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Corfu information - Practical INFORMATION for visitors to CORFU

The name CORFU is an Italian corruption of Korypho, a Byzantine name derived from the two peaks on which the citadel of the chief town hall is built. The ancient name of CORCYRA appears first in Herodotus who also uses a Semitic name - KERKOUROS meaning a fast Phoenician boat of which probably the Greek version (KERKYRA) derives its name. The Ionian islands take their name from the sea which lies between the tip of Italy and the west coast of Greece. The Ionians in turn took their name from Ion, after the nymph goddess of the sea.
These greek islands are also known as the Eptanisos - The Seven Islands (ionian islands) - of which CORFU is the second largest with a length of 40 miles and a width varying between two and a half and eighteen miles. The North East Cape, where you will find the resort town of Kassiopi, is one and a half miles from the Albanian coast. The shape of the island resembles a scythe with a surface area of 588 square miles.

Geologically speaking, Corfu is an off-shore peak of ranges belonging to the deformed belt of mountains which run through Yugoslavia and Western Greece. The oldest rocks of the Highlands are the Mesozoic limestone (about 135 million years old) which were crushed against the central core in the Tertiary era (about 75 million years ago) forming marls, silstones, and sandstone areas. The softer deposits have produced some beautiful caves and grottoes of which the best examples are on Paxos, an island south of Corfu.
Although tourism is a major source of income on the island, its economy is essentially agricultural. Olive oil, wine and currants are the main cash crops. Olives cover over half the cultivated area of CORFU - 3 million trees (encouraged during the Venetian period by giving 12 gold pieces for every 100 olive trees planted). It also has a few valuable acres under tobacco and its flat pasture lands feed enough cows to support a dairy industry which exports butter all over Greece. Sheep and goats are numerous and their milk is made into one of Greece's most famous cheeses - Feta. Salt and fishing play a minor part in the economy of Corfu.

Corfu island enjoys a mediterranean climate with mild winters and refreshing summers.However humidity is high owing to warm southwesterly winds (especially in the winter when winds can reach 8 Beaufort) and northwesterly winds (like the `maistro` of summer reaching force 4 Beaufort) causing heavy rainfall from time to time apart from the mid-summer months. The annual rainfall for Corfu (1,183mm) is the highest in GREECE. The relaxing but rich coutryside, the glorious beaches and many other wonderful sights have made Corfu one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean and one of the most often-visited places in Greece.
Being so close to Italy, Corfu has some of the finest and most varied cuisine in Greece, thanks to the influence of the Venetians. Specialities include the famous bourdetto (a spicy fish stew traditionally made from freshly caught scorpion fish), the scrumptious range of seafood pasta dishes and locally made ice creams. CORFU has many Ouzeris, simple bars often around harbours, which offer a selection of 'mezes'. Traditional 'meze' can range from a few olives and a little feta cheese, to a large platter of peppers, tomato, octopus and Kalamari.

Today Corfu has a plethora of luxury hotels, traditional rented rooms and apartments, bungalows, camping, riding clubs, tennis courts, golf courses and tourist offices ready to service every tourist visitor. All around CORFU there are authentic little tavernas, good restaurants, cafes, quiet bars, and night clubs. Furthermore, there is a flourishing market for Greek and international luxury goods. The facilities provided by the island's tourism infrastructure has made Corfu the most popular destination for various forms of alternative tourism. Also the frequent ferry service to Italy and flights to all over the world have reduced distances, making Corfu more accessible to the traveler.

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