Corfu

Enchanting Corfu Island

Corfu at a glance

Corfu island is the most western part of Greece and it is the second largest island of the Ionian Sea, with an area of ​​592 square kilometers and a population of 97,000 inhabitants. The island is 60 km long, with a width ranging from 4 to 30 km. The beautiful rugged coast reaches 217 km in length. The prefecture of Corfu includes the islands of Paxos, Antipaxos, Mathraki, Othoni, Erikoussa. The capital of the prefecture is the city of Corfu, on the east side of the island of Corfu.

The capital of the island will enchant you at first glance. With many elements from the Venetian period, Corfu is a miniature of neighboring Italy. The old fort dominates the Garitsa bay and includes almost the entire modern history of the island.

One of the most famous and beautiful islands of the Ionian sea, the Corfu is waiting for you to explore.

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How to get to Corfu Island

To get to Corfu there are three options: by airplane, by car and then taking a ship from the port of Igoumenitsa or by the Intercity Bus which operates from Athens and Thessaloniki.

By car

If you decide to arrive by car, you should know that the distance from Athens is about 500 km and you will need 6-7 hours to Igoumenitsa port and about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the port of Corfu. Igoumenitsa ferry schedules are daily and throughout the day from 6 am to 10 pm.

If your destination is the southern part of the island, it is convenient to take the ferry to the port of Lefkimmi, with the journey lasting less than an hour. If you come from northern Greece, Egnatia highway has shortened the route, for example, the trip Thessaloniki – Igoumenitsa lasts only 3 hours and Ioannina – Igoumenitsa just 45 minutes.

By boat

If you decide to arrive by car, you should know that the distance from Athens is about 500 km and you will need 6-7 hours to Igoumenitsa port and about 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the port of Corfu. Igoumenitsa ferry schedules are daily and throughout the day from 6 am to 10 pm.

You can also reach the island with your own boat, as it has marinas, small and large in various places.

Port Authorities:

Corfu Tel: (+30) 26610 32655

Igoumenitsa Tel: (0030) 26650 99460

Lefkimmi Tel: 26620 23277

By plane

Corfu International Airport “Ioannis Kapodistrias”(CFU), is located 3 km south of the city center, in the area of ​​the Halkiopoulos Lagoon.

History of Corfu

Corfu was inhabited since the Paleolithic era. The first inhabitants of the island, based on Homer’s words, were the Piaeks, but according to the geographer, Strabo was an Illyrian descent, the Libyrs. In the course of time, other peoples settled on the island. The Corinthians, the Spartans, the Syracusians, the Romans, the Venetians. The island was the cause of many conflicts among the peoples because of its immense beauty and geographic location. Corfu was incorporated into the Greek state on 21 May 1864 along with the rest of the Ionian islands.

The island in the 19th century was considered the cultural center of the whole Greek state. So many important academies were founded there, focused on art and letters. The influence of other cultures is particularly evident in the way of house building. A well-known achievement of the inhabitants of the island is the establishment of the Ionian School. Corfu was also considered an important musical center.

Things to see in Corfu

The castles, the old town, the countryside, the exotic south, the atmospheric north and everything that makes Corfu wonderful in the spring.

The new fortress

Perched on the hill of St. Mark, above the old Venetian harbor, with the emblematic lion of the Venice Grand Canal to keep its gate, the “new” fortress is not very new: It was built in the 16th century, and today it hosts from the walls of the interesting Art Museum of Ceramics.

The old fortress

You pass through the Venetian fortifications and above the trench to find yourself in the old fortress of the city, with the imposing buildings, the vaulted corridors, the temples, the libraries and the incredible view from its café.

Achilleion

The “sad princess” Sissy, known as the Empress Elizabeth of Austria, built in 1890 this impressive mansion in Gastouri, just outside the city of Corfu, dedicated it to Achilles and filled it with impressive works of art and statues from the ancient Greek mythology. A walk in the gardens and the interior is always enjoyable.

Peristyle Maitland

The oldest settlement of Corfu is located in the north of the island and is an abandoned Venetian village with stone-paved alleys, mansions surrounded by nature that claim its share of human intervention. The area is famous for its taverns.

Mount Pantokrator

The highest mountain of the island reaches the altitude of a thousand meters, overlooks the north of Corfu, and is also famous for its unique sunset.

Paleopolis

The impressive archaeological site of Paleopolis, ancient Corfu if you prefer, is very close to Mon Repos. Its history begins in the 8th century BC. and it reaches the Byzantine years, with sections of the ancient temples.

Angelokastro Castle

Angelokastro is one of the most beautiful castles you have ever seen. It was built in the 13th century by Michael II Komnenos and is one of the best-preserved Byzantine castles in Greece.

The exploration of southern Corfu

To the south of the island, the area of ​​Lefkimmi, a desert-like expanse with endless white sand, cedar forest, medieval salt marshes, and deep blue-green waters.

The sunset from Pelekas

Equally stunning is the landscape from Pelekas, in the southwest of the island. There is the famous “throne of the Kaiser”, the point where the emperor William II was sitting. The place is famous for the wonderful sunset, perhaps the best point of the Ionian Sea for enjoying it.

Walk around the city’s canyons

Freeze in Liston, the pedestrian-boulevard with the arched arcades. Lose yourself in the romantic slopes. Continue to Spianada for coffee, go down to Agios Spyridon church and admire the town hall – San Giacomo Theater, built in the 17th century.

Corfu Town

The capital of the island, the city of Corfu is extremely charming. It has magnificent narrow streets with multi-storey houses and carved balconies, churches, monuments, beautiful squares. It combines the classic with the modern and romantic of another era with the frantic entertainment of today. 

Impressive buildings such as the notorious Liston palace housing complexes of cafes and bars. Liston was built at the time of the French occupation. The impressive arbor is a favorite hangout and meeting place for locals in the city.

Next to Liston is one of the most beautiful squares of all Greece, Spianada. There are often parades, processions and many cultural events.

You can also make the city a starting point for your visits to the rest of the island destinations. For your stay there is a huge number of hotels and rooms to rent, of all categories, ready to meet your every need.

Achilleion Palace

The Pompey-style building, with its neoclassic elements, is one of the most popular sights of the island. It is located in the village of Gastouri, in the south, in a wonderful location chosen by the empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (in the late 19th century) to build its palace. Impressive interior and exterior spaces, with magnificent gardens, fountains, statues of white marble or brass inspired by Greek mythology and unobstructed views. Near the palace, in the settlement of Pahatika, there is the “Elizabeth Fountain” as the locals call it, who claim that the empress drank the water there.

Sights

The Museum of Asian Art, which contains several important pieces of the collection of diplomat Grande Manu and a total of about 10,000 exhibits from artists and creators inspired by Asia and Japan and other museums such as the Byzantine Museum, the Museum of Banknotes and the Serbian house museum. It is also worth seeing the Municipal Art Gallery, the Folk and the Kapodistrias Museum.

The island is also famous for its imposing churches. Some of them are Agios Spyridonas with its bell tower, Agios Nikolaos of the Elders, Panagia Antivouniotissa, Panagia Kremasti, Pantokratoras Church, Agios Ioannis Prodromos, Panagia Xenon, and Platytera Monastery.

A splendid route near the city is the one that ends at Kanoni. The Norman peninsula is 4 kilometers south of the city. To get there, follow the coastal Avenue of Democracy. It passes through the monument of Menecrates, meets the estate of Mon Repo. Here was once the summer residence of the Greek royal family.

Passing from the hill of Analipsi is worth seeing the ancient Acropolis with the ruins of the temples of Artemis and Hera, and the amazing view of the coasts of Epirus. The stroll leads to the idyllic Kanoni, overlooking the islet that houses the monastery of Panaghia Vlacherna and the famous Pontikonisi “Odysseus Island” with the Pantokratoras chapel.

Near the city is the famous Achilleion Palace. The palace was built by the Empress of Austria Elizabeth known as Sissy. During World War I and World War II the palace was used as a hospital. Since 1994 it has been operating as a museum.

On the southwest side of the island, 13 km from the city, lies the beautiful traditional village of Pelekas. The village is at an altitude of 220 meters and not far away from a place called “the throne of the Kaiser”, where one can enjoy the most beautiful sunset on the island.

On the eastern coast of the island lies the notorious tourist village Paleokastritsa. It became famous for the enchanting coves, the steep rocks, and the diversity of its seabed. Its coastline is divided into several beautiful bays, while the pine trees reach to the beach. It features great tourist facilities that promise a comfortable stay. Popular destinations are also Acharavi, Sidari, Barbati, etc.

At the top of the hill, above Paleokastritsa, is the old outpost of the Despotate of Epirus, Aggelokastro. It is worth visiting for a unique view.

32 km from the city of Corfu in the north, is Sidari and the famous beach of Canal d ‘Amour, the channel of love. They say that if a couple swims together there they will be in love forever…
On the NE side of the island is the picturesque town of Kassiopi. One can see remnants of the castle dating from the 14th century. Kassiopi has been inhabited since antiquity and flourished during the Roman period.

Other Destinations

Approximately 7 km south of the capital lies the seaside settlement of Perama, located just opposite to Pontikonisi. You will find several hotels and bars and you can swim in the pebbly beaches. Continue to the south and 12 km away from Corfu town you will find Benitses (Benitses), one of the most popular destinations on the island, having excellent tourist infrastructure. Further south, on the east coast you will find the villages of Moraitika, Mesogi, Boukari, and Petriti. Here you can swim and enjoy fresh seafood in the taverns.

Next stop is the very popular village of Kavos, near the town of Lefkimmi, which is an ideal destination for those who love frenzied fun until morning and a favorite destination of many tourists (mainly English).

West Coast

On the west coast of the island stands Agios Georgios Argyradon, which is, in fact, the beginning of a huge sandy beach, and together with the Halikouna beach is one of the longest on the Ionian Sea.

A little further north you will find Agios Gordis, the port of the village of Sinarades, which gives you the opportunity for water sports.

Approximately 5 km north and within a beautiful bay, there is the picturesque settlement of Ermones, on the beach where Odysseus was found by Faiakes.

Harbors and Marinas

Maritime traffic in Corfu is great on the east coast.

There are safe ports like Corfu and Lefkimmi and organized marinas such as Gouvia, Garitsa, Benitsas.

The biggest port on the island is Corfu with great tourist traffic. It provides all the facilities of a large city and the possibility of the repair of all kinds.

Close to the village of Kontokali, 9 km from the town, is the Marina of Gouvia. The facilities are modern with shops, a playground, and all shipping facilities.

Traditional gastronomy

Do not leave Corfu until you try the traditional dishes such as pastitsada (thick pasta with reddish cock, beef or seafood) and sofrite (thin slices of fried veal with white sauce), as well as fresh fish cooked with well-known Venetian recipes such as bourdeto, savoro or bianco, sagebird (fried cod with garlic, almonds, bread, oil and vinegar).

Also try the local soft drink (lemon juice with natural lemon and ginger) as well as the local Corfu Beers from the Arillas brewery. Corfu has also good quality wine, such as Kakkorigis (white), Moschato (white) and Petrokoritho (red brussos). In addition, small quantities of cold cuts are produced here and dairy products. Last but not least, the kumquat, the fruit that the English brought from Japan, is now a trademark of the island (you will find it in various forms such as liqueurs and sweet of the spoon) and sycamadis (pies made with figs, must, pepper and Ouzo).

Excursions in Corfu

The picturesque port of Kassiopi, on the north side of the island, offers a base for exploring that side of the Corfu Island. Do not miss to visit the church of Panagia Kassimitra (with 17th-century frescoes) and the ruins of the castle.

The rare geological landscape of Sidari worth visiting here just to dive into the Canal d’Amour.

A walk in the ruined streets of Old Peristyle, with its beautiful houses and churches.

The renowned resort of Paleokastritsa in the west with its lush and rocky landscape is still at the top of the travelers’ preferences.

A traditional village on a hillside, the Cynopiastes with the old mansions (some dating back to the 17th century), the Cathedral of the Virgin in the central square with the marble entrance and the Olive Museum. Here you will find some of the most famous taverns on the island with the traditional Corfiot cuisine.

Kastellani village with the Chrysopigi church (now known as Zoodochos Pigi, 1688), built by the noble Italian Prospero Marini.

Climb up to the Kaiser Observatory (at an altitude of 272 m), on the top of the hill over Peleka, and overlook the west coast of the island.

In the south, the village of Chlomos with its traditional color is famous for its sunset. Walk, have coffee at the cafeteria with the locals and visit the Taxiarches church.

The former fishing villages and nowadays cosmopolitan resorts Benitses, Moraitika, and Messonghi offer travelers organized beaches, hotels, restaurants as well as water sports opportunities.

In contrast to the touristically developed Corfu, the Othonoi, Ereikoussa and Mathraki Islands – the westernmost part of the island – is an ideal destination for nature lovers who prefer a peaceful holiday. There you will find beautiful beaches to swim and hiking opportunities. If you do not have a sailing boat, there are ferries from Corfu Town, Sidari, and Agios Stefanos.

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