As I wrote in last week’s blog, Corfu Town is beautiful and charming and unlike any other place we’ve visited in Greece . . . or elsewhere. And, as great as the town is, the rest of the island is equally as beautiful and interesting.
Corfu is located in the Ionian Sea just off the coast of Greece and a little over 400 miles from Italy, has a landmass of 236 square miles, and a population of over 100,000. It has gorgeous trees and plush vegetation and was nicknamed the Emerald Island because it happens to be the greenest island in Greece. It has a beautiful coastline with over 50 gorgeous beaches, mountainous terrain in the north, valleys and plains in the south, and the olive trees are everywhere.
There’s also archaeological evidence that there were settlements on the island as early as the Paleolithic Era (2.5 million years ago). According to the evidence, this was before Corfu even became an island. The sea that now surrounds Corfu was actually a lake until the most recent Ice Age caused the sea level to rise between 10,000 - 8000 BC.
As we explored the island, we spent most of our time in the northern region, with its beautiful mountains, lush green landscape, and charming villages.
One of the most beautiful and well-known beaches on the island of Corfu is the picturesque Canal d’Amour or “Channel of Love”. It is known throughout Europe and even worldwide as the beach where true lovers go who want to stay together forever. It is in the northern part of the island near the town of Sidari, and its sculpted sandstone rocks with beautiful white cliffs on either side form a spectacular natural canal. According to local legend, couples who swim the length of the canal will stay in love forever, while those who swim to its furthest tip will find the love of their lives.
We found these white cliffs both stunning and intriguing, and I could not stop taking photos (as you can see). They are so unusual and dramatic, and the combination of the lush green hills, the white sculpted cliffs, and the blue of the crystal-clear sea was just magnificent.
Along with its gorgeous landscape, Corfu is home to some charming and quaint mountain and seaside villages. One of our favorites was Kassiopi, which lies in the northeast corner of the island about 35 km from Corfu Town. This once quiet fishing village, with its beautiful harbor, has become a popular holiday destination over the years . . . but still retains its charming and authentic feel with it’s traditional narrow streets and picturesque views of the country of Albania, which sits across the sea.
Due west from Corfu Town is The Monastery of the Holy Theotokos, in the village of Paleokastritsa. This monastery is one of the oldest in Corfu, dating to 1225. Set on the top of the cape, the views from the monastery are some of the most beautiful and dramatic views you will find on the island. It is one of the most visited of Corfu’s religious sites and in no small part because of its stunning location. To get to the monastery you must climb (via car) a very steep and narrow road that winds its way through lush, green groves of cypress and olive trees.
Carla and I have experienced so much gorgeous natural beauty on this trip, that our love and reverence for the natural world has grown exponentially during our travels. What we have found is that no matter what we hear or read in the news, no matter how messy life may seem, being in nature allows us to still experience the world with awe as a wonderful and magnificent place.
I hope that as you view the photos that accompany this blog, you will partake in the beauty that we have been fortunate enough to encounter in our travels. I’ll leave you with this very simple and yet eloquent assembly of words from writer, poet, and essayist, Gretel Ehrlich that so beautifully captures the magical impact of nature . . . “Everything in nature invites us constantly to be what we are.”