Corfu, Greece Travel Guide : Food, hotel, Cost, Weather & geography, History, language, culture, things to see and do and how to reach

You can find about travel advice such as public places & services, best restaurants, activities, sightseen and other key facts of the Corfu, Greece .

Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea, of the Ionian Islands, and, including its small satellite islands, forms the margin of the northwestern frontier of Greece. The island is part of the Corfu regional unit, and is administered by three municipalities with the islands of Othonoi, Ereikoussa, and Mathraki. The principal city of the island (pop. 32,095) is also named Corfu.Corfu is home to the Ionian University.The island is bound up with the history of Greece from the beginnings of Greek mythology, and is marked by numerous battles and conquests. Ancient Korkyra took part in the Battle of Sybota which was a catalyst for the Peloponnesian War, and, according to Thucydides, the largest naval battle between Greek city states until that time. Thucydides also reports that Korkyra was one of the three great naval powers of fifth century BC Greece, along with Athens and Corinth.[6] Ruins of ancient Greek temples and other archaeological sites of the ancient city of Korkyra are found in Palaiopolis. Medieval castles punctuating strategic locations across the island are a legacy of struggles in the Middle Ages against invasions by pirates and the Ottomans. Two of these castles enclose its capital, which is the only city in Greece to be surrounded in such a way. As a result, Corfu's capital has been officially declared a Kastropolis ("castle city") by the Greek government. From medieval times and into the 17th century, the island successfully repulsed the Ottomans during several sieges, was recognised as a bulwark of the European States against the Ottoman Empire and became one of the most fortified places in Europe. The fortifications of the island were used by the Venetians to defend against Ottoman intrusion into the Adriatic. Corfu eventually fell under British rule following the Napoleonic Wars, and was eventually ceded to Greece by the British government along with the remaining islands of the United States of the Ionian Islands. Unification with modern Greece was concluded in 1864 under the Treaty of London. Corfu is the origin of the Ionian Academy, the first university of the modern Greek state, and the Nobile Teatro di San Giacomo di Corfù, the first Greek theatre and opera house of modern Greece. The first governor of independent Greece after the revolution of 1821, founder of the modern Greek state, and distinguished European diplomat Ioannis Kapodistrias was born in Corfu.In 2007, the city's old town was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, following a recommendation by ICOMOS.The 1994 European Union summit was held in Corfu. The island is a popular tourist destination.

Foods in Corfu, Greece  :
(1) Sofrito : 

Probably the most popular and emblematic Corfian dish is sofrito. The name of the dish clearly refers to Italian cuisine, coming from the words ‘so fritto’ that in Italian translate to ‘sauteed’ or ‘lightly fried’. This traditional dish is made from thin slices of veal that are floured, fried in a pan, and then cooked with a white sauce of finely chopped garlic, parsley, pepper, white wine, vinegar, and salt. You can serve sofrito with an assortment of sides, with the most common one being french fries or mashed potatoes.

(2) Pastitsada : 

Another flagship dish of Corfu is pastitsada, which is also influenced by Italian cuisine and is nowadays usually reserved by the locals for festivities and formal meals. It is a casserole dish that consists of pasta and veal, beef or poultry, that is cooked with chili peppers, garlic, onions, wine, olive oil, vinegar, cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon, fresh or canned tomatoes, black ground pepper, and grated kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese. As with most traditional Greek dishes, there are many variations of pastitsada with the most popular featuring spicy braised beef or rooster as the meat of choice. Heavy in both nutrients and calories, it was made to protect the locals from the cold temperatures and high humidity the island experiences during winter.

(3) Savoro : 

Allegedly sailors’ favorite food, savoro -or savouro- is a spicy sauce that can be found across many Greek islands under a different name and it is paired with fried fresh fish in particular. It is based on high-quality olive oil and the traditional recipe’s main ingredients are vinegar, laurel, raisins, garlic, and rosemary. If you’re a seafood lover, you’re going to absolutely love this one!

(4) Bianco : 

Referring to more of a technique rather than a dish itself, bianco is the traditional way the Corfians cook their fish using onions and potatoes, garlic, parsley, freshly cut pepper, and lemon juice. The name of the dish refers to the color of the sauce, which is white, while the fish that goes in it needs to be a bit fatty in order for the recipe to have a creamy texture. If you order this dish in a taverna in Corfu make sure there is enough bread on the table as the sauce is perfect for dipping!

(5) Tsigareli : 

The vegetarian option of the bunch and one of the spiciest, tsigareli is a personal favorite and a staple in Corfian cuisine due to its simplicity, taste and nutritious nature. It is none other than boiled leafy greens cooked with chopped onion, garlic, red hot pepper, and salt to the taste. Traditionally the dish is meant to be very spicy, something that makes it perfect even for the winter months. The riches of the land of Corfu provide the locals with a variety of wild greens and tsigareli takes full advantage of that; you can throw in the pot absolutely and type of leafy green whatsoever and the dish will come out just as delicious!

(6) Porpetes : 

Porpetes is one of the greatest mezes to accompany alcohol as it is essentially a dish of meatballs cooked in deliciously decadent red sauce. An actual foodie’s paradise. This simple recipe calls for a number of alternatives, with one of them including a filling of anchovies, pancetta, local cheese, and nutmeg, while a different one includes the above ingredients added to the sauce instead of the meatball itself.

Weather & geography in  Corfu, Greece :

Corfu, Kerkyra in Greek is the northest among the Seven Ionian islands laying in a branch of the Mediterranean Sea, called the Ionian Sea, on the Western side of Greece.Corfu has got two neighbor countries: the first one is Albania, from which it is separated by the Corfu channel. The closest town and port is Saranda (Aghii Saranda) which is linked to Corfu by a daily ferryboat all year round and daily cruises during the summer season.

The second neighbor is Italy. As Corfu is very close to the strait of Otranto, therefore Brindisi is 7 hours away sailing! Thanks to its position between Italy, Albania and Greece, Corfu is a strategic place and therefore it was always a point of interest for all the foreign powers since the Homeric times.Corfu is also the greenest island in Greece thanks to the rain fall during autumn and winter (115cm of rain/year) and humidity which could reach 95%. The average temperature during winter is 12-13 degrees C. While in the summer, it is 31 degrees C.

Thanks to the micro-climate that Corfu has, it is a fact that anytime of the year one could visit this island and he will always find it green! One can hardly see the ground because most of it is covered with trees, bushes and grass. What changes the scenery are the wild or planted flowers blooming according to seasons. Corfu is very well known for its great variety of wild flowers, like orchids.

Among the Ionian islands , Corfu is the second largest island after Cefalonia (Kefallinia) around 600 km2, mainly covered with hills. The highest mountain laying in the North-east part of the island is called the Pantokrator (Lord of the universe), which has an altitude of 911m. Then comes Aghii Deka (Ten Saints) exactly in the center of the island, 545m altitude and Chlomos in the south. Corfu has also some valleys: one in the North, one in the middle(Valley of Ropa) and one in the South(Valley of Lefkimi). This is where normally you would find cattle of sheep and goats as well as vineyards.

In Corfu, the summers are short, hot, humid, dry, and clear and the winters are long, cold, wet, windy, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 41°F to 90°F and is rarely below 32°F or above 96°F.

Per day Cost in Corfu, Greece :

How much money will you need for your trip to Corfu? You should plan to spend around €90 ($107) per day on your vacation in Corfu, which is the average daily price based on the expenses of other visitors. Past travelers have spent, on average, €25 ($29) on meals for one day and €44 ($53) on local transportation.

History of Corfu, Greece :

The earliest reference to Corfu is the Mycenaean Greek word ko-ro-ku-ra-i-jo ("man from Kerkyra") written in Linear B syllabic script, c. 1300 BC. According to Strabo, Corcyra (Κόρκυρα) was the Homeric island of Scheria and its earliest inhabitants were the Phaeacians. The island has indeed been identified by some scholars with Scheria, the island of the Phaeacians described in Homer's Odyssey, though conclusive and irrefutable evidence for this theory have not been found. Apollonius of Rhodes depicts the island in Argonautica as a place visited by the Argonauts. Jason and Medea were married there in 'Medea's Cave'. Apollonius named the island Drepane, Greek for "sickle", since it was thought to hide the sickle that Cronus used to castrate his father Uranus, from whose blood the Phaeacians were descended. In an alternative account, Apollonius identifies the buried sickle as a scythe belonging to Demeter, yet the name Drepane probably originated in the sickle-shape of the island. According to a scholiast, commenting on the passage in Argonautica, the island was first of all called Macris after the nurse of Dionysus who fled there from Euboea.
Others have asserted that Corfu was Taphos, the island of the Lelegian Taphians.

According to Strabo (VI, 269), the Liburnians were masters of the island Korkyra (Corfu), until 735 BC, when they left it, under pressure of Corinthian ruler Hersikrates, in a period of Corinthian expansion to South Italy, Sicily and Ionian Sea.

At a date no doubt previous to the foundation of Syracuse, Corfu was peopled by settlers from Corinth, probably 730 BC, but it appears to have previously received a stream of emigrants from Eretria. The commercially advantageous location of Corcyra on the way between Greece and Magna Grecia, and its fertile lowlands in the southern section of the island favoured its growth and, influenced perhaps by the presence of non-Corinthian settlers, its people, quite contrary to the usual practice of Corinthian colonies, maintained an independent and even hostile attitude towards the mother city.

This opposition came to a head in the early part of the 7th century BC, when their fleets fought the first naval battle recorded in Greek history: 665 BC according to Thucydides. These hostilities ended in the conquest of Corcyra by the Corinthian tyrant Periander who induced his new subjects to join in the colonization of Apollonia and Anactorium. The island soon regained its independence and thenceforth devoted itself to a purely mercantile policy. During the Persian invasion of 480 BC it manned the second largest Greek fleet (60 ships), but took no active part in the war. In 435 BC it was again involved in a quarrel with Corinth over the control of Epidamnus, and sought assistance from Athens (see Battle of Sybota).

This new alliance was one of the chief immediate causes of the Peloponnesian War, in which Corcyra was of considerable use to the Athenians as a naval station, but did not render much assistance with its fleet. The island was nearly lost to Athens by two attempts of the oligarchic faction to effect a revolution; on each occasion the popular party ultimately won the day and took a most bloody revenge on its opponents (427 BC and 425 BC).

During the Sicilian campaigns of Athens Corcyra served as a supply base; after a third abortive rising of the oligarchs in 410 BC it practically withdrew from the war. In 375 BC it again joined the Athenian alliance; two years later it was besieged by a Spartan force, but in spite of the devastation of its flourishing countryside held out successfully until relieved. In the Hellenistic period Corcyra was exposed to attack from several sides.

In 303 BC, after a vain siege by Cassander, the island was occupied for a short time by the Lacedaemonian general Cleonymus of Sparta, then regained its independence and later it was attacked and conquered by Agathocles of Syracuse. He offered Corfu as dowry to his daughter Lanassa on her marriage to Pyrrhus, King of Epirus. The island then became a member of the Epirotic alliance. It was then perhaps that the settlement of Cassiope was founded to serve as a base for the King of Epirus' expeditions. The island remained in the Epirotic alliance until 255 BC when it became independent after the death of Alexander, last King of Epirus. In 229 BC, following the naval battle of Paxos, it was captured by the Illyrians, but was speedily delivered by a Roman fleet and remained a Roman naval station until at least 189 BC. At this time, it was governed by a prefect (presumably nominated by the consuls), but in 148 BC it was attached to the province of Macedonia. In 31 BC, it served Octavian (Augustus) as a base against Mark Antony.

Language in Corfu, Greece  :

Language English is widely spoken, though many locals also speak some German and Italian.

Culture of  Corfu, Greece :

The flourishing culture of Corfu and in particular the music, the theatre, the literature and the architecture depend on the historical past of the island.The absence of Turkish domination and the influence of the Byzantine and Venetian civilization are the reasons why in Corfu there arose a culture that was very attached to its traditions but also open to the customs of other western cultures. In the past Corfu was a center of cultural rebirth where painters, poets and artists gathered creating cultural associations like the Reading Society and then the Ionian Academy. Among these there were Dionisios Solomos, Polilas and Markoras. Also a school of modern music was founded by the composer Mantzaros and was created the first musical band. Below we describe separately some cultural aspects of Corfu like the literature, the art, the music, the theatre and the architecture.When Dionisios Solomos arrived on Corfu island in 1828 laid the foundation for a new intellectual society with the intent to promote the modern Greek literature.So a Ionian School was created and it was extended in all the Ionian.Even if the Venetian did not promote the intellectual growth, many Corfiots decided to study in Italy and then to come back in order to encourage the culture. Among the debates of the intellectuals circles the most important was to decide which language had to be the official language of the literature between the Demotiki (spoken language) and the Katharevousa (language based on the ancient Greek).

Place to visit in Corfu, Greece :

(1) Corfu Town

(2) The Achilleion

(3) Kassiopi

(4) Paleokastritsa Beaches

(5) Glyfada

(6) La Grotta Beach

(7) Canal d'Amour

(8) Mount Pantokrator

(9) Corfu Donkey Rescue

(10) Corfu Golf Club 

Hotel in Corfu, Greece :
(1) Grecotel Corfu Imperial

(2) Domes Miramare, a Luxury Collection Resort, Corfu

(3) Divani Corfu Palace Hotel

(4) Olympion Village S.A.

How to reach in Corfu, Greece :
Ferries to Corfu depart daily from the port of Igoumenitsa in northwestern Greece. The ferry to Corfu takes about 1 hr. You can get to the port of Igoumenitsa from Thessaloniki in 3.5 hr by car or bus, as well as from Athens in 5.5 hr hours by car or bus.

Travel Guide for Corfu, Greece : Food, hotel, Cost, Weather & geography, History, language, culture, things to see and do and how to reach. – Published by The Beyond News (Travelling).