At the end of his travails, a weary Odysseus was shipwrecked on the vernal island of the Phaecans, who patiently heard his tale before setting him on a boat home to Ithaki. This island is modern-day Corfu and you can expect the same level of kindness from this cosmopolitan jewel.

Ever since it was first settled by the Corcyrans in the 8th century, Corfu, or Kerkyra (ker-kih-rah) in Greek, has been an object of desire for both its untamed beauty and strategic position in the Mediterranean. It was a seat of European learning in the early days of modern Greece, with cultural institutions such as libraries and academic centres. To this day, Corfiots remain fiercely proud of their intellectual and artistic roots, a legacy visible from its fine museums and cultural life.

There are pockets of overdeveloped resorts, particularly north of Corfu Town and in the far north, but the island is sufficiently large enough to easily escape the crowds – venture up its woody mountains studded with spear-sharp cypress trees and explore vertiginous villages, coves fringed by cobalt-blue water, and the fertile interior ashimmer with olive groves.