Corfu Island A majestic fort, romantic trails and beaches where the vegetation merges with the sapphire sea
Corfu, the Grand Lady of the Ionian, is characterized by a series of mythical images: Nausica, the daughter of King Alkinoos, the man who saved Odysseus when he was shipwrecked in the Country of Phaeacians, which many have identified as the island of Corfu.
Sissi, the sad Empress of Austria and the Achilleion palace she built; the majestic Mon Repos, the 19thcentury summer residence built for the British High Commissioner and the Kaiser’s Observatory, from where Wilhelm II looked out upon the iridescent Ionian.
Equally majestic are the iconic city mansions, the Liston Arcade and Spianada Square – the largest in the Balkans. Venetians, English, French, Russians, Greeks all lived and flourished here, and left their mark on the island’s numerous sights and attractions.
„Corfu’s historic centre: a scene out of a classic film“
Unesco has declared the island’s historic centre a world heritage site. The stately buildings with neoclassical influences will dazzle you. Who could not be moved by the Palace of St Michael and St Georgiou, the Liston Arcade, the Reading Society, the Catholic cathedral, the Maitland rotunda, the Ionian Parliament and the Kapodistrias family mansion.
In the famous alleyways of Campiello, with washing lines hanging above you, and in the opulent hotels with their VIP guests, you will feel like a star in a period movie.
On the eastern side of the city, the rocky shore crowned by two low peaks gave the name Koryfo (Κορυφώ) – Corfu (meaning peak) to the island. You enter the Old Fort (Palaio Frourio), built in the 13th century, via a bridge over a seawater moat. It includes the Porta Sopranza.
The British barracks, two winged lions of St Mark, the Madonna del Carmine, the Savorgnan bastion, the Tower of Sea and the Tower of the Land (Castel del Mar, Castel della Terra) and the British-built church of St George resembling a Doric temple.
The trademark of Corfu island are actually other islands! They are the diminutive Pontikonisi, which translates as Mouse Island, just large enough to hold the Pantokrator monastery, and right next to it, the famous islet Vlacherna, with its 17th century monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary, connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway. Mass is held here on Easter Monday.
If you swim in the Canal d’Amour, the myth says you’ll find your soul mate. The natural passage created by the smooth rocks is like a tunnel. In Sidari you’ll enjoy two more spectacular sand beaches with sandstone formations.
Glyfada, Dasia, Ermones, Paleokastritsa, Sidari, Kavos (famous for loud parties), Kontokali, Benitses, Halikounas… The list of beaches is endless, from secluded picturesque coves to large, vibrant stretches of sand with beach bars, tavernas, shops and watersports. Many beaches boast luxury hotels as well.