Corfu is the pearl of the Ionian Sea, attracting royalty from across Europe in the 19th century, and modern celebrities from all over the world ever since. The island reflects a triple heritage. As well as being undeniably Greek, the culture and food also show a clear nod towards nearby Italy, particularly Venice, whose fortresses dot the island. The British influence may be unexpected, but as they ruled the island for many years, they have left such surprises in the Mediterranean as cricket and ginger beer.The bustling atmosphere of Corfu Town remains elegant, infused with culture and history. Parts of the rest of the island have been overdeveloped, but there are still great swaths that epitomize why the Greek islands are still regarded as the most beautiful in the world, with white-sand beaches backed by verdant mountains hiding traditional old villages. It is easy to see how Corfu has inspired generations of writers: from Shakespeare, through Edward Lear, to Gerald Durrell. A true gem.