Guide to SKOPJE

Corfu – a little piece of Paradise in the Ionian Sea

Whenever I think of sea, sun and the beach I think about Corfu – a wonderful island in the Ionian Sea. It may not be the largest island in the Ionian Sea but it certainly is the greenest. And in case you are wondering why, the story the locals tell goes like this: when the island was under French rule, Catherine de Medici the Queen of France promised one gold coin to everyone who would plant an olive tree. It is not known how many coins were given, but today Corfu has over four million of these noble trees.krf balkon3 1

A bit of history. The Venetian Republic ruled over the island for centuries therefore having the greatest influence on culture and its development and giving the island its special character. Romans, Byzantines, the British and the French have all had a share in the rule over Corfu and they have all left their distinctive mark that is recognizable in its architecture and art, in museum artefacts and archaeological sites.

You can reach the island via two ports: the bigger one in the capital city of Corfu which is also called Corfu (Kerkyra in Greek), and the second is port Lefkimi. Air traffic is particularly busy in the summer with flights to the island almost 24 hours a day. The runway is located very close to the sea and you get the impression that the planes “walk” on water. Hotels near the airport have large terraces where tourists enjoy the sight of planes taking off and landing. And when the waiters bring you your coffee they say: Enjoy the view.

Corfu has something for everyone. Peace and tranquility in the little fishing villages that have turned into lovely tourist attractions, interesting architecture and archeological sites that tell the history of the island, and noisy nightlife, discos and bars which are mostly attractive to younger tourists.

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The food is Mediterranean with many Greek specialties. It is better to dine at the taverns than in restaurants as they serve local specialties and home-made food which is prepared by the family that owns the tavern. Tzatziki, the famous Greek salad, goes well with cheese or spinach pie, meatballs in tomato sauce or fresh fish and squid prepared in various ways.

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Understandably, tourists love visiting the beautiful beaches most of all. Unlike other Ionian islands where beaches have coarse sand, here the beaches have fine yellow sand which turn into fiery hues in the sun. The beach and the blue sea that blends with the sky in the horizon create an image that is rarely seen anywhere around the world. These beaches are located in the southwestern and northern part of the island where the view is stunning.

During these cold gloomy days the memories of Corfu, the warm, crystal clear waters of one of the most popular beaches Glyfada, then Marathias, Gardenos, Kontogialos, Mirtiotissa beach, make me feel much better, impatiently looking forward to our next meeting.

Here are a few useful tips and information for visitors to this island:

Tickets for the Igoumenitsa – Lefkimi ferryboat cost €4 per person in one direction and €28 for the vehicle. The journey lasts one hour.

Beach sunbeds and umbrellas managed by the local cafes cost €3 per person with one drink included in the price. Sunbeds which are not owned by the cafes cost more, about €4 -€4.5 per person.

A frape costs from €2 – €2.5 euros, a beer is usually €3 euros, but there are happy hours when all drinks cost just €1.

Popular Greek gyro is €2 to €2.5 euros for chicken gyro, and €3 for pork gyro.

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If you prefer seafood, a serving usually costs about €30 depending on the kind of seafood. For exceptionally good food I recommend you dine at Kaizer Bridge Restaurant which is located near the village of Benitses on the road to the capital. It offers a relaxed atmosphere on a special raft in the sea.

Museum tickets in Corfu vary from €3 to €5 per person.

Aqualand, the adventurous waterpark, is the second biggest waterpark in Europe. It is open from 10am to 6pm. Tickets for adults cost €25 for full day access, and if you go after 3pm you will pay €18. Tickets for children cost €17 for full day access.

Car rental in Corfu costs about €35 per day, but the price drops if you rent the vehicle for several days. For example, you can rent a car for seven days for  the price of €210.

Renting a motorcycle or a scooter, which is the most popular means of transport on the island, costs about €20 per day.

Accommodation: Studio apartment for two people is €35 to €60 per day depending on the hotel and the location.

Balkon3 wishes you a great holiday 🙂

Katerina Laova