Surrounded by crystal-clear waters and boasting stunning natural landscapes, pristine beaches and a historic capital, Corfu has been beloved by tourists for decades.
It’s an island that wears its history clearly: it retains a Venetian flavour, particularly in Corfu Old Town, a Unesco World Heritage Site, as well as British and French influence, making for a melting pot of cultures.
Made up of renaissance, baroque and classical architecture, the city’s capital boasts grand palaces, fortresses and public buildings, with tiny alleyways and small secluded squares, shops and houses never far away.
The three forts of the town were designed by Venetian engineers celebrated in their day and used to fight off marauders from the Ottoman Empire, which never ruled the island, and were later used under British rule in the 19th century.
Highlights include Spianada, the largest square in the Balkans, found at the centre of the city; and Liston, a square built in 1807 by the French imperial commissioner Mathieu de Lesseps.
This area, where aristocrats used to enjoy their evening strolls, is the perfect setting for a cup of coffee.
Despite the beauty of the Old Town, it perhaps the coastline of Corfu that is most celebrated. From sandy to pebbly, secluded to lively, Corfu has beaches to suit all different types of holidaymaker.
They include Sidari, a big sandy beach with many amenities including restaurants and gift shops; Agios Georgios Pagon, a bay in shape of a petal from which you can reach Porto Timoni (pictured above); and Ermones, a small sandy beach nestled between two mountain sides at the southernmost valley of Ropa.
Palaiokastritsa is one of the most renowned destinations on the island, boasting six beaches and numerous coves, the most famous of which is perhaps Agios Spyridonas. It’s also a mecca for scuba divers and fans of other watersports.
But the delights are Corfu are not defined to natural wonders and architectural delights: it is a fantastic place to eat.
Thanks to its microclimate – heavy rainfalls and humidity – is responsible for an abundance of natural produce. Since the time of Homer, the the olive tree has been the trademark of Corfu – today are about 4.5million on the island.
It’s also known for its viniculture. Many kinds of grape grow: the white kakotrygis, muscat, the red petrokoritho, skopelitiko and rozaki are among the most famous.
All kinds of citrus fruits, such as Merlin sweet orange trees, lemon trees, tangerine trees and bergamot orange trees, are also found on the island, while it is also famous of its butter and golden graviera cheese.
Corfu’s cuisine is also distinct – and delicious. Some of the best known dishes include Pastitsada, veal cooked in sauce flavoured with spices, served with a special type of thick pasta; Sofrito, a casserole dish with thin slices of veal meat cooked in white sauce, served with mashed potatoes or rice; and Bourtheto, scorpion fish cooked on a fire in a red spicy sauce.