With sun-drenched golden beaches, rich history, architectural delights and fine cuisine, it’s no wonder holidays to Corfu are so popular. But did you know that it’s also a superb choice for those who love to shop? There’s an eclectic mix of shops all over the island. You can browse markets and small stores in the traditional villages, while designer boutiques, fashion outlets and jewellers are found in the larger towns.
Corfu Town is a shopper’s dream, where you can find everything from souvenir stores and boutiques, high street shops, and lace stores. Be sure to stop off at a pavement café for a Greek pastry washed down with a Greek coffee and ouzo chaser, just like the locals.
Best places to shop in Corfu
Corfu Old Town shopping is the perfect place to start, with a taste of authentic and traditional shopping crammed with retail opportunities including souvenir shops selling olive wood carvings, beautiful jewellery, perfume and pashminas.
Filarmonikas is the ideal spot for gifts, while N Theotoki is a must for exclusive boutiques. There you can find the latest designs from Athens and Italy. August is the time of the summer sales, when you can get up to 70% off original prices.
Corfu Town shops are in general more affordable than some of the tourist resorts, making it the ideal place to purchase clothing, linen, jewellery, ceramics and carvings. Wander through the cobbled streets and alleys and discover hand-woven carpets, table cloths, and exquisite lace clothing items. Storeholders are usually willing to negotiate on price, so be prepared to haggle for a bargain.
The harbour area of Kassiopi is a pretty area for a wander around before visiting the lace shops there. Greece is famous for its embroidery and handmade lace and you can often witness the residents at work carefully designing tablecloths and place mats.
Local specialities and home-grown produce
Corfu shopping is not complete without sampling and purchasing some of its locally produced goods. Head to the weekly markets for some typical Corfiot products, in addition to roadside stands and kafenia, the small village stores. Specialities include fresh fruit and vegetables (especially citrus fruit and watermelons) and olive oil. Kumquats are delicious juicy small oranges which you can buy and eat as they are, make into marmalade, a liqueur or eau de toilette. Thyme honey is another favourite, which can be purchased from a local beekeeper.
Sprinkled with olive groves, it’s no wonder that Corfu is famous for its delicious olive oil. It’s excellent for cooking, as a salad dressing, or for bread to dip in. The latest island industry is olive oil soap, which comes highly recommended.
Greek herbs are full of flavour with amazing aromas, and the best places to buy some are in the mountains, in particular Makrades.
Holidays to Corfu are not complete without a visit to a cellar or distillery to witness the production of its excellent liqueurs, wines and spirits. Try before you buy and take home a fine local wine, fruit liqueur or ouzo. You can also buy them from roadside booths, although make sure you’re buying the real thing and not ‘bomba’ (Greek moonshine), which is certainly alcoholic, but most definitely not authentic.
Arts, crafts and music
Holidays to Corfu will incorporate admiring the stunning locally produced arts and crafts all over the island. Olive wood crafts and carvings are a highlight where you can find everything from tables and stools, to cups and bowls. You can purchase these from Corfu Town, as well as Acharavi beach resort, and in the mountain villages of Strinilas, Lakones and Makrades.
Glassware and antiques are also popular and can be found in Corfu Old Town and in Agios Stefanos Avlioton, where it is sometimes possible to see glassware being made.
If Greek music is your thing, then many souvenir shops sell CDs, however the island capital is the place to go for the most up-to-date sounds.
Corfu Holidays are not just about exploring the magnificent sights and lazing on the golden beaches, so be sure to include some retail therapy. One thing to remember is that away from the main towns and resorts, some shops will close for an afternoon siesta from approximately 2pm until 5pm, before re-opening until late.
Whether you are hunting for a bargain or looking to splash some cash, Corfu shopping has something for every shopaholic, and definitely something to make time for, while soaking up some Greek culture at the same time.