It is one of Greece’s top destinations and attracts thousands of visitors every year. It is mountainous and located at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea. It has much to offer to the visitor: impressive landscapes, dense vegetation, many golden sandy beaches, an elegant capital, traditional villages, many Byzantine churches, museums, Venetians ruins and attractive resorts all over the island. Corfu was one of the first islands in Greece to open itself to tourism and, due to a long experience, it is able to offer well organised services.
In June 2007, the Old Town of Corfu was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List confirming its universal value.
The island of Corfu Greece (also called Kerkyra) is one of the most popular destinations of Greece and attracts every year thousands of visitors. Corfu is the northernmost of the Ionian Islands group and lies at the entrance of the Adriatic Sea, in front of Albania. The island is the second largest of the Ionians after Kefalonia. It has an area of 592 sq. km and a coastline of 216 km.
The island has a population of approximately 100,000 inhabitants and 30,000 are living in the capital.
The island is characterised by a Mediterranean mild climate with a lot of rainfalls during winter. It is, for that reason, covered by dense vegetation and an abundance of wild plants. The island is considered as the greenest island in Greece.
It is a town with a unique atmosphere, built between two fortresses and with many elegant buildings of Italian and French architectural influences, several squares full of flowers, Byzantine churches.
History of Corfu-Kerkyra
There is something textured, something different about Corfu that sets it apart. Maybe it's as simple as the fact that the island -hanging off the northwest coast of Greece and within a heartbeat of Albania- has been occupied by so many cultures: the Byzantines, the Venetians, the French, the Russians, the British. It wasn't until 1864 that Greece annexed Corfu, the best known of the seven Ionian Islands.
Throughout its history, Corfu has been an island power. Its earliest colonists came from Corinth, and Corfu soon became quite competitive; the in 664 B.C., first recorded naval battle in Greek history occurred between fleets of the two. The rivalry, some 200 years later, was an igniter of the Peloponnesian War. For 400 years between the 14th and 18th centuries, Corfu, under serious threat from Turks and pirates, was protected by the Venetian Republic. That republic disintegrated, and during the Napoleonic wars, Corfu and other Ionian islands were briefly part of the French empire. After that? It was Great Britain (the island became the seat of the British High Commissioner); after withdrawing in 1864, the Ionians then joined the Greek kingdom.
Corfu Town: It's a divine place for shopping, cafe-hopping and dining -just meander along the Venetian-like walkways. The most touristic stores are located within the walls of Old Town; more contemporary shops and boutiques are found in the adjacent city. Beyond that, there are a handful of significant historic sites in Corfu Town and Old Town.
The Corfu Golf Club: It has been praised by many as being one of the Golf community's best kept secrets in Europe. It was designed by the famous Swiss based architect, Donald Harradine. Open 7 days a week -including winter- it is a beautiful and peaceful place, abounding in trees and meandering streams. Several lakes also pass by the Golf's grounds, which are hidden under a backdrop of high hills. It is also full of animals and birds (kingfishers, herons, otters etc.) whilst in terms of Golf, there are 3 sets of tees providing enjoyment for all categories of players. The Corfu Golf Club offers all kinds of necessary amenities and will satisfy the most demanding adepts. It is located at approximately 30 kms from our property.
The Aqualand in Agios Ioannis: 75.000 square meters of land in the Agios Ioannis area (on the road to Glyfada) have been converted into a huge aquatic park with sea water, transfered directly from the Ionian sea. Several games, pools and jacuzzis of all sizes for any kind of public are awaiting for you at the Corfu Aqualand.
Agios Spyridon Church (Saint Spyridon), which is tucked behind the Liston and considered to be the most important church in the Ionians isles. It is dedicated to Corfu's patron Saint, whose body is kept in a sarcophagus right next to the altar.
The Old Fort (Esplanade) began in the 16th century by the Venetians. It's a great stop as much for the atmosphere that it breathes as for the views it offers, which look out to Albania, east, and Corfu, the island, on the west.
The prime attraction of the Archeological Museum (Demokratias and the Esplanade) is the pediment from the Temple of Artemis; it has lots of ancient treasures, as well.
This is not the most likely location for a Museum of Asian Art (Esplanade, north end), but you will find one here, anyway. It is really excellent and features porcelains and bronzes from China's Shang Dynasty (1500 B.C.) to its Ching Dynasty (19th century); there is also -among others exhibits- an important collection of Japanese wood-cuttings and paintings, as well.
Pontikonissi and Vlaherna: Pontikonissi (or Mouse Island as it is popularly known) and Vlaherna are two tiny islands that serve as Corfu's visual signature. If you've ever looked at pictures of Corfu, you've probably seen a shot of these neighboring islets. Vlaherna houses a small convent while the heavily wooded Mouse Island is known for a 12th-century Byzantine church. There are boats at Vlaherna, reachable from the mainland by a causeway, that ferry tourists to Mouse Island. On the hillside overlooking the islands across the road from Hotel Royal are a couple of nice cafes and souvenir shops. It's a terrific place to admire the view. To get to Vlaherna, have a 30-minute walk from the Old Town, follow the coastline South, past Mon Repos beach.
The Achilleion Palace is a little kitschy, but if you come to Corfu you owe to visit it for its story. A beautiful, but naughty princess once had a wretched life. Her two children died at some point, and she was left behind battling against an eating disorder. Eventually she was assassinated. Later on, a German emperor rescued the princess' Palace. The Achilleion, is located in the village of Gastouri in the South of the Corfu Town; it was built in the late 1890's and has been the source of inspiration of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria. A neoclassical mansion, the Achilleion was named for Achilles, therefore a huge four-ton bronze sculpture of the mythical hero dominates the back gardens. The palace itself has some nice frescoes and sculptures, but the real standout is the Colonnade of the Muses -a black- and white-tiled terrace lined with statues of Gods, heroes, muses, poets and philosophers. The Achilleion, the site of the 1994 European Union summit, is open daily, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Admission prices range from five to seven euros.
Airports & Ports
- Corfu International Airport "Ioannis Kapodistrias" (IATA: CFU, ICAO: LGKR) is a small but busy airport on the Greek island of Corfu (Kerkyra in Greek). Flights from European cities both scheduled and chartered arrive quite often, especially from April to October. The majority of the charter traffic arrives on Mondays, for the sake of tranquility during the rest of the week, since the airport is on the outskirts of Corfu Town itself. That traffic (determined by change-over days for villa lets) is now shared with Fridays. Located 3 kilometres to the south of Corfu Town, in the area of Kanoni, opposite the islet of Pontikonissi, the airport of Corfu offers all the facilities and services that one can find in all the international airports. Many flights to and from Athens are effectuated every day and flights from Thessaloniki are available three times a week.
- New Port: Ships arriving or leaving the island of Corfu dock right at the New Port. Corfu is part of the Ionian Islands group which is a few nautical miles away from the port of Igoumenitsa and the harbour of Patras. A frequent ferry connection from Igoumenitsa works every day from 5 am to 10 pm. Two types of ferries are available: the open ferry reaches the port of Corfu in about 2 hours, while the larger ferry takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. From the port of Igoumenitsa, one can also reach the southern part of Corfu and arrive in the port of Lefkimi village in about an hour. Daily ferry departures are also available from and to the port of Patras. The trip takes about 6 hours and these itineraries connect Patras to the Ionian islands and Italy. There are also ferries that depart from Italy, especially Venice, Bari and Ancona, and go to Corfu, Igoumenitsa, some Ionian islands and have Patras as their final destination.
Being the most northern island of Greece, Corfu has a unique climate, a bit different from the rest of Greece; its climate is characterized by a mild winter and a high level of rainfalls, especially during winter. The summer in Corfu is cooler than in other parts of Greece with temperatures, nevertheless it easily reaches -without exceeding- 39 degrees Celsius.