Why not start with a walk around the old town? Despite the bombing it suffered in the last war there are still many charming streets witch clearly bear the mark of the Venetians. Particularly worth admiring is the area around Esplanade, one of the most beautiful squares in Greece; there are some very Italian-looking streets, notably in the area around odos Arseniou, between the Esplanade and the old port., where the streets are lined with arcaded buildings. Others have obvious French or British architectural elements, notably the Liston, a big arcaded building which overlooks the Esplanade, built during the second French occupation by Father Ferdinand de Lesseps, who is said to have been inspired by the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. There are also Byzantine and Venetian churches, kantounia (narrow cobbled alleyways), wrought-iron balconies, and many other interesting architectural features.
In the evening don’t miss the passeggiada, an Italian social tradition where locals meet for the ritual stroll under the arcades of the Esplanade – the men to see and the women to be seen, providing an opportunity to catch up on news and bump into friends.
The Old Fortress in Corfu Town
The Old Fortress in Corfu Town is a historic marvel that stands as a testament to the island’s rich past. Situated on a rocky promontory near the town centre, this fortress boasts a fascinating history dating back to Byzantine times. Its strategic location provided protection against invaders and played a crucial role in defending the town from various sieges.
Originally constructed in the 6th century, the fortress underwent significant expansions and fortifications under Venetian rule in the 16th century. Its imposing walls, bastions, and a network of tunnels reflect the military engineering prowess of that era. Within the fortress walls, visitors can explore a labyrinth of pathways, dungeons, and archaeological remnants that offer glimpses into the past.
The Old Fortress provides breath-taking panoramic views of Corfu Town, the coastline, and the surrounding landscapes, making it a favoured spot for visitors seeking both historical insight and stunning vistas. Additionally, the fortress is home to various cultural events, including concerts and exhibitions, adding a vibrant contemporary dimension to its ancient walls.
Accessible by a causeway, the Old Fortress remains a significant landmark in Corfu, inviting travellers to immerse themselves in its history, explore its architectural marvels, and appreciate its commanding presence overlooking the town and the Ionian Sea.
The Achilleion Palace
The Achilleion Palace in Corfu is a remarkable testament to the island’s cultural heritage and historical significance. This majestic palace, perched on a hilltop overlooking the stunning landscapes of Corfu, was commissioned by Empress Elisabeth of Austria, also known as Sisi, in the late 19th century.
Built in neoclassical architectural style with strong influences from ancient Greek motifs, the palace is dedicated to the mythical hero Achilles. Its design and interior decoration pay homage to Greek mythology and history, featuring statues, paintings, and frescoes depicting scenes from the Trojan War and other legendary tales.
The Achilleion Palace’s stunning gardens, adorned with sculptures and offering panoramic views of the Ionian Sea, provide a serene retreat for visitors. The most iconic sculpture here is the ‘Dying Achilles,’ a grandiose statue that captures Achilles’ final moments after being struck in the heel, portraying a sense of heroic vulnerability.
After Elisabeth’s death, German Emperor Wilhelm II acquired the palace, adding his own touches to the estate. Today, the Achilleion Palace is open to the public, allowing visitors to explore its opulent interiors, admire the architectural beauty, and stroll through the meticulously maintained gardens.
The palace serves as both a historical landmark and a cultural treasure trove, offering a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of European royalty during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its picturesque setting, rich history, and artistic significance make the Achilleion Palace a must-visit destination for tourists exploring Corfu’s cultural heritage.
The Canal d’Amour, located near the village of Sidari on the northern coast of Corfu, is a natural rock formation that has captivated visitors for its romantic allure and picturesque setting. This unique geological formation features sandstone cliffs sculpted by the erosive forces of wind and water, forming narrow channels, caves, and small coves.
The name “Canal d’Amour,” which translates to “Canal of Love” in English, stems from local legends and folklore. It’s believed that couples who swim through the narrow canal or take a dip in the secluded coves will be blessed with eternal love and will find their soulmate.
Porto Timoni is one of the most beautiful places in Corfu. This undeveloped double beach can only be reached on foot or by boat, but it’s well worth the effort—the water is a gorgeous clear turquoise and perfect for swimming or snorkelling.
This is a popular spot so I highly recommend starting early to enjoy it at its most magical (and coolest).
Mouse Island (Pontikonisi)
It is one of the most popular and touristic sights all over Corfu, since every year it appeals to visitors either for praying on the 6th of August, or for admiring its lavishly green landscape. Regular itineraries are being conducted from the Kanoni and the Perama area as well as from the Church of St. Mary of Blachernae. Undoubtedly the Island has been a source of inspiration for the creator of the painting “The island of the dead”.