Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter in Corfu—A Celebration of Color and Sound

Corfu is an island of festivals and colorful celebration, both cultural and religious. For those interested in buying property in Corfu, the island’s history, culture and elaborate Easter festival may add to Corfu’s attraction as a second home or regular getaway.  In fact, though Easter festivities are almost a year away, Greeks and international tourists alike, are already making arrangements to be a part of celebration in Corfu.
The Easter celebration in Greece is the biggest  of all religious celebrations—even larger than Christmas—and the festivities get started about six weeks prior to Easter Sunday with an event called Tsiknopempti, or “Smoke Thursday,”   a time 11 days before  lent to feast  on grilled meats.  Lent begins on a day called “Clean Monday,” which is 40 days before Easter. This family day of celebration features kite flying in the mountain peaks.
While Easter festivities take place all over Greece, the uniqueness and massive scale of the celebration in Corfu is noteworthy. There are colorful carnivals all over the country, but Corfu’s Karnavalos is of Venetian origin, in which a monster type figure stars as the head of a colorful parade.  To get a taste of this striking figure, watch this video.

Before, during and after Easter week, Greeks and others of the Orthodox faith, as well as tourists from all over the world, flock to the island. Hotel rooms must be booked a year in advance for rooms that look out into the promenade.
Here are a few of the unique highlights:
  •      Palm Sunday features a procession of the holy body of Saint Spyridon, which is a custom that began in the early 1600s to celebrate the end of the deadly Plague on the island. All 15 philharmonic bands of the island take part in that procession.  
  •      Good Friday sees the gathering of bands from the three Philharmonic Societies—separated into squads—accompany the Epitaph processions of the city churches. Late in the afternoon, the squads come together to form one band to accompany the Epitaph procession of the cathedral.
  •       On Holy Saturday morning, the three city bands again take part in the Epitaph processions of St. Spyridon Cathedral in procession with the Saint's relics.  At this point the bands play different funeral marches. The custom dates from the 19th century, when colonial administrators banned the participation of the British garrison band in the traditional Holy Friday funeral cortege. The defiant Corfiotes held the litany the following morning, and paraded the relics of St. Spyridon too, so that the administrators would not dare intervene
  •       Easter Sunday begins with the procession of the icon of Resurrection around Corfu town and the villages, followed by a festive meal that might consist of lamb, red eggs,  sweet wine and , of course, the music, singing and dancing that is characteristic of this festive island.
The week after Easter is referred to as New Week.  This post-Easter celebration consists of processions and festivities on every island. Each time a church procession stops, people use small canons, to announce it. Canons were widespread during the Venetian rule as they were used to alert Corfu and the surrounding area of the whereabouts of pirates .
Corfu’s Easter celebration comes from deeply religious roots, but  the art and music, which is born of cultural and historical diversity of this island make it a unique celebration for all to enjoy

From: www.cpacorfu.com

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Why Corfu?

For most people, the idea of a visit to the Greek islands conjures images of warm sun; vast vistas of blue sea; fresh, local cuisine; and a simpler, slower paced life. Many of the 227 inhabited Greek islands—each with its own character and attractions--are dream destinations for travelers all over the world. However, for those who are choosing a Greek island property as an investment or residence, there are far more things to consider than just hotels, nightlife and the best beaches.
How accessible is the location? Is there life beyond the typical tourist season? How will I fit into the community?
Many international residents believe that Corfu’s location, environment, year-round activities and unique culture and community make it the perfect choice for international buyers who are a primary residence or second home.

A Jewel for All Seasons
Corfu is safely nestled in the Ionian Sea close to mainland Greece, Albania, and the boot of Italy and easily accessible from Athens and international airports. Because Corfu and its sister islands are in a relatively protected location, they offer calmer seas and warmer temperatures in the late fall and winter. Unlike the many of the starkly beautiful Aegean islands, Corfu is a green, jewel of an island with lush olive groves, elegant cypress trees, thousands of wildflowers, mountain ranges and striking views of the sea—enhanced by the backdrop of the Albanian and Greek mainland coasts.

Not Just for Tourists
Corfu is a place where one can live and relish year-round activities that go beyond typical tourism. Most tourists who visit Corfu inhabit only one small part of the island for a short time. While venues that cater solely to the short-term visitor exist, residents who want to avoid such spots can easily do so, finding other delights. Clear water, hiking trails, herb-scented fields, palatial manor houses and tiny chapels coexist alongside the arts, theater, shops, sports venues and epicurean pleasures for every taste and budget.
According to one international resident, “Corfu does not shut down in winter like many of the other Greek islands, which means international residents can experience a full life on Corfu year round.”

Unique Culture and Inviting Community
Corfu has been inhabited from prehistoric times. Over time, visitors, conquerors and immigrants alike have influenced the architecture and culture of the ancient island. This means that international residents can experience the richness of Greek culture and life, along with the cultural influences of the French, British and Venetians. This openness to other cultures still exists today, as roughly 5 percent of Corfu’s population of 115, 000 is international. As a result English, is the second language and widely spoken.

Corfu—The Time to Buy is Now
An international business woman who recently relocated to Corfu commented that when she is in northern Europe and the US, her life seems to fly by, but when she is back home in Corfu time stands still.
What better place to have time stand still than Corfu? Learn more about for property for sale in Corfu at www.cpacorfu.com. See also CPA Corfu—the Key to your Dream Property in Corfu to learn more about CPA and why this is the right time to buy!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Great time for Brits to buy Corfu property, as sterling strengthens

eksofilo corfuluxurypropertiesExcellent news if you’re a Brit planning to buy a property in Corfu: it’s now less costly to do so, because sterling has been racing up against the euro. Just recently for instance, the pound touched its strongest versus the common currency in 2 years, or since August 2012, at 1.2699.
What this means for you is that, when you buy a Corfu property, you’ll receive a far higher euro total. For example, were you to transfer £125,000 to your Greek bank account, you’d now receive +€17,000 more than 18 months ago, when the pound was weaker. So, this will add greatly to your euro total!
Sterling has risen against the euro, because the European Central Bank seems intent on dragging down the euro. For instance, just yesterday ECB executive Ewald Nowotny said a falling euro was “positive.” So, as the Eurozone’s authorities try weaken the common currency, Corfu property becomes more affordable for you!
By Peter Lavelle at foreign exchange broker Pure FX. For free expert currency advice when you buy a Corfu property, call me on +44 (0) 1494 671800 or email

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

About Corfu

Corfu belongs, geographically and administratively, to the Ionian Islands complex.  It has a surface area of 592 Km² and 214 Km of coastline.  Corfu is 18 nautical miles from the Port of Igoumenitsa and 132 from the Port of Patra.  There is a permanent population of about 115.000 people, of whom approximately 6.000 are non-Greek Europeans, predominantly British.  English is the second language and very widely spoken on Corfu. 

Life on the island dates back to prehistoric times and, because of its strategic position, on the sea lanes to the coasts of the Adriatic, Italy and other parts of the western Mediterranean, Corfu was invaded by many foreign conquerors throughout history. The strongest cultural and architectural influences in modern times, still evident today, can be attributed to the Venetians, the French and the British.  The Venetian rule lasted for over 300 years before the French settled on the island at the end of the 18 th century.  On the fall of Napoleon, the Ionian Islands fell under the exclusive protection of Great Britain until they were finally re-united with Greece in 1864.  

The island's natural beauty is truly exceptional and Corfu has justly been described as the jewel of the Mediterranean.  Its abundant natural water supplies, lush, sub-tropical vegetation, abundance of olive groves and cypress trees, enchanting golden sand and pebbled beaches and majestic mountains combined with a superb climate and a laid back lifestyle, make it a very attractive destination for a holiday and for establishing a second home or a place to retire, where one "can get away from it all", yet be within easy reach of all major European cities. 

The calm blue waters of the Ionian Sea, the well sheltered coastlines of the islands, full of natural harbours at easy distances from each other, and the favourable winds, make it one of the yachting enthusiasts' most favourite European destinations, and Corfu is proud to have one of the largest and best-organised marinas in the Mediterranean, to serve the thousands of visitors every year.

The main income producing activity has traditionally been agriculture, although this has been overtaken by tourism in the last 30 years or so.  During Venetian rule the inhabitants were financially motivated by the governing body to plant olive trees and this has resulted in Corfu having in excess of five million olive trees and being one of the most cultivated of all the Greek islands.   In addition to olive oil, other local products include wine as well as the famous Cumquat liqueur. 

The thriving tourist activity in recent years has transformed the island somewhat, yet it has managed to remain fairly un-spoilt, whilst developing the necessary infrastructures to meet growing needs. The extensive transport structure includes regular flights from Athens and Thessaloniki throughout the year, charter flights from many European cities during the summer months and a daily ferry service, linking Corfu with both Italy and mainland Greece.  There are choices of accommodation to suit every budget, from excellent first class town hotels and resort establishments to the more affordable self-catering options.  Commercial activities such as banking and insurance, the building industry, the medical facilities and light industry are all well developed.  Annual events, unique to the island, such as the spectacular festivities over Easter, special interest facilities like the Aqualand water park, the marina, the 18-hole golf course and fantastic hiking trails, all combine to attract a variety of international visitors, which contributes to the island's cosmopolitan image. 

The capital town of Kerkyra, a hub of activity throughout the year, is the heart of the island.  Predominant in the historical center is the characteristic Venetian architecture of tall apartment buildings, narrow lanes decked with drying laundry, gates and walls, archways and broad stairways and the imposing Venetian Fortresses.  The impressive Liston, built by the French, with its many coffee shops under the arches, the large Spianada Square, the colonial palaces built by the English, the many elaborate churches, all add to the atmospheric feel of this unique city.  In addition, there are museums, art galleries and a superb selection of shops and restaurants.  The Ionian University is also located in Corfu Town, contributing to the lively vibe of the city during the winter months.

About Cpa

Founded in 1988, CPA is the largest and one of the longest established Property Agencies on the island, with extensive experience of working with overseas customers for their property purchases on Corfu. We were the first Real Estate Agency on Corfu to introduce Europeans into the Greek property market and pride ourselves on working to European standards.
The driving force behind the development of CPA is Spyros Analytis, director and founding member. His vast local knowledge of Corfu's geography, culture and its people as well as his technical understanding of local building regulations and legalities surrounding ownership of property means he is well equipped to offer an effective service to clients. With over two decades experience in the business, Spyros ranks as one of the most experienced Property Brokers within the Ionian Islands .
The CPA team includes a diverse group of sales consultants, also capable of project management, with full administrative back up. Fluent in Greek and English (and with access to individuals that can translate almost any language) we are able to offer helpful advice and extensive information on buying and moving to Corfu and Paxos. We will be there for you through the whole process right up to the completion date and beyond. We also have an extended team of state registered civil engineers and architects - so whatever your property requirements are, you are assured an efficient and high standard of service.
Why CPA?
•  Professionalism and training - An important key to the company's success is our commitment to maintaining a high level of professionalism. This is ensured by our staff's continuous participation in education programs, as well as our active involvement in national and international real estate conferences, seminars and events.
•  Excellent working knowledge of the market - We regularly attend overseas exhibitions therefore keeping our working knowledge of the property market constantly updated and our standards high.
•  Second to none local knowledge - Corfu is thriving with new properties and real estate developments that regularly enter the market. We offer the widest range of properties for sale on Corfu. Our properties include luxury villas, suburban houses, apartments, holiday homes, restoration projects, new developments, business opportunities and an excellent selection of residential and commercial land - there is a wide range of available properties for purchase and rent on Corfu , with prices to suit every budget. We know Corfu better than anyone and are always informed about the property market.
•  Wealth of experience - We will work for you and, with our impressive local network of professionals, assist and guide you every step of finding your ideal property right through the property-buying process. We are here to take all the hard work away from you.
•  Customised services and solutions - We have many years of experience dealing with the varied needs of clients in the UK and throughout the world. Whether you are looking to find your ideal home, to purchase a holiday villa, or to buy property for investment purposes on Corfu or Paxos, our service is aimed at bringing a personal approach to your property search.
•  After sales service - CPA is not just about buying a home, we will be there to guide and advise you through the whole process right up to the completion date and beyond.
Through our associated company 'Corfu Property Management Services' (CPMS) we provide new homeowners, existing property owners and those people wishing to build, a complete property management service in Corfu.
CPMS offer a full maintenance service whether it be the safe keeping of a property, its land or garden and its contents. Whether it's assistance paying utility bills, tax declarations, pre- holiday checks, CPMS is there to help. CPMS can also undertake any property related function from a complete re-landscaping of a garden or painting the entire property to the simple task of arranging a monthly swimming pool cleaning service.