Corfu is the second largest Ionian Island, it is covered in lush green, has beautiful clear waters, numerous towns, villages and historical sites. This island is truly beautiful in a way other Greek Islands are not. You will be stunned by the difference between the Islands in the Aegean and the Islands in the Ionian.
It may only be the second largest after Kefalonia but somehow it feels bigger, probably owing to the fact that there are so many villages and places to visit.
Corfu combines the elements of natural beauty, long kept traditions along with the modern state of mind and a cosmopolitan atmosphere like no where else.Located in the Ionian, off the West Coast of Greece, this island is subjected to a rather mild climate. Hot in the summer but with a number of down pours (to cool things off) and rainy winters. Corfu enjoys the most amount of rainfall in Greece and therefore the islanders also enjoy a vast number of olive, lemon and orange groves, along with elegant Cypress Trees and a wonderful selection of wildflowers.
Its capital, Corfu Town, lies on the east coast and its location is land marked by twin fortresses but as you enter the Town you will find more traces of History. The Centuries of which the island was under Venetian, French and Byzantine Rule are evident, in the narrow alleyways of the Old Town, the fortresses, the churches and architecture of the buildings.You can find anything from the most luxurious modern resorts, pumping bars/cafes, international cuisine to untouched small traditional villages, traditional Greek food and rooms to let. Corfu is large and versatile enough to please everyone that visits it.
The History of Corfu is long and complicated, so we have tried to sum up the main facts and give you a snippet of what happened:
The earliest references of Corfu date back to the Mycenae Period around 1300 BC. Its first people are known as the Phaeacians. It was later inhabited by people from Corinth in about 730 BC. The island constantly changed hands between different people from around Greece, Persia, Sparta, Sicily, Romans and others. The island was attractive to its various rulers because of its strategic position, its fertile land and its vast Maritime Force which developed over the years.
Even during the Medieval Times Corfu remained a popular object of attack, despite the fact that other powers had developed stronger and larger naval forces. During the 1100s Corfu was under the rule of the Normans, the Sicilians and by the Genoese. The island eventually placed itself under Venetian Rule for close to 400 years, however, the French Occupation took over in 1797. The island has been massively influenced by the Venetian Rule and you can see evidence of it all over the island.
The French however only maintained their power over the island for 2 years. It was then that the Ottomans and Russians made their mark on the island. Only with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1815 was it endorsed that the Ionian Islands became a protectorate of the United Kingdom.
Corfu was finally returned to Greece in 1864, but that did not mean that others were not going to invade or use the island as their base during the World War I and II. The Serbians, the Austrians, the Bulgarians, the Italians and the Germans all passed through the Island during these difficult times.
There are quite a few museums on this island. There are a few that are common to most islands such as:
The Archaeological Museum of Corfu- it has a collection that include tomb stones, coins, statues, funeral gifts and various other artifacts, however the one that stands out is the pediment from the Gorgon which is the oldest stone pediment in Greece.
The Byzantine Museum of Antivounitsa- even just go by to see the Church in which the collection is housed. The collection is also worth seeing. It includes icons, artworks and relics. Some of the pieces date back to the 15th century.
The Historical and Folkloric Museum of Mesis- This has a lovely collection of furniture and artifacts. There is also a reconstruction of a house on the 1st floor, showing what the interior of a house of the 19th century looked like. This collection is housed in a two storey house, to make it that much more relevant.
The island also has a number of Museums that you don't normally find on other islands. They include:
The Banknote Museum of Ionian Bank - old notes, dies, proofs everything that was used to print modern day bank notes.
The Corfu Shell Museum - thousands of rare and impressive species of shells are part of this museums collection. Originally collected by a diver as his hobby this vast collection is now on display in the diver's home town, Corfu Town.
The Olive Museum- persevered in an old olive mill, you can look at all the tools they used to use to make the world wide known Greek Olive oil.
The Museum of Asian Art- the only one of its kind in Greece, 11,000 items donated from various private collectors. The collection is a combination of items from all over Asia.
Menecratis Monument- this is a circular tomb that dates back to the 6th Century BC. It is located in the Garitsa Area. Early Christian Basilica at Palaiopolis- this is one of the most important Byzantine Monuments on Corfu. It was built in the 5th Century. Unfortunately the whole construction no longer stands but it is in pretty good condition. Kerameikos in Figareto- this is a site that shows that this area of the town was a workshop area. Many ceramic items have been found around here.
A visit to the Town of Corfu is a must. You can have a look at the Old town and wander around the little alleyways. You will come across parts resembling, Italy, France and the UK. You will also pass by the 16th century fortress as well as old Mansions, little churches and a secret garden square. We suggest you sit and have a coffee in the Liston that was built by the French. The cafe culture here is lovely, so sit back and enjoy a nice cold coffee before you walk any further.
Keep your eyes open for the Church of Agios Spyridon (who is the Island's patriot Saint, Saint Spyros), it is just behind the Liston and close to the cricket pitch (constructed by the British). You can visit the church but you will have to dress appropriately. Very close by is the Old Fort and the Palace of St. Michael and St. George.
This is a small deserted village and it is located between Kassiopi and Acharavi. Up in the mountains this little village is pretty much deserted with a few tavernas that are open to serve the people searching the streets. Have you ever wondered what Corfu used to look like, with no modern trimmings? Well this is it! Untouched by time this lovely little village attracts locals and tourists who sit around and share stories. This place really brings your imagination to life, trying to work out who lived where and what the residents used to do.
The only permanent residents nowadays are the few sheep that plod along.
Whilst you are up there you should also take a look around Loutses Caves.
This village is most probably the most picturesque on Corfu. There are a number of Beaches around here and lovely little tavernas and bars. The village is surrounded by Olive Trees and greenery. It's a wonderful place to walk around and jump into the sea.
In this village has a palace that was constructed in the late 1890 for an Austrian Empress. The Achillion Palace is a beautiful building and the views are incredible of the sea and the Town.
There are a few places on the island that are really breathtaking:
There are loads of beaches on Corfu but we have listed a few below for you to consider.
There are many more beaches on the island so ask your hotel or local information point or even the locals for them to direct you to the right place.
You can find pretty much anything on this Island. The main shops are located in the Town and in the larger villages or areas that have a lot of tourists or resorts.
You will find local products (olive oil, wine, wooden objects etc), jewelry, clothing, accessories, items for the home, etc. Have a look around there is so much on offer.
Corfu is known to foreigners the world over for its nightlife. There are a number of cafes and bars within the Town. However, the majority of clubs are concentrated around the beach resorts in Kavos, Roda, Ypsos, Gouvia and Dasia.
Corfu is perfect for the romantics of the world. The views are incredible and the moon at night is breathtaking. So for those that are looking for a relaxed evening we suggest you go and have a nice quiet drink at the Liston and then stroll though the alleyways of the Town, Corfu Town by night is absolutely stunning!
For those who are looking to party until the morning, should head for the resorts (named above), Mandouki, Archaravi, Kavos and Benitses. You can find every type of music, every type of club and bar in these areas of the island. Keep in mind that the night club scene is for ever changing so ask the locals where the new hot spots are and what new clubs have opened.
The Greek Islands have a vast range of Cuisine on offer and Corfu is no exception. You will be able to find the Traditional Greek food and all sorts of International Cuisine. As with the other Greek Islands you will find cheap and cheerful, fast food and cosmopolitan Restaurants on the Island.
The best Greek food with be found in the smaller villages and places like Old Perithia where they have kept the Traditional food on the menu. Variations of Greek food will be found in the touristy areas along with a larger selection of International cuisine.
During the day we suggest sitting in a taverna by the beach to take advantage of the water being so close and the cooler breeze that will come off the sea. At night venture further in land so you can also stroll the streets of whatever Town or Village you have chosen, so that you can take in your surroundings with the heat of the day subsiding.
A newly built complex of 3 private luxurious villas, each one completely isolated from the other with its own private inifinity pool located right above a private beach.
‘Glyfa Corfu Apartments’ is a new built complex in the area of Glyfa in Corfu right next to the sea and consists of 3 studio apartments, 3 two-room apartments and 2 three-room apartments, fully furnished and equipped with all the necessary domestic appliances.
This luxuriously furnished 4 bedroom villa nestles on a steep hillside amongst olive groves and has lovely views of the sea from its terraces. With extensive outdoor areas, private pool, games room and barbecue it is the perfect place to relax.
The turquoise waters of Yaliskari Bay are just a short walk along a rugged track.
A luxurious 4 bedroom villa furnished in marble and teak is close to the turquoise waters of Yaliskari Bay. With extensive terrace areas on the ground floor it has comfortable seating and dining areas, a shady pergola and games room. There is a private pool with a pool house and barbecue.
A luxury 3 bedroom villa set in a beautiful olive grove has a footpath to Yaliskari Bay with its turquoise waters. It has a large verandah area with sofa, armchairs and dining table. There is a games room, barbecue and private pool.
This tastefully furnished 3 bedroom villa is built on a hillside amongst olive trees and has a walking path leading directly to Yaliskari Bay and its turquoise waters. The large flower bedecked verandah area has comfortable seating for relaxing or dining and there is a private pool, barbecue and games room.
KONTOKALI BAY RESORT & SPA is a Hotel-Bungalow complex on the central eastern shoreline of the emerald Isle of Corfu, situated only 6 Kms. from the island’s capital, Corfu Town.
Once a favoured retreat for golden-era jetsetters and royalty. Now, an island hideaway on the most exclusive peninsula of Corfu.
Offering luxury spa and leisure accommodation, Hotel Dassia Chandris is located in beautiful landscaped gardens next to the Ionian sea in Dassia Bay. An open-air cinema, 4 swimming pools, golf and tennis are just some of the activities here. Just a step away from a golden sandy beach and providing an impressive range of wellness facilities, this stunning spa hotel is the ideal setting for a relaxing and unforgettable holiday.
Bella Venezia’s public spaces are a reminder of the atmosphere of a 19th century English club. Set in a quiet central location in Corfu Town the hotel has been renovated in an elegant style by interior designer Marilou Dolianite. No detail has been overlooked from the carved wood ceilings to the marble floors. The hotel is within a short distance of the New Fortress and Palace of St Michael and St John as well as the archaeological museum.
Arcadion hotel is located right in the centre of Corfu near all the major attractions such as the Old Town with its many monuments, museums and fine historic buildings. There is a luxuriously furnished lounge with antique piano, the perfect place to enjoy a quiet drink. The hotel exists in complete harmony with its Venetian surroundings, combining old charm with modern comfort.