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Touring Corfu

Touring Corfu

Around Corfu Town

A few kilometres south of Corfu Town is the Kanoni Peninsula, the site of the ancient capital. Ancient ruins are liberally sprinkled throughout this region, including the circular Tomb of Menecrates and Temple of Artemis (the original sites of the lion and gorgon now housed in Corfu Town's Archaeological Museum). The much-photographed offshore islets include the dazzling white monastery of Moni Vlahernas and Mouse Island, topped by a 13th-century church.

Heading North along the East Coast

More than one million visitors descend on Corfu every year, the vast majority of them package tourists heading for the beach resorts along the island's east coast. If the crowded beaches at Gouvia, Dassia and Ipsos don't appeal it's best to head northeast to Nissaki, with its tiny pebble beach or nearby Agni. The beaches of Kalami are far more crowded than when Lawrence Durrell and his wife stayed there in the late 1930s but today's views of neighbouring Albania are still as good. Nearby there's the pretty little Venetian harbour of Kouloura and the harbour-resort village of Kassiopi, still bearing visible traces of its Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Venetian past.

Along the North Coast

Beyond Kassiopi the road continues along the north coast of the island and leads to Acharavi and Roda. For a glimpse of the formerly idyllic appearance of resort towns like Roda and Sidari, visit the tiny, unspoilt fishing village of Astrakeri. The next stop is the sprawling package resort of Sidari and the famous Canal d'Amour. From Sidari take the road to the south, passing through Sfakera, Klimatia, Troumbeta and Skripero. This road takes you close to Angelokastro You can enjoy a bird's eye view of Paleokastritsa from the lookout at Bella Vista, high up in the village of Lakones.

Down the West Coast

The 3km sandy beach of Agios Georgios is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, and nearby Afionas has Neolithic ruins and sweeping coastal views. The west coast's largest resort is Paleokastritsa with sandy beaches and pebbled coves, a verdant mountain backdrop and unparalleled snorkelling in grottoes and caves. At Paleokastritsa you can swim in the crystal-clear bay, and climb up to the 12th Century monastery with its photogenic whitewashed courtyard, icon museum and ornate church. Corfu's best beaches are on the west coast including Pelekas, with its hill-top village, spectacular sunsets and range of accommodation from pensions to a country club. Mirtiotissa is Corfu's unofficial nudist beach. Both Glyfada and Agios Gordis have long sandy beaches popular with tourists and Greeks alike.

Heading South

10km south of Corfu Town, close to the village of Gastouri, is Achillion Palace, built by Empress Elizabeth of Austria. This lovely Italianate summer palace featured in the James Bond film "For Your Eyes Only", and serves as a casino in the summer months. There's small museum of Imperial memorabilia, and beautiful gardens dropping down towards the coast. A few kilometres further on is the small fishing village of Benitses, once popular with the young holiday makers who now favour Kavos at the southern tip of the island. The Boukaris-Kavos stretch of coastline with pebbly beaches and a few fish tavernas makes a pleasant diversion from the main road to Lefkimmi.

Inland

Mt Pantokrator is, at 906m (2970ft), the island's highest peak and a popular destination for walkers. From the monastery at the top of the mountain you can see the coast of Epiros and Albania, Lake Butrint and the small islands of Othoni, Erikoussa and Mathraki to the north west of Corfu. To the south, the hills of Lefkimmi, the island of Paxos and in the far distance, Kefalonia. This mountain region is dotted with abandoned villages like Old Perithia.

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