Category Archives: Islands

Best things to see in Corfu

This is a guest post by Jason Briggs.
The Ionian island of Corfu is arguably one of the best islands in Greece. With its spectacular weather, rich history, picturesque beaches and untouched villages, all topped off with a Greek party spirit and culture, Corfu is one of the most desirable islands of Greece. There is no wonder why it is home to almost a million visitors each year. Here are the top places you can visit during your stay on the island:

Corfu Town

Corfu town is arguably one of the most fascinating and impressive towns in all of Greece, there is a unique beauty and atmosphere in this town, with its narrow streets, elegant architecture and stunning Monuments.

The Aeolian islands: Vulcano

Within a mere 5-6 days of travel the Aeolian islands had generated so many emotions in us. So many breathtaking island views, amazing sights and .. volcano experience of course!

And to wrap this awesome trip up, departing from Stromboli we paid a visit to the very island that made up the word ‘volcano’ – the island of Vulcano. Vulcan was the god of fire in Roman mythology and because of its active volcanoes, the island got its name as the island of god Vulcan. The word volcano derives from this island.

The island, along with Stromboli, boasts of the only active volcanoes in the Aeolian archipelago. Moreover, it has the second most dangerous volcano in Italy after Vesuvio – Fossa. In case of volcanic activity, 2 kms around Fossa crater will be affected, and the village of Porto, reaching 10,000 inhabitants in the summer, lies within this area.

The Aeolian islands: Stromboli

Stromboli was the key highlight in our visit to the Aeolian archipelago. We knew there was an active volcano there, and ever since the first day on the islands we started seeing the smoke coming from the island. At night, being anchored in any neighboring island, we could see the orange halo at the top of the island and the bursts of lava now and then. Even from a big distance this was an awesome view. Some evenings we were just staying on the boat, staring at Stromboli and exclaiming when big bursts were seen.

The Aeolian islands: Panarea

After the quick visits to Lipari and Salina, we had more time to dedicate to our third island – Panarea. It’s the second smallest island from the Aeolian archipelago (3 km wide and 2 km long), but the most picturesque for me. If I had more time – this is the island I would spend several days on. It doesn’t have cars on it, only motorbikes, 3-wheeled trucks and golf cars. So – it was pretty quiet and unpolluted.

The Aeolian islands: Salina

When you are sailing sometimes your sightseeing plans don’t happen the way you want. So, we couldn’t see much of Lipari, but made it up in Salina, which was just a couple hours sailing away.

Salina seems a serene island with not much to offer, but when you go inside it – it’s truly charming. It’s also the greenest island from the Aeolian ones.

The Aeolian islands (Sicily)

The lizard and the volcanoes – the symbols of the Aeolian

Have you heard about the Aeolian islands? A year ago, neither had I 🙂 I was having a 6 am breakfast in a lovely Cefalu (Sicily) bed and breakfast, with an amazing view north of Sicily..when I spotted those islands. “These are pretty close to Sicily and to one another, there are several of them… sounds like a good sailing destination, isn’t it?’ was an instant thought. Few months later – there we go with a sailing crew!

In a series of blog post I will cover what we saw when visiting 5 of these 7 islands. Why series? Because there was so much to see. And I’m sure we didn’t cover even half of the best views and sights. Hope you’ll enjoy the posts, but go see these yourself!

The Aeolian islands are named by the Greeks after Aeolus – God of the Winds, because of the constant high winds in the area. There’s even an Aeolian triangle here where bizarre things happen to sailors (similar to the Bermuda triangle). Alas, not to us, though I had dug all possible literature for this phenomenon and was ‘prepared’ 😉

Capri – the island of sirens and lemons

Visiting Capri has long been a dream of mine. Ever since I read in some of those boring airline magazines an interview with an airplane pilot, who, being asked what’s the best place on earth he had seen, responded: Capri.

Oh well, I haven’t seen the whole world (yet), and I can’t say whether or not it’s the best on earth. But I truly liked it! Even more because we visited it in the low season (February), and could enjoy its splendor in full.

Rome was a great starting point for a tour to the island of sirens (as it was called in Greek mythology), being a low-cost air destination, and just couple of hours drive from Naples. Naples, together with Sorrento, is a starting point for ferries to Capri.

Sicily inside out: Final part: Agrigento and Palermo

After a tiring 3-hour evening drive from Ragusa, Noto and Modica (for approx 130 km distance, there are no highways in southern Sicily yet) we reached Agrigento. Even when you approach you see the gorgeous lighted Valley of Temples – the major and quite large attraction of Agrigento, for which we had planned to spare 3-4 hours.

Agrigento city itself is not something special. What I liked is it’s positioned on a small hill, with the Valley of Temples below it. So when you walk/drive along the streets (there were interesting restaurants and bars in the city, but nothing more special) – you can always enjoy magnificent views to the Valley.

Sicily inside out: Part 6: Noto, Modica

After Syracuse, our final destination was supposed to be Agrigento on the south coast. Still, perhaps not wanting to finish our vacation yet, we were eager to see some more beauty spots on the way. Modica and Ragusa were on the way, but it wasn’t clear (according to our guide) which one was more worth seeing. The puzzle was ‘solved’ by our host in Sicily who recommended seeing a 3rd city, Noto by all means! OK – what could we do, we decided to visit all three of them on the rough and narrow road to Agrigento!

Sicily inside out: Part 5: magnificent Syracuse

Syracuse was the city in Sicily I had been waiting to see with utmost interest. It’s the birthplace of the greek mathematician Archimedes, and had marvelous sights according to the guides.

The Old Town of Syracuse, spread over the island of Ortygia (connected to the mainland by a bridge for more than 2,500 years) is the area with most historical sights, and that’s where we headed right after arriving. It has so much to see, and yet just walking around all those impressively white-ish buildings, with large streets and squares made the stroll magical, plunging you back into an atmosphere of the past.