Overview

Introduction

This most northerly of the Ionian islands is the greenest and, perhaps surprisingly, one of the most traditional of them all. Corfu’s charm and beauty have captivated visitors for generations and remain as intoxicating as ever.

Corfu’s variety also plays a part in its enduring popularity. With over 200 kms of coastline, the island really can offer ‘something for everyone.’ “Beautiful, flower-filled, washed with soft Ionian light,” Corfu is impossible to describe in a few words.

Groves of tall, silvery-green olive and cypress trees cover the slopes of the central hills tumbling down to the steep west coast, famed for its sweeping sandy beaches and magnificent sunsets. our small resort of Aghios Gordis here appeals to all generations of different nationalities, and families particularly appreciate the fact that there is no coastal road running behind the superb beach here.

Go north and you will find a different scene: a rocky, twisting coastline of cliff and ravine, curling round the great mountain called Pantokrator, ‘Lord of Creation’. The north east, with its whitepebble coves, stupendous views and countless walks, is particularly magical. The Corfiots are the most friendly and generous people, especially the country folk. They work hard on their land and many still follow traditional lives.

Walkers, botanists and ornithologists will find an inexhaustible source of interest in Corfu. The Corfu trail, which winds from north to south through some of the island's most beautiful and enduring
landscapes, can be tackled in small chunks and runs close to all our chosen resort areas (and even through Liapades). To quote from ‘Landscapes of Corfu’, “Walking on Corfu is sheer bliss. You will
be spoilt by a kaleidoscope of landscapes, and you needn’t be an intrepid hiker to find these beauty spots. The walks lead to some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see.”

Corfu town is different again, and different too from all other Greek towns, the result of long successive years of Venetian, French and British rule. By reason of its two massively strong forts it never yielded to the turks. The mazy streets of the old town contrast with the Venetian and French elegance of the centre – and very English cricket is played on the Esplanade green!

So don’t miss out on Corfu. As any one of its regular visitors will tell you, to know this particular island is to be captivated by it.

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Getting there

Monday day flight from Gatwick, Bristol or Manchester (other regional flights on request). Then 30 - 75 minutes by coach or taxi.

Multi-Centre Options

Why not combine Corfu with Paxos (Corfu first), or any Corfu resort with another?

Car Hire

We can arrange car hire on Corfu for you.

Representative

Our resident representative is based in Corfu Town and will visit all resorts/areas.

Weather and Climate

In the spring. when charter flights generally begin operating to the Ionian islands, the weather in Corfu is usually warm, with temperatures in the low 20's and perhaps the odd day of rain.  The island is cloaked in wild flowers, which thrive following the winter rains and provide an uplifting sight for those who venture off the beaten track to walk inland through olive groves and along country footpaths (which are often old donkey tracks).

At this time of year, it’s best to pack waterproof jackets in case of rain and an extra layer of clothing for cooler evenings.

Corfu weather is perhaps at its best during June when the sea starts to warm up and the thermometer is set fair in the mid 20s.  Beaches and tavernas are not crowded and there’s less chance of rain during your stay.

The hottest and busiest months of July and August, during the school holidays, can see temperatures rising to the mid-30s and even 40s.  Families of many different nationalities flock to the beaches to enjoy the warmth of the sea and restaurants are buzzing with holidaymakers late into the night.

At this time of year it’s obviously particularly important to make sure you keep topping up your tanning lotion to protect against the searing rays of the sun.  A hat is also recommended in order to avoid sun stroke, and lightweight clothing, preferably cotton, is advisable. Many visitors choose to adopt the Mediterranean habit of taking a siesta, keeping out of the sun between midday and 3pm when it is at its hottest, and then eating later at night just like the locals.

Accommodation with air-conditioning is a must during peak season in order to aid a good night’s sleep!

Like June, September is quieter, with warm daytime temperatures and cooler evenings making it easier to sleep at night.

Mosquitoes can be a nuisance at different times during the summer.  However, if you come prepared, you can lessen the chance of being bothered by them.  Use a suntan lotion containing insect repellent during the day and apply mosquito repellent before you go out in the evening.

Mosquito repellent devices are also available from local supermarkets and can be plugged into electric wall sockets.  The mozzies don’t like the aroma they give off (which is unnoticeable to us) so it helps to keep them at bay.  

It also helps to turn the indoor lights off in the evenings and to close your shutters and doors when you are out or sitting on your terrace or balcony.  A lemon-scented candle on the table can be both atmospheric and practical at keeping insects at bay.

Corfu Lifestyle

Between April and October, the fishing villages and coastal towns of Corfu are transformed from sleepy destinations to popular tourist resorts.

 When the island awakes from its winter hibernation,  the pace of life still remains relatively slow and a holiday on Corfu is all about relaxing on sandy beaches, enjoying long lazy lunches and suppers in local tavernas, taking walks through shady olive groves and swimming in the island’s clear turquoise waters.

Corfiot lifestyle is generally unhurried, with the locals usually beginning their day early to avoid the heat, many shops and offices closing in the afternoon and people taking a siesta indoors in the afternoon until the temperature begins to drop a little. Corfiots tend not to eat dinner before 9 pm, and often not until much later during the summer, as it’s cooler then.  So, while tavernas, bars and restaurants open at around 6pm for those wishing to dine early, they are often still happily serving into the early hours.Fresh local food is one of the highlights of a visit to the Ionian and eating mezze – a selection of smaller dishes or starters akin to the Spanish appetizers known as tapas – is a popular way of sampling the cuisine.

In addition to the more well-known dips such as Tzatziki (cucumber, garlic and yoghurt), Humus (based on chickpeas), and Taramosalata (fish roe), why not also try Skordalia - garlicky mashed potato - or Melitzanosalata, which is delicious smoked aubergine. Appetisers are numerous and varied and also include Saganaki, a delicious deep fried cheese, Keftedes, tasty Greek meatballs, and Kolokythokeftedes, courgette fritters.  Cheese and spinach pies (Spanakopita) are popular as a snack or starter at any time of the day!

Perhaps the best known of Corfu’s main dishes, all of which hark back to the Venetian occupation centuries ago, are Sofrito (sliced veal cooked with vinegar, garlic and parsley), Bourdeto (a peppery fish stew), Bianco, (a white, garlicky fish stew) and Pastitsada (a pasta and meat dish).

Greek wine has improved tremendously since the first holidaymakers visited the islands some 40 or 50 years ago.  A new wave of young wine makers who trained in the vineyards of France and the southern hemisphere means that  even the house wines are much more palatable than they used to be!  They are usually served by the litre or half litre in metal carafes in tavernas.

Beer drinkers may prefer to opt for locally-produced Mythos, Amstell or Heineken.  Enjoy!

Although a service charge is included in restaurant bills it is customary to leave a small tip for the waiting staff.

The traditional Greek way of life is still in evidence across Corfu, particularly in rural areas where heavily-laden donkeys continue to be used by those who work the land.

Although tourism is the main source of income on the island, this is supplemented by the production of olives, quality olive oils and handmade olive soap, wines, kumquat liqueur, honey and fish.  Olive wood is fashioned into carved items – from drinks mats to salad servers, and from bowls to many other decorative and useful objects, perfect as gifts or souvenirs.

Head inland to villages where time has stood still for the best chance of witnessing the real Greek way of life.  Here you will see the older generation of women dressed in black, collecting horta (wild greens), chatting on the doorsteps with their neighbours or enjoying an evening stroll (or volta) with their families.  The men folk can usually be spotted sitting outside the local  kafenion drinking coffee or ouzo, playing backgammon and clicking on their worry beads as they discuss the economy, politics and football!

At some time between June and September, most villages across Corfu have a fiesta or panigyri, when the whole community comes together in the main square for spit-roasted lamb and Greek dancing to live music.  These are lively affairs to which everyone is welcome, so dust off your dancing shoes and join in with the friendly locals, who will happily demonstrate the steps to you!

Religion plays a significant role in the lives of Corfu’s people and many of the island’s festivals are centred around the churches.  If you wish to visit any of the churches on Corfu, please show respect by dressing appropriately.  Women should wear skirts below the knee and cover their shoulders, while men are required to wear long trousers and to cover their arms.

Just a couple of final tips – firstly, tap water is okay to drink but most people play safe and drink bottled water.  Secondly, don’t forget that the Greek plumbing system isn’t quite as sophisticated as ours – the pipework is much narrower, leading to blockages if you flush paper down the toilet rather than putting it in the bin provided instead.

Corfu Recommended Reading

  • Corfu: In The Windrush Island Guide Series
  • The Corfu Book of Walks
  • Prospero’s Cell by Lawrence Durrell
  • My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrel
  • Landscapes of Corfu -  For walkers and explorers, this pocket-sized guide contains walks of all grades, car tours and picnic suggestions, plus bus timetables and large scale walking maps. It is intended to be used in addition to a standard guidebook and cost £12 per book incl. p&p from:  Sunflower Books (dept. SV), P.O. Box 115, Exeter EX2 6YU
Sunflower Books Website

Useful information

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Stella Proctor
Stella Proctor
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT +2 hours

Currency

Euro

Language

Greek

Average flight times

3 hours 5 minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Talk to our Greece expert

Jackie Gogonas
Jackie Gogonas

Those of our clients who have, over the last 20 or so years, visited Tolon in the Peloponnese will know Jackie; our very knowledgeable and passionate representative. Having decided to return to the UK, she has joined our reservations team and, needless to say, knows Tolon, a resort we have featured since 1973, inside out. It will come as no surprise to know that the Peloponnese is her favourite region in Greece.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

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Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
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