Corfu (Kerkyra)

Ask anyone – foreign or native – why they keep returning to Corfu (Kerkyra in Greek) year after year and you’ll get a myriad of answers: the blue-green sparkle of the island’s crystal-clear sea, the heartfelt welcome of the locals as they greet you with their lyrical lilt, the plush green landscape that unfolds on winding horseback riding trails, the lingering noble atmosphere that permeates the Old Town’s cobblestone streets. And it’s precisely this varied tapestry of responses that reveals the island’s secret – Corfu magically and majestically embraces all your senses, enchanting and luring you deeper into the cultural and natural beauty that exists at the heart of this Ionian island.

For loyal Corfu fans, the island’s timeless popularity is rooted in its authenticity. Quaint family-owned tavernas that dot small coves, handmade soaps and fruit preserves on display in the old Venetianesque capital, classical music concerts in town squares, troubadours of all ages singing romantic serenades as they wander the narrow streets, and strolls through Corfu’s many renowned museums and one-of-a-kind art ateliers all offer a sense of what everyday life is like for the local Corfiots. And beyond the more bustling areas lies a more laid-back but equally beguiling side to the island with secret wonders tucked away in small villages and solitary beaches waiting to be explored.

Rich in heritage, history and mythology

Corfu’s aristocratic charm springs from its rich cultural and geopolitical history. Even its mythological beginnings – and its name – capture the romance of the island. Legend has it that Poseidon, god of the sea, fell madly in love with Korkyra, a gorgeous nymph, and promptly whisked her away to a previously unknown island where their love affair flourished. To honour their romance, he named the island after her and in time Korkyra island became known as Kerkyra. The fruit of their union, a son called Phaiax, bestowed his own name upon the island’s natives who were then referred to as Phaiakes or Phaeacians in Latin.

The island’s more “literal” past begins with archaeological artifacts, including tools and bones, found in Grava Gardikiou cave at the foot of Mount Agiou Matheou (Saint Matthew) in the southwest which prove that Corfu was inhabited from the Paleolithic era. But it’s Corfu’s strategic location on shipping routes to the Adriatic and Italy that played a major role in determining its subsequent history. Normans, Venetians (1386-1797), French and British all occupied Corfu from the Middle Ages onwards, effectively preventing it from being conquered by the Ottomans and adding to Corfu’s rich and varied cultural, economic and architectural landscape. Especially under Venetian rule, Corfu resisted Ottoman sieges, diversified its economy and agriculture, established a new administrative system, developed its military fortifications, began creating schools, and embraced artists, musicians and scholars from mainland Greece and the rest of Europe.

Everything about the island reflects and exudes Corfu’s unique heritage, and no single place more so than the Old Town and its surrounding areas. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town lies within the island’s capital (also called Kerkyra) and offers visitors a colorful palette of interesting monuments, buildings and churches. Begin by casually exploring the town itself – roam the maze of narrow cobblestone streets (called kantounia) and alleys hugged by towering pale yellow and white Venetian-style buildings. Look overhead and you’ll see rows of clothes-lines strung above the street, laden with the day’s colorful wash gently flapping in the wind. Turn the corner and you’ll bump into hidden squares, old churches and neoclassical manors accompanied by beautifully crafted marble fountains and wells.

A treasure chest of landmarks and traditions

Lining the cobblestone streets you’ll find an assortment of small shops boasting the island’s traditional wares, including famous liqueurs and preserves made from kumquat – a citrus fruit that resembles a miniature orange that can even be eaten whole – which have become almost emblematic of Corfu.

When you’ve basked in the feel of the Old Town, head for its treasures: Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfu (Saint James’ Theatre), built in the 1600s and the first of its kind in Greece, was an illustrious theatre where Italian and Greek composers staged plays and operas to the aristocracy’s delight. Now Corfu’s City Hall, it served as an informal audition for operas destined for the Scala di Milano in its glory days. Visit Campiello, the town’s oldest quarter, where you’ll hear snippets of everyday conversation float out into the stepped streets from tightly-huddled homes with family crests above their doors and windowsills adorned with red and fuchsia geraniums in terracotta pots. Once in Campiello, don’t miss Saint Spyridon Church with its impressively tall belfry. The embalmed body of the island’s patron saint lies within the church for pilgrims to worship.

Making your way back from Campiello is like fast-forwarding through history as you move from elegant Venetian architecture and a haunting medieval mood to regal French and British influences. Spianada (literally Esplanade) is an excellent place to begin exploring this more modern 19th Century part of town. Vast open spaces and rolling lawns make up this enormous square, where you can take a leisurely stroll down chic paths to the Palace of St. Michael and St. George. Located in the lower part (Kato Plateia) of Spianada square, this beautiful Georgian building was commissioned by Thomas Maitland and originally housed the offices and residences of the British Commissioners. Now it is home to the Museum of Asian Art – one of few such collections in Southern Europe – and the Municipal Art Gallery. From the Palace (also called Palaia Anaktora or Old Palace in Greek) you can easily walk to the Old Port and Mouragia with its medieval sea walls and charming coastal townhomes.

Once you’re back in Spianada Square, stop for mouth-watering homemade pastries at one of the many cafés (some dating back to the early 1900s) that line the wide pedestrianised Liston – you’ll think you’re in Paris with a Corfiot twist. Designed by the French in the 1800s, the tall arcaded buildings now house fashionable restaurants and cafés on the colonnaded ground floor – complete with old-fashioned street lamps adorning each arch – while across the street dozens of tables and chairs invite patrons to rest in the welcome shade of centuries-old plane trees.

Idyllic villages beyond the city

Feel like exploring Corfu’s beautiful countryside? Over one hundred villages lie in wait by the sea or up in the mountains – just grab a map, jump in the car and you’re off. And don’t worry about getting lost. The friendly locals are more than willing to point you in the right direction, or even take you there in person. Hlomo village is one such must-see. Straddling Merovigli mountain in the southern part of the island, this traditional Corfu village full of music-lovers dates back to the 13th Century and offers visitors breathtaking panoramic views of the cedar forest and Korission Lake. Its layout reflects its medieval beginnings, with winding cobbled streets and Italianate homes painted the standard Venetian reds and oranges. You’ll be in for a real treat when you visit Hlomo, as its choir and traditional Greek dancing troupe are the village’s pride and joy. They put on regular performances for tourists and locals alike, so ask a villager when the next concert will be.

Nymfes is another stunning village that can’t be missed – especially if you’re interested in local lore. Fascinating tales abound about this traditional village in northern Corfu, which – according to local legend – was the beloved home of many kind fairies. Go see the cascading waterfalls where villagers often spotted fairies washing their hair, and walk through the blanket of wildflowers and lush kumquat groves that frame the beautiful village of Nymfes. Close-by you’ll find two interesting and unique attractions: the now-deserted Corfu School of Agriculture (founded in 1932, its oil press is still there and can be visited) and a 5th Century cave-like monastic cell (called “askitario” in Greek) which the monk reportedly dug into the side of the mountain himself using only his hands. But before leaving Nymfes don’t forget to stock up on delicious kumquat jams and liqueurs made by the local community-owned Agranthi co-op.

Fabulous fauna and flora…

Take advantage of your time out in the countryside to fall in love with Corfu’s natural wonders. The island is a veritable year-round paradise for nature-lovers and eco-tourists as it offers a range of sites and activities, from lush forests and thriving lake ecosystems to a unique water-sandwiched desert and beautiful mountains. Begin by exploring the southern region of Corfu, where you’ll find Arkoudila forest in close proximity to and within easy access of Cavo, one of the island’s most popular areas. Follow a very modest dirt road to Arkoudila and then hike through and admire the forest all the way to the coast where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views from atop a dramatic cliff. There’s no better way to end your excursion than a refreshing dip in the beautiful turquoise sea – simply follow the sign that leads you down a small path to the peaceful isolation of Arkoudila beach.

Birdwatchers will be thrilled with the sheer number and variety of birds they’ll find in Corfu and especially at Korission Lake. Part of the Natura 2000 network and a thriving and vital ecosystem, Korission Lake in the south-western part of the island is an important stop for migrating birds on their journey from Africa to Europe. At certain times, over 2000 birds seek refuge in the Lake, including a wide variety of waterbirds, flamingos, and swans as well as falcons. Reptile enthusiasts won’t be disappointed either, as the lake is a perfect habitat for terrapins and turtles.

Once you’ve explored Korission Lake, head for the beautiful sandy beach nearby – except you’ll have to take a detour through a desert first! A stretch of Sahara-like sand dunes lies between the Lake and the sea, created as the sea slowly receded over the past 2 million years. A truly unique phenomenon of this desert is the Kedrodasos (literally “cedar forest” in English), where thickets of small cypress-like trees that belong to the Juniperus family sprout from the sand to compose a stunning, one-of-a-kind landscape.

Eco activities ad infinitum

In addition to more sedate activities, Corfu provides plenty of action-packed options for sports fans. You can explore the island on horseback and take winding rural trails through mountains and silver-green olive groves. These tours are led by experienced local riders who will regale you will tid-bits of the island’s “secret” history. Walking vacations are also becoming increasingly popular, especially with the 220 km Corfu Trail that spans the length of the island and unveils a varied and pristine landscape that’s often overlooked by tourists. Cycling is another excellent way of visiting all the picturesque villages the island is so proud of, including gems like Pelekas in the west and Sokraki up north, and immersing yourself in Corfu life like a local. Adrenalin junkies can look forward to endless days kitesurfing and windsurfing while avid mariners will find dinghy sailing in Avlaki bay a highlight of their stay.

Corfu is also the perfect holiday destination for amateur farmers and people interested in agrotourism. Family-run farms welcome visitors into their fold and show guests of all ages how to milk cows, tend to the chicken coop and help out with the farm’s vegetable patch. And you can return home with practical skills and tips by taking classes on how to make your very own homemade soap and how to cook your favourite Greek dishes like a native.

Animal lovers can turn their passion into action in Corfu, where rescue centres and shelters always need volunteers. Corfu Donkey Rescue is a safehaven for abused and abandoned Corfiot donkeys that not only welcomes visitors throughout the year but also trains volunteers in the everyday care of the donkeys. The Silva Project, also a charity, helps shelter and heal Skyrian horses in need and runs a riding centre that provides therapeutic riding lessons for children as well as regular classes.

Corfu offers it all, from music and art to sports in the sun, as the island and its friendly natives slowly cast their spell, enchanting and pulling you into their unique melody.

Let them. You’ll love every minute of it.

This article on Corfu and all its sub-sections was were written exclusively for ecotourism-greece.com by Christina Condomaros

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Location - Corfu (Kerkyra)

Barbati beach (near Spartylas)

Barbati is a large Blue-Flag beach that’s popular with families.

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Gardenos beach (near Vitalades)

This is one of Corfu’s most beautiful beaches. Hugged by low hills, the traditional fishing village of Gardenos on the southwest coast boasts an idyllic sandy beach which has become a closely-guarded secret among the locals. Although the sea is shallow, currents can be strong so caution is warranted.

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Glyfada beach (Glyfada)

Corfu’s most popular beach, it offers all the services associated with its Blue-Flag status.

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Logas beach (Perouladon village)

This hidden gem awaits you – go for a swim at sunset.

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Photo: atropatravel.com

Corfu is an interesting and rewarding destination year-round for bird watchers, where sightings of over 150 species of native and migrating birds delight both amateur and professional ornithologists. Fall and spring mark the peak of the birdwatching period, where over 90 species - many of them rare - pass through the island.

An excellent place to bird watch is Korission Lake. Part of the Natura 2000 network, the lake is situated in the south-western part of the island and provides an important ecosystem for a range of species, as well as a vital stopping-place for migrating birds from Africa. At times over 2000 birds are seen on and around the lake. Here you may spot a variety of passage and wintering birds, including birds of prey like Eleonora’s and Red-footed Falcons as well as Montagu’s Harriers. Other birds that have been seen here are European flamingos, Pygmy Cormorants, Great White Egrets, swans, herons and Marsh Harriers.

Antinioti Lagoon in the north (close to Agio Spyridona and Almirou beaches) is another important habitat for Corfu’s bird population with over 96 rare species sighted here. This brackish lagoon is also part of the Natura 2000 network and is home to spotted eagles, herons, cormorants, falcons and egrets. Mount Pantokrator, also in the north, constitutes the island’s highest mountain at 900 feet and is a perennial favourite amongst Corfu’s bird watchers. Spotted here are a number of fascinating species, such as Egyptian vultures, buzzards, Bonelli’s and booted eagles and kestrels.

Even the more commonly-sighted birds of Corfu offer interesting opportunities for bird watchers. Barn and Scops owls, jays, swallows and goldfinches can all be regularly seen - and heard! - on the island.

Corfu offers an ideal setting for beginners interested in sea-canoeing and kayaking as rental shops dot most of the popular beaches (such as Glyfada and Avlaki), while more confident and experienced sports buffs can explore the island’s stunning shoreline independently. Generally calm waters coupled with low winds are characteristic of Kalami bay on the north-eastern coast and here you’ll find excellent conditions for this sport.

Photo: The Pink Palace

Only 30 km north of Corfu town and close to Kassiopi, Kalami’s laid-back peacefulness embraces visitors and their families and quickly pulls them into the rhythm of traditional Corfu life. This whimsical coastal village, laced with the silver-green hues of gorgeous olive groves on one side and crystal-clear blue-green waves lapping onto a pebbled beach on the other, offers a range of services on its Blue-Flag beach including canoe and kayak rentals. If you also happen to be a bookworm, you’re in luck. Kalami is proud to count author Lawrence Durrell’s famous White House as one of its many attractions.

Corfu is a popular destination for cyclists, attracting over 6000 enthusiasts each year who roam the island’s sprawling road network as a way of getting a taste of authentic Corfu. Bike paths leading to ancient olive groves, sleepy villages and intriguing monasteries offer another view of this beautiful island that is often overshadowed by the busier tourist attractions and destinations. Cyclists experience the more traditional treasures the island is so proud of as they stumble upon vibrant village coffee-shops, quiet churches, quaint tavernas known only to locals and beautiful secluded bays.

Photo: www.alternativecorfu.com

A number of interesting areas can be visited as part of a bike tour or cycling holiday, including Lake Korission, Ropa Valley, Mount Pantokrator, Paleokastritsa as well as the myriads of traditional villages that dot the island. Cycling tours of the island can take laid-back family-friendly routes or consist of more challenging destinations for mountain-bikers. As with any sport, always take all protective measures and be aware of the irregular winding roads, potholes and slippery conditions created by fallen olives in the streets.

Corfu is a veritable paradise for both beginner and experienced divers. This island is one of the few places in Greece where officially certified and properly trained recreational scuba divers can freely explore the stunning marine ecosystem that unfolds before them. And if you’re an avid photographer, don’t forget your camera – the captivating underwater shots you’ll take home with you at the end of your holiday will keep reminding you to return to Corfu.

Photo: www.corfudivingfunclub.com

Corfu: Diving for all levels

Begin your underwater excursions in June – it’s the ideal time for this sport as the sea starts to warm up. If you’re a beginner, take advantage of your time in Corfu to get trained and licensed. There are diving centres as well as PADI resorts located in all the popular areas, including Agios Gordios, Paleokastritsa, Kassiopi and Ermones. If you’re already licensed, ask the local diving teachers for advice on which areas are off-limits to scuba divers and where you should be wary of strong currents. Some areas are best explored with a local diver who’s familiar with any potential dangers.

What you’ll see

Interesting diving spots offer a range of terrains and sea life for you to explore. Corfu’s reefs, rocks, underwater caves and overhangs provide perfect habitats for a variety of species, such as lobsters, crayfish, scorpion fish, octopus, barracudas, sponges, groupers, corals, swordfish, tuna, parrotfish, damselfish and eels.

Diving Spots

There are a number of intriguing spots that divers should focus on: Ermones Reef, Vido Reef, Lazaretto Reef, Monastery Reef, Angelokastro Reef, Kolovri and Tholeta Rocks are only a few. Skeloudi Islet near Paleokastritsa is especially fascinating and a potential candidate for a marine park.

Photo: www.corfudiveclub.com

A definite must-see is the Regulus Shipwreck. A WWII British minesweeper until it sank after an explosion, time has transformed the Regulus into a thriving marine ecosystem with cardinal fish, tube worms, urchins and fire worms.

Corfu’s delicious food and wine will turn you into a Mediterranean-cuisine convert. The island’s many tavernas offer a mouth-watering range of traditional Corfiot dishes that entice both vegetarians and meat-lovers. Of course, you’ll also find all your favourite Greek foods in Corfu, including horiatiki salad, moussaka, egg-plant salad, souvlaki, tzatziki and taramosalata.

Corfu for vegetarians
Manestra colopimpiri is a pasta-based dish with fresh tomato sauce, onions, carrots and celery seasoned with a lot of hot pepper, cinnamon and cloves. Manestra bourou-bourou is made with cut spaghetti in a fresh tomato sauce with olive oil and chopped potatoes seasoned with hot pepper. There’s an excellent variety of local salads that complement the more traditional popular Greek salads like horiatiki. Roca, also called Roukala, is a rocket-and-greens based salad topped with sliced tomato and onion, olives and olive oil.

Photo: Γιώργος Δρακόπουλος

Corfiot meat-based menus
Pastitsada, Corfu’s most popular meat-based dish, is made with fried beef or rooster cuts stuffed with sliced garlic and onion. They’re then covered in a fresh tomato sauce spiced with cloves, cinnamon and laurel leaves and served on a pasta base. Lobster is used for a sea-food version of pastitsada.

Delicious local products
Make the island’s staple products a part of your culinary experience in Corfu. Try Corfu’s fresh butter and taste the cheeses (called “Corfu cheese” and graviera). You’ll see ancient olive groves throughout the island and locally made olive oil is abundant and used generously by Corfu’s cooks.

Corfiots are especially proud of the famous liqueurs and fruit preserves made from kumquat, a citrus fruit that resembles a miniature orange. Kumquats can only be grown in Corfu and as such have been officially registered as ‘controlled origin’.

Corfu’s wines
For wine connoisseurs, Corfu offers excellent wines from local vineyards. White wines you can enjoy include Liapaditiko and Santa Domenica. Kakotrigis is another dry white wine to sample.

Hikers and walkers from all over the world head to Corfu as a way of exploring the island’s natural landscape, traditional village life and beautiful beaches.

Photo: corfuwalkingtours.com

Advanced mountain climbers will enjoy trekking up Mount Pantokrator (1000 metres) in the north which rewards your efforts with stunning views of the island and the Albanian mainland across. At the summit you’ll also find a café and a 17th Century church. Begin your trek at Old Perithea village that dates back to the Middle Ages and is reportedly Corfu’s oldest Venetian-era settlement.

Photo: www.trolleypacker.com

If you want a unique and meaningful souvenir to take home with you, visit a local pottery and ceramics workshop. Talented artists create a range of handmade objects, including hand-painted dinnerware sets, vases, bowls and fine art. Local pottery workshops can be found throughout Corfu.

Photo: www.tsamiceramics.gr

Corfu’s sparkling blue-green seas and stunning coastline make this island a favourite among aspiring and life-long mariners. There are a number of schools with certified instructors throughout the island that can help beginners on their seafaring journey and answer any questions experienced sailors may have.

Corfu’s serene lush landscape and soothing seas make the island an ideal location for meditation, yoga and creativity retreats. Healing holidays are available at a number of establishments along the north-west coast.

You’ll be spoiled for choice in Corfu when it comes to sparkling turquoise seas and enticing stretches of golden-sand beaches. Or if you prefer a more rugged landscape with wind- and wave-sculpted rocks that are perfect for diving into crystal-clear waters, you’ll find countless quiet coves to spend your days. Visit all of the family friendly or more remote beaches Corfu is famous for and then try to pick your favourite. Odds are you won’t be able to make up your mind.

Agia Barbara-Marta beach (Kavo)

This beach is a perennial favourite.

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Agios Georgios Argiradon (near Argiradon village)

Visit this sandy beach as it’s popular with families.

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Agios Gordios Sinaradon beach (Sinarades)

If you like sandy beaches with a lot of action and water sports, this beach is for you.

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Agios Ioannis Peristeron beach (near Moriatiki)

Lush dark sand and blue-green waters invite you to enjoy a quiet swim.

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Agios Spyridon beach (near Antinioti Lagoon)

You can swim to a small island opposite this beach if you’re adventurous or go for a dip after birdwatching at the Lagoon.

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Agni beach (Agni)

This quiet cove offers crystal-clear waters and the opportunity for a relaxing swim.

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Arillas beach (in Arillas)

You won’t forget this beautiful beach on the north-west coast. Families enjoy splashing in the crystal-clear waters and end up spending the day lounging on golden stretches of sand.

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Barbati beach (near Spartylas)

Barbati is a large Blue-Flag beach that’s popular with families.

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Bouka (near Skala Potamou)

Locals love this sandy beach with shallow waters.

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Elli beach (near Liapades village)

This beautiful beach is surrounded by olive groves and pine trees and leads to secluded coves.

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Gardenos beach (near Vitalades)

This is one of Corfu’s most beautiful beaches. Hugged by low hills, the traditional fishing village of Gardenos on the southwest coast boasts an idyllic sandy beach which has become a closely-guarded secret among the locals. Although the sea is shallow, currents can be strong so caution is warranted.

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Glyfada beach (Glyfada)

Corfu’s most popular beach, it offers all the services associated with its Blue-Flag status.

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Gouvia beach (Gouvia)

This organised sandy beach is a favourite for water-sports fans.

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Logas beach (Perouladon village)

This hidden gem awaits you – go for a swim at sunset.

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Molos (near Lefkimmi)

Go for a swim surrounded by eucalyptus trees.

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Paleokastritsa

Paleokastritsa, composed of a series of coves, never fails to enchant locals and tourists. Agia Triada and Alipas beaches are favourites.

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Yaliskari beach (near Pelekas)

Take a dip against a backdrop of lush green pine trees.

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Barbati beach (near Spartylas)

Barbati is a large Blue-Flag beach that’s popular with families.

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Gardenos beach (near Vitalades)

This is one of Corfu’s most beautiful beaches. Hugged by low hills, the traditional fishing village of Gardenos on the southwest coast boasts an idyllic sandy beach which has become a closely-guarded secret among the locals. Although the sea is shallow, currents can be strong so caution is warranted.

Find Out More

Glyfada beach (Glyfada)

Corfu’s most popular beach, it offers all the services associated with its Blue-Flag status.

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Logas beach (Perouladon village)

This hidden gem awaits you – go for a swim at sunset.

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Corfu is a very popular windsurfing destination and kite surfing is gaining momentum amongst watersports fanatics. The west coast of the island offers the best wind conditions due to the landscape and rock formations. If you’re a beginner, opt for a windsurfing or kite surfing holiday in May or July as winds in August can be quite strong. If you’re eager to start your training, there are schools in Issos beach.

On the island of Corfu you’ll find a range of archaeological sites and artifacts that date from the Paleolithic era through the Byzantium. Archaeologists discovered a number of important Ancient Greek and Roman settlements, the most important of which is the Palaiopolis site (dating back to the 8thC BC). Visit Corfu’s Archeological Museum and the Palaiopolis Museum housed within the Mon Repos mansion for interesting examples of figurines, statues, as well as burial and votive offerings.

Ancient Site of Palaiopolis

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Corfu Archaeological Museum

North Aegean / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Monument of Menecrates

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Palaiopolis Museum (Mon Repos mansion)

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Corfu’s castles and forts reflect its rich and tumultuous history. Built by illustrious architects and serving vital military and political purposes, these imposing structures are a must-see for any visitor interested in the architecture, culture and history of the Byzantine and Venetian empires. The Old and New Fortresses are in the Old Town of Corfu and feature as important attractions at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

New Fortress (Corfu Town)

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Old Fortress (Corfu Town)

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Sea and land caves are abundant in Corfu and well worth exploring. Myths and legends accompany a number of these caves and locals will gladly regale you with action-packed stories about pirate raids that forced fleeing villagers to seek refuge in the island’s caves.

Klimatia Cave is an excellent place to begin exploring. Also called Anthropograva cave, it’s located close to Klimatia village in the northern part of the island just a few metres off the road that leads to Agia Triada Monastery. Follow the stone path that leads to the entrance to the cave, where a 7 metre inclined passage inside the cave takes you to a bigger domed section with stalactites and stalagmites. At the far end of the domed area there’s a 4 metre hollow or well that drops down to the cave’s lower level. If you’re exploring in summer, keep in mind that bats use the cave for shelter.

Photo: B. Metellinos

Another cave worth visiting is the Grava Loutson cave which you’ll find at the foot of Mount Pantokrator in the north, close to Loutses and Old (Kato) Perithea villages near Kassiopi. Take the coastal road from Kassiopi through New Perithea, Old Perithea and Loutses then follow the sign for Anapaftiria until you reach the end of the road. There you’ll see an old gateway to a downhill pebbled path that leads to the caves. An interesting characteristic of these caves is the jagged creviced ceiling and the layer of green algae that coats the ground. Caution is advised as it can be slippery.

Sea Caves
Sea caves dot the coast of Corfu so when you’re in Paleokastritsa on the north-west coast take the opportunity to rent a small boat and explore these underwater masterpieces. Water taxis abound in this area so rely on the locals to take you to the most impressive caves and isolated coves.

Mon Repos Estate (Paleopolis)

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Achilleion (south of Corfu Town)

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Lazaretto Islet (off the Old Port)

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Liston (Spianada Square)

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Pontikonisi (Kanoni)

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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San Giacomo Theatre (Corfu Town)

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Spianada Square (Corfu Town)

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Synagogue of Corfu, Corfu Town

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Vido Island (off the Old Port)

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Corfu is famous for being the greenest Greek island and nature-lovers instantly fall in love with Corfu’s countryside. The island’s natural landscape runs the gamut from lagoons and lakes to valleys and mountains. Some of the most unique natural phenomena can be found in Corfu, including a lake that borders a desert which in turn boasts juniper-tree thickets.

Lakes, lagoons and deserts
Part of the Natura 2000 network and a thriving and vital ecosystem, Korission Lake in the south-western part of the island is an important stop for migrating birds on their journey from Africa to Europe.

Photo: Kritzolina

At certain times, over 2000 birds seek refuge in the Lake, including a wide variety of waterbirds, flamingos, and swans as well as falcons. After Korission Lake, head for the beautiful sandy beach nearby. Your detour will take you through a desert, as a stretch of Sahara-like sand dunes lies between the Lake and the sea, created as the sea slowly receded over the past 2 million years. A truly unique phenomenon of this desert is the Kedrodasos (literally “cedar forest” in English) where thickets of small cypress-like trees that belong to the Juniperus family sprout from the sand to compose a stunning, one-of-a-kind landscape.

Photo: kerkyra nature

Antinioti Lagoon in the north (close to Agio Spyridona and Almirou beaches) is another important habitat for Corfu’s bird population with over 96 rare species sighted here. This brackish lagoon is also part of the Natura 2000 network.

Mountain landscapes
Mount Pantokrator in the north is the island’s highest peak at 1000m and is an interesting part of The Corfu Trail. Agii Deka and Merovigli mountains complete the island’s tableau of picturesque landscapes.

Corfu’s flora
Discover a palette of ancient olive, cypress, pine and palm trees. A mosaic of bright yellows and reds drapes the countryside in spring (almost 6000 different kinds). Over 30 species of wild orchid dot the landscape, along with chamomile buds, lilacs, cyclamen, harebells and violets.

Arkoudila Forest

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Corfu’s protected habitats are the best places to see a variety of animals in their natural environments. Lake Korission and Antinioti Lagoon offer opportunities for nature-lovers to observe a variety of birds, turtles and terrapins. Vido Islet is home to pheasants, hares, partridges and rabbits. Also, a number of lizard species inhabit Corfu’s mountains.

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Bioporos Organic Farm

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Casa Lucia

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
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Bioporos Organic Farm

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
Book now

Casa Lucia

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
Book now

Bioporos Organic Farm

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
Book now

Casa Lucia

Ionian Islands / Corfu (Kerkyra)
Book now

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