Insider's Guide to Corfu

Corfu is the island of contrasts. From the rural heart of the island, where villages appear almost untouched by the 21st century, to the modern and cosmopolitan villas in the holiday resorts dotting the coastline from north to south and east to west.

The island has been inhabited since 1300BC. Much of the archaic relics relating to the history and lifestyle of the islanders can be found in the Museum of Archaeology. Ancient monuments that were part of the Paleopolis and are part of Corfu's colourful history are scattered around Corfu Town, all within walking distance of each other. The Municipal Art Gallery exhibits works by artists from the past and those who are living and working on the island today.

But what do you actually know about Corfu?
 


Many Greek 'Firsts' happened on the island. The first bank and lighthouse, built by the British at the Old Fortress , where the remains are still visible, were on Corfu.

The Achillion Palace was sold to the Kaiser Wilhelm II who built a bridge from the gardens to the sea for boarding his boat, however this was destroyed by the German Wehrmact during WW II to allow free movement of its troops and vehicles.  The remains still stand on either side of the road today.

The husband of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip is Greek. He was born at Mon Repos Palace in 1921. The community of Corfu are his godparents.

Although other films have used Corfu as a location, the most famous is the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only. The Achillion Palace, Gastouri, Church of St. Spyridon, Kalami Bay, The Old Fortress, The Bay of Kanoni, Vlacherna Monestery and Agia Triada Monestery, Meteora all feature in this one film.

In Kanoni there is a Lemon Eucalyptus Tree, thought to be 900 years old.  These trees only grow in Australia. Did Corfu's sailors get that far? The Kumquat is native to China and was introduced in 1846 and now is a part of Corfiot culture. Food is a big part of Corfiot culture, shopping for it, cooking it, eating it and discussing it. Whether a gourmet experience or a Greek night in a village taverna, the pleasure is the same for food lovers the world over.

Culture and history aren't for everybody. Corfu has 29 Blue Flag beaches. Some in major holiday resorts whilst others are private and only accessible by speedboat or kaiki. Being able to venture further afield appeals to many people, close to Corfu are the islands of Paxos and Anti Paxos, Parga and Kastoria are on the Greek Mainland and Albania is less than an hour away.