10 reasons to visit the Corfu island.
Written by Spiros Laskaris on Wednesday December 30, 2020
Corfu island -
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The truth is, there is no time to say that it is not worth visiting this beautiful island.
Spring, Autumn, Winter, Summer, Christmas, Easter, Halloween. All seasons and human celebrations, as if made to advertise this island.
Corfu, the island of Phaeacus.
Can you say that you visited France but did not see Paris?
Have you ever visited Italy but not seen Rome and Venice?
So, you can never say that you visited Greece, but you did not see the Acropolis in Athens and Corfu, this beautiful island in the Ionian Sea.
Probably to be more precise one of the 7 wonders of the Ionian Sea, because you should know that the Ionian has seven very beautiful islands also known as the Ionian Islands.
The great love of the nature lover, the happiness of the romantic couple, the magic of the explorer.
1. Its green landscape
From Sidari to Kavos and from Ipsos to Paleokastritsa a green carpet covers the mountains, meadows and hills of Corfu. It is so wild vegetation that many times the trees grow to the rocks where the waves of the sea break.
Green areas with olives, pines and cypresses in strange alternations compose a beautiful painting that would make even Van Gogh jealous.
From north to south, serpentine paths cross the lush forests and wait for the visitor to explore them. Do not forget your camera. Here you will find a variety of wildlife subjects for photography. Walk the paths and enjoy the chirping of birds and the song of water, which flows from the spring to the stream.
And when you get tired of exploring, dazzled by the so much beauty of nature that Corfu has generously given you, one of the dozens of picturesque villages awaits you. Small or biger, they have been left untouched by civilization, which sometimes destroys romance.
Karousades, Palia Perithia, Agios Stefanos, Agios Markos, Chlomos and many more that you must definitely visit on your vacation. To drive in their narrow streets, to smell the smells of food from the smoky chimneys, to fill your eye with colors from the full of flowers pots.
Drive on the serpentine road that starts just before Paleokastritsa and goes to Lakones. Park your car and admire the view. The bays of Paleokastritsa below you, a big heart. A heart that will fill yours with admiration.
Cross the beach of Ipsos and go left to the road to the old village of Agios Markos. After passing the Corfu Secret hotel in 2 km you are in the center of the village. Drowned in the green. Visit the local tavern Panorama and try Spiros delicacies overlooking the whole island. Magic!
Climb Pelekas and gaze at the whole island from the Kaiser observatory in Bavaria. Do not leave before sunset. Here you will see and photograph one of the most famous sunsets in Greece.
2. The lacy beautiful beaches
Most of the beaches of the island are easily accessible. And the truth is that Corfu is endowed with countless and beautiful beaches. And the truth is that Corfu is endowed with countless and beautiful beaches.
Beaches with golden sand reflecting the Greek sun, beaches with gravel or stone, beaches with blue or blue-green or turquoise waters, it does not matter much. It only matters that their crystal-clear waters will relax you and the landscape will leave you dazzled.
Starting from the north and Sidari with the famous Canal d'amour and leading from the east side of the island to the south, we will find the beautiful bay of Kouloura, the Kalami that lived and was inspired the British writer Gerald Durrell, Kerasia, Barbati and the cosmopolitan Ypsos (Ipsos), the so-called golden mile.
From the west side you will find Agios Georgios Pagon, Paleokastritsa with its icy waters and its famous monastery. A little further south, the Ermones beach, the famous and cosmopolitan Glyfada beach a pole of attraction for the young people from all Europe, the beach of Kontogyalos and the famous Agios Gordios beach.
God blessed this place and gave it the magic of paradise.
3. Its history and mythology
Corfu has an inextricable link of 30,000 years with Greek history. The first habitation took place during the Paleolithic period (30000 - 7000 BC), as evidenced by the findings that came to light, in the cave Grava Gardiki in the southwest.
In the area of Paleokastritsa there are finds dating to the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic eras, while various Neolithic settlements have been identified, most importantly the settlement of Sidari on the north coast (6000 - 2600 BC).
It is the Scheria of Homer, the island of the Phaeacians or Phaeacia. It is also referred to as Drepanon due to its shape. Corfu is the favorite place of the explorer, historian, archaeologist and generally people who love to research and study the ancient history and mythology of Greece.
Venetians and English passed through the island in different historical periods and their passage left unchanged traces in the culture, language and buildings of the island, especially in the old town of Corfu.
4. Cultural and historical sites
Do you have time? Definitely not enough. Countless choices from museums of all kinds, art exhibitions, music tours, you will find throughout the island.
The archeological museum, the museum of Asian Art in the palace with its beautiful gardens and the marble fountain, the Byzantine museum or museum of Antivouniotissa, the banknote museum of the old Ionian bank, the Mon Repo built by the English commissioner Fred 18, the museum of the poet Dionysios Solomos who also wrote the Greek National Anthem, the museum of Conte Ioannis Kapodistrias the first governor of Greece, the Municipal Gallery, the museum of the Corfu Reading Society with all the material of the intellectual people of Corfu and the museum with the dummies and the belle epoque of Corfu.
Outside the city of Corfu, the Achillion Museum will take you at least half a day to visit. It is the former residence of Queen Elizabeth of Austria, which has been turned into a museum with beautiful gardens, paintings and statues and which will definitely make up for your time.
Also, many folklore museums such as that of Acharavi and Pelekas, as well as the Olive tree museum in Kynopiastes, will steal time from your excursions between your breakfast at the hotel and before your dips in the sea.
5. Its musical tradition
Musical tradition of Corfu is globally known. It is the island with the most philharmonic orchestras in all of Greece and maybe in the Balkans.
The love of the people of Corfu for music dates back to the 18th century. One of the reasons for this flourishing was the influences of the Italian opera, which determined the subsequent musical path of the island. This love of the Corfiots for the music, was housed in the beautiful theater di San Giacomo di Corfù until 1902. Unfortunately, today nothing survives from this temple of music.
Before referring to the musical present of the island, we should not miss the great musicians of the past, who glorified Corfu but also made the world music scene richer, with their work.
Born in Corfu and originally from Austria, Spyros Samaras is one of the first great musicians of the island. His teacher was Spyridon Xyndas. He is also one of the creators of the Ionian School. Among others, he is the creator of the Olympic Anthem too.
Nikolaos Halikiopoulos Mantzaros is especially honored by all Greeks and Corfiots. He is one of the founders of the Corfu Philharmonic Society on September 12, 1840 but also the one who set to music the National Anthem of Greece. His works and personal belongings are exhibited in the music museum, which bears his name, and is located on the 1st floor of the historic building on Nikiforou Theotoki Street, in the center of the old Corfu Town. On the 2nd floor of the same building is housed the Corfu Philharmonic Society, the offices and the classrooms.
Corfu is called without exaggeration the island of music. Suffice it to say that it maintains 19 philharmonic orchestras!
The best time to enjoy them all is of course the world famous Corfiot Easter.
6. The traditional events
Corfu and especially the people of Corfu do not forget their tradition. They do not forget their roots, their manners and customs, which is why throughout the year, events take place on the island, in memory of these customs. With the most famous events taking place at Easter, such as the breaking of the “botides”, the procession of Agios Spyridon, stands out in the summer with the traditional festivals, the barcarola, the Carnival, the masquerade walks with Venetian costumes in the central square of Corfu and many other local events, organized by each village small or bigger.
The visitor will definitely need many days to get even a small taste of all that is happening and certainly a visit to the island is not enough even to learn the "titles" of all that is happening.
7. Its gastronomy
The flavors of Corfu will "take off" the senses of the visitor and will surely leave even the most beautiful memories.
Corfiot cuisine has received many influences from Greek, English but mainly Italian cuisine and this makes it completely different from the mainly Greek cuisine. The olive oil that is abundant on the island, garlic, a lot of pepper (white and red), paprika (sweet or hot) and tomatos, are some of the ingredients that characterize the dishes of Corfu. The most famous of these are the pastitsada, the sofrito, the scorpion bianco, the tsigareli, the burdeto and many more.
Of course, to try the authentic flavors of Corfiot cuisine, it is not enough to visit one of the many tourist restaurants on the island, because in them, you will eat an imitation of genuine traditional dishes.
The recipe for these delicious but also very spicy dishes has the "grandmother" in the village and some "secret" taverns that only a few Corfiots know, but this will become a "topic" in another article.
It is also worth mentioning the dessert but also the drink (liqueur) kumquat, which is made only on the island of Corfu and you do not find it anywhere else in Greece. Also, nougat and mantolato are the typical sweets of all the Ionian Islands.
8. Activities for all Ages
Corfu has been developed for tourism many years ago. This enabled the island to learn how to meet the needs of each age for special holidays. In addition to the dozens of officially mapped walking trails, the many mountains and hills for climbing, beaches also occupy a special place with so many activities. Skiing, diving lessons, parachuting, inflatable toy-states that make children happy, fishing, day trips by boat, excursions by traditional boats to the surrounding islands and nearby beaches, are some of them.
It is also worth visiting the famous Aqualand in the area of Agios Ioannis, with water toys and huge water slides that will make young and old people very happy. It is the largest in the Balkans.
There are so many activities that one can do on the island, at any age, that certainly cannot be described in a few lines. What is certain is that you will never get bored and you will not know them all.
9. The Corfiot Easter
Not an article or an entire book can describe in detail the most famous Easter in the world. The Corfiot.
Thousands of people flock from all over the world every year to watch Easter. As famous as the Rio Carnival in Brazil is for citizens around the world, so is the Corfu Easter. With special permission from the Pope of Rome, Catholic Christians celebrate Easter on the same day as Orthodox Christians.
Throughout Holy Week, all the philharmonic orchestras play in the streets of the Old Town of Corfu, also known as "cantonments", mourning processions and songs. Good Friday all the Epitaphs in the streets and each of them is followed by a philharmonic.
On Holy Saturday morning, the Epitaph of Saint Spyridon leaves the Church behind the holy chariot of the Saint and is followed by all the Philharmonic Orchestras of Corfu. The absolute overwhelms. The absolute mourning for the drama of the Godman.
And at 11.00 in the morning under the watch of hundreds of thousands of visitors the custom of "botides". Pitchers full of water are thrown from the high balconies of traditional houses and break on the ground, exorcising and expelling "evil".
And the party begins. The Philharmonic Orchestra is changing its rhythm now. From mourning to fast and happy …. until the night, when the sky will be filled with thousands of fireworks and the “night will become day”. Some people with so many thousands of fireworks will think we have a New Year… .. but not. This is how the people of Corfu celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord.
And on Sunday the whole of Corfu becomes a vast "barbecue". Traditional dances, traditional delicacies and dance. Everywhere. From the one “end” of the island to the other.
This is the Corfiot Easter. If you do not experience it even for once, no description can put it in your heart.
10. The many alternatives for your stay
Last we left the most basic for the visitor of Corfu. His stay.
As mentioned above, Corfu was involved in tourism many years ago. Given the Corfiot hospitality for the Corfiot’s in the past years, they have become real professionals of tourism. So, the only sure thing is that the visitor of Corfu will find exactly what he wants, as he wants it and when he wants it.
From the most expensive five-star hotels to the small rental room in a small village, they will satisfy even the most demanding visitor. Small or large, traditional or modern, near the sea or on the mountain, the Corfu accommodations are so many and different, that you will surely find exactly what you want.
Of course, many visitors make the big mistake of literally being "locked in" a huge all-inclusive hotel, which will only offer them processed food and drink day and night. None of these visitors will get to know Corfu, its people, its flavors, the natural beauty of the island. He will not rest his gaze and soul gazing at the blue sea and lacy beaches.
Prefer the small traditional accommodations, the boutique hotels, that will give a traditional note to your vacation. The people there will do their best to accommodate you as best they can. Not to get your money, but to see your smile every day. To hug you when your vacation is over and your suitcases will be refilled for your return. You will never hear Goodbye from them. Only See you the next year!
This is Corfu.
These are its people.
You will see them on the street, you will meet them working to have a good time on your vacation. You will see them always smiling, singing. But you will never see them sad. They are there for you, to have good time, to make happy your holidays. They are there to show you, what they love more than anything else in their lives.
The Corfu Island! Their paradise!