Cover photo full
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrHomer’s ‘beautiful and rich land’ is the second-largest of the Ionian Islands and among the greenest islands of Greece. It is located west of the Greek mainland and the southern coast of Albania. Corfu was not always an island. During the Paleolithic era, the island was part of Greece’s mainland; the geographical separation took place during the Neolithic era (10,000-8,000 BC), when the ice melted and the level of the sea rose, creating an independent island. Due to the successive domination of the Venetians, the French and the British over the centuries, the island has a rich multi-cultural heritage.
Although many cultures have left their mark on the island, the most influential in many ways were the Venetians, whose graceful architecture is still present and worth a closer examination even today. The coast, between Kassiopi and Pirgi, is the most beautiful part of the island, with each little village offering something different in terms of scenery and attractions.
Corfu Town, with its broad streets, splendid monuments, excellent museums, fashionable shops and cafés, is as cosmopolitan as any modern city. Much of the island is mountainous. At 2,972 feet above sea level, its highest peak, Mount Pantokrator , is visible from most places on the island. South of Corfu Town, the island narrows and flattens.
The best beaches in Corfu are mostly located on the west side of the island. Paleokastritsa is one of the most dramatic spots on Corfu's north-west coast and is a must-see. Nights on the island can get quite lively, with a great choice of taverns, bars and discos. For a low-key escape, head to somewhere like Acharavi in the north, where it’s all about lazy days on the beach and quiet evenings in taverns.
The islands of the North Ionian Sea are, somewhat, isolated and the climate differs from the rest of Greece. There are no “meltemia”, the famous winds that blow in the Aegean Sea, during the summer months. The winds are light and the climate is mild.
Corfu TownThe town was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as a fortified Mediterranean port town of high integrity and authenticity in June 2007. Stroll around the narrow streets and alleyways with the old neoclassical buildings, exquisite Italian statues, picturesque piazzas, beautiful fountains, bell towers and tomes. Visit Fortezza (Old Fort), located on the east part of the city and explore an architectural masterpiece of the Byzantine and the Venetian era. There is also an impressive 360-degree view over the town and the coast beyond it.
SidariThe entire beach is filled with small coves and sea caves, and surrounding rocks have been sculpted by the winds and the sea, creating astonishing ensembles. If you are a romantic soul, there is a place you should definitely visit. Just left of the long sandy beach of Sidari, you will see the Canal d’ Amour (the channel of love). It’s basically a tunnel, between the rocks. Tradition says that whoever swims in this channel towards the other side will meet the love of their life.
PontikonisiPontikonisi or Mouse Island, a beautiful wooded island, is home to a tiny Byzantine chapel. The vegetated rock in the middle of the sea has been declared as an open natural museum and can be visited by a small boat from Kanoni, just outside the famous church of Virgin Mary Vlaherna. To the ancient Greeks, Pontikonisi was the Phaeacian ship, turned to stone by Poseidon, which took Odysseus back to Ithaca.
Ahillion PalaceAhillion Palace is located near the village of Gastouri. In the 1890s, it was the summer palace of Austria's Empress Elizabeth. It has a beautiful park with numerous statues and fine views. Be sure to climb the stairs to the right of the villa to the marbled terrace for a view through the window of the fresco depicting Achilles , to whom she dedicated the villa.
Food & DrinkAll over the island you will find taverns and restaurants offering a huge variety of wonderful dishes ranging from traditional, homemade Greek food to a la carte menus. Corfu's cuisine was influenced mostly by Italy, due to the fact that it was never conquered by the Turks. Typical dishes include bourdeto (fish in paprika sauce), bianco (fish in garlic sauce), pastitsada (beef in red sauce and spaghetti), stakofisi, cod with onions, cuttlefish with pasta, vegetables in red, paprika sauce, veal lungs, sofrito. The island of Corfu is also the only place in Europe together with Sicily where you can find the Kum Quat . This little fruit was imported in 1850 by English and today is used to produce the most famous liqueur of Corfu, the Kum Quat.
Getting there & Around
By PlaneDuring the summer months there are regular charter flights from most European countries. Domestic flights (from Athens and Thesaloniki) operate all year round.
By BoatCorfu’s port is at the edge of Corfu (Kerkyra) town. Ferries from Greek mainland (Igumenitsa and Patras) offer a regular service as well as ferries from Italy (Venice, Ancona and Brindisi).
There are various ways to travel around the Island of Corfu. Hiring a car, taking a local bus or taxi. There are two available local bus lines. The first is the municipal line (blue buses) and runs between the capital city of Kerkyra and the suburbs of Afra, Agios Ioannis, Kanoni, Perama and Achillion. The second is the KTEL line (green buses) and covers the entire island.
Do you see any omissions, errors or want to add information to this page? Sign up.
Author: Ayda. Last updated: Jan 12, 2015