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Secrets of Corfu: Hidden Depths of Greece’s Holiday Island

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Corfu is a wonder of an island. If you’ve never explored it, it’s high time you did. Its golden beaches along with its salty seas make Corfu one of the most explored islands in Greece.

Once you travel here, chances are you won’t want to return home anymore. That’s definitely a feeling many travelers experience.

Corfu’s History in Brief

Corfu history - Espianada in old gravure
Corfu history – Espianada in old gravure

Corfu has a reach history of gun battles and battleships. The old fortress that was once under Venetian power and pirate attacks entices you with its monuments and artifacts. One of the places that are most explored by tourists is the Old Fortress, which dates earlier than ever.

The first inhabitants of the island date back to the Homeric era, the Phaeacians to be the first known residents, At 750 BCE Greek settlers from Evoea came to the island.
Once they settled here, they created more colonies, one of them was Epidamnus, today’s Dyrahium on the south coast of today’s Albania.

However, Romans were quick to invade and take over the territory. Corfu was a part of the Eastern Roman Empire, Next came the Venetians, the French, the English. Finally, Corfu unified with Greece in 1863.

Unification with Greece

The island of Corfu got back its freedom in the year 1863 when England renounced the island’s occupation. Finally, Corfu became part of Greece.

From an economic and political perspective, Corfu started developing quite quickly after the second half of the 20th century, when it became a very popular holiday destination in Greece.

Then, the second world war came.

During the second WW, Corfu became occupied first by Italians and later by the Germans, only to be released at the end of the war, after the defeat of the Axis forces.

Because of its warm climate, beautiful infrastructure, and amazing nature, Corfu attracted many tourists after the end of the war.

Again, after getting back its freedom, it re-gained its power through tourism.

Now that you got a bit of Corfu’s history, let’s see why the island is worth seeing today.

Secrets and Hidden Depths of Corfu

Corfu’s Tasteful Cuisine

Sofrito
Sofrito

Greece has long been known for its tasty foods and fresh ingredients.

Corfu’s extensive cuisine includes Greek foods but adds authentic flavors to it. Some of the most *and best* of Corfu’s options include the sofrito, the Bourdeto, and of course, the olives. Sofrito is just cooked veil with parsley, garlic, and wine, while Bourdeto is a stew made out of fish and red pepper. Both of these options are a must-try.

The olives are also a must-taste in Corfu. They come from old-grown trees, some of them as old as 100 years old. The best-tasting olive oil comes from the Dafnis family, who’s grown it for decades. The secret is pairing the olives with a tasty salad and Feta cheese and drizzling a little bit of Himalayan salt on top of it. Best combination ever! Light, smooth, tasty, fresh.

If you need something more consistent, you can always try Corfu’s kumquat. This fruit originally flourished in China and has been introduced to the Greek culture in the 19th century by the Middle Eastern inhabitants. Pairing this fruit with an alcoholic drink such as Prosecco will make up the perfect aperitif.

The best island escape tours

If you’re planning to stay longer in Corfu, this is your chance to explore more of its surroundings. Some of the most popular destinations in Corfu include the Vatos village, the beaches of Ermones or Corfu Town, or Old Perithia. Another cool site to visit is Paleokastritsa Beach, the island’s sacred and spiritual hub.

If you prefer a cool hike or bike around the island, check out trips to Kavos or the Arkoudilas Beach, the Halikounas’ dunes, or Alonaki Bay. Kanouli Beach is another popular destination for those passionate about nature. You could also check out the Corfu Trail, for a longer hike. It’ll take you about 10 days to get from one side to the other. Along the way, you’ll be able to explore many tiny villages, olive groves, and nature trails.

Secret (and famous) Attractions to Explore in Corfu

There are some top must-sees here, of course, as in any other region in the world. You must not miss them! They’re really exquisite and amazingly well crafted. You won’t regret visiting and discovering these sites.

The small isolated beaches south of Paleokastritsa

Rovinia beach
Rovinia beach

The wider Paleokastritsa is an area of exceptional natural beauty. In this area there are some of the most beautiful beaches on the island, most of them are isolated due to the high cliffs that cut the coast of the mainland.

Liapades, Povinia, Limni, Iliodoros, Paradise, Stelari, Chomi, Giali, to name a few.

They are mixed with sand and pebbles, Remote and beautiful paradises that can be visited by small boats from Paleokastritsa.
If you are in Corfu you must grab the opportunity to visit them.

Old fortress and the Old British hospital in Corfu Town

Corfu Guide: Esplanade square and the Old fortress
Corfu Guide: Esplanade square and the Old fortress

The fortress with the long history and the abandoned British hospital surrounded by a great deal of mystery and horror rumors

The Achilleion Palace in Gastouri village

Benitses - Achilleion from Agioi Deka
Benitses – Achilleion from Agioi Deka

The Palace was built by Empress Elizabeth of Austria who became known as the sad queen Sissy.
It is a must place to visit and it sits at the edge of the village Gastouri, 6 miles from Corfu town.

Myrtiotissa Nudist Beach in Western Corfu

A small, remote sandy beach on the west coast of Corfu, since the decade of the 60s it became the only beach in the island of Corfu where nudism was officially tolerated.

One of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, reached by a steep path or by the sea, a rather small sandy beach difficult to spot from the sea, separated from Glyfada beach by a thin but high rock.

Liston in Corfu Town

At the north left of Esplanade square is the popular pedestrian area of The Liston with its French architectural buildings (modeled on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris).

Built in 1807 by the French, to house the French army.

They have arched ground-floor galleries which the locals call “Volta”

The name was given by the word “list” which arrives from the Greek word “lista” that was used for the list of the Nobles (Libro d `Oro) as in the old days only the nobility were able to walk in this part in the city.

Today, the arcades of Liston are the busiest part of Corfu, full of cafes, restaurants, and craft shops in general, so, it is not something that you must try to find rather than a sight that you won’t definitely miss.

Mon Repos Estate Palace in Corfu Town

Mon Repos Palace is a neoclassical building at the east of Paleopolis, Inside the Corfu ancient city.

Built at 1830 by the British Commissioner Sir Frederick Adam at the beginning of the peninsula of Kanoni next to the ruins of Paleopolis

The diamond beaches of Erimitis area

Arias beach at Erimitis Corfu
Arias beach at Erimitis Corfu

Erimitis on the Northeastern tip of Corfu, very close to Albanian shores.

It stretches from Agios Stefanos in the East up to Kassiopi borders on the North Coast.

An unspoiled paradise, full of small cute coves-beaches separated by small promontories that give beautiful scenery to the landscape, most of them accessible by the sea.

Some cute tiny beaches here are Avlaki, Vouvalomantria beach, Vrachli beach, Tzoufakia, the Arias beach, Akoli, Vromolimni, Kaminakia beach, Korfovounia, Aspalathras, and Xylokeratia beach.

Beaches with pebble and very little sand, the waters are extremely clear and clean.

The medieval abandoned and reborn village of Perithea

Perithea is an abandoned medieval village located below the majestic peak of Pantokrator. On a plateau in the mountain at an altitude of 400 meters.

Are you curious to see how a dead village can be reborn?

Sure you are.

Then you must visit Perithea

The abandoned school of Perithea
The abandoned school of Perithea

To see the old abandoned stone house alive again and restored to their previous glory.

But if you are a culinary freak, you have one more reason to come here.

The ground floor of several houses is transformed into restaurants offering local specialties and they are full of people especially at the weekends.

The Traditional village of Nymfes, named after the mythical Nymphs

This village of Northwest Corfu is ancient, untouched by time and tourism, and took its name from the mythical Nymphs.

Do you like the opportunity to see the life, and customs of the real non-touristry Corfu?

Sure you want.

Waterfalls in Nymfes
Waterfalls in Nymfes

Then this is the village to visit, to see the traditional old customs and learn the fairytales that are connected with the landscape.

In the majestic waterfalls the secret story of the area still alive, here the mythological Nymphes were living, so the village took their name, Nymfes is the place of the mermaids or Nymphes.

For a more personalized experience, you could also try a private tour with a guided option. You’ll get to explore more of Corfu’s detailed history and culture. You could also get an olive oil-tasting tour for a more authentic experience. Shore excursions are also available, but make sure you read the reviews before picking one.

Conclusion

Visit Corfu for its amazing experiences, cool trips, outstanding cuisine, and having the best time of your life! Don’t forget to pack sunglasses, towels, and bathing suits. Bonne voyage!

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