! I was the DJ at Style

  12. Rick
    | Reply

    I worked there early90s worked in the passport beach bar I was the singer for many years worked for Nikos kontos it was a brand new bar then fantastic days people wouldn’t believe the fun we had there I went back two years ago and could not believe how it now is. It’s great sitting having a beer and remembering the good old days rick

    • Mark
      | Reply

      Hi Rick,

      I worked with you at the passport bar in 1993!!!!

  13. Carol
    | Reply

    Stayed at the Corfu Maris in 1985 with club 18-30 holidays. It was basic but that’s all we needed. ( looks like it hasn’t changed that much if photos on booking.com are to go by).
    I was 19 then and went to Paradise Club/disco. Small but fantastic.
    Done some paragliding. We met in some bar on the beachfront and then were taken out to a floating area to wait our turn. Again brilliant fun.
    I seem to remember a bar called bongo banana? Across road from the Corfu Maris and a bar on the same side as the hotel that had striped cushions (yellow and white?) and awnings. It was a tight squeeze in there cause it was always busy.
    Had a great time in Benitsis. Met my future husband there too and still together. Who says holiday romances don’t last. 😉
    It will always be special to me.

  14. Tony
    | Reply

    Had a wonderful holiday in Benitses in 1975, aged 21. Hoping to return next year, aged 70!😂

  15. Eleonor
    | Reply

    Anyone remember disco Silver Moon 1980?

  16. Susan
    | Reply

    Went to Benitses in the 80’s, stayed in an apartment right opposite Spiros on the Beach. Not much sleep with all the nightclubs throwing out the revellers at all hours. But had a fab time, often popping over the road to watch the sun come up on the beach with the barmen clearing up. Can anyone remember the record they always played to start the disco in the evening?
    Happy memories!

  17. Joe
    | Reply

    Ive just got back from Benitses last night. The modern history of it has fascinated me to be honest. Id heard of the name, and also heard that, apparently, the locals were fed up of the party scene in Benitses, and it was therefore transferred to Kavos ‘out of the way’. However, Im not sure how true it all is. Casanovas is still there, albeit derelict, and I actually went inside the building. All of the memories that must have happened in there? good and bad no doubt.

    Stadium has also shut down a few years ago by the looks of it. Spiros by the beach, Casanovas and Stadium are on prime beach front land! Im surprised somebody hasnt come in to purchase it. If only to make apartments or a beachfront property.

    I would say the biggest issue is the road, and the lack of a decent footpath for alot of it. The villagy bit round the back, while being busy, is nice and far from dead. With a good renovation the resort could pick up again. Just fascinating though when i read all of the stories.

  18. Glenn Surgey
    | Reply

    I lived in Benitses in the 80s with my parents who owned pats place me Glenn and my brother Grant would either be showing off on our motorcycles or seen around the clubs and bars at night .

  19. John Govan
    | Reply

    In 1978 my girl friend (now wife) and I stayed in the Benitses Inn. In the local tavernas we would be shown into the kitchens to pick from what was cooking on the stove. As we walked to Spiros in the evening we would pass a few small hotels with patrons doing traditional Greek dancing to bouzouki music on the terraces, while the summer’s big hit at Spiros was the Stones’ Miss You. Tiny fishing boats with lights on the prow sailed by in the darkness just off the dance floor making the scene a bit surreal, and completely magical. My recollection is that there were fewer than 300 patrons at Spiros, never mind 3000. Nowhere in Corfu was busy. We explored the whole island on a moped. The west coast beaches were empty with one taverna serving 2k of pristine sand. We’re returning for the first time this year and I expect to see sweeping changes.

    • Teo
      | Reply

      Hi, not only sweeping changes, you will find the island totally unrecognizable.

  20. John Needham
    | Reply

    Does anyone remember Sammys Bar in the late 80s nick name Sammy Slammers