We're going to Sivota (mainland on a peninsula across from the bottom of Corfu) in a couple of weeks. Will let you know what it's like. Looks really nice, quite basic, but has a small marina and some good food apparently. Holiday was very cheap, about Â£250 each with flights and transfers.
We went there for a week on a Nielsen activity holiday in 2010. Thoroughly nice area and close to Parga, which someone else mentioned, and is definitely worth a visit along with Paxos. We went Sept/ Oct time and it's very quiet.
Also as an alternative to the islands, the Pelion peninsula on the mainland is worth a stay - think pine alps with white sandy beaches.
Sounds cool. We've decided to go the second half of September which is not only cheaper but sounds quieter
Just remembered to update this.
We had a great time. The place is small and easy to get about. Fantastic choice of beaches and places to visit. Food and drink was well priced and the service everywhere (bar one restaurant called Filakas) was excellent (we walked out of there after the waiter came to us three times and just dumped menus, then cuttlery and then bread without so much as even acknowledging us, compared to the great service everywhere else we weren't going to stay). The marina was bustling with some beautiful yachts, reasonable boat hire, or taxi boat to take you around. Best food was probably the steak house for decent meat and great service, and Blue Coast for really well cooked food.
The weather was amazing which helps, but sitting in a bar on the marina and watching the sunset over Corfu every night was so relaxing.
The nearby beaches offered sun loungers and parasols, or you could journey out to the remote quieter ones, but they didn't have bars or toilets. Well worth it to escape people though.
Best thing we did was hiring our own boat for a couple of days and going along the coast, so many hidden beaches and coves to explore. The water is crystal clear and warm.
Best beach was Arillas, it was a long white sandy beach with a little harbour and restaurant. Most of the other beaches had a sandy shingle, but this was soft sand and shallow water. Noticably warmer in the water here too. Unfortunately we found it on the last day.
In the centre everyone spoke good English, but some of the places further out they're more used to Germans and speak that well with broken English. I can speak German so that wa sno issue. Everyone was friendly and there was usually free stuff given with meals or free shots when drinking.
Best bar was on the marina, run by a guy called Andreas, there is a reason his bar is so much busier than anywhere else, service and price. Though avoid spirits and mixers, they could be hit and miss.
His bar was called Bamboo bar and didn't offer much food, just a great place to sit and unwind watching the sunset and boats before dinner.
I would go back again, moped hire was 25 euro for three days. Though we didn't do this as we had boat trips planned when we found out how cheap it was.