Corfu

The second largest of the Ionian Islands, Corfu is the northwesternmost part of Greece. Its rich with Greek mythology, and has a history marked with battles and conquests; castles dotted across the island at strategic points are testament to Corfu's war-filled past, and it was one of the most fortified places in Europe, as a recognised bulwark of the European States against the Ottoman Empire, from the Middle Ages through to the 17th century. Two such castles engulf its capital, which has been declared a 'Kastropolis' (or 'castle city') by the Greek government, the only Greek city to be surrounded in such a way. Corfu city's old quarter has also been recognised by UNESCO, and became a World Heritage Site in 2007.

During much of Corfu's medieval history, the Venetians used the fortifications to defend against Ottoman intrusion into the Adriatic, so you'll find some Italian influences on the island, not least whilst enjoying delicious gelato! However, the island also fell under British rule following the Napoleonic Wars, and wasn't unified with modern Greece until 1864.

As well as its castles, Corfu is famous for kum quat - a type of fruit similar to a tangerine, and the island's symbol - which can only be found in Europe here, and on Sicily. It's a recommended try whilst on the island, although you may also like to try the liquor produced from the fruit. Corfu is also defined by its strange, sickle-like shape, and its numerous peaks and ranges, with its name derived from the Italian version of the Byzantine 'Korypho', or 'city of the peaks'. Across the whole island, sublime views can be enjoyed from panoramic vantage points, while gorgeous beaches can be found in Agios Gordis, the Korission lagoon, Agios Georgios, Marathia, Kassiopi, Sidari, and Palaiokastritsa. Palaiokastritsa is perhaps one of the more popular beach resorts, and is accessible from Corfu city by bus, as well, of course, by taxi. You can perhaps explore more of the island by renting a bicycle, motorcycle, car or jeep, all of which are very easy to rent. Accessible by bus on the number 7 line, Dasia beach boasts a calm sea, and stunning views over Albanian mountains and coastlines from the bay.

Whilst in Corfu, enjoy the romance and history of the charming old town, and browse through local shops lining the small streets, selling a vast range from jewellery to leather, and local laboratories that work the olive wood to make souvenirs. You'll also find carpets, ceramic gifts and handmade table cloths.