Greek Guide

Corfu Island Greece Guide Corfu

Corfu Island Greece Greek holiday guide, flights ferries

Corfu is the second largest of the Greek Ionian Islands (after Kefalonia) located off the west coast of mainland Greece and Albania. It's one of the greenest and loveliest of all the Greek islands and was among the first to attract package holidaymakers in the 1960s. For centuries illustrious writers have been waxing lyrical about the island's considerable charms. The blind poet Homer, one of the greatest writers of the ancient world, described it as a "beautiful and rich land". Gerald and Lawrence Durrell encouraged the masses to fall in love with the place with their best selling books about life on the island. And Shakespeare allegedly used Corfu as his inspiration for The Tempest.

The island is without doubt one of the top holiday spots in the whole of Greece and it's easy to see why. It offers brash, noisy seaside resorts where you can party all night (and all day too if you're strong enough). There are leisure and entertainment facilities galore but you don't have to travel far to find unspoilt countryside, traditional villages, wonderful mountain walks and secluded coves. The capital is one of the most beautiful of all the Greek island towns and if you fancy playing Robinson Crusoe for a day or two you can take a boat trip over to one of the Diapondia Islands off the north west coast of Corfu.

The package holiday hordes arrive on cheap flights from northern Europe (mainly the UK) at the island's international airport which is located just outside the capital. Hourly ferries connect the island with the mainland port of Igoumenitsa (journey time one and three quarter hours) and international ferries run regularly to and from Brindisi and Venice in Italy and the Albanian port of Saranda.

If you're travelling with a tour group you'll probably head straight out to one of the many busy resort areas which have engulfed large sections of the island's coastline over the last 40 years. The busiest resorts are Dasia, Ipsos and Kassiopi along the north east coastline, Sidhari in the north, Paleokastritsa, Ermones and Agios Gordios on the west coast, Benitses south down the coast from Corfu Town and frantic Kavos at the southern tip of the island. Many other smaller resorts pepper the coastline between these top tourist spots but it's still possible to find quiet coves and deserted stretches of sand.

Whichever resort you're staying in, take the time to spend at least a few hours exploring the fascinating streets and alleyways of the island's mesmerising capital which is a wonderful confection of Byzantine, Venetian, French and British influences. The town boasts the only cricket ground in Greece a legacy of 19th century British rule.

Hikers will appreciate a trek to the summit of Mount Pantokrator, the island's highest peak at 906 metres, whilst nature lovers will be drawn to the Korissia Lagoon which is a haven for wildlife, separated from the Ionian Sea by sand dunes and some of the island's best and most unspoilt beaches.