Corfu was not given the name of the Emerald Island for no reason. The greenest of all the Greek islands, Corfu's natural beauty is hidden under a cloak of emerald green, with a mountainous skyline plunging into the bluest of blue waters.
Elegant architecture, sunblessed beaches, enchanting nightlife and fine cuisine all play their part in attracting visitors from all over the world. With a welcome as warm as the sun, the renowned reputation the Greeks possess for their unique and instinctive hospitality makes any visitor feel more than at home. The island has something to offer everyone. Corfu Town itself is a contrasting combination of old and new existing side by side in perfect harmony.
There is an abundance of sand, shingle and pebble beaches lining the 200 km coastline, leading to clear waters ideal for swimming and water sports.
Take a little time to explore the island and you will be rewarded with some of the most spectacular scenery on offer by any destination. A trip into the heart of the island will give you an insight into Corfiot village life. Time, in some places, seems to have stood still and everyday life carries on pretty much as it must have done for hundreds of years.
Even though the island is constantly developing to cater to the demands of today's tourist, Corfu has still managed to retain its beauty and charm throughout time. The majority of the island remains untouched and as captivating as it has been for centuries.
Whether you are looking for the hustle and bustle of night life or peace and tranquillity, everything you could need is here, just waiting to be discovered.
|Length:||65 km / 35 miles|
|Width:||18 km / 11 miles|
|Area:||570 sq.km / 229 sq.miles|
|Highest Point:||906 m.|
|Avg. Summer temp:||28 C|
|Avg. Winter temp:||16 C|
|Hottest months:||July / August|
|Coldest months:||January / February|
|No. of villages:||209|
Corfu Town (Kerkyra) is a principal port and the largest town in the Ionian islands. It is built between two Venetian castles, having its own unique atmosphere. It is a thriving mass of shops and businesses, set amongst a captivating and charming assortment of elegant buildings, churches, imposing fortresses and narrow alleyways leading to hidden squares. The tall buildings with the 'volta' (arches), the 'cantounia' (narrow flagstoned streets), the 'mouragia' (sea-walls) are showing all a clear Italian influence.
One of the most beautiful walks in the town is around the Esplanade (Spianada square), one of the biggest squares in Europe which is the hub of the Corfiot's life. Here you can walk around or sit in one of the many cafe bars underneath the arches of the 'Liston', a name probably derived from a similar promenade in Venice. Liston was built during the imperial French occupation and is reminiscent of the larger 'Arcades' of the Rue de Rivoli in Paris.
On the upper side of Esplanade stands a memorial to the British Lord High Commissioner Sir Thomas Maitland, built in 1816 in the shape of a circular building with Ionian columns. The Corfiots call this building 'sterna' (cistern) because this was where the entrance to the largest underground cistern of the town was to be found. Near the Maitland's monument, in front of the building where the Ionian Academy was housed, stands the statue of John Capodistrias, the first President of Greece. It is a work from the end of the 19th century showing the Governor standing deep in thought.
Opposite the Liston is the the Old Fortress and 'Anthonas', the Municipal Gardens. In the gardens is the statue of Lord Guilford, showing the founder of the Ionian Academy in his academic robes holding an open book. Nearby are the busts of two famous Corfiots, the poet Lorenzo Mavilis and the writer Dinos Theotokis.
At the northern end of Esplanade stands the Palace of St. Michael and St. George, one of the most elegant buildings in Corfu. Opposite the west front of the palace is a beautiful building which now houses the Reading Society of Corfu, the oldest cultural institute in modern Greece, founded in 1836. The Reading Society contains a unique library of Greek and foreign books as well as a large collection of manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, paintings, maps and engravings mostly related to the Ionian islands.
As one's gaze leaves the Esplanade, after lingering on the palace, it embraces a magnificent view towards the coastal road (Arseniou Street) with its sea-walls. Following along this road will take you to the Old Harbour of Corfu and the other Venetian castle, the one called the New Fortress. Along this road the narrow lanes ('cantounia') lead to the Campielo, the oldest quarter of the town. Here the visitor can find the oldest houses and many of the historic churches in Corfu.
At the northern end of Capodistria Street stands the Capodistria Mansion, an excellent example of neo-classical architecture. It was built in 1835 by the Corfiot architect John Chronis and is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Greece. Here John Capodistrias, the first President of Greece, was born.
Another notable landmark in the old town is the central market. The most interesting street here is Nickiforou Theotoki as the rows upon rows of 'volta' standing on their stone columns and the tall buildings form one of the most characteristic aspects of Corfu Town.
In a little square on Nickiforou Theotoki Street stands the building of the Ionian Bank, which was built in 1846 displaying a well-proportioned facade with finely detailed Ionian pilasters and pediment. On the first floor of the building the Paper Money Museum is housed. At the far end of the square is the Church of St. Spyridon. It shelters the body of St. Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu and one of the great Saints of Greek Orthodoxy and draws a constant stream of pilgrims from all over Greece every year.
On the Evgeniou Voulgareos Street stands the crenellated belfry of the Roman Catholic Church of the Annunciation a venerable building from the end of the 14th century. The whole building was destroyed in the World War II bombing, and the only remains are the belfry, two inscriptions and a bas-relief representing war trophies. Between Evgeniou Voulgareos Street and a modern square stands the most elegant of the Venetian buildings in Corfu, the Town Hall in baroque style.
At the end of Moustoxydi Street stands another building of the period of British rule, the historic the Ionian Parliament. At the junction of the Garitsa coastal road and Alexandras Avenue stands the Douglas Obelisk, which also belongs to the same period, erected in honour of the Lord High Commissioner Sir Howard Douglas, to whom Corfu owes a lot of public works and philanthropic institutions.
|Aghios Georgios||Long stretch of sand and rock beach with good amenities. Developing as a resort, so adequate facilities.|
|Aghios Gordios||Long, wide pale sandy beach with excellent facilities and watersports.|
|Aghios Spyridon||Sandy beach plus freshwater lake and river with wildlife nearby.|
|Aghios Stefanos||Curved pebble bay with good tavernas and facilities.|
|Agni||Picturesque pebble bay with excellent tavernas. Access is better by boat, but there is a rough, steep track.|
|Alikes-Molos||Unusual, flat sand near to salt-pans, fairly quiet with good tavernas.|
|Arillas||Developing resort with a long stretch of sandy beach.|
|Barbati||Long stretch of pebble beach, with good facilities.|
|Benitses||Narrow pebble and shingle beach in popular resort.|
|Dassia||Long sandy beach with excellent watersports and plenty of facilities.|
|Gardenos||Beautiful golden sandy beach surrounded by hills plus a fresh-water river with excellent tavernas, villas, apartments and wildlife nearby.|
|Glyfada||Very popular large sandy beach with excellent facilities. Said to be one of the best beaches on the island.|
|Ipsos-Pyrgi||Long sweeping curved bay with narrow sand and pebble beach. Plenty of watersport facilities, including licensed scuba diving centre.|
|Kalami||Popular pebble beach with good facilities. The White House where Lawrence Durrell lived is here.|
|Kaminaki||Pebble beach with excellent watersport facilities. Good for snorkelling.|
|Kassiopi||Plenty of shingle coves. Good swimming off flat rocks.|
|Kavos||Long, wide sandy beach in busy resort with plenty of amenities.|
|Kontokali-Gouvia||Sand and pebble beaches here with a variety of facilities close by.|
|Moraitika-Messoghi||Long stretch of sandy beach with good facilities.|
|Mirtiotissa||Poor access to beautiful golden sandy beach sheltered by cliffs. Popular nudist beach.|
|Nissaki||Small pebble cove with good tavernas and boat hire facilities.|
|Paleokastritsa||Variety of sand and pebble coves surrounded by beautiful scenery. Very clear, cold waters, even in high season. Excellent facilities.|
|Pelekas||Long, wide pale gold sandy beach with excellent facilities and watersports.|
|Roda-Acharavi||The longest stretch of sandy beach on the island. Excellent facilities all along.|
|Saint Barbara||Newly developed resort with undiscovered long stretches of sandy beaches.|
|Sidari||Large white sandy beach with excellent facilities. Canal d' Amour nearby features unusual sculpted sandstone cliffs.|