Turtles on Arkoudilas beach
Loggerhead turtles – or, if you prefer Latin, ‘Caretta Caretta’, so good they named them twice – love the sandy beaches of Corfu. Each year they return in dizzying, albeit threatened, numbers to spawn, between the months of May and October. If you’re lucky enough to be around during this time, pay respectful, distant homage to our shell-backed oceangoing pals at peaceful Arkoudilas beach at the southernmost tip of Corfu, where egg-defending volunteers are cracking on with the serious business of conservation. Not literally, of course.
Flamingoes at Korission lagoon
Separated from the Mediterranean by the pretty sands of Chalikouna Beach, the Korission lagoon is a haven for all sorts of wildlife, among them some 126 varieties of bird. But the big draws are definitely the leggy pink greater flamingoes, who stalk about in their attractive manner scooping up great, weird beakfuls of algae and tiny crustaceans. Elsewhere in the lagoon – a protected habitat –keep your eyes peeled for everything from lizards to hedgehogs and bats after the sun goes down.
Fancy fish at Afionas beach
Lay your hands on some snorkelling gear and do a deep dive into some of the Mediterranean’s most exquisite natural habitats. For best results, hang around the multicolour coral and bizarre rock formations on the sea-facing bay at Afionas beach. Here, you’ll catch sight of lurid specimens such as the ruby-red cardinal fish, and almost certainly spy the twinkly iridescent flank of a passing bream. Enough to take your breath away – just be careful of that.
Agios Georgios Bay
Butterflies on the Corfu trail
The stroll to end all strolls, Corfu’s eponymous trail was established in 2001 and meanders some 220km around every conceivable terrain on the island. As varied as the vegetation you’ll pass is the butterfly varieties you’re likely to see. These range from the dainty inkblot-blue limenitis reducta to the common painted lady (vanessa cardui) and the distinctive hummingbird hawk moth (macroglossum stellatarumi) with its long proboscis used for hoovering up nectar. Sweet.
Across the island
Donkeys at Kommeno
No Greek island holiday would be complete without swinging by a refuge dedicated to our equine buddies. Corfu Donkey Rescue has been taking excellent care of elderly, sick and neglected dobbins for over 12 years – donkeys whose only other prospect was being sold as cheap meat. The rural Corfu economy is slowly moving away from donkey labour, but still the CDR is a vital sanctuary for those donkeys who deserve to live out their days grazing and playing happily with their kind new neigh-bours.
Hotel Nefeli Kommeno, near Doukades