Corfu, like the Greek mainland, has been a popular tourist destination for family holidays for many years, and continues to impress with its perfect beaches, warm climate and friendly locals. With the current economic situation in Greece, trips to Corfu are now comparatively cheap; and this is a great time to pick up a bargain, whether that’s a luxury all inclusive deal or no frills self-catering option. Corfu has much to offer its visitors, whether they are planning an action-packed family holiday or a relaxing couple’s break to soak up the culture.
Corfu’s beaches offer visitors the opportunity to try a number of water-based sports and activities such as jet skiing, diving, snorkelling, renting a motor boat, sailing and windsurfing. On the land, there are opportunities for golf, volleyball, visits to the Aqualand water park, seeing Achillion Palace, soaking up the culture in a traditional church or monastery, visiting the ghost town of deserted Old Perithia and shopping and sightseeing in Corfu Town.
Home to a 16th century fortress, the Palace of St. Michael and St. George and St. Spiridon’s Church; Corfu Town is an interesting and educational place to visit. The magnificent architecture is rivalled only by the craftsmanship of the town’s gold traders, who make iconic Greek jewellery out of gold at very competitive prices.
There is lots to consider when choosing accommodation in Corfu; whether to go for one of the livelier or quieter resorts, whether to choose a villa or a hotel and whether to opt for all inclusive or self-catering? All options are available in Corfu and there is an accommodation package which meets the needs of each traveller; from the older couple looking for a romantic getaway to the young family who want an action-packed adventure holiday.
Food and Dining
Ionians, like all Greeks are very fond and proud of their food and wine. Most meals in Corfu are likely to be taken at a Taverna, and each has their own speciality. PsaroTaverna specialise in fresh fish and sea food usually caught by the taverna’s own fisherman whilst Psistaria are tavernas offering basic traditional cooking including ‘kokoretsi’ – a dish of intestine-wrapped goat’s innards which is supposedly very tasty but which may not be suitable for the squeamish! Unsurprisingly given the number of tourists and Italian influences, there are many snack bars and pizzerias; including Souvlatzidika, which offer grilled kebabs served in pitta with feta cheese. Vegetarians are catered for in most establishments, but in smaller local restaurants it may be necessary to specify that you don’t want any meat at all. Local drinks include Metaxa, Ouzo and Retzina – and should be sampled after food for an authentic dining experience.
Greeks have a laid-back approach to dining out and food can often arrive late, in a different order than expected and customers should not expect to be rushed by the waiter. Rather than becoming irate about the service, relax and adjust to the Greek way of life as you will find the experience more rewarding overall. Menus are often very seasonal and not everything that’s listed is always available – if the price has been removed then this is a good indication that the dish is not currently available. It’s also wise to note that for meat and fish, prices are often per kilo and not per portion. By law, all menus must be available in both Greek and English although some translations can be inaccurate and often comical.
Unsurprisingly for a resort which welcomes so many young people and families, the nightlife in Corfu is very lively and offers a varied experience for visitors. For those who are travelling with children, the live entertainment in tavernas is often very enjoyable in the evenings; but for those who are seeking a more adults-only experience, there are many nightclubs and late bars which offer dance music and cheap drinks.
Culture and social attitudes in Corfu are very similar to those of mainland Greece, incorporating friendliness, a love of children and a laid-back approach which many visitors enjoy. Away from the tourist resorts, life on Corfu is often very traditional and revolves around seasonal produce and old-fashioned handicrafts and gold work. Many people in Corfu farm the land and fish, and have a very rural and idyllic way of life which appeals to tourists who are willing to leave the traditional resorts of the coastline. For a view of the culture in Corfu, it is worth paying a visit to one of the island’s many churches or monasteries, discovering the local music at a taverna performance and participating in local festivals, known as Paniyiris.