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Unlike most of the other Greek islands, when approaching Corfu visitors are met with a lush, green backdrop next to sandy beaches and pristine waters. Thanks to the mix of hot, dry summers and the winter rains, thousands of olive trees, lemon groves and cypress trees dominate the landscape of this Ionian island. With so much on offer, it’s hard to know where to start. Let us help, with our pick of the best things to do.
According to the artist Countess Flamburiari, 'Corfu town is Venice and Naples, a touch of France and more than a dash of England, apart of course from being Greek'. As you wander through Corfu Old Town – a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007 – the rich history of the island becomes evident.
Sitting strategically at the entrance to the Adriatic Sea, Corfu was under Venetian rule from the mid-14th to the 18th century, followed then by French, British and Greek governments. The influence of these countries has led to the diverse look and feel of the capital. The old quarter is nestled between two fortresses, which were constructed by the Venetians to defend against the growing Ottoman Empire. Wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets (known as kantounia) past tall buildings and squares all reminiscent of the Venetian past. Or do as the aristocrats did and sip an aperitif in one of the many exclusive coffee shops and restaurants under the elegant arches of the French-style Listón arcade. Once refreshed, wander through the lawns of the Spianáda – a public square landscaped by the French which used to host weekend cricket matches – to the majestic Old Fortress, where you can soak up the beautiful vistas of both the city and the coast.
Take in the breathtaking scenery of the island on this shore experience. Start with the beautiful village of Paleokastrita and The Monastery of the Virgin Mary, perched on a cliff and home to monks. See how the famous wines and olive oil of the Theotoky Estate are produced, with a chance to sample some while taking in the stunning surroundings. Then finish your day by meandering through the streets of Corfu Old Town.
Explore Corfu by its beautiful, crystal clear waters on this experience. Swim in coves inaccessible by road, watch as the backdrop of the island changes from rolling olive groves to dramatic cliffs, and relax on the remote beach of Limnopoula as lunch is prepared for you.
See the best of what this emerald island has to offer. Enjoy a visit to the pristine coves of Paleokastrita, explore the Achilleion Palace and its gardens in the village of Gastouri, relax over lunch in a winery in central Corfu while being entertained with a show of local Corfiot dances, and finish the day exploring Corfu Old Town.
The full programme of shore experiences available for your cruise will be displayed on My P&O Cruises at least 12 weeks prior to departure.
When it comes to starters, go Greek and choose a mezze selection of small dishes to share. Traditional choices include taramasalata (fish roe), tzatziki (yoghurt and cucumber) and melitzanosalata (aubergine) dips, along with feta cheese, dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), spanakopita (spinach and feta filo pie), saganaki (fried cheese), gigantes (butter beans in tomato sauce), keftedes (meatballs) and calamari.
For main courses, there’s much more on offer than moussaka. Corfiot specialities include pastitsada (chicken, beef or veal in tomato sauce served with pasta) and sofrito (strips of beef or veal cooked in a white wine sauce and served with rice or potatoes). Fish lovers should try the spicy bourdeto and garlicky bianco stews.
As well as the popular filo, nuts and honey-based desserts baklava and kataifi, Corfu has a number of traditional sweets including sikomaida – a fig cake made with the anise-flavoured aperitif ouzo – a pancake with raisins called tsaletia, and tzintzola, dried fruits with sesame.
The kumquat is abundant on the island, and can be found in jams and sweets, as well as a famous liqueur. Ouzo, retsina and metaxa are popular drinks, and there are plenty of homemade wines on offer, too. Any meal should be rounded off with a Greek coffee, served small and strong with a choice of sketo (no sugar), metrio (one sugar) or glyko (two sugars).
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