Corfu

Corfu: Why go

The northernmost, largest and best known of the Ionian islands has lush, cypress-studded landscapes and improbably blue seas. Popular with the Brits since Byron and Durrell, it now draws rich oligarchs to the exclusive villas and secluded coves of the north, and lager louts to the all-inclusive resorts of the south.

The island is surprisingly green (thanks to winter rains), with rugged mountains, sandy beaches, and some surprisingly untouched villages. Views from the popular (and more developed) east coast cross aquamarine seas to Albania and the Greek mainland. Mountains run up the west coast from Pelekas to Logas while, in the far north, Mt. Pandokratoras shoots up 910 metres from the sea, with tiny villages and country lanes on its flanks; explore the deserted hamlet of Perithea, to which locals used to flee when the pirates came. The south is more developed, especially around Cape Kavos, but boasts the pretty islets of Pontikonisi and the monastery of Vlaheraina on a sea-washed rock; you can visit both, but don't expect much meditative peace.

But it is Corfu's Old Town which is the real treasure. Its gorgeous, Venetian-influenced architecture survived the 1953 earthquake and now shimmers grandly in rainbow colours amid narrow stone streets, with a couple of old forts thrown in for good measure, shops smart enough to emaciate the fattest of wallets, and bars and caf├ęs which buzz night and day with life. It's one of Greece's loveliest towns - don't miss it.

18:17 | GMT + 2 Hours