These Corfu shopping tips include advice on buying souvenirs like ceramics, jewelry, gold, silver, wood carvings, and food and drink, with tips on haggling.
Corfu has quite a good range of shopping options. Although it is primarily a mass-market tourism destination, it also attracts a number of cruise ships whose passengers have money to spend. The best variety and quality is to be found in Corfu Town, and if you're based outside the capital you should certainly include a visit there if you want to find some good souvenirs.
There are some excellent ceramic items available all over the island. Some are mass-produced but there are also good work from local artists. You should shop around as not all shops stock the same goods.
Extra virgin olive oil can be found everywhere, some in elaborate bottles suitable for buying as gifts, but make sure it is olive oil from Corfu as a lot is imported from mainland Greece. If you simply want to buy in quantity to use yourself, consider getting a large tin of it.
Honey is also good, although not necessarily a cheap buy. You’ll see hives all around the island, and some of the mountain honey is really delicious, flavoured by wild herbs and flowers.
Liqueur made from the island’s kumquats is an unusual and very special gift. Watch for the different strengths available, as it’s usually a case of the stronger it is, the better and richer it tastes. Some restaurants will give you a complimentary glass of the liqueur at the end of a meal, but these are usually the weaker and cheaper varieties. If these don’t impress you, do try to sample the stronger versions. Many shops will let you try a taste.
Other specialities to look out for include local olives, herbs, spices, nuts, and cheese.
You’ll find silversmiths all over Greece. There is a long tradition of the craft in Epirus, and in particular in the city of Ioannina, across from Corfu on the mainland. Some of the work makes its way to the island, so do ask about it.
Some Greek jewellery is rather too flamboyant for many people, but there are young designers today creating more subtle work with a wide choice of rings, ear-rings, and necklaces.
Museum replicas are usually very well-made, and make good personal souvenirs.
There are few more typical Greek gifts than icons, a centuries-old Greek tradition. Most are machine-made, but you will still find a few artists producing these by hand. You can find the best choice when visiting the island’s monasteries.
Leather is a good buy almost everywhere in Greece, and Corfu is no exception. Look for sandals, shoes, bags, and belts in the Old Town in Corfu Town.
Good quality hand weaving and embroidery can be found throughout the island, as it is quite a cottage industry here. You are just as likely to find top class items in some quiet village as in Corfu Town – and at a much cheaper price. Kassiopi is a centre for lace and crochet work.
With so many olive trees on Corfu, it is only natural that the islanders should want to make use of the wood too. There are now many wood carving workshops, almost one in every town, where you can buy items like walking sticks, light pulls, beautiful bowls, and kitchen utensils.