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Corfu – where lush headlands are pure poetry

Travel journalists are not going far at the moment but that hasn’t stopped them sharing their stories, and love of Greece, with Olympic Holidays. From a return to Crete and the ‘poetry’ of Corfu to the foodie heaven of Kefalonia and Zante’s magical beaches we hope you enjoy the expert observations of our favourite islands to inspire your next journeys.

Shakespeare never got to visit, but he nailed it when he imagined Corfu as the enchantment-filled isle of the Prospero in The Tempest. Verdant, skirted by glorious beaches, it’s a no brainer that its resorts are beloved by so many.

But least once venture inland, into a whole other world—and into another time. Drive to the top of the highest mountain, 906m Pantokrator to see its frescoed Byzantine chapel and the dazzling vision of all Corfu wrapped in blue. On the way down, stop at Old Perithia, the island’s loftiest village. Now mostly ruined, it has a faraway dreamy air—and more down to earth, a couple of excellent tavernas for lunch. Corfu’s famous wildflowers, including many orchids, linger longest here.

Want more? Take a walk along the spectacular cross-island Corfu trail—just download a guide to a section nearest your hotel.

In Homer, the shipwrecked Odysseus was rescued by the Princess Nausicaa on Corfu’s west coast at Palaeokastritsa, where vertiginous cliffs, golden sands and lush headlands are pure poetry. Pack a picnic and hire a small boat to find a cove of your very own, then linger to watch the sunset—it will take your breath away.

The island capital, Corfu Town, a unique mélange of Venetian, French, British and Greek architecture is full of bougainvillea-draped lanes crying out to be explored. In the enormous seaside esplanade, sip a tsin tsin birra (ginger beer) and watch the locals play cricket – two quirky relics that recall Corfu's half century of British rule. Stroll down the elegant Liston (modelled after Paris’s Rue de Rivoli) and buy sun-ripened melons in the San Rocco Square market and visit the often-overlooked Museum of Asian Art, housing one of the world’s top collections – but Corfu is full of unexpected wonders.

Sometimes they are tiny. Once my husband and I went for a moonlit stroll near our hotel, startled to see fairy lights flickering in the trees; on closer inspection they proved to be thousands upon thousands of fireflies dancing in an olive grove. We sat there for a couple of hours, utterly enchanted: Prospero himself couldn’t have woven a better spell. And not for the first time on Corfu, we were reminded of something author Gerald Durrell wrote in My Family and Other Animals: “Gradually the magic of the island settled over us as gently and clingingly as pollen. Each day had a tranquillity, a timelessness, about it so that you wished it would never end.

Dana Facaros is passionate about Europe and has written more than 30 books, her first being the guide to the Greek Islands which she still visits annually to see her family.

Follow Dana on Twitter.

Panoramic view of Kerkyra, capital of Corfu
Panoramic view of Kerkyra, capital of Corfu

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