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Be it beaches, walking, water sports, clubbing or culture, Corfu has you covered. Better still, this largest and northernmost Ionian island is an immensely affordable holiday destination courtesy of the many all-inclusive deals provided by competing tour operators.
There is 217km (135 miles) of superb shores around Corfu, from beaches fronted by glossy all-inclusive resorts to wild spits with nary a taverna in sight. The places with the best facilities are mostly found along the entire east coast either side of capital Corfu Town (often called Corfu City or Kerkyra, the Greek word for ‘Corfu’) and at sporadic reaches along the far north and north-western coasts – long-established package holiday destinations like Arillas, Sidari or Kassiopi. Many have private beaches.
As a loose rule, sandier reaches are found along Corfu’s western shores, led by Paleokastritsa’s cave-flanked bays and spectacular Liapades. The sunsets are outstanding here, too. Agios Georgios’s clean waters and super amenities are family-friendly, while the wispy strands around Lake Korission are often deserted outside of high season.
Shaped like the lower half of a mermaid, Corfu narrows and concludes at Kavos, where water sports meet big-name DJs and late-night parties – ideal for young people who want to have sun and fun on their all-inclusive package holidays.
The island’s north and south are linked via the meandering Corfu Trail walking path; amid silvery olive groves, cypress-tree woodland and flowery meadows, hikers are often joined by birdwatchers and botanists.
Corfu’s ‘Emerald Isle’ moniker refers to its unexpected lushness – especially true of a southern interior full of peace and charm, and dotted with fruit farms. Much of this relative hinterland is mountainous, especially northwards around the 906-metre (2,973-foot) highpoint of Mt. Pantokrator.
Corfu is also one of Greece’s leading cultural destinations, as demonstrated by the excellent Museum of Asian Art and Byzantine-focused Antivouniotissa Museum, both in Corfu Town. On the flanks of Mount Pantokrator sits Old Perithia, a heritage village left architecturally unaltered since Venetian times.
Most impressive of all is Corfu Town itself, whose oh-so-strollable, UNESCO-protected old quarters ally with a harbour fortress and esplanade cum cricket pitch. At night its restaurant-thronged alleys are illuminated and thoroughly magical.
Then there are all the literary links: fans of Lawrence Durrell come to relish the ‘delectable landscape’ which so seduced the author, as do pilgrims of Edward Lear, Henry Miller and even Shakespeare, who is thought to have modelled Prospero and Miranda’s place of exile in The Tempest on Corfu.
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