Expert guide to Corfu

Religious tourism is not a new idea, something thought up recently. Every society has produced members whose quest was to commune with the divine. Since antiquity the desire to embark on a journey for religious purposes has inspired Greeks and non-Greeks to make their way to religious sites throughout Greece. From the earliest times it has been a custom of the Greek people to express their religious sentiments, their deep faith and their reverence for God, a key characteristic of the Orthodox faith for years. There is a direct link between religion as a cultural phenomenon and tourism. Religion in terms of tourism is based on a clear cultural bedrock of tradition. Visitors have the chance to see buildings and religious sites related to various dogmas and religions, which all co-exist in a state of ongoing dialogue and thus highlight the rare historic and cultural mosaic of Greece.

Expert guide to Corfu

But next to the car hire office near Corfu airport lunch was spread out beneath an awning. Feasting instead of grafting. And, no doubt, fiddling — if you know what I mean — while Athens burns. Many in the tourism business will tell you that, even before its current woes, Greece was resting on its laurels, that having hiked its tourist prices when it joined the euro in it was in some cases content to preside over increasingly shabby hotels and infrastructure while rival destinations such as Turkey and even Egypt were investing.

According to figures just released by the airport operator, BAA, the number of travellers flying from Heathrow to Greece and Portugal in May was 11 per cent down on last year. In some places in Greece, the drop-off has been much greater — as much as 50 per cent.

Dedicated to the god, Apollo, Delphi was an important oracle.

Located about two and half hours from Athens along the slopes of the awe-inspiring Mount Parnassus, Delphi was once revered by the ancient Greeks as the center of the earth. Dedicated to the god, Apollo, Delphi was an important oracle. In ancient times, people would come to this sacred spot to inquire of the priestess for advice on a wide range of topics from farming to relationships and politics.

Significant ruins and structures at Delphi include the Temple of Apollo, the Athenian Treasury, the theater and hippodrome that once hosted events of the ancient Pythian Games. What makes these cliffs even more inspiring are the historic monasteries perched along the summits. Dating back to the 14th and 16th centuries, the monasteries at Meteora were built by monks seeking spiritual isolation and freedom from religious persecution.

Crete Where to Stay The largest of the Greek islands, Crete is a spacious land of pleasing contrasts where landscapes range from stunning coastline to rugged mountains and rolling countryside dotted with olive trees. Bustling metropolitan cities spread beyond to quiet villages centered around outdoor coffee shops.

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Often cited as Greece’s most beautiful city, Nafplio is a popular weekend destination for wealthy Athenians. Built on a small peninsular on the east coast of the Peloponnese, it became the first capital of modern Greece in before Athens took over in The car-free old town is filled with neo-classical mansions and proud churches and overlooked by the 18th-century Palamidi Fortress.

Be sure to allow time to explore Gastouri, as it is a quaint village with lots of character.

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. 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 or for Ithaca ‘s location 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. At a date no doubt previous to the foundation of Syracuse , Corfu was peopled by settlers from Corinth , probably 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.

The ruins of the Temple at Kardaki, built about BC 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: The island soon regained its independence and thenceforth devoted itself to a purely mercantile policy. During the Persian invasion of BC it manned the second largest Greek fleet 60 ships , but took no active part in the war.


My son loves these little things, be they magnets from islands, from the shop just two blocks away from our house or from pizzerias. He just adores them, which is why the first thing I always buy when I go somewhere is a little magnet for him and the fridge. Of course, I used to buy them long before he was born I like them too , but now I’m not even allowed to forget it. It’s been seven years since I went to Corfu.

This picture is looking back at the archway after you have gone through it.

In winter the belt of low-pressure disturbances moving in from the North Atlantic Ocean shifts southward, bringing with it warm, moist, westerly winds. As the low-pressure areas enter the Aegean region, they may draw in cold air from those eastern regions of the Balkans that, sheltered by the Dinaric mountain system from western influences, are open to climatic extremes emanating from the heart of Eurasia. This icy wind is known as the boreas. Occasionally the warmer sirocco shilok winds are drawn in from the south.

The western climatic influences bring plenty of precipitation to the Ionian coast and the mountains behind it; winter rain starts early, and snow lingers into spring. Few populated areas have lasting snowfalls, but snow is commonly found on the highest peaks. Topography is again a modifying factor: In other regions, such as Crete, the hot, dry summers are accentuated by the parching meltemi, or etesian winds , which become drier as they are drawn southward.

However, atmospheric pollution has become a serious problem in the cities, notably Athens, obscuring the sky and posing a hazard to the ancient monuments. Plant and animal life As in other Balkan countries, the vegetation of Greece is open to influences from several major biogeographic zones, with the major Mediterranean and western Asian elements supplemented by plants and animals from the central European interior. The subtle but complex vegetation mosaic is a product of the climatic effects of elevation, the contrast between north and south, local relief, and eight or nine millennia of human settlement and land use.

Degraded plant associations areas where the variety and size of species and the density of plant cover are reduced and soil erosion are common. Vegetation types from central Europe prevail on the mountain flanks and generally in the north.

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Old Fortress Citadel Share: Especially imposing when viewed from the sea, the magnificent Old Fortress lies on a small, rocky peninsula, immediately east of the old town. Built by the Venetians in on the site of an older castle, it is accessed off the Esplanade via a bridge that spans a moat, the famous contrafossa, measuring 15 meters deep and up to 40 meters wide. Inside the fortress is a small church, in the style of a Doric temple, built by the British in the 19th century.

From the highest point, marked by a lighthouse, you have spectacular views west over town and east across the sea towards Albania.

It’s also a good jumping-off place to get to Italy or Albania.

A valid passport is required but no visa is required for stays under 90 days Language and Currency The official language of Greece is Greek, but some English is spoken in the tourist areas. Greece has accepted the euro as its formal currency US dollars are accepted in the tourist areas, as are all major credit cards. There are numerous ATMs in Corfu if one needs additional cash..

What is Corfu like? Dawn Over Corfu, Greece What is the weather like? Summer in the Greek Isles is hot and dry. These warm temperatures are usually tempered however, by cooling, prevailing north winds.

10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Corfu Town

For Orthodox Christians, the Easter egg represents the Resurrection of Jesus and Orthodox Easter eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, shed on the Cross, while the hard shell of the egg is the sealed Tomb of Christ – the cracking of which symbolises his resurrection from the dead. Nowadays food colouring or commercial dyes are mostly used but some still adhere to the old-fashioned method and dye their eggs red by using onion skins.

Spianada Situated close to the Old Fortress is a large tree-lined square called Spianada.

Without even realising it, he will soon find he is not just a spectator, but also a participant!

The Old Fortress and the Mandraki marina, viewed from the northwest. This huge open parade ground and park, just west of the Old Fortress, is bordered on the north by the old royal Palace now the Museum of Asian Art and on the west by the Liston, built by the French under Napoleon to resemble the Rue du Rivoli in Paris. Some say the Esplanade is the most beautiful esplanade in Greece. Built by the Venetians in on the site of a Byzantine castle, the fortress is separated from the rest of the town by a moat.

Its two peaks “korypha” gave the island its name. To the west, you have a gorgeous view of the town and to the east the mountainous Albania coast. Most of the Venetian fortifications inside were destroyed by the British, who replaced them with their own structures, like the Church of St. George, built to look like a Doric temple.

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