WHY IONIAN ISLAND HOLIDAYS?
AWARD WINNING HOLIDAYSIONIAN & AEGEAN HOLIDAYS ARE PROUD TO HAVE BEEN VOTED BEST TOUR OPERATOR TO HELLENIC EUROPE AT THE BRITISH TRAVEL AWARDS 2011 AND 2012.
EXPERT ADVICEOur team of experienced and knowledgeable advisers are here to make your holiday to the Greek islands memorable - and for the right reasons!
As the plane descends the details of the land and the sea become more sharply focused, until suddenly one is swooping over a tree-covered islet, then a white church on a narrow isthmus, a causeway and finally a strip of asphalt, water on both sides.
Corfu is an island whose natural beauty is the common thread that links ancient legends and a colourful history, to a modern western society. Is myth born of fact or is it the other way round?
One thing is for sure, the answer will not be found on Kerkyra or Corfu as the English know it. One legend has it that Kerkyra was the daughter of a river god, Asopus. Poseidon first abducted and then seduced her on the island where she gave birth to a son, Phaeax, the ancestor of the Phaecians who lived on Corfu in antiquity. Yet another calls the island Makrisdrepane or Long Sickle, named after the weapon used by Zeus to castrate his father Cronus, whose blood gave birth to the Furies, Nymphs and the Phaecians, an unusual way of founding a dynasty and one which luckily has never become popular!
The sickle itself was stolen by Demeter, who buried it on the island which subsequently took on the shape of this miraculous sword. Jason (of the Argonauts) was one of the first visitors. Having stolen the Golden Fleece as well as the beautiful Medea he sought refuge on the island. Not only did he manage to hang onto his treasure but he married her in a cave near the palace at Alcinous. The soldiers sent in pursuit were so overwhelmed by the hospitality of the islanders that they instantly decided not to sail back to a wrathful King Aeetes.
Odysseus himself, was another early tourist, albeit a reluctant one, when he was shipwrecked by a vengeful Poseidon and with the help of Athena, was washed ashore on the island. Naked and half drowned he awoke to see the lovely princess Nausica washing clothes in a nearby stream. Despite his intention of returning to his long suffering wife Penelope and his island kingdom of Ithaka, the hero of Troy was so overcome with admiration, that he ‘greatly feared to touch her knees’! Corfu has been known to have a similar effect on lesser mortals!
The island has continued to inspire writers and poets, including Shakespeare who probably used the island as the model for the magical kingdom in The Tempest. Much later, prior to World War Two the eccentric but talented Durrell family, came to live on the island. Gerald memorably described the island, inhabitants and animals in his evocative book, ‘My Family and Other Animals’, whilst his elder brother Lawrence wrote a successful account of the island, ‘Prospero’s Cell’.
Fertile and blessed with a perfect climate, Corfu has been coveted and fought over by many warring nations, including the Venetians, Saracens, French and British, finally achieving union with an independent Greece in 1864. The heritage left by all these uninvited guests, together with the fascinating archeological remains of earlier civilisations means that the island today is a unique blend of ancient myth, classical architecture and a vibrant culture as well as being the ‘emerald isle’ of the Ionian.
By the end of the century the Corfiots, naturally resilient, innately hospitable, and imaginative, realised that they needed to reclaim and re-establish its native culture and heritage. Supported by the island administration they have transformed Corfu.
Corfu Town, with its warren of narrow streets, its graceful Venetian facades and its wonderful main square, has been renovated without losing any of its character. Many of the narrow alleyways have been pedestrianised and venerable buildings sensitively restored.
Of course there are still busy resorts, but nowadays their streets and waterfronts are far more likely to be thronged with families enjoying themselves than late night revellers.
A network of roads lead out from the capital across the island, whilst the quiet byways and lanes of the rural interior have been re-surfaced but are still relatively traffic free, the hamlets and villages they connect remain unspoilt.
Our selection of properties have been chosen to represent the real Corfu, an island of clean beaches, verdant hills and valleys, excellent museums, fine tavernas and restaurants. Try and get a table with a view, which is quintessentially Corfiot. You should be able to make out the graceful lattice of traditional fish traps and a fisherman tending to his nets as he and his ancestors have done for a thousand years or more. This is the magic of Corfu, ancient and modern.
- Tour the north east coast in a motor boat
- Relax and swim at any of Corfu’s 30 Blue Flag beaches
- Horse riding from Avlaki Beach
- Family trip to Aqualand water park
- Dinghy sailing & windsurfing from Avlaki Beach
- Enjoy a drink on the ‘Liston’ in cosmopolitan Corfu Town and shop in its narrow streets
- Diving & snorkeling tours from Kassiopi
- Wine tasting at the Triklino Vineyard
- Play golf at Corfu’s own championship course in the Ropa Valley
- Visit the deserted village of Old Perithia high up in the mountains
Direct flights from London Gatwick, Manchester and Bristol
Your hire car will be waiting for you at the airport with driving instructions, otherwise you will be transferred to your accommodation by taxi. Approx transfer time: 30 mins to 1 hour
PRE-BOOKING YOUR AIRCRAFT SEAT
To pre book your seat please contact the airline directly quoting Ionian Island Holidays as your tour operator, your booking reference number, flight number, date of departure and specific flight request. Payments for these seats are direct with the airline.
AIRLINE CONTACT DETAILS
Fly Monarch: 01582 556331
Thomas Cook: 0844 855 0515
20kg for checked baggage, 5kg hand baggage.
Security restrictions may apply, please contact the airline, the airport or ourselves before departure.
We are able to offer a limited number of flights direct to Kefalonia, Preveza and Corfu. Contact out UK office for further details on 020 8459 0777.
Please also fully inform us of any disability or walking difficulty you may have, so we can provide assistance at the airport. This must be made at least 7 days before departure.