For sun worshippers looking to combine warmer weather with the opportunity to enjoy beautiful scenery and visit historic sites, Corfu could be the place to go.
The Greek island has been popular with holidaymakers for many years and has an abundance of facilities for tourists on both the north east coastline and on the southern tip of the island, with luxury villas available as well as package deals.
The island has a temperate climate, with year round sunshine, dropping to around 57° Fahrenheit in winter months but rising close to 90° Fahrenheit during the summer.
For this reason, Corfu is a popular destination for beach holidays, with many holidaymakers wanting to relax under the sun and nothing more. However, the beaches offer more than just the typical sand and sea for those willing to explore.
Corfu, Cape Drastis
Sidari is a bustling coastal resort with many small coves and hidden pathways lying along the seafront. However, the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly the Canal d’Amour – the channel of love. This bay features a natural opening in the rockface which continues right through to the sea – a naturally occurring ocean tunnel that attracts a stream of visitors to the secluded cove. Local legend says that any woman swimming through the channel will land her dream man.
For those wanting to enjoy the fresh air and see more of the island, there are plenty of hikes around Corfu that take in sites of natural beauty and historical interest.
Benitses is a quieter town, which despite having several tavernas and eateries, still centres around its fishermen. Lying within wooded hills, it offers plenty of secluded walks along curving pathways. For the more energetic, there is a natural spring lying in a hilltop glade that is well worth seeing, as well as nearby Roman spa remains.
Lake Korission is another beauty spot worth considering and of particular interest to nature fans, as more than 120 different species of bird have been spotted on the freshwaters and in summer, the surrounding dunes are smothered in sea daffodils.
The island has numerous myths and legends associated with it, not least the fact that Hercules is said to have stayed on Corfu before setting off on his ten labours. The Argonauts also reportedly took refuge on the island after seizing the Golden Fleece.
However, undoubtedly the most famous myth on Corfu is that which surrounds the Keeper of the City, Saint Spyridon. The patron saint of Corfu is credited with expelling the plague as well as saving the island from foreign invaders not once, but twice.
The saint’s remains are preserved in a antiquated silver casket found next to the altar in the Church of Ayios Spiridon in Corfu town and are paraded through the town four times a year. The Church dated back to the 15th century and is easily identifiable by its unique red domed bell tower. Locals and tourists both queue to kiss St Spyridon and it is considered a blessing for anyone that makes the pilgrimage to do so.
Achillion Palace offers a treat for history buffs. It was originally built in the 19th century for the Empress of Austria but after her death it was purchased by Villhem II, the German Kaiser at the time. The palace has, in its lifetime, been used as both a hospital and a military base and evidence of both still remain, alongside oil paintings and a mural depicting Greek mythology.
The Palace also has extensive gardens that are filled with statues of famous Greek philosophers and the Nine Muses, including a world-famous sculpture of Achilles and numerous fountains.
The north of the island is dominated by the towering presence of Mount Pantokrator, which at more than 1000 metres, can sometimes be seen to be snow-capped, despite the warm climate at sea level.
It is possible to drive to the very top of the mountain where there is a cafe and a monastry, but as the roads contain 360 degree hairpin bends, it is not recommended for less than confident drivers. The top of the mountain provides views not only over the whole of the island, but on a clear day, it is also possible to see the most southerly tip of Italy.
It is impossible to list all of the things to see and do in Corfu, but there is plenty for both the old and young, with some towns busier with a thriving nightlife and others quieter and more traditional. Whether taking a sedate stroll around some sights or experiencing an adrenaline filled theme park ride, you are more likely to run out of time than things to do.
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