Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Travel Tuesday: The Temptation that is Corfu

Sarah Morgan shares the glory that is Corfu!

It’s October which means the evenings are dark, the mornings are chilly and winter is just round the corner. Although there are many things I love about this time of year, I’m not quite ready to let go of the summer so my temptation at the moment is my holiday photographs. While I’m reaching for another jumper, I’m still thinking sunshine and the island of Corfu, which we were lucky enough to visit this summer.
I am in love with Corfu. It is the most northerly of the Greek Islands, which means that even in July (school holidays for us!) it isn’t as hot as some of the more southerly Greek islands, like Crete, but still hot enough that all I really want to do is lie around reading or take a cooling dip in the sea. The water here is crystal clear and the beaches are some of the cleanest in Europe. Take a boat to one of the hidden coves and you’ll have the place to yourself because large parts of this island are undiscovered by tourists.
Inland, far away from the few noisy resorts that have grown near the airport, you’ll find tiny villages where farmers still use donkeys as a mode of transport, where goats graze in back yards and where you can stumble across a beach that no one else has discovered.
Corfu is unusually green and lush for a Mediterranean Island. It’s been called the Emerald Isle, and that is largely due to the enormous number of olive trees which cover the island – more than 3 million. They carpet the island, protecting it from the harsh summer sun. Olives are an important local industry here and, like wine, no two olive oils are alike. Interspersed among the olive groves are tall Cypress trees, which make the place feel more like Tuscany than Greece.
Part of travelling is trying new food and the local dishes on Corfu are delicious - my favourite is Stifado, beef simmered in local herbs and a rich tomato sauce - and of course everything cooked and dressed in the best olive oil you will ever taste. Even the thick, golden honey has its own special flavour because the bees on this island are spectacularly well fed. In every tiny village, and around every corner there are flowers - Oleander and bougainvillea tumble out of pretty pots, displaying dazzling colours even in the dry heat of summer.

I’m not alone in falling in love with this place - plenty of people have done the same before me. Corfu was Homer’s last stop before returning to Ithaca, Shakespeare reputedly used it as a background for The Tempest and Gerald Durrell wrote My Family and Other Animals while living here.
I’d definitely love to have a house here but sadly that’s just a dream. In the meantime I have my photographs.......

Sarah is currently working on a new Harlequin Presents set in Corfu so that she has an excuse to look at her photographs for a little longer. In the meantime her September release in the UK, Powerful Greek, Unworldly Wife will be published in Harlequin Presents Extra in December. For more information visit her new website which should be live from November www.sarahmorgan.com.


  1. Can I just say how much I love Corfu? We used to go when the children were little to the relatively unspoilt NOrth East corner of the island -- Kouloura and Kalami.
    Not only did Gerald Durrell write about it, but also his brother Lawerence wrote Prospero's Cell. I thought it interesting that LarryDurell's first wife --Nancy -- was there but does not get a mention in My Family...
    YOu can stay at one of their old houses -- the White House. It used to be bookable through CV travel. We discovered CV travel on our first holiday there as they seemed to have such wonderful villas...The one time I have gone up to a sign and written down the name of the travel company! And they were good to travel with as well.
    Anyway, Corfu is magical.

  2. I too have wonderful memories of Corfu. The waiters in the taverna next door to our apartment were lovely, and I remember DH being a bit twitchy that I'd written them a note in Greek. (Yeah, yeah, Kate Showoff - I did it with the help of a dictionary!) The following day - his birthday - he found out exactly what I'd written, as they organised a cake with sparklers for him and made a huge fuss of him. Great food, great sunsets, and as you say those lovely quiet villages...

  3. Wow - this is serendipitous. I visited Corfu for the first time in September and also fell in love with the island. I've wanted to go since I was a kid and my mother read me "My Friends and Other Animals" and "Birds, Beasts and Relatives".

    The lush landscape aside, I think I also fell in love with the island because of the friendliness I encountered everywhere. There is an easygoing air about the place. And then there's all those fancy yachts that can't help but inspire exciting new stories ...

    I can't wait to read your book as soon as it hits the shelves!

  4. Oh sigh. Add another place to the "must travel" list.

  5. Romy, you're right everyone is SO friendly - interesting to see the place has so many fans. As Michelle says, there are plenty of quiet, unspoilt spots on the island - it's very easy to escape.
    Kate, I've been trying to learn some Greek too - but so far it's all Greek to me. As long as I can order food, that's the important thing.
    Add it to your list, Donna, because it really is worth it. And I'm still gazing at the photographs, especially as I've just switched the heating on. It's SO cold here today

  6. I've never been to Corfu but it looks lovely - and I have a very soft spot for Gerald Durrell's books about his life there. Maybe one day!

  7. Sarah, beautiful photos and like Donna, adding to my list. I have been to Greece however, and it very beautiful.

    Can't wait to read about your Greek alpha!

  8. Thanks Marilyn, my Greek alpha is shaping up nicely (thanks to Michelle's Davidoff advert :) )
    alison, I love Gerald Durrell's books, too. Corfu has obviously inspired a lot of people.