Corfu | Ionian Islands
39.610545° N, 19.914960° E
When it comes to island destinations, Corfu packs it all: exotic beaches, lush green landscapes, exquisite local cuisine and a lively nightlife. This is a land of untamed beauty with breathtaking sceneries that range from pristine beaches with turquoise waters, to wooded valleys with evergreen trees, colourful wildflowers, and picturesque villages that hold a timeless charm.
The island's cosmopolitan centre has a distinctive Italian flair that goes back to the island's occupation by the Venetians, their influence reflected in the marble-paved plazas and terraced buildings with tall windows and stucco façades. The island's strong cultural and intellectual legacy is evident not only in the libraries, museums and galleries, but also in everyday life.
Exhibitions, art events, concerts and theatrical performances are organised year-round, attracting locals and tourists alike. Add to this the island's top-notch restaurants and vibrant bars, and you will start to get an idea as to why Corfu has long been one of the world's most popular holiday destinations.
The Town of CorfuCorfu's town, with its cobbled streets and Venetian architecture, has an enchanting quality. The old town is full of cheerful shops that sell souvenirs and local delicacies. Spianada, the largest plaza in the Balkans, is a favourite spot for street artists and musicians. The Liston, with its beautiful archways and vaulted galleries, is lined with cafes and restaurants frequented by locals and tourists alike. The promenade of Garitsa bay is the perfect place to stroll and watch the yachts rocking gently at the docks.
Mon ReposThe palace of Mon Repos was built during the British occupation as a summer residence for the British High Commissioner and his Corfiot wife and was later granted to the royal family of Greece. After they fled the country, the palace was abandoned until it was restored during the '90s. Nowadays, Mon Repos operates as the museum of Palaiopolis.
Vlacherna Monastery & PontikonisiThe monastery of Vacherna is situated on a rocky islet close to the southern tip of Kanoni peninsula. It is accessible via a foot bridge that connects it to the mainland. Pontikonisi is a tiny verdant islet that hosts the Byzantine church of Pantokrator. Legend has it that Pontikonisi was the boat of Odysseus, which was turned into a verdant rock by Zeus when it was hit by a fierce storm.
Old PerithiaOld Perithia is an abandoned Venetian village at the north-east part of the island and the oldest known example of an original Corfiot mountain village. Located about 8km away from the town of Kassiopi, the village is perched on the top of Pantokratoras, the island's largest mountain. Visitors can wander around its cobbled streets and ancient houses, and enjoy lunch with view in one of the authentic village tavernas.
Corfu has something for everyone and is sufficiently big to allow for isolation even during the super-packed peak season. Museums and places of cultural interest can be found practically at every corner, but the island is also renown for its cuisine and its wild nightlife.
If you want to escape the mass-holiday crowds, go for the less developed northern coast with its dreamlike sceneries and upmarket properties. Its steep slopes are lined with silver-green olive trees that open to reveal mesmerising views of the Ionian.
The coastal road branches into smaller streets that lead down to idyllic coves and bays. There, you will find a few tavernas with exquisite local delicacies try Toula or Nicholas at Agni beach. If you really want to be secluded, though, you can rent a small motor-boat and get to a bay that is accessible only by sea -remember to bring food and water.
After a long day at the beach, drive to the charming village of Pelekas to watch the sunset while sipping some wine. For a change of scenery, take a day-tour to the neighbouring village of Parga, a true gem set in the mainland, fairly unknown to tourists. At the northern part of the island, in Ropa Valley, you will also find an excellent golf course that is considered to be one of the best kept in Europe.
Corfu can be reached by sea or air. Corfu's Ioannis Kapodistrias international airport is located close to the island's town and serves direct flights from and to various European cities. Fairies for Corfu leave from both Patras and Igoumenitsa, as well as Albania and Italy. There are also ferries that connect Corfu with the neighbouring island of Paxos.
Finding the perfect holiday villa is not an easy feat to pull, but thankfully enough there is no shortage of villas to rent in Corfu. Corfu is sophisticated and elegant, but it is also a pole of attraction for young Europeans who visit the island for its pulsing nightlife. If you are in a party mood, the south is the place to be. Yet if you want to stay clear of the partying crowds, the northern part of the island is as breathtakingly beautiful as it is quiet -or at least as quiet as one of the world's hottest destinations can be. For the eclectic traveller who wants to pair the sophistication of a boutique hotel with the comfort of a private home, there are plenty of holiday villas to rent that range from charming cottages with private pools to exquisite luxury villas that will satisfy the most demanding tastes. Our Greek Villas team has strived to create a diverse portfolio that includes all the best luxury villas in Kassiopi, Kalami and Agios Stefanos among others, to make sure that you will find the holiday villa of your dreams.