Cheap Flights to Corfu

The island of Corfu, best known of the seven Ionian islands that lie off the north-west coast of Greece, differs markedly from the other popular Greek islands because not only is it green and lush, but also very developed with tourist resorts and hotels. Summer time is hectic on Corfu, with charter flights arriving daily from European cities, ferries disgorging travellers from Italy, an cruise ships docking.

There is plenty to draw visitors to this magical island, also known as Kerkyra. Modern Corfu Town is upbeat and cosmopolitan, offering an exciting conglomeration of Greek, Italian, French and British influences. The old town was laid out by the Venetians in the 14th century and features narrow alleys lined with multi-storied, pastel-coloured buildings with red tiled roofs, creating a scene reminiscent of Italy. The hub of activity in the town centre is the Liston, an arcaded row of cafes and restaurants, copied from the Rue de Rivoli in Paris.

Those wishing to escape from the melee in the town can head for the interior to enjoy some spectacular scenery and greenery. Corfu has, for instance, 43 different kinds of orchids growing wild in the countryside, and there are countless olive groves. Finally there are, of course, the beautiful beaches washed by the sparkling Ionian Sea, and it is still possible to search out a secluded cove or two even in the busy season when the over-developed resorts on the east coast are awash with package tourists.

Getting Around

Getting around Corfu is fairly easy, but rather limited. There is an inexpensive yet highly efficient public transport system with KTEL Green Buses servicing most destinations on the island and connections between Kerkyra and Ag, Benitses, Kavos, Sidari, Stefanos and Ipsos on a daily basis. Taxis can be easily hailed in the street or booked in advance. Taxi stands are located in Corfu Town and trips to the main resorts or other bookings can be made by calling +30 33811 2. Hiring a car is a good option for those wanting to properly explore Corfu. There are plenty of car hire agencies dotted throughout the island. It is possible to walk around many areas of the island and horse, pony and donkey rides are also a fun way to get around and see the more rural areas.

Getting to Corfu is easy as it is such a popular island. Boat trips link many of the Greek islands and there are numerous charter flights landing in Cofu in the summer months. If you cannot find a cheap, direct flight then it is easy to get to Corfu from Athens, which is where the international flights tend to land.

Nightlife

Known for its wild nightlife and its reputation as a bit of a party island, Corfu has enough late night entertainment to keep anyone going from dusk until dawn. From pumping clubs to laid back bars and lounges, Corfu is one destination where the nightlife cannot be avoided.

Corfu Town offers wonderful tavernas and restaurants along the waterfront, a great start to a big night out. Popular clubs include Apokalypsis, DNA and the Hippodrome, the only nightclub with a swimming pool. Most of the popular clubs worth visiting are located on Ethnikis Antistasseos, the main road heading north from the town, and party people should be willing to drop a bit of cash at these places.

Those more into music bars will find there are more than enough options to keep themselves busy, with everything from rock, soul, trance, ethnic, underground and even traditional Greek music bars, the choice is endless. Holiday resorts such as Kavos and Sidari are synonymous with nightlife and are particularly popular with British tourists.

There are, of course, other more chilled out options for those not interested in trying to have a conversation over a thumping bass line and blaring house music. Head to Kalami where laid-back bars abound, or for a tavern; Glyfada is a fabulous area to enjoy a sundowner, looking out over the sparkling Ionion Sea. There are orchestra and band concerts in the Old Fort in the summertime, and September brings the Corfu Festival and a number of ballet, opera, theatre and musical performances.

Shopping

The larger resorts in Corfu all have supermarkets and touristy shops to provide for their guests and visitors. Popular souvenirs include hand-made jewellery, lace, ceramics, pottery and olive wood sculptures. The best choice can be found in Corfu Town, the main commercial centre, where there are many shops. There is a market here every morning, except Sunday. Shopping in the town is generally more exciting than using the resort stores which can be rather soulless - you are also more likely to find good bargains and authentic treasures if you shop where the locals do. In more rural areas you'll find vendors selling home-made olive oil, honey, and wine from streetside stalls. Haggling is expected. One of the best souvenirs is the kumquat liqueur, which makes a wonderful gift. Most shops close over lunch time, but are open late,particularly during peak season. If you visit Corfu in the winter months you may find that some of the shops and restaurants are closed or have greatly reduced hours; on the plus side, however, things do tend to be cheaper out of season.

Sightseeing

In addition to its wonderful beaches and warm ocean, the lush green island of Corfu offers plenty of things to see and do, many of which have some cultural or historical significance. Outdoor activities to enjoy include horse riding, hiking and water sports, and there is even an 18-hole championship golf course for those fancying a quick round.

Start off in the beautiful leafy Corfu Town, which boasts some wonderful churches, fortresses and even a palace. History buffs will love the Archaeological Museum, offering insight into Corfu's past, as well as the neoclassical Museum of Asian Art, which houses some breathtaking pieces originating from China and Japan. The Municipal Gallery of Corfu, which showcases famous works such as the 'Sphinx' by Sp. Skarvelis and 'The assassination of Capodistria' by Haralambos Pachis, is also worth a visit

There are many smaller villages worth visiting in Corfu as well. The villa of Achilleion, just 6 miles (10km) south of Corfu town, has beautiful rolling gardens which provide the perfect location for famous statues by the German sculptor, Herter. The terraced cliff-top view point known as Kanoni, near the eastern port of Corcyra, is the ideal spot to take that postcard shot for the holiday album. Nymphes is a green village with a number of wells and waterfalls heavy with myth and legend.

Corfu also has a number of popular beaches, including Sidari with its 'Kanal de l'Amour', the pretty bay of Kassiopi, the quiet Lefkimmi with its children's playground, and the unspoilt Chalikounas Beach.

Kids Attractions

There's more to Corfu than its party and clubbing scene, and with plenty of sun, sand and surf, children on holiday in Corfu can have a great time. In fact, its a wonderful destination for a family holiday as there is so much to interest people of all ages.

Water sports such as jet skis, pedalos, banana rides and parasailing can be enjoyed, while on dry land the little ones can build sand castles on the beach. Choose your beach carefully as many are pebbled, which can frustrate very young children, and don't forget the sunscreen. For a great day in the outdoors, take a walk on Mount Pantokrator, the highest mountain on Corfu, located in the north, or enjoy a pony, donkey or horse ride on the shoreline in Avlaki, Kassiopi. Kids will love Aqualand Park, one of the best water parks in Europe, while a trip to the viewpoint of Kanoni, near the eastern port of Corcyra, will reward with breathtaking views over the island.

On days when outdoor activities are not an option, many of the larger hotels provide kids clubs where children can interact, play and make new friends. Fun activities and games will be organised for all ages. In many villages throughout Corfu, puppet shows, called Karagiozis, are organized, giving children the opportunity to breach the language barrier and embrace the local culture.

Climate

The climate in Corfu features hot, dry summers and mild winter weather. Temperatures in July and August, the peak summer months, range from 90ºF (32ºC) during the day to 64ºF (18ºC) at night. Rainfall is unlikely during the peak summer season, but heavy showers can be expected between September andApril. Generally, the west coast of the island experiences a more moderate climate than the east coast. Winters are relatively mild and a good time to visit for those who want to avoid the crowds and travel on a budget; winter temperatures range between 41°F and 57°F (5°C and 14°C) and there are still plenty of sunny days. Spring is possibly the best time to visit as the weather is warm but not uncomfortably so and the landscape is coming alive with wild flowers and new greenery. Some rainfall can be expected in spring and autumn but the brief showers are usually welcome and refreshing and shouldn't interfere with your plans too much. Along with spring autumn is a lovely time to visit Corfu, as the fruit is ready for harvest, the days are still balmy, and the sea still warm. There is also a chance of spectacular thunderstorms in autumn.