Corfu - The Green Island in the Ionian Sea
A legendary island, which has inspired and fascinated many artists with its natural beauty, now offers travellers a variety of cultural attractions as well as leisure and sporting activities.
Geography - The second largest Ionian island
Corfu (also called "Kerkyra") is the northernmost Ionian island and one of the most popular travel destinations in Greece. With an area of 638 km², it is the second largest of the Ionian Islands. It has about 113,000 inhabitants. Corfu is 62 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide at its widest point. The scenery is characterised by the two mountains of Pantokrator (911 m) and Agii Deka (576 m) as well as by the vast hilly landscape. Corfu's northernmost point is Cape Drastis, which has stunning bays. Its capital is Corfu city (officially called Kerkyra). Other important destinations are Moraitika, Glyfada, Kanoni, Roda and Sidari. The climate is mainly Mediterranean. While the summer months can be very hot, autumn and winter are dominated by the rainy season.
Nature - Lush green and long sandy beaches
Corfu has a very lush vegetation, which gave it the name "Green Island". The most common type of tree is the olive tree but cypresses are widely spread too. The prevalent microclimate promotes the growth of many wild flowers. There are, for example, about 36 types of orchids. The wetland and lagoon areas constitute an important habitat for the 150 species of birds which live on the island. Corfu is particularly popular because of its indented coastline. The most popular bay is without doubt Paleokastritsa Bay, which accommodates one of the island's most beautiful beaches. Other magical sandy beaches are located in the region around Lake Korission. It is still unspoiled because it is protected and therefore spared from hotel construction. In the north, near Sidari, you find the popular Canal d’Amour Beach.
Culture - Fascination and inspiration for poets and thinkers
Corfu became famous because of the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, who were taking refuge on the island on their way back. The famous description of the "Island of the Phaeacians", Odysseus' last stop before his return to Ithaca, is one of the most beautiful lines of world literature. Since then, Corfu has inspired many artists. The island is mentioned in the work of Goethe and Oscar Wilde and appears in paintings by Alfred Sisley and Edward Leer. Even Napoleon and the Austrian Empress Elisabeth of Austria were mesmerised by the Ionian island. The latter commissioned the construction of one of the most popular sights, the Achilleion. A true highlight is Corfu city, which was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 2007 and is characterised by charming small alleys and buildings in Venetian style. Other popular cultural attractions are the Monastery of Panagia Mirtiotissa (Moni Myrtidion), the Temple of Artemis, the Old and New Fortress (Palaió Froúrio) in front of Corfu's gates as well as the Byzantine Antivouniotissa Museum. Besides the island's landmark, the Church of Agios Spyridon, the Church of Agios Jason Sossipatros is well-known. You have a great view of the monastery island of Vlacherna and the "mouse island" of Pondikonisi from the Kanoni Peninsula.
Experience - Enjoying specialities from Corfu
Corfu has a lot to offer: cultural sights, beautiful towns and villages in Venetian style, wonderful beaches and breathtaking nature. And that is not all. Going shopping can be an exciting experience because the narrow alleys of Corfu city offer everything the heart could wish for. Popular souvenirs are honey from Corfu, especially thyme or olive honey, as well as sweet kumquat liqueur, which is only sold on Corfu. Corfu's cuisine is strongly influenced by the simple Greek cuisine (dolma, moussaka, pastitio) but the tourist areas also offer international food such as pizza and burgers. Travellers who want to enjoy the typical cuisine on Corfu should travel into the heartland. The mountain villages still serve traditional dishes like veal and lamb in different varieties and use olive oil. Corfu's nightlife is very lively. The main meeting point is the Esplanade in Corfu city with its countless clubs and bars. The greatest and best-known disco is the Hippodrome.
Activities - Active holidays in an idyllic environment
Corfu offers an abundance of leisure activities and water sports. Travellers can, for example, go diving, snorkelling, windsurfing or sailing. You can also take part in guided hikes through untouched areas, which offer breathtaking views. Furthermore, many regions are excellently suited for going cycling and horseback riding. The mountainous regions offer great conditions for going climbing. Adrenaline junkies get their money's worth going paragliding, canoeing and kayaking. There are several camping grounds between Sidari and Roda and in a few other places.
You reach Corfu by plane or ship. The public transport on the island is well organised. There are, for example, regular bus connections from and to Corfu city. The buses also travel to all important tourist destinations from the airport.
Corfu, the Green Island in the Ionian Sea, is the perfect travel destination for relaxed holidays at the seaside or action-packed active holidays. The island does not only offer breathtaking nature but also a great variety of cultural sights.