Described by Homer as a ‘rich and beautiful land’, the Greek Ionian island of Corfu has delighted the senses of its inhabitants and visitors for centuries. With a rich history deeply entwined in ancient Greek mythology and later subject to numerous battling civilisations, the island has been left with a conglomerate presence of stunning village architecture, fortresses, museums, temples and churches built in turn by the Corinthians, the Romans, the Venetians, the Byzantines, the French and the British. In ancient mythology, Poseidon, the god of the sea, fell in love with and abducted the beautiful nymph Korkyra to Corfu. Today the main town, Kerkyra, still carries her name.
The island of Corfu offers so much more than the 18-30’s image that may immediately come to mind. After all, this beautiful island was the birthplace of Prince Phillip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, in 1921 at the Villa Mon Repos. It is also the capital of cricket in Greece, with an oval and full scale cricket ground in the centre of Kerkyra square.
At night, the town is a magical sight of amber-lit Venetian architecture, the Saint Spyridon church tower and many monuments. The shops, restaurants, tavernas and bars buzz until well past midnight with people of all ages from children to grandparents, making for a lively, chaotic yet intimate atmosphere. The locals are friendly and the restaurant owners welcome tourists from all over the world. A must see is the breathtaking and intoxicating, uninterrupted view over the sea front, the Old Fortress, port and the old town experienced on the rooftop bar and restaurant of the Cavalieri Hotel. Succulent local dishes and fresh seafood are offered and can be enjoyed with a glass of your favourite local wine. The chocolate cake dessert completes the divine experience.
Moving away from the town, the rest of the island contains traditional and quaint fishing villages, boutique hotels, private and exclusive wealthy Villas, intimate bed and breakfasts, sun-drenched beaches, wide fertile plains, towering flora- covered mountains and a huge diversity of local fauna. There are over 600 species of wild flowers and an abundance of olive trees all over the island. There are also a number of scuba diving facilities that enable underwater exploration of the surrounding waters.
Corfu is one of the most inspiring and beautiful Greek islands to visit.
Trivia: Corfu inspired the famous autobiographical trilogy by naturalist Gerald Durrell, including My Family and Other Animals. Corfu provides the backdrop for many of the scenes in the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only". The Achillion Palace was built between the years 1890 and 1892 by the Empress Elizabeth of Austria and was later purchased by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1907.
Author: Anastasia Paphitis
Need help making travel arrangements in Greece? XpatBookings is a one-stop-shop that helps expats and travelers with their travel needs in Greece!