For those keen to observe the beauty of nature at close quarters the island is a naturalist’s paradise. Whether you are a keen botanist, ornithologist, zoologist or photographer Corfu has something for you.
If you are familiar with Gerald Durrell’s “My Family and Other Animals”, you will already have an idea of the diversity of flora and fauna in Corfu. For those keen to observe the beauty of nature at close quarters the island is a naturalist’s paradise. Whether you are a keen botanist, ornithologist, zoologist or photographer Corfu has something for you.
Especially in the spring, the beauty of the Corfu countryside can take one’s breath away. However, the most striking aspect of the landscape is the sheer abundance of olive trees. In 1623 the Venetians offered money as an incentive to plant olive trees and to replace wild ones with cultivated ones. Within a hundred years there were more than two million and this number has increased. Until today Corfu is one endless olive grove. Because olive trees in Corfu are rarely pruned they look quite different from those in the rest of Greece, being much taller and wilder.
The microclimate of Corfu favours the growth of wild flowers which bloom during all four seasons of the year. There are, for instance, 36 species of orchid which have been catalogued in Corfu. In April and May the ground is a carpet of flowers, changing colour from day to day. The fields and hills are also rich with trees other than olives. One of the most eye-catching is the Judas tree which in spring is a mass of purple flowers. There are also massive oaks and elms, untouched by the ravages of disease. Everywhere the dark green cypress trees pierce the olive groves, adding yet another dimension to the landscape. To catch all wild flowers at their best, it is advisable to visit Corfu between early March and late May, before the heat of the summer scorches the ground.