Personal experience

13 things you need to know about Corfu

"If you want to truly immerse yourself in the essence of Greece, head to the islands," my friend, a Greece specialist, advised. She exudes a timeless Greek charm herself, thanks to her profession, which made me wonder why she emphasized the islands. For me, the true Greece was always about its gods, heroes, myths, ancient philosophy, and architecture. However, it all clicked into place when I vacationed in Corfu.
06 july 2018
АВТОР: Olha Solohub

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Olha Solohub

First and foremost, Corfu (or Kerkyra) is a unique island in Greece. Often referred to as the "most Italian" island in Greece, it exudes an atmosphere that some may find too relaxed while others absolutely adore. It's precisely this Greek charm that draws thousands of tourists here each year.

Photo author - Dom Ridley

The main thing to do in Corfu is to relax and not worry that everything is not organized as expected. Because it's organized very well - only in the Greek way. It's as if everything here is designed to get away from the hustle and bustle of big cities and offices and enjoy the sea, the scenery, the cuisine and the Greek lifestyle.

1. Corfu is the sea

Blue, greenish, iridescent, sunrise, sunset, with sandy beaches on the east coast and in Sidari or pebble beaches in Paleokastritsa. For all tastes and budgets.

2. Corfu's Lush Greenery

Corfu's abundant greenery owes itself to its favorable geographical location, receiving ample rain and fog during the winter months that nourish the island's thriving vegetation.

Evergreen Island
Photo author - Kálmán Gombos

3. Corfu's Kumquat Specialty

Indeed, Corfu is home to the small but mighty kumquat, a Chinese orange variety that has found a unique European foothold here. The island boasts a thriving kumquat industry, with Mavromatis being a prominent producer of kumquat liqueurs and jams. You can purchase their delightful products either at the factory store or in various souvenir shops throughout Corfu.

4. Corfu's Olive Delights

Corfu isn't just about olives themselves but also a wide array of olive-derived products, ranging from mass-produced items to unique artisanal creations. If you're seeking olive-themed souvenirs, the capital city of Corfu (Kerkyra) is your go-to destination. In the evening, take a leisurely stroll through its charming narrow streets, visit either the old or new fortress, explore the cathedral housing the relics of St. Spyridon, wander along the picturesque promenade, and relax on the terrace of one of the street cafes. Later on, you can peruse numerous souvenir shops, which remain open until late in the evening.

Corfu Olive Groves
Photo author - frans harteveld

5. Corfu's Scenic Wonders

If you're in search of breathtaking scenery, head to Paleokastritsa, a picturesque promontory located in the northwest of the island, surrounded by scattered islets in the sea. The best way to reach this enchanting destination is by car. Along the way, consider making a stop at a quaint roadside cafe perched on a hill. While the cuisine might not be the main attraction, the view is nothing short of spectacular. You'll find yourself wanting to linger for hours, savoring coffee and taking in the magnificent panorama.

Paleokastritsa landscapes
Photo author - t_paparountas

6. Achilleion Palace in Corfu

Once the residence of Elizabeth of Austria, the Achilleion Palace still stands as a testament to its rich history. Although much of the original furnishings have been lost to time, the palace's courtyard boasts a delightful garden adorned with statues of Achilles and the Greek Muses. Among these exquisite sculptures, Terpsichore, the muse of dance, is a highlight that might just inspire you to take a few dance steps in her presence.

Achilleon Palace
Photo author - Wim Boutens

7. A Quaint Monastery above Paleokastritsa, Corfu

Perched atop a picturesque hill, this charming monastery, adorned with colorful flowers, provides a tranquil sanctuary for a small community of 5 or 6 monks. It relies primarily on the generosity of tourists for its sustenance.

8. Corfu's Diverse Beaches

Corfu boasts an array of beaches to suit every preference, from bustling and developed to secluded and untouched. Among the most captivating is the beach at Paleokastritsa. To reach this hidden gem, embark on a short boat journey (plentiful options available) that takes approximately 25-30 minutes. Upon arrival at one of the islets, the captain coordinates the evening pick-up time. Here, you'll find nothing but the sea, sun, rugged rocks, and lush greenery. Yet, in this simplicity, you'll discover a profound connection with the crystal-clear, warm sea and the natural world that surrounds you.

Klimatia beach, Corfu
Photo author - SzaboGyul4 (forceberg) Follow

9. Corfu's Diversity

Corfu is a place of diverse beauty, with numerous bays and resorts awaiting your discovery. Whether it's the lively shores of Dassia, the inviting vibes of Moraitika, the marina at Gouvia, the charm of Sidari, or the picturesque appeal of Paleokastritsa, all these coastal gems are conveniently close to each other. Rent a car and embark on an adventure to explore them all. You can decide whether today is dedicated to swimming near Mouse Island or lounging on the verdant lawns beneath swaying palm trees at your hotel. For the more adventurous, consider a ferry trip to Albania – the narrowest stretch of sea between the two is just 1.5 kilometers wide.

Chlomos village
Photo author - Σπύρος Τσουκιάς

10. Corfu's Unique Airport Experience

Corfu's airport boasts a rather unique setting, with its runway located in close proximity to the picturesque church on Mouse Island. Imagine the thrill of watching airplanes taking off and landing from as close as 100, or even 50 meters away.

Airplanes to Corfu
Photo author - gary clarke

11. Corfu's Scenic Routes

Corfu is known for its winding serpentine roads, charming dirt paths, and encounters with goats adorned with bells. As you venture just 100 meters from the main road, you might feel momentarily lost, but fear not! After another hundred meters, these scenic routes will guide you back to civilization.

Roads in Corfu
Photo author - Jarosław Lichoń

In general, the people of Corfu should be taught to ignore the little things and just enjoy the beauty that is all around them. There's a goat crossing the road, jingling its bell to the beat of cicadas, and the southern wind brings the scent of meadow flowers. A farmer smiles at you as he drives by on his tractor, and you realize how wonderful it is to be on an island, not worrying about anything, not rushing anywhere - that's real life.

12. Corfu is love

As if to prove it, there is a "Love Channel" in Sidari. Sandy high steepsandy banks (which, unfortunately, have collapsed a bit due to natural disasters) and the sea between them.

The Love Canal in Sidari
Photo author - el j phi

13. Corfu, Gerald Durrell, and "My Family and Other Animals"

Corfu is forever linked to the spirit of Gerald Durrell and his beloved book, "My Family and Other Animals." Some claim that the house where Durrell once lived still stands, while others insist it has vanished with time. Whether you choose to seek it out or not, remember that it's not the house but the indomitable spirit of this island that will captivate every heart.

Corfu Old Town
Photo author - Lemmo2009

You'll fall in love with Corfu once and for all. Here, you start to understand that the title "the island of eternal returns" isn't just a poetic phrase. You'll yearn to come back to Corfu time and time again, to soak up the Greek ambiance and carry a bit of it with you.

Practical Information:

  1. The season in Corfu runs from May to September.
  2. The sea is calmer on the east coast of the island, with waves on the west coast.
  3. Transfer from the airport to the hotel is not worth ordering - it is better to use the services of a cab, which will take you to any resort. The cost - from €30 to €50 depending on the distance.
  4. The best way to travel around the island is by car, which can be rented at any hotel or in the tourist towns in car rental points.
  5. Come early to the airport before your flight. The airport is very small and check-in queues are always long.

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