Corfu Town, one of the most charming and romantic places throughout the whole of Greece.
A perfect example of ancient Venetian and Byzantine Art and Architecture that will fascinate you with its narrow winding streets coupled with panoramic viewpoints.
Surrounded by the Sea, the Corfu Town is situated between Two Ancient Fortresses of the island.
Corfu Town is located in a strategic position at the mouth of the Ionian Sea and has roots dating back from the 8th century BC. The Fortresses were originally designed by renowned Venetian Engineers. Over time the Fortresses were reconstructed and partly rebuilt several times, more recently under British rule in the 19th century. The mainly neoclassical housing of the Old Town derives from the Venetian period, partly constructed within the 19th century. As a true Mediterranean Port, it is notable for its high level of integrity and authenticity.
Stroll through the acclaimed Corfu Old Town, stop at traditional shops to view speciality products uncovered in ancient cellars, surrounded by stone staircases, old Venetian walls and hidden gardens, buy local artefacts and unusual souvenirs
The streets and building of the town give the appearance of an ancient museum and is a history and architecture lovers paradise, it should not be forgotten that the proverbial energy of the locals will remind you of the natural quality of life and how proud they are of their island.
In the beautifully preserved Corfu Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical “Repertoire” were successfully combined and can today, be viewed throughout the Town. Palaces, Fortresses, Public Buildings of the Venetian Period uniquely blend with lines of drying washing in tiny alleyways and small secluded squares. Strolling through a complex of narrow cobbled streets with stairways and vaulted passages, the so-called “kantoúnia”, will make you feel as if you’ve travelled to Venice or Genoa.
Quietly amble from the old fortress along the promenade to "Garitsa Bay" uncovering both quaint Corfiot and majestic architecture. Enjoy a coffee, refreshments or a bite to eat at the celebrated Cafe at the "Windmill" landmark (known as Anemomylos in greek) watching the moored boats and the luxury yachts dotted all around the bay.
Just 1.5 km up the hill, from the Windmill, stop for a short break and view the traces of the ancient city of Corfu (8th cent. BC) you will then further discover the Aristocratic former Palace of Mon Repos, spread out over 258 acres of lush vegetation and delightful gardens, and adorning fragments of the past and ancient memories.
It has been known as the School of Fine Arts, Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sissy)was a regular visitor, falling in love with the Island and later going on to build the Achilleon Palace in the area of Gastouri, also known as the birthplace of the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth 11, his family inherited the Palace further to the death of King George 1 of Greece.
At the Palace of Mon Repos, occupying most of the hill of Analipsis (the Ascension), the British High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands Frederic Adam built his summer mansion in 1831 for his beloved 2nd wife, a Corfiot, Nina Palatianou with plans by English architect Gouaitmor (Whitmore).
On 21st May, 1864, after the Unification of the Ionian Islands with Greece, the city of Corfu gave the palace and gardens in the dynasty of George It was regularly used as a summer residence. King George I of Greece graphically gave the Palace the name Mon Repos (My Rest).
The ruins of ancient temples, still standing, according to Archaeological evidence were believed to belong to the God Apollo, in this area known as Paleopolis, now known as "Kanoni" a part of the ancient city of Corfu. It is worth noting that until 1991 access to visitors was impossible, it has now been registered as an official Heritage Site and is open to visitation.
Corfu's pedestrian-only old town is a warren of crumbling Venetian-style buildings, Italianate churches, chic boutiques and rustic tavernas. Locals gather on the Spianada, a vast green space where Cricket is played in the summer months, the game having been brought to the Island by the British. Stroll through the "Liston", a 19th-century Faceted Arcade sheltering a string of bars and cafes. Guarding the Island and accessed from the end of the Spianada, the Old Fortress looms forbiddingly finally jutting out into the Ionian Sea, while the New Fortress, located at the end of the "Liston" rises breathtakingly and commands an elevated position facing the Sea. The Corfiot Headquarters of the Greek Navy, is now located here.
Old and New Fortress
Museum of Asiatic Art (Archangel's Gabriel and Agiou Georgiou Palace which used to be the erstwhile palace of the British Commissioner)
Mon Repos and Kanoni
Palace of St Michael and St George
Church of Saint Spyridon and Domo (the Catholic Church)
The Mouse Island (just outside the town)
Sport & Nature
Until recently Corfu was the only place in Greece where cricket was played. Nowadays there is an official Cricket Team and matches are regularly held throughout the season, by taking a comfortable shaded seat at one of the Liston's bars, located next to the Cricket Pitch, you can watch a match in its full glory while sipping on a cool drink.
There is entertainment for everyone in Corfu Town, from swish, trendy Bistros to simple coffee and cake shops, typically traditional souvenir shops providing you with anything from a taste of ancient Corfu to simple gifts, nestle with trendy boutiques selling a multitude of wares. Leaving the haven of the Town, that unmistakable view of the Sparkling Ionian Sea with a backdrop of Mainland Greece and the distant mountain ranges of Albania, unfolds before you.
Culture and History
Corfu (Kérkyra), unlike the rest of Greece, never fell under Ottoman oppression, thanks to the successive Rule of the Venetians, the French and the British over the centuries. Their culture wielded strong influence in the city, The very first Greek University (the Ionian Academy), the first Philharmonic Orchestra and the First School of Fine Arts were founded.
At the historic building of the Ionian Bank, the local currency cutter was housed, the very first Bank to be permitted to cut Greek banknotes.