About Corfu and Paxos

 CORFU
 Length: 72km
 Width at widest point: 25km                                                                                                       
 Area: 638 sq.km
 Highest point: 906m
 Population: 120,000
 Average summer temperature: 28 c
 Average winter temperature: 16 c
 Hottest months: July/August
 Coldest months: January/February
 Number of villages: 210
 
 The island has been a part of Greece since 1864. Before that it was, for 50 years, a British protectorate… the British left the beginnings of a road and water system. They took over from the French, who were on Corfu long enough to make the famous Liston, reminiscent of Paris’s Rue de Rivoli. (The Liston was so named because you had to be on the "list of Corfiot well-born" before being allowed to sit there). The 300 previous years had been under benign Venetian rule and that legacy can still be seen today both in architecture and the millions of olive trees, which provide a supplement to income for many Corfiots.   

The island is blessed with many natural attributes. There are mountains, streams, plains, beaches, both sand and pebbled, olive groves and wooded hillsides. During Spring the country side abounds with a variety of wild flowers. 
 
 More than 120,000 people live on Corfu, of whom approximately 10,000 come from other European countries in the main the United Kingdom. During the tourist season, April to October, many more thousands visit on holiday or to spend time in a second home. In a good season the population can reach as much as 600,000. The main income producing activity is tourism and consequently the island has many types of accommodation ranging from camp sites to first class hotels, villa's and apartments.  
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 There are hundreds of restaurants, bars, cafes and taverna’s supplying a variety of continental, international and local Greek cuisine. Warm sea, beaches, sun and a large selection of water sport make Corfu a very popular European and Eastern European holiday destination. Throughout the year there are scheduled domestic flights from Athens, car ferries from Italy and some charter flights.  
  
 However, during the summer there are many direct charter flights from most European countries. In recent years the Italian car ferry services have been much improved. In the south, the Brindisi ferry takes 7 hours, while from the north the excellent Venetian ferries, with cabins, take about 24 hours. Venice can be reached by road from the English Channel ports in about 14 hours.  
 
 Corfu has been the subject of many books, of which those by British brothers Lawrence and Gerald Durrell are probably the best known.  

Apart from tourism, agriculture is the main industry of the island. There was a time when the governing body of Corfu offered the inhabitants a small amount of money for each olive tree planted. As a result, Corfu has in excess of five million olive trees and is one of the most "planted" of all the Greek islands. Fruit and vegetables are produced for local consumption as well as a variety of dairy products. The island is also famous for it’s Cumquat (baby orange) liquor.  
  
Because Corfu has become a popular location for second or permanent homes as well as tourism, the building industry has thrived and has developed high standards. The island also supports a comprehensive transport structure including a newly developed Marina, which is certainly one of the most modern in the Mediterranean. Furthermore, commercial activities such as banking, insurance, motor sales, medical facilities and light industry are well developed. 
 
While the many coastal villages are the preferred destination of most tourists, many of the permanent residents prefer to live inland where property prices are cheaper and yet the sea is always within a few minutes drive. The focal point of the island is Corfu Town, which is busy throughout the year. Apart from its magnificent selection of shops, restaurants and bars it is also the home of the theatre, museums and art galleries. The Liston is the center point of the regular parades to commemorate Corfiot and Greek history, always accompanied by the superb Corfiot bands – an indication of the island’s great musical abilities and traditions. 
 
Medical services on the island, both state and private are good.  There are many schools and a university. 
 
Most Corfiot families ensure their children can speak at least one other language often English but also German, Italian and French. 
  
Winters in Corfu are mild and quite rainy; spring and autumn are pleasant, while summer is invariably totally sunny.   
  

 PAXOS
 Length: 13km
 Width at widest point: Approx. 6km                                                                                                       
 Area: 30.2 sq.km
 Highest point: 116m
 Population: Approx. 2,350
 Average summer temperature: 28 c
 Average winter temperature: 16 c
 Hottest months: July/August
 Coldest months: January/February 
 

This beautiful island is one of the smallest of the Ionian group of islands and is situated 14 kilometers South of Corfu. Its land mass covers an area of 19 square kilometers and there are about 2,350 permanent residence. The West coast features high mountain ridges and cliffs dropping to the Mediterranean whilst the East coast has gentle slopes which dip into the Ionian Sea. The island is well covered with indigenous trees and bush as well as olive and cypress trees. It too, like Corfu, has substantial winter rains which nourish its vegetation keeping the island green. Despite the winter rains the supply of natural water is scarce. Its primary source of income is from tourism. 
 

There is no airport on the island and this has helped preserve its beauty and prevented large scale tourist developments. It is a lazy, unhurried and peaceful island where the Greek population are friendly and accommodating. Assess to Paxos is via ferry from Corfu or from Igoumenista which is on the Greek mainland. These ferry services are quick and comfortable. In recent times a flying boat service has come into operation from Corfu. The flying time is about ten minutes.
 

There are three main ports. Gaios, situated on the East side, is the largest and it is also the capital town of the island. From here there are regular boat trips to Anti-Paxos, an even smaller and sparsely inhabited island to the South. Anti Paxos has some magnificent beaches with white powdery sand and turquoise waters. The second largest is Lakka also on the East coast but further North and then on the North end of the island there is Lakka. Because it is situated in a very protected cove, Lakka is popular with yachtsman and motor boat enthusiasts. All three ports have restaurants, cafes, taverna’s and bars, many within metres of the sea, there are shops, museums, monasteries and other interesting historical sites.
 

Paxos is a charming little island, unspoiled with a sense of primitive beauty. The architecture exhibits the typical Ionian style with colourful two and three-story homes lining the narrow streets and waterfronts of the main towns, while the rural landscape is filled with low stone houses surrounded by trees and greenery.