Louis de Bernières classic novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, is famed around the world for its beautiful love-story, but another star player within this much-admired book is the work’s fabulous setting, the picturesque Ionian Islands.
At the heart of the archipelago is Corfu – or Kerkyra in Greek – the second largest and the greenest of all the Ionian Islands. Louis de Bernières wasn’t the first artist to be inspired by the stunning natural world of Corfu though; long before Captain Corelli played his poignant mandolin, it was Homer’s ‘beautiful and rich land’ which was Odysseus’ last stop on his journey home to Ithaca, as well as the potential inspiration for Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
So if you feel like a getaway that’s bound to leave you inspired, like the literary greats before you, here’s a look at how the range of Corfu holidays:
The natural world
With the nation’s highest rainfall, Corfu is a lush green island that has earned itself the nickname: ‘jewel of the Ionian or emerald isle’. Nature lovers are in for a treat here, as the island is covered with olive groves, wild flowers and cypress trees. Head to the coast and you’ll also discover picturesque beaches, from dazzling strips of coast, ideal for sunbathing, to secluded inlets and coves.
Towns and villages
Corfu has earned a reputation as a party destination for younger visitors and if nightlife is what you seek, towns like Ipsos and Kavos certainly deliver. Nestled against a dramatic backdrop of mountain ranges and coastal views, the village of Ipsos features cocktail bars, pubs and clubs and a great selection of harbour-front restaurants, while Kavos is a more extreme version, making it a popular haunt for singles on the prowl.
For those who seek a quieter alternative, don’t let the party culture of Ipsos deter you. Towns like Sidari are perfect locations for couples and families, who can enjoy stunning beaches and secluded coves by day and lively harbour-side tavernas to enjoy a meal by night. The beautiful old village of Roda is another great location to enjoy an authentic snapshot of Greek life, with a prestigious blue flag beach and beautiful natural surroundings, which are ideal for hiking and exploring.
Things to do
There’s an endless list of activities and attractions to while away the hours in Corfu. History fans should make time for the fascinating local ruins, such as the Gardiki Castle. This Byzantine style fortress successfully defended Corfu’s locals countless times throughout history and is always popular with tourists.
The Achillion Palace, built in 1890 for Elizabeth the Empress of Austria, is another fascinating and opulent historic site to explore. If you’re looking for something a bit more modern, Aqualand is a great attraction for the kids. Another must-see attraction for the whole family is a trip to the fascinating Mouse Island or Pontikonisi.