Dangling between the heel of Italy and the west coast of mainland Greece, green, mountainous CORFU (Kérkyra) was one of the first Greek islands to attract mass tourism in the 1960s. Indiscriminate exploitation turned parts into eyesores but a surprising amount of the island still consists of olive groves, mountains or woodland. The majority of package holidays are based in the most developed resorts and unspoilt terrain is often only a few minutes’ walk away.
Corfu is thought to have been the model for Prospero and Miranda’s place of exile in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and was certainly known to writers such as Spenser, Milton and – more recently – Edward Lear and Henry Miller, as well as Gerald and Lawrence Durrell. Lawrence Durrell’s Prospero’s Cell evokes the island’s “delectable landscape” still evident in some of its beaches, the best of the whole archipelago.
The staggering amount of accommodation on the island means that competition keeps prices down even in high season, at least in many resorts outside of Corfu Town. Prices at restaurants and in shops also tend to be a little lower than average for the Ionians.