Visiting a new, unfamiliar destination for the first time is one of the most exciting experiences in the life of a traveler. But, let’s face it, it can also be one of the most overwhelming ones, especially if you have had no previous contact with the culture of a given country or region and no connections with locals that could prevent a “cultural shock” or, more simply, give you a few tips on how to make the most out of your stay. Figuring out how to best enjoy a particular destination can be tricky and you might find yourself feeling a bit let-down after a certain trip – and who hasn’t? But now that you are in Corfu it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are 10 mistakes most first-time visitors are guilty of that you might want to avoid.
1) Not tasting the food
When you are traveling, trying out the local food can pose quite a challenge. Picky eaters or people who have had unpleasant experiences in the past can be particularly skeptical of a foreign country’s cuisine. But if you were to leave Corfu without sampling its traditional delicacies you would be making a big mistake. Not only is Corfiot cuisine delicious but it can introduce you to some flavor combinations you have never tried before. In this case, Corfu’s classics are your best choice. So dive into a mouth-watering serving of Pastitsada, indulge in a rich and creamy Sofrito, savor local fish gloriously cooked in a hearty Bourdetto and have a real taste of Corfu.
2) Skipping the museums
A lot of people believe that by doing this they are actually avoiding tourist crowds and overpriced tickets when, in reality, they are missing out on some of the island’s highlights. Corfu boasts a rich cultural tradition, elegantly showcased in its many museums and though you may think a visit to Achilleion is overrated, anyone who has visited can convince you otherwise. Also, ticket prices are very much affordable, with discounts available for young children who can greatly benefit from such a fun and educational visit.
3) Limiting their visit to Corfu town
Corfu town with its cobbled streets pastel-colored homes, UNESCO-protected historic centre and Venetian charm is arguably the true gem of the island. But there are many other places in Corfu that are equally worth your while and can add some fun and color to you overall experience. Organize a daytrip to Corfu’s sleepy villages who haven’t lost their charm with the passage of time, where the life-pace is slower, and get a glimpse of authentic Greek lifestyle.
4) Only come for the sea
Similarly, a lot of tourists tend to only visit Corfu’s seaside resorts. Don’t get me wrong, Corfu has some of the most stunning beaches you will find in Greece. But forgetting the island’s lush, abundantly verdant interior would somewhat limit your experience. Especially if you are the active type, follow one of the many trails carved in inner Corfu , reaching all the way up to Mount Pantokrator, Corfu’s highest peak and you will come across scenic views and pass by quaint villages.
5) Not meeting the locals
It is often hard for a foreigner to have a truly authentic experience of the place they visit, simply because they have no interaction with the people who actually live there. If it so happened that you’ve met locals on a previous trip of yours, you can certainly tell the difference between that time and when you had no contact with locals whatsoever. So now that you are in Corfu, don’t be shy and grasp any chance you get to mingle with locals. You can even learn some words in Greek and they will definitely recommend their favorite places, so you can experience Corfu like a local as well.
6) Cramming too much on their schedule
Corfu sure offers virtually endless possibilities for sightseeing, exploring and enjoying yourself. A typical mistake is trying to see and experience too much, too soon. Not only will you end up not actually enjoying the things you do get to experience, but the trip will most likely leave you feeling exhausted to say the least. Take your time and truly savor every moment on the island, choosing carefully what you wouldn’t want to miss for the world. It is much more effective and pleasant than overestimating your abilities and leave feeling as if you have missed out.
7) Sticking to the road
While driving is both cheap and practical, one of the best things you can do in Corfu is rent a boat and explore the wonders of its gorgeous coastline. The north-east coast is particularly suitable to this activity as it is full of small, picturesque coves, underwater caves and secluded beaches that you can only reach by boat.
8) Not attending a local festival
If you want to experience Greek culture to the fullest, experiencing a local feast (paniyiri) is an absolute must. These traditional Greek celebrations take place in villages, usually on the occasion of some religious celebration but not necessarily so, and involve traditional music, lots of dancing, food and drink.
9) Leaving before you visit St Spyridon
The church of St Spyridon at the heart of Corfu’s old town is a landmark for the island. Even if you are not religious yourself, the Byzantine church is worth a visit, both as the Corfiot hallmark and a site of cultural interest.
10) Not coming back
This one may seem obvious but Corfu has always something new to surprise you, something more to give the traveler, a promise for a future visit…
So, next time you visit Corfu, avoid the above mistakes and make sure that you will live the experience at its outmost!