Part of the Ionian chain, about 300 mi/475 km northwest of Athens, Corfu is one of Greece's most beautiful islands. Once renowned for its notorious nightlife (which is now mainly confined to rowdy Kavos on the south coast), it has rich scenery, numerous cypress and olive groves, rugged mountains, splendid hidden coves, and miles/kilometers of sandy beaches (the one at Paleokastritsa is the most scenic).

Highlights include a boat ride into the green and blue grottoes, visiting the monastery, and wandering the narrow alleys of Corfu Town (also referred to as Kerkyra). The town has a wonderfully relaxing atmosphere: Walk through the Venetian quarter, shop for silver or sit in one of the numerous outdoor cafes.

Visit the island's proudest possession, the church of Agios Spiridon, which holds the remains of Corfu's patron saint. The gaudy Achillion Palace (4 mi/6 km south of Corfu Town) was built by Elizabeth of Austria in honor of her favorite Greek hero, Achilles.

The ferry from Igoumenitsa takes only two hours to reach Corfu (compared with seven hours for the boat from Patras), but the cross-country drive from Athens to Igoumenitsa is fairly grueling, though you could break the journey at Delphi along the way. It's also possible to fly to Corfu with frequent daily departures.

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