Difference between revisions of "Corfu"
Revision as of 21:07, 18 November 2012
Corfu, known also as Kerkyra, is the northernmost of the Ionian Islands in Greece. Located off of the far northwest coast of the country, Corfu lies in the Adriatic sea, east of Italy and southwest of Albania. Historically Corfu has been controlled by many foreign powers, notably the Venetians, and British.
Regions and Towns
Corfu Town, known in modern Greek as Kerkira or Kerkyra, is the largest and most important town on the island. This is where the airport is located and where most cruise ships and long distance ferries dock. It is a small, pleasant city catering well to tourists.
The North of the island is wider and more mountainous. The coastal areas are well developed with good pebbly beaches.
The South of the island is less wide (only a few miles across from west to east) and tends to have sandier beaches.
Benitses is a very old, traditional fishing village. Benitses lies 12 km south of Corfu Town, and leads to the emerald valley. The water of the springs which flow from the mountains of Aghii Deka and Stavros, join together in two small rivers, giving the area the name Pinisse (derived from the ancient Greek word 'Pinio') = Pinitse = Benitses. The mild climate and the natural beauty of Benitses village has attracted a lot of tourists from the beginning of the century. It is only during the last 30 years that tourism has replaced all other sources of income and now is the sole occupation of the inhabitants during the summer season.
The satisfactory infrastructure and the multiple possibilities for various activities are ideal for group holidays on Corfu and the nearby islands. Motivation trips, congress tourism, school trips, Ferrari or antique cars clubs and Harley Davidson groups meet here every year.
Corfu's nature, sea and history have made sure so that you today, no matter when you come, or how long you will stay, or your style, you will certainly find original and interesting situations to exercise and to have fun. In a place with a tradition in tourism of at least 130 years, with Greek education and the influence of “nobility” from England, France and, surely, Venice, in a place which is used to welcoming the international jet-set for several decades now, the possibilities for sports and amusement are certainly impressive.
Corfu is also a very good destination for family holidays.
Corfu may not have a Disneyland, children's museums, zoos or other things closely connected with children, but the whole island is ideal for children. It's one of few places in the world, where children are bound to find what they really need: a warm welcome. In Corfu there are no tropical diseases, criminality, violence, dangerous sea and any other kind of "danger". Children here, as you will see for yourselves, play safely in the streets, in the parks, at the playgrounds, on the beach. The way of life of the Corfiot people is almost in family. Check this out, and you will see that it is worth bringing here your children some time.
The climate of the archipelago of Corfu is warm mediterranean. The summer here is warm and relatively dry with a blue sky, often cooled by seasonal breezes, offering the ideal conditions for surfing, while rarely is it interrupted by rains. The mountainous areas are cooler. The winter here is mild. Rainfall occurs mainly from November till March. On average, there are 3000 hours of sun per year with an average daily sunshine duration of 8.5 hours.
Spring here is impressive and offers visitors the privilege to enjoy the wealth of vegetation and colors, combined with high-taste tourism .
Easter celebration here becomes the experience of a lifetime .
Summer is the most popular season for Corfu, with beautiful beaches and crystal water for unconcerned hours on the beach.
Autumn is the season of vintage, the period during which the whole island smells of grapes; it may be the best time to get to know the routine of the island.
Christmas and New Year's Day in Corfu is music, hymns, carols, in a quiet, decorated place with a mild climate and a noble finesse.
Corfu "Ioannis Kapodistrias" airport (IATA) is served by several airlines. Year-round both Aegean and Olympic airlines have flights to Athens. In the high season (roughly easter through October), other airlines including German Wings, Easyjet, Air Belin, TuiFly, LTU, Transavia and Wizzair serve the island.
Airsea Lines, Marina, Gouvia, about 4km (2.4 miles) from Corfu town, tel 801-11-800-600 (calling from Greece), +30-210-9402012 (calling from abroad)  offers seaplane service to and from Greek destinations incluging Ioannina, Patra, Paxi, and other Western Greek Islands, As well as Brindisi in Italy .
Direct Ferry links exist to/from Venice, Ancona, Bari, Brindisi (Italy), Himara and Saranda, (( ALbania )) and Igoumenitsa, Patra (Greece) . As of March 2008, a bunk in a four- person cabin from Venice to Corfu was €107.
By road transport
In your own yacht
You can also moor off at Benitses Marina , which is situated not far from Corfu town.
There are two types of bus in Corfu - Blue buses serve Corfu town and the environs, Green buses serve the rest of the island.
The Blue bus terminal in Corfu Town is in San Rocco Square. The bus information kiosk displays timetables and provides maps showing exactly where the buses terminate (some terminate a few blocks south of the square). Bus stops have electronic displays, and self-service ticket machines. Tickets are single-journey only and must be validated on the bus. They can be bought from the machines, or from the driver (for €0.50 more). A full timetable can be found here. Useful lines include the number 7 which goes to and from Dasia every 20 minutes (30 minutes on Sundays), the 10 which goes to and from Achilion every two hours, the 6 to and from Benitses (not quite hourly) and the 11 to and from Pelekas every 2-3 hours.
The airport bus is No 19 - check the timetable as frequency varies during the day with some big gaps. It is only a ten-minute ride, and costs €1.10. Number 6 Benitses bus also goes past the end of the airport access road from where it is a 500m walk to the terminal.
The Green Bus Station is near the New Port, from where buses depart for all villages of Corfu Island. Regular departures to Paleokastritsa, Sidari, Kavos, Roda, Acharavi, Kassiopi A full timetable can be found here.
There are plently of taxi lines in Corfu Town.
And there is the radio taxi which can be reached by phone at +30 26610 33811
You can rent a car at the airport or through one of many local companies. In general, it is cheaper to pre-book a hire car via the Internet before arriving. Many of the roads are very narrow so it can be better to choose a small car. While there is a good road running North-South along the East coast from Sidari to Lefkimmi and from Corfu town across the island to Paleokastritsa, many roads have poor surfacing. Often the insurance provided for hire cars does not cover damage to the underside of the car so watch out for large holes in the road. Hire car companies often provide a free map but you may find it worth buying one in advance as the maps are not especially good, especially for the North-West interior.
A great way to explore the island and access beaches that can't be easily accessed otherwise is to rent a boat. Most towns have at least one boat rental company and boats up to 30HP do not require a licence to hire. 
An automatic bike sharing scheme, called EasyBike Brainbox is available to rent bicycles.
A big village with a lot of water, green and legends built on a height of 200 meters. According to a legend, in old times, the Nymphs used to bathe in the village’s waterfalls.
A walk to the wells and the waterfalls is enough to make you understand why this legend exists ! It is almost certain that you will come across a nymph, too and if you are lucky, you will see her bathe in the water especially in spring.
After your walk to the myths, it is a good idea to visit the premises of the Agriculture Co-operative which elaborates kum-kuat and produces liquor and sweets. You will be offered some for free and you will have the chance to try the different liquor qualities (and of course, buy some, if you like).
Just outside the village, you can visit Askitario, a small but historic monastery. According to tradition, here lived in the 5th century the monk Artemios Paissios from Epirus, who is said to have worked many wonders.
A traditional village of the Messi Region of Corfu and only 10 km away from Corfu town and airport, which is a must visit.
Old mansions of the 17th to 19th centuries, a marble church, a 17th century monastery and a museum (and the only one on the island) devoted to the olive tree with one of the world famous restaurants on the island tavern « Trypas », which has hosted Kings ike the Kings of Greece and England, Presidents of Countries like Konstantinos Karamanlis (Greece) and Francois Mitterrand (France), stars of the European and American cinema and music, like Jane Fonda, Anthony Quinn etc.
The narrow tiled paths invite you to walk on them, looking at the small squares and at the houses which preserve the traditional colors.
The main church is devoted to the Virgin Mary and it is in the central square. It is a traditional church with unique architecture and an impressive marble entrance. Inside, there are frescoes of the 18th century Ionian School of Painting.
At the edge of the village there is the monastery of Agia Paraskevi, built in the 17th century.
A typical Corfiot village on the slope of a green hill. You should go for a walk to Bella Vista to admire the view over the bay of Paleokastritsa and relax in one of the picturesque coffee shops.
If you like trekking there is a path leading down to Paleokastritsa.
The surnames of the inhabitants of the region refer to the soldiers who supported Angelokastro in the late Byzantine period, as well as to refugees from Mani.
Among the houses of the 18th and 19th centuries you will find churches and traditional coffee shops. At the central church you will see donations of the first emigrants to America of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Visit the village resort of Roda on Corfu's northern coast. Traditionally a fishing village, the area has retained its chararcter while developing in to a popular destination for holidays. Unique in the sense that the old village still exists at the heart of the resort, locals mix with the different nationalities who visit time and time again. Roda is a contained resort, without the typical sprawl. There is plenty of accommodation, bars, restaurants which offer a wide range of menus, typical Greek and Corfiot dishes, Italian, Chinese and others. Roda is a relaxed resort but has a good nightlife, with nice bands, singers and comedy shows as well as the ever popular kareoke. If you want a laid back holiday, then Roda is the place, with quiet corners and a beautiful sandy beach, Roda offers something for everyone.
Achilleion (Greek: Αχίλλειον) is a palace built in Corfu by Empress of Austria Elisabeth of Bavaria, also known as Sissi after a suggestion by Austrian Consul Alexander von Watzberg. Sissi was a woman obsessed with beauty and very powerful but tragically vulnerable since the loss of her only son, Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria in the Mayerling affair in 1889. A year later in 1890 she built a summer palace in the region of Gastouri (Γαστούρι), now the municipality of Achilleion, about ten kilometres to the south of the city of Corfu. The palace was designed with the mythical hero Achilles as its central theme.
Aqualand, Agios Ioannis. It's quite a small water park with only a few main "rides". It is best to travel to and from the park under your own steam as a whole day there with an organised trip might be too long.
Eat some pitas filled with loads of nice stuff... just go to a backstreet kebab shop and get them... its good!
There is a good variety of beaches on Corfu. On the West side of the island, the beaches are sandier while the East tends to have calmer waters.
The coastal road of Benitses is full of hotels, restaurants, cafes and other shops that offering everything the most demanding visitor can ask. Benitses is surrounded by the mountains on one side and the turquoise waters of the Ionian Sea in the other, this unique combination of nature along with the hospitality of the residents, which are very familiar with different cultures, are what make visitors to love the place. just 2 miles to the north lays the famous Achilleion palace. 
For a full list of beaches look at The Corfu Beach Guide 
Corfu is an ideal location for a keen walker. The North is fairly rugged with Mt. Pantokrator, the highest mountain, and beneath it Corfu's oldest village, Ano (Upper)Perithia. At the other extreme is Korission Lake in the South; an inland lake, separated by a thin sand bar from the sea.
The Corfu Trail is a 222km long distance footpath covering the full length of the islands. The route is well signed and a book accompanies the trail , there is also an introduction, history and walking guide for Old Perithia, Corfu's oldest village which you pass through on the Corfu Trail, .
There is a lot of yachting going on in Corfu and the Ionian, it's an ideal spot due to calm weather conditions, Magic Islands , and fun people. Corfu and Ionian in general is an ideal place for sailing and yachting with steady fair winds all summer long.
Eat at Agni Bay either in the evenings or during the day, arrive on foot or by boat, there are 3 places to eat on the beach all excellent, some of the best food ever. Water Taxis run some evenings from some of the surrounding villages. Very Romantic, but prices are high here. A very special place to be. As featured in Gerald Durrells ' My Family and Other Animals'
As elsewhere in Greece, olive wood, ceramic and leather goods are common. In addition to many tourist shops in places such as Corfu town, you will find small shops along some of the more major roads, often combined with the factory/workshop. In some remoter areas, you may find locals selling locally produced wine, honey and olive oil from small street-side stalls.
Gingerbeer. Corfu was a British protectorate and gingerbeer is one of the British style drinks that the locals adopted with enthusiasm. The Greek version is simply excellent. Ask for it at Liston or better restaurants and coffee houses. Locally it is called "Tsitsibeera"
Corfu has countless options for accommodation - from 5 star hotels in Corfu town to spare rooms you will only find by asking around as well as many private villa and vacation rentals that are typically booked in advance or online. With so many people staying in Croatia and other hot spots, accommodation in Corfu is plentiful, but note that most of the accommodation is in the coastal areas - budget hotels are not so easy to find in Corfu Town.
Day trips to Paxi are widely available.
Day trips to Sarande in Albania are also very popular. This is usually combined with an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint which is to be highly recommended! A tour of the Albanian Riviera is a must!