A beach holiday favourite for several decades, Corfu is located in the Ionian chain of Greek islands that lie off the north-west coast of mainland Greece. One of the first to be "discovered" by package holiday firms parts of Corfu have been overrun with cheap hotels and happy-hour bars. But most of the downmarket damage has been confined to a few areas; large parts of Corfu have some of the most beautiful beaches and most romantic villages in the Greek islands.
Corfu public beach sold off to developers. Holiday visitors to the Kassiopi beach resort on Corfu may find access to the sands blocked by US developers. The cash-strapped Greek government is believed to have sold off a prime stretch of beach to a New York-based company for €23 million. In Greece, companies or businesses that acquire beach property, sometimes unlawfully, will usually seal it off to deter public access and charge customers to enjoy the beach. Details of the terms of the sell-off are unclear but the large seaside plot of land has been sold to NCH Capital on a 99-year lease. The sale is expected to create hundreds of temporary jobs in the area as hotels and tourist facilities are constructed on the site. The total area of the property in Kassiopi is 490,000 sqm, of which over 320,000 sqm will remain open to the general public. In the remaining private areas, NCH is believed to have got the go-ahead to build hotels on 36,000 sqm of the land. Kassiopi is a lively beach resort on the northeast coast of Corfu and a popular family holiday destination. As well as a pleasant village centre and a traditional port it has a trio of beaches located in three small bays. Kassiopi is what dubbed a 'lively' Corfu beach resort and it has plenty of downmarket music bars, foam parties and karaoke and is popular with younger people. This is the first deal by the Greek government to raise cash by selling off large plots of state-owned land. The government will retain ownership of a large swathe of forest on the site. Greece's privatisation programme is part of a commitment to the country's international creditors but while Greece desperately needs cash to offset depleted cash coffers, critics claim lucrative state-run operations and publicly-owned land could be lost forever. Talks are also under way on selling state-owned property on the mainland at Halkidiki as well as overseas property in London, Brussels, Nicosia, Belgrade, Ljubljana and Tashkent
Beast of Kavos gets 52 years. A Greek rapist who attacked at least seven British women on the holiday island of Corfu has been jailed for a total of 52 years. The 39-year-old man, Dimitris Aspiotis, known as the 'Beast of Kavos' will not be considered for parole until he is at least 91 years old. A court in Greece heard how the man preyed on women near the Corfu holiday resort of Kavos, a favourite for young clubbers on party holidays in Greece. Three British victims gave evidence against him in a trial in Igoumenitsa, on the Greek mainland, near Corfu. Police said Aspiotis would attack women on a woodland path after partying with them on the beach and repeatedly rape them. sometimes for hours. One British woman, 27, broke down in tears as she told the court of her 'horrific' ordeal that lasted up to six hours. She said: "He raped me a total of six times. He would tell me in broken English: 'I am not a bad man. If you do not resist it will be better.'" Unemployed Aspiotis told the court that he lived in poverty with his parents, his brother and sister. He told magistrates that rape and robbery was the only solution to satisfying his basic needs. Police surrounded the rapist in the sprawling Arkoudila forest in a major police operation in 2010. They mounted a six-day siege until, starving and thirsty, Aspiotis used a mobile phone to call a local TV reporter and was lured into a trap. The Arkoudila forest is very popular with couples on holiday or individuals seeking isolated beaches on the Asprokampos coast. There is a single path through the forest often used by holiday hikers or visitors on mopeds or bicycles. The rapist would sometimes lie in wait for passing victims and drag them into the forest. This is believed to be the longest sentence ever handed out in a Greek court for rape.
Corfu photos at Banknote Museum. Those taking a late holiday break in Corfu Town can escape the late summer showers with a visit to the Banknote Museum and an exhibition of some remarkable photographs. Swiss-born photographer Fred Boissonnas (1858-1946), first visited Greece in 1903, and many of his wonderful photos of Greece are on display until December. He travelled all over Greece, from the Peloponnese to Crete, Ithaca to Athens and his photos show panoramas of Greek life between the wars. Although a well-known photographer, writer and illustrator in Europe in the early 20th century, his star has dimmed over the years but the images on display give us a glimpse into the past. A great lover of Greece and the Greek people he promoted the country throughout Europe with his images of Greek islands landscapes, ancient monuments and vivid everyday portraits of Greek life in the early 20th century. The 75 photographs in this exhibition, were taken during three trips Fred Boissonnas made to Greece. The first was in 1903 when he was working on Corfu, and the second in 1907-1908. The third trip, 1911-13, was a tour of places associated with Odysseus. The photographic equipment of that era probably weighed several hundred pounds and it was shipped around on donkeys and carts. The exhibition 'Boissonnas - Pictures of Greece' runs at the Banknote Museum of the Ionian Bank in the Square of St. Spyridon in Corfu Town, daily, except Monday and Tuesday and admission is free. The exhibition is co-organized by Alpha Bank, the Embassy of Switzerland and the Rizario Foundation. The Banknote Museum of Greece is housed where the first branch of the Ionian Bank was opened. Its collections include Greek banknotes dating back to 1822. The museum hosts more than 2000 exhibits including sketches and printing plates for various Greek banknotes as well as a presentation of the modern manufacturing of banknotes.
Corfu holidays in the beach resort of Pelekas. The Corfu holiday resort of Pelekas has always been a little off the main island tourist trail, and there's nothing wrong in that. This attractive hilltop holiday village sits on the west coast of Corfu almost opposite the island capital of Corfu Town about 15km away on the east coast. Pelekas beach lies below the village - just a 10 minute walk - and Corfu beach holiday visitors will find a wide crescent of sand with good tourist facilities like sunbeds, showers and toilets. The Corfu holiday resort has, for many years, had its own Pelekas website and it has recently undergone a revamp. The latest addition to the site is an old video of Pelekas from 1991 - not much has changed except the fashions. The Pelekas website pretty much covers all you might need to know about the resort. Some of the more interesting activities in Pelekas include the Pelekas Costume Museum and the Discovery Tours for Artists details of which are posted on the website. The museum is located just outside Pelekas and this remarkable private collection of traditional Corfu costume has pieces dating back to the 19th century. The costumes come from all over Greece and the two euro entrance fee is well worth it. There is even a small section dedicated to Corfu's musical heritage with recordings of songs sung by women from the village of Kato Garounas. Australian artist Warren Curry has been leading painting tours of Corfu for more than a decade. Tour groups are based at the stylish Levant Hotel and the group's own tour bus takes painting groups to various villages, beaches and historic sites. Courses in painting are interspersed with leisurely lunches and other Corfu holiday pursuits, including a one-day cruises to nearby Paxos and Parga and also to Albania. But most visitors to Pelekas will end up on a day trip to the Aqualand water park in nearby Agioa Ioannis - fun for all the family - or they'll be tempted to stroll along the Corfu Trail which passes Pelekas from the southern tip of Corfu to the north coast. One of the great attractions of the Pelekas website is the number and range of accommodation on offer - more than 30 apartments, villas etc. have links to their sites where they set out their details, from major hotel complexes like the Aquis Agios Gordios Hotel to charming villas like Tonia's Apartments in Pelekas.
Walking holidays in north Corfu. A few years ago I had the good fortune to enjoy an extended Corfu holiday in north-west Corfu and came across many 'undiscovered' walks in the area. Of course, there are the well-travelled trails like the route to the Pirate's Cove and around the coastal headland from Arillas to Stefanos, not to mention the northern leg of the Corfu Trail. But there are so many delightful northwest Corfu walking trails that are hardly ever tackled by Corfu holiday visitors. The region stretches from the beach resorts of Arillas on the west coast to Sidari on the north coast and, via the Corfu Trail, links to the Pantokrator region and north-east Corfu. The region takes in the big north coast Corfu beach resorts of Sidari and Roda, as well as the Corfu west coast family beaches of San Stefanos, Arillas and Agios Georgios. Inland are the hill villages of Avliotes, Peroulades, Pagi and Agros. The landscape of north-west Corfu is characterised by fertile valleys nestled between long clay ridges that plunge steeply into the sea. Northwest Corfu makes for some roller-coaster walking with steep climbs that can make even short walks a challenge. The easiest trails are found on the flat plains around the beach holiday resort of Sidari. Away from the beach resorts the Corfu landscape is serene rural, with fields of hay, scores of olive groves and endless acres of artichoke. Heading east, the Corfu walker is faced with the Pantokrator massif which dominates the region, soaring to nearly 3,000 feet. The south face of Pantokrator is a steep wall of rock, with just a few narrow gaps where narrow paths wind their laborious way up. To the northeast, the mountain rocks tumble higgledy-piggledy into the Ionian sea creating a network of gullies which carve out most of the Corfu footpath routes in the area and link the remote hill villages with the small Corfu coastal ports. Many walkers favour the circular paths that skirt around the high peaks while those that venture to the limestone heights will find a desolate plateau wilderness with scarcely a soul for miles. The rugged terrain of Pantokrator ensure the toughest walks to be found on Corfu. The limestone peaks are mostly barren, with just a few pockets of hardy oak. Fortunately old donkey trails still survive and some of the main ones have even been cleared and levelled, making easier walking for the Corfu hiker. Around the Corfu coast are a string of picturesque bays with small holiday resorts such as Barbati, Nissaki, Kaminaki, Kalami, Agios Stefanos, Avlaki and Kassiopi a favourite with the Corfu holiday visitors. Many Corfu walking trails in this region extend from these small holiday resorts and there several good trails to inland Corfu villages such as Loutses, Lafki, Perithia and Porta.
Family friendly attractions in Corfu. If you are planning a holiday to Corfu with the family and aren't sure what there is to do, here are some ideas that might help you decide where to take the kids for some fun activities. A Corfu villa holiday wouldn't be complete without many visits to the beach. Dozens of beautiful white sand beaches await you, with crystal inviting waters to cool off. Kalami Beach is a great choice if you have children. The sand is perfect for digging and building, and the waters are shallow and calm so you don't have to worry about big waves. Sidari Beach is another great choice for kids. The waters here are shallow as well, and water sports are offered to those who wish for some excitement. Children love to experience the wonders of sea life. On the Kalypso Star glass bottom boat, the whole family can view all sorts of reefs, rock formations, and hundreds of species of fish swimming by. There is also a seal lion show that will truly amaze you all. For some all-day water fun for the whole family, visit Aqualand Water Park. It could be the highlight of your holiday to Corfu. Hop on the giant slides for a speeding ride that ends with a splash. Grab a tube and relax while you float down the lazy river. Take a dip in the giant pool, or unwind in the big jacuzzi. There's an awesome kids area with plenty of fun things to play on like the slippery octopus, screaming frog or a shower under a mushroom. There's even a playground and a bouncy castle so they can get wild and crazy. If your children love horses, Trailriders is a must. Take the family for a horse back ride through the olive groves, vineyards and pastures, or ride right through the village. After riding, the children can hand feed the horses apples and carrots as a treat. The variety of resorts available for your Corfu villa holiday are endless. Stay in a beach bungalow and enjoy the beautiful waters outside your door, or enjoy the view from a mountainside hotel. If you like more action you can stay in the heart of a village. For adventure that will have the whole family on edge, take the drive to Mount Pantokrator, the highest mountain in Corfu. The drive alone will get the adrenaline going with the twisty roads and scary drop offs. But it will all be worth it when you reach the top and see the breathtaking views. A cafe sits at the top in case you need a snack or drink after your journey.
Corfu spells out holiday hopes for 2012. Corfu is confident that Greek Island holidays will remain popular next year despite the economic problems in Greece and the Eurozone. Officials of Corfu's tourist department remained optimistic on figures for the Corfu holiday season 2012 after visiting the World Tourist Market held in London earlier this month. This year Corfu has its own stand at the travel show and the mayor of Corfu Ioannis Trepeklis travelled to London to launch a Corfu holiday tourism brochure for 2012. He said the brochure has received very positive comments and had been translated into seven languages. Arrivals at airports on Corfu rose 14% in September compared to 2010 and Corfu has posted a 12% increase in visitors for the year so far despite a disappointing start to the season. Corfu is also a favourite for British ex-pats now living on Corfu on either a seasonal or a permanent basIs. The figures have risen sharply recently. In 2001 there were about 7,000 Britons registered with the British Consulate but 10 years later it has risen to 10,000, and, given that many don't register it is estimated that more than 15,000 Britons now live year-round on Corfu. Budget airlines forecast more holidaymakers will be flying to Corfu next year. , Ryanair, the Irish low cost airlines have announced two new routes connecting Corfu to Bradford Airport in Leeds next year. Airlines operating flights to Corfu include Monarch, Thomson Airways, easyJet, Thomas Cook, Jet2. FlyTorair and bmibaby.
Corfu holiday disease alert. UK tourists on holiday in Corfu have been warned to take extra care after a number of cases of Legionnaires' disease has come to light. Health workers say they know of nine cases of the disease found in holiday visitors to Corfu in recent months. They say that, although patients all have a history of recent travel to Corfu, a UK source for the infection cannot be ruled out. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has now launched an investigation along with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and Greek public health authorities to establish the source. The HPA advises people going on holiday to Corfu not to cancel holiday plans. But it warns them to be aware of signs and symptoms of Legionnaires' disease. Although rare in the UK Legionnaires' disease, which is caused by the legionella bacterium, can lead to severe pneumonia and to complications that may be fatal. The bacterium is often spread through contaminated water droplets in cooling systems, shower heads, and taps but cannot be spread from person to person. Symptoms can start between two and 14 days after exposure and often begin with a flu-like illness. Early treatment with antibiotics is important, especially for the elderly. An HPA spokesman said: "We are concerned that UK residents travelling to Corfu should be aware of this potential risk, however we are not suggesting that people change their holiday plans. "Legionnaires' disease is very rare so the risk is low. We are continuing our investigations so that we can provide the best advice for travellers and minimise the risk of further cases."
Corfu blaze alert for holiday visitors. Firefighters are struggling to contain a wildfire outbreak on the popular holiday island of Corfu close to major beach resorts. Fire broke out on hillsides along the north coast of Corfu at the weekend and holidaymakers in Corfu beach holiday resorts of Roda, Sidari and Agios Giorgios report smoke billowing from large areas of the hillside. Firefighters managed to control the blaze which threatened villages and houses and were damping down areas of forest when fires flared up again. Firefighting equipment has now been ferried in from the mainland to help local firefighters prevent it spreading. It is thought the fire may have been started deliberately. A strengthened firefighting team on land of 30 fire engines and about 200 firefighters and water-bombing aircraft resumed efforts at first light of day (Wednesday). Six firefighting planes and two water-dropping helicopters were involved in operations over the areas of Lakones, Alimatades and Vistonas. Although there are no reports of injuries or damage to buildings, holidaymakers have been alarmed at the extent of the blaze. One British tourist reported: 'Another big fire raging on the hill behind Skripero. "We saw a house there about to be engulfed by a huge wall of flame. A big fire went up both sides of the main road before taking off up the hillside. Thank goodness we have such an amazing fire service.' The fire broke out on July 31 near the villages of Scripero, Alimatades, Doukades and Troubeta and burnt down olive trees and meadows. The blaze was thought to have spread quickly because of strong force seven winds. Main roads along the north coast were closed to traffic. The renewed outbreak has raised fears that the fire could spread to major tourist resorts on the Greek holiday island. Responding to calls for help from local authorities, fire chiefs from the mainland arrived in Corfu with C130 aircraft, a type of often used for aerial firefighting. An eye witness said: 'The fire planes have been scooping water out of the sea near the airport. I just hope it is not a bad one and that everyone stays safe. It is quite windy here which will not help.' The Corfu wildfire is one of several outbreak this summer as the Greek islands are in the grip of a heatwave. A forest fire in Apraos in north Corfu swept across several hectares last month and a fire near Rethymno, in Crete, was fanned by strong winds as water planes were dispatched to aid efforts on the ground. Fires have also been reported on Zakynthos and in several places on the mainland. The summer heatwave in the Greek islands began in mid July when met officials warned that temperatures could reach 40°C. The heatwave is expected to continue for several more weeks according to forecasts by the Greek weather service.
Corfu beach nudes go on show. Naturists sunbathing on a nudist beach in Corfu is the subject of a huge painting at this year's BP portrait awards in London. The huge work, which measures 2m by 6m is believed to be the biggest ever shown at the show. American artist Paul Beel, 30, spent a month on the remote beach at Mirtiotissa on Corfu, painting the holiday beach bums after picking up a £5,000 BP Travel Award from the National Portrait Gallery. Nudists weren't happy when Paul pitched his easel on the sands and began sketching in the details. But a German nudist was the first to agree to pose for the picture and others soon followed. 'Making the painting was a month-long improvisation as weather, willing models and high waves are unpredictable,' Beel told the London Evening Standard. The portraiture exhibition runs from June 16 until September 18 at the National Portrait Gallery, in London, and admission to the exhibition is free.
Corfu holiday cash find. A British woman on holiday in Corfu reportedly found €30,000 in cash lying in the street. The 59-year-old holidaymaker came across the cash stuffed in a briefcase that was lying in the side of the road. When she opened it she found €30,000 in cash inside. The woman, who has not been named, found the briefcase as she was leaving a store and could not believe her eyes. She immediately handed it in at a local police station. Police identified the owner from personal documents inside. As well as cash and documents in the briefcase, there were also several bank deposit booklets. The panicky owner of the briefcase arrived at the police station shortly afterwards to claim the lost cash. Police said he was immensely relieved to be handed the briefcase. He was quoted as saying that the cash inside the briefcase was to pay salaries for the company's employees.