A Detailed Guide For Shopping In Corfu

Corfu is a picturesque island located in the northwest of mainland Greece. Corfu Town, with around 30,000 inhabitants, is the bustling center of the relatively laid-back and relaxed island. Also known as Kerkyra, Corfu Town has a rich history and is one of the major tourist attractions today. The history, architecture, natural beauty, culture, and shopping make it a sought-after destination in any Greek vacation itinerary.

Shopping in Old Town Corfu

Shopping in Old Town Corfu
Historically, the city has been an important centre. In fact, the old town of Corfu city has been enlisted on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Old town of Corfu is where all the local shops are located, and the Corfu Central Market lies in the heart of the city. Besides, international brands are also located in other parts of the city. However, the shopping experience in the old town centre is what tourists enjoy the most because it blends shopping with the culture and history of the city. The old city layout, architecture, narrow alleyways, and shopping culture itself are attractions that make the shopping experience in Corfu interesting. In fact, tour operators provide shopping tours in the old city area for tourists to explore the culture and essence of Greece.

Corfu Central Market

Central Market
The Corfu Central Market lies in the heart of the town. Located in Lochagou  Spiridonos Vlaikou, fresh vegetables, herbs, seafood, traditional sweets, and many other local products, such as kumquats, honey, coffee, and olives, are up for sale here. Under the presence of the Venetian castle, the central market is where the local products are brought for sale, but there are also a few local cafes to hang out in, savour the local cuisine and enjoy the true atmosphere of the town. Also, the central market is close to other city attractions that can be visited, such as the New Fortress, The Church of St. Spyridon, Spianada Square, and more.

Timings: Monday – Friday – 8:30 AM – 3:15 PM.  Closed on Sunday.

What to Buy in Corfu

In Corfu, you can shop for whatever you want. From designer boutiques to markets, there is a wide range of products you can shop. Clothes, accessories, jewellery, food items, souvenirs, etc., are all available, especially in the old town area. However, different shops selling different products are spread over Corfu city. What makes shopping in Corfu special are the unique items that are sold here. A few products are distinct from Corfu, for they are manufactured and cultivated locally. Here is looking at some traditional items one can buy while shopping in Corfu.

1. Kumquat

Kumquat Jelly
The kumquat is an orange-coloured fruit that is locally grown here. It is sweet and acidic and very close to how an ordinary orange is. However, the kumquat usually is not eaten raw but is used to produce jams, sweets, marmalades, liquors, etc. Thus, from cooking, and baking to toiletries and cosmetics kumquat products are a speciality of Corfu and must be included in your shopping list for sure.

2. Honey

Honey is an important part of the Mediterranean diet. Corfu locally produces honey which is sold in many shops across the island. The honey is of high quality, and one can also purchase related items, such as royal jelly, beeswax candles, bee pollen, and more.

3. Olive Oil

Corfu Olive Oil Bottles
Corfu has millions of olive trees, some of which date back 500 years. The olive oil extracted from these trees is of top quality.  Virgin olive oil is produced through cold-pressed and mechanical methods. Besides, many products made from olive oil are also sold here. For example, local artisans have been making olive oil soap for 150 years now. Other ingredients, such as honey, herbs, kumquats are added to the soap, making it a wonderful cosmetic. Similarly, olive wood kitchen products are also a rage in Corfu. Artisans craft the olive wood from the trees to create spoons, utensils, rolling pins, cutting boards, and other kitchen items. They are just as sturdy as beautiful.

4. Leather Products

Greek Sandals
Local Greeks have worn leather sandals for centuries. Leather and leather products continue to be a big market and Corfu is no different. One can shop for leather sandals and an assortment of other wonderful leather products, such as bags, wrist cuffs, wallets, belts, etc. The Corfu Leather Market is a great place to shop for leather goods.

5. Dried Herbs

The dried herbs in Corfu are fresh and last long. You can shop for basil, sage, thyme, red saffron, oregano, and more to add authentic flavours to any of your dishes.

6. Ouzo and Wine

Ouzo from Corfu
Ouzo is an alcoholic drink that is widely consumed in Greece. Made from alcohol and a mixture of many herbs, it is said that ouzo is produced in the same way as it has been since ancient times. Similarly, Corfu has always been popular for its wine. It has different local varieties that you can shop for.

7. Flokati Rug

Flokati Rug
These traditional rugs are created using the same methods that were used by ancient Greek shepherds. Traditionally made in off-white, but today the Flokati rugs come in different sizes, shapes, and colors.

8. Jewelry

Silversmiths are found all over Greece. The art form is especially popular in Epirus and Ioannina, just across Corfu on the mainland. Silver jewelry thus often makes its way into Corfu. Besides, many shops sell gold, silver, and artificial jewelry. The designs are often a reflection of the loud culture of the land, though many designers are coming up with subtle designs as well.

9. Handcrafted Items

Several shops in Corfu sell a variety of handicraft products. For example, artisans are often seen working across Corfu in studios or shops, designing ceramic pieces, such as plates, bowls, pitchers, vases, and more. These are good for both utility purposes and gifting too. Similarly, lacing and embroidered goods are quite a hit here too. Looking for petite handmade tablecloths, wall hangings, or mats? Then you can pick them up from the local shops in Corfu.

10. Worry Beads or Komboloi

Worry beads or Komboloi
The Komboloi, or worry beads, are an authentic cultural symbol of Greece. These colourful beads put together click away in a soft musical rhythm if moved one by one between the fingers. The beads are made from plastic, wood, glass, coral, amber, etc., and for years have been used as a means to pass the time. It doesn’t hold any religious significance but is of great cultural value. This is a great souvenir to carry back home.

11. The Greek Eye or Mati

Evil eye in shops
One particular piece of jewellery that is believed to keep evil away is the Mati. According to folklore, the blue-coloured glass eye can wade off any negative energy. The Greek Eye is incorporated into a range of jewellery, including necklaces, pendants, bracelets, etc.

12. Marble Souvenirs

Marble is common in Greek construction. Even historical buildings have some marble structures or marble work engrained on them. Therefore, it is a good idea to shop for handcrafted marble souvenirs, such as marble coasters, carvings, statues, etc.

Brands and Shopping Centers in Corfu

Besides, Corfu's local shopping experience also has several brand and designer outlets to shop. One can find Marks & Spencer, Fetich Fashion, MAG Jewelry, Ricco Furs, Lapel, Scandalo, and many other brand outlets that sell a wide range of products.  Besides, there are various shopping centres and malls where one can shop for different products.

Shops in Corfu

Below are some of the popular shops, shopping centres, and boutiques that are known for their quality and variety of products.
  • Patounis Soap Factory
  • Corfu Sandals
  • The Land of Corfu Natural Products
  • Tsami Ceramics
  • Spirit of Olive Wood
  • Lamprini Chatziara (Jewelry)
  • Pandoras Box (Antiques)
  • Well Shopping Center
  • Mezzo Mezzo (Clothing)
  • Naus Corfu (Clothes, accessories, etc.)
  • Antica (Souvenir)
  • Wood’s Nest
  • Icon Gallery (Antiques)
  • 2 Much Fashion
There are, of course, many other shops in Corfu that you can visit. 

Shopping Etiquette

The shopping experience may not always be pleasant in many parts of the world. Shopkeepers tend to hassle and sometimes misguide tourists to force them to make purchases. However, Corfu is unlike those shopping destinations. The shopkeepers are polite, and having a conversation with them is a great way to understand the social and cultural nuances of the town. In fact, they don’t mind talking to you even if you do not buy anything from them.

Tips for Shopping in Corfu

  • Like many European countries, the product's price is the price you pay! There is not much haggling that is done here.
  • Discounts are also not too common in Corfu. You may ask for a discount if you buy many items in bulk from the same shop.
  • Sales tax is quite high in Greece, and hence the price of the products may seem higher. For tourists, purchasing from stores that sell tax-free items is a good idea. Stickers of ‘Tax-Free for Tourists’ are found in such shops.
  • Many local goods may, in fact, be made in Asian countries. So make sure to check the labels and fine prints on the items before purchasing. For all you know, you might be buying a Greek souvenir with a Made in China label.
  • Most shops accept credit cards but carrying enough Euros with you while shopping is advisable.
Shopping in Corfu is one of its many attractions. Certain products are distinct from Greek culture and make perfect souvenirs. Also, besides Corfu city, there are many other villages and towns across the island where one can venture for sightseeing, scuba diving, hiking, etc. Some of these towns are Kassiopi, Lakones, Pelekas, Agios Matheos, Sidari, and many more. Each of these villages has its own small shopping outlets selling basic items, clothing, accessories, etc. So if you visit any town or village of Corfu, be sure to shop and enjoy the local interactions.

This post was published by Tasneem

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