Most people’s first view of Corfu is from the widow of an aero-plane. Very quickly you become aware of its lush and rugged landscape. Outside of the small towns and villages dotted around there is a huge mass of Olive trees and rocky mountain peaks. The olive trees are interspersed with tall arrow like Cypress Conifers which give it an overall surreal depth of green coloration.
Driving in Corfu
Many people are put off exploring Corfu fully because of a) driving on the right side of the road in a left hand drive vehicle and b) because of the stories perpetuating about the local drivers, and the less than perfect road conditions.
None of these are valid enough reasons to put you off experiencing all that Corfu has to offer. If you first understand a little bit more about the rather ”special way” things are done here. So here goes!
1. First and foremost drive to the conditions – just as you would at home. There are many narrow and winding roads on Corfu so be patient and add a little time on to your ETA for wherever you are intending to go.
Extra caution should be taken on more rural roads as many large pot holes can appear – especially after the rainy period during winter and early spring. They are not a problem to navigate around as long as you are ready for them. And now you are!
Also of note is that at certain times of the year and especially in late summer there may be squashed olives in the road - not surprising as the place is about 70% olive groves. And from Olives we get.....yes that’s right olive oil, and like any other oil it can be slippy. Again you are now aware of this phenomenon and should be suitably prepared for any hazards that may exist.
And last but not least - Never drive on any un-tarmaced road – Period!
2. Many people find the thought of driving on a different side of the road in a left hand drive car in a foreign place extremely daunting. This doesn’t have to be the case with a little preparation. The first thing to understand is that most people naturally pick up on the space awareness (leaving a small gap on the right of the vehicle) element fairly quickly.
The gears are to your right hand side but are positioned in the same way. The pedals are exactly the same as in the UK also.
Practicing in your mid turning right to the inside and left to the outside and going around roundabouts anti- clockwise (there aren’t that many on Corfu) before your first drive is a good idea – and you will quickly find it’s not that hard.
Also on the positive side, there are arrows at nearly every turn directing you to the correct lane.
3. Remember the Locals have been driving here for a long time and have in effect and contrary to some reports become adept at understanding the conditions we mentioned above. So yes without understanding this it can seem like they have a woeful disregard of the rules we are used to, but in a way and once you get a few days experience you will kind of adapt and even start to enjoy it.
One of the main things to understand is their approach to overtaking. The same as at home no-one likes to be stuck behind a slow moving vehicle for miles on end along narrow and steep roads. Rather than holding your position as a right of the road it is considered good driving if you pull over or slow down with your indicator on and let the faster vehicle pass by. If you do this you will get a loud pip as they pass. This is a thank you not a gripe.
Motorbikes and Scooters
Another popular way of exploring the island is by scooter/ motorcycle. In fact there are more bikes on the road than cars. Nearly every town or village has a hire shop and with such competition come some very good deals. From young couples two up on a scooter to ageing bikers reliving their youth on more powerful machines, the island is a haven for the two wheel enthusiast. One of the main reasons is the lack of policing of the law and the loophole that exists around warring a helmet. 90% either don’t or simply have it with them to comply with the law. Not recommended at all.
Google maps work on Corfu. The navigation element sometimes isn’t available but you can pinpoint your location and see which direction you are heading and when you need to make a turn.