Step onto the shores of Corfu, the second largest island in the Eptanisa, a group known as the "Seven Islands," and you'll experience a Greek island unique from all others. Although most of the Greek Islands are located in the Aegean, Corfu is in the Ionian Sea. Lush and fertile with a cooler climate, Corfu welcomes you with olive groves, orange and lemon orchards, interspersed with tall, graceful cypress trees. When you enter Corfu, you enter a world unto itself.
Olive oil is the chief product of the island, and considered to be some of the best in the world. Kumquats, spongy rind fruits of Chinese derivation, are produced locally and made into sweets and liquors and are a symbol of Corfu.
Explore living history in the streets of Corfu's Old Town and take in the Old and New Fortresses, or citadels, surrounded by delightful gardens. Narrow, winding streets, wander past quaint village squares, and richly decorated churches and homes. Marvel at the union of influences -- from the British cricket matches played in Esplanade square to the peaceful, arcaded terraces of the Liston.
WEAKNESS FOR BEAUTY
Excursions outside Corfu Town reveal why this is one of the most picturesque places in all of Greece. Paleokastritsa consists of six, small turquoise-water coves nestled in a hilly coastline draped in olive, cypress and lemon trees. Many have proclaimed this to be the loveliest scenery in the entire Mediterranean. At Kanoni, enjoy Corfu's most photographed view from the belvedere. Take in the scenery of the twin islets of Vlacherna (site of the monastery) and Mouse Island.
THE PALACE OF ACHILLEION
Equally impressive is the Achilleion, a palace built by the Empress Elisabeth of Austria and later owned by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Adorned with statues and motifs associated with Achilles, the palace features the dramatic statue, the Dying Achilles, by the German sculptor Herter. The palace grounds feature lush and tropical terraced gardens with sweeping views of Corfu Town and the countryside.
PLACES TO GO, THINGS TO TAKE HOME
Shopping in Corfu revolves around traditional handiwork, and offers an excellent selection of folk pottery, and gold jewelry replicas of Byzantine originals. A popular place to shop is the Spianada, an area behind the Esplanade. This feast for the senses of cuisine, crafts and culture lure visitors to linger in the distinct character of Corfu.