Corfu's balmy climate, azure seas and beautiful mountain vistas -- along with a distinctive architectural and historical legacy -- have made the island a popular choice for northern European, and especially British, holiday makers since the second half of the 1980s.
Britain ended its administrative control here in the mid-19th century but the town's cricket pitch is still in use and ginger ale is served in local cafes.
Corfu surprises many first-time visitors.
Corfu just isn't the typical Greek island of the imagination, full of white buildings with blue shutters. It's much greener here, and the Venetian influence makes for a more ornate style, with terra cotta tiles and ochre predominating.
The effect is more like Amalfi than one of the Aegean islands such as Mykonos.
The island's strict regulations have protected its design aesthetic, other than the concrete construction of two or three hastily built tourist resorts. Some 640 square kilometers in size and with a permanent population of 107,000, Corfu is a sickle-shaped island in the Ionian Sea to the west of the Greek mainland, just a little more than 3 kilometers, or about 2 miles, from Albania at its closest point.
Estates in the northeastern corner of Corfu, facing the rugged, mountainous Albanian coast, are the most prized.
Several of Britain's wealthiest banking and retail clans -- including the Rothschild family -- have discreet compounds there. The concentration of wealthy British property owners in this corner of the island has earned it the nickname ''Kensington-on-Sea,'' after the prosperous London neighborhood.
Prince Charles is an occasional visitor.