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Corfu, the verdant island of the Phaeceans, the final stop of Ulysses before returning to the distant Ithaca, is the best known of the Ionian islands on the northwestern tip of Greece.
The island was once a cape on Epirus on the western coast of mainland Greece, from where it broke off during the Paleolithic Era, at which time the continuous human presence began as evidenced by prehistoric finds and fossils of animals that are now extinct. Its geographic location south of the Adriatic “paved the road” the Venetian, French and English conquerors, who left their mark on the island’s history and cultural evolution.
While in Corfu, visitors will be charmed by the mixture of civilizations, the natural beauty with which the island was generously endowed, as well as the politeness and hospitality of its inhabitants.
The natural environment of Corfu renders it a unique ecosystem comprising age-old olive groves of Olea europea and forested stretches on the mountain masses of Pantocrator with the panoramic view, as well as impressive geological formations, such as the two caves in Klimatia and Loutses. The typical mountain vegetation also includes oak forests alternating with cultivated stretches of olive trees and vineyards, an extensive network of paths on Mt. Pantocrator as well as in Aghioi Deca, which is ideal for trekking.
The astounding natural environment is enhanced by the ecologically interesting flora and fauna found in the marshlands at the lagoons of Antinioti in the northwestern part of the island, of Halikiopoulou next to the town and of Korissia in the south.
Naturally, surrounding this unique biosphere is Corfu’s coastline on the clean and calm waters of the Ionian Sea, offering hours of coolness to the visitors, as well as opportunities for fishing, diving and many more sea sports, such as sailing, surfing, para pente and Ki-Surfing. Moreover, artificial marine-worlds complete with water slides await young and old alike for games, exercise and fun diving.
Corfu is also ideal for many more activities, depending on the visitor’s preferences, such as biking through a variety of unique destinations, airmodelling, graffiti festival and naturally golf and cricket, both sports being a long tradition on the island due to its history.
Visitors seeking “food for thought” in Corfu will discover a plethora of historic monuments, art exhibitions hosted in art galleries, but also a multitude of events organized year-round, such as concerts, musical and dance performances, theatrical plays and popular village happenings at the traditional festivals during the summer months.
The devoutness of the inhabitants is evidenced in its 796 churches and a plethora of religious festivals dedicated to the island’s patron saint, culminating during Easter which is celebrated magnificently with the participation of the entire island.
Corfu is also a popular congress destination, having hosted major international and national conferences for leading corporations, scientific organizations and agencies. The island’s conference centers boast modern infrastructure combined with experienced professionals in the sector, who offer high quality ensuring the satisfaction of participants.
The trip to Corfu would not be complete without a visit to the nearby islets. Paxoi is a small verdant island south of Corfu, barely 10 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide. The islet of Antipaxoi, located at 2 kilometers south of Paxoi, is even tinier. In the summer, small boats connect Paxoi and Antipaxoi. Upon disembarking on the quaint harbor of Gaios -- the head village of Paxoi -- travelers are transferred into a miniature world full of surprises. Visitors can walk across the island from one end to the other getting the feeling that they are crossing a huge garden of olive trees and vines. They can also swim or fish at the beautiful beaches of the islet. The seals Monahus monahus living in the isolated coastal caves in Antipaxoi are a sight not to be missed.
Finally, northwest of Corfu, the cluster of the Diapontia islets comprise three beautiful islets, Ereikousa, Othonous and Mathraki. Thick vegetation, lacy coastline, caves and quaint settlements compose three little heavens on earth.