Corfu, in the Ionian Sea was the inspiration for my Quirky Travels many years ago. In this article another traveller shares some thoughts on this popular Greek island, during a very challenging year for the economy in Greece.
A recent half-term break was spent in the beautiful island of Corfu with the family and I must honestly say that we had a lovely time. We visited impressive archaeological ruins, ate very well in friendly tavernas, swam in sparkling seas, and the adults drank one too many glasses of ouzo. On a normal half-term break with the family, none of this would usually be headline news. But given Greece’s economic and political uncertainty, it may come as a surprise to learn that this summer you can still have a typical, enjoyable Greek holiday.
Of course the big difference this year compared to previous years is that due to the country’s economical problems, the number of people using Greece as their holiday destination is down. Yet still, from our perspective as visitors to the island, everything in Corfu feels normal. Based on our break in early June, I have to agree. Although there were signs things weren’t as busy as the locals would like, the island was far from dead.
At the famous Bay of St. George in northwestern Corfu, the tour guides touting for business were moaning that trade was down, but we still had to queue to buy our tickets from them. At Corfu in the evening, the insistent exhortations for our custom from some restaurant-owners suggested they were a bit desperate. Yet the most popular bars lining the quayside of the beautiful harbour were filled with young residents of Corfu drinking iced coffee. On the high street, the focus was more on the Euro 2012 football tournament taking place in Poland and Ukraine, than the state of the euro and the economical problems the country found itself in. All the cafes were showing the games – we were lucky enough to watch England play France, along with a sizeable multinational crowd.
Agios Georgios, a village on the far south-west corner of Corfu, has a lagoon of turquoise water and an offshore island that young children can wade out to – it’s one of the most memorable beaches we were fortunate enough to visit whilst enjoying our half-term break on the wonderful island. On the afternoons we were there, hundreds of bathers were wallowing in the sea. Goodness knows how heaving it must be when tourism is at usual levels. There are many other lovely beaches around the island.
At five of the six dinners we had in Corfu, we were given not only raki to round off our meal, but also free puddings such as baklava. In general terms, everywhere in Greece is crying out for visitors this summer, and that means it’s a safe bet you will receive a particularly fulsome welcome if you decide to visit this lovely island.
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