Of all the places I’ve visited so far, Corfu in Greece has to be my favourite for many reasons. The scenery being the main one. The island is full of lush olive groves and greenery and is surrounded by the clearest water I have ever seen.
The flight from Manchester to Corfu is around three and a half hours and one of the highlights is passing over the Alps. As you approach Corfu, some of the Greek islands come into view and you can see their turquoise coastlines and strips of perfect beaches. The landing strip at Corfu airport juts out into the sea so it almost feels like you’re skimming over water as you land!
One of the first things you notice about Corfu is the clean air, as you’re surrounded by green hills and the crystal Ionian Sea beyond.
Accommodation in Corfu is largely made up of small apartment complexes but there are many large hotels and resorts in the more touristic areas. On one of my visits to Corfu I stayed at a resort called Labranda Sandy Beach which is an all-inclusive resort right on the beach! It’s situated on the South-West coast in a small village called Agios Georgios South, (not to be confused with Agios Georgios the North-West).
Agios Georgios has a small strip with a few bars, restaurants and shops but is relatively unspoilt. For me, one of the best things about this area is the nature. There is a lagoon called Lake Korission which is home to many species of birds including owls, buzzards and even flamingos! It also attracts many types of wildlife such as turtles, snakes, lizards, frogs and otters. It was in Agios Georgios that I saw fireflies for the first time! One of the most amazing things i have ever seen, gazing from my balcony at a million twinkling fairy lights to a twighlight chorus from the frogs and crickets!
The island of Corfu is extremely diverse so you’ll need to do a little research before you go to make sure your choice of location is right for you. For example; Kavos is a lively party resort aimed at the under thirties. It’s situated on the South-East tip of the island and has a huge stretch of sandy beach. There is a main strip which runs parallel to the beach consisting of countless bars which stay open all night and well into the daylight hours.
The North-West tip of Corfu is only 3.6 miles away from the coast of Albania and the magnificent views of the Albanian mountains add a sense of wonder when combined with the breath-taking backdrop of Mount Pantokrater which is the highest mountain in Corfu. The best way to experience these views is from the charming town of Kassiopi. Kassiopi is an attractive and lively town built around the harbour, although the beaches are mainly pebble there are plenty and most are secluded little bays. The narrow, winding streets offer an abundance of shops, restaurants and late-night bars.
Corfu town (Greek: Kerkyra) is the capital of the island and is a shopping haven. It is known for its winding cobbled streets and majestic venetian architecture. The town is steeped in history and is packed with churches and museums and includes two fortresses which defended the island against the Ottoman invasions.
The people of Corfu deserve a special mention as they the friendliest people I have ever met, they go above and beyond to make you feel welcome, always smiling and happy to chat. One example being when my daughter popped into a shop to buy a dummy as my grandson had lost his, the shop didn’t have any so the owner drove to the next town to get one for her!
One cannot write an article about Greece without mentioning the food which, in my opinion, is the best in Europe. Greek cuisine is based on fresh local produce, feta cheese, olives, vegetables, yogurt and bread. Among some of the classic dishes are tzatziki, which is a cool dip made from yogurt, cucumber, garlic and olive oil, filo pastry cold pies, stuffed vine leaves and my favourite, pita gyros which is cubes of meat, usually lamb, with tzatziki and salad wrapped in a pita bread, definitely worth a try.
Corfu was the first place I visited as an adult and will always have a special place in my heart. With its stunning scenery, warm climate, amazing people and crystal waters every visit to Corfu feels like coming home.