Greece Greek Islands
Greece and the Greek Islands

Ionian Islands

Corfu

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General Informations

The capital of the island, Kerkyra, is one of the most attractive cities of the Mediterranean. The old town with its Venetian, “cantounia” called narrow cobbled streets is the largest inhabited medieval town in Greece. Its recent part has wide streets, spacious squares – the most impressive of them is the Spianada Square – Multi storey Buildings influenced by English and French architecture, arcades, houses with bay windows, balconies with artistic railings and many more.

Among the attractions of the city are the most important:

  • the Old Castle, the New Castle (both by the Venetians built in the 15th – 16th century.)
  • the Venetian Town Hall
  • the Ionian Academy – a Venetian building, which includes an entire city block
  • the monument of Menecrates in Garitsa Bay
  • the Byzantine church of St. Jason and Sosipatos in Anemomyli
  • the Mitropolis Church – Panagia i Spiliotissa or Agia Theodora – where the relics of the Empress Theodora are kept
  • the church of the patron saint of the city of St. Spyridon, a building which was completed in 1589 with the relic of the Holy and rich votive.
  • The monastery Platyteras in Mandouki where the grave of the first governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias is.
  • The Rotunda in Ionic style at the upper space, next to the statue of Ioannis Kapodistrias.

Museums:

  • Archaeological Museum (Tel .: 0661-30680)
  • The Museum of Byzantine Art and Meta Byzantine in the church “Panagia i Antivouniotissa” (Tel .: 38313)
  • The Asian Art Museum in the Old Palace Agion Michail and Georgiou (Tel .: 30,443).

In the same building are also the archaeological authority, the public library and the archives of the Ionian Senate.

Just outside the city, in the south, stood, at the Palaiopolis named location, the ancient city. In this region, parts of the ancient fortifications, and major temples were discovered. The most important of which is a temple of Hera from the 6th century BC. Also near the monastery Agii Theodori you see remains of an ancient Artemis temple (beginning 6th century BC.)

The oldest Christian monument on the island is the Basilica of Palaiopolis, known as Agia Keryra, built in the 5th century. Build with parts of a Doric temple. It is located near the entrance to Mon Repos, formerly the palace of the English governors. On the Analypsi Hill with stunning views of the opposite coast of Epirus, excavations have brought to light remains of a Doric temple from the 6th century. BC. and a well.

Just outside the city lies the charming, Kanoni named peninsula, on which a bridge connects it to the small island with the monastery “Panagia tis Vlachernas”. The green Pontikonisi (“Mouse Island”) with a Pantocrator Chapel (13th cent.) is situated a little further away and can be visited by boat from Kanoni.

If you drive in a northerly direction from the town of Kerkyra, you get into some charming villages: Alkyes, Kontokali, Gouvia – in Venetian times a shipyard, now a much frequented tourist center – after Kommeno, Dasia – also with many tourist facilities – continue to Ypsos with a beautiful beach and to Pyrgi. Continue north you come through many coastal villages with olive groves, stunning beaches, excellent hotels, restaurants, taverns, bars, and more. More towns on the route are Barbati, Nisaki, Kalami, Kouloura, Agios Stefanos.

Located at the north coast of the island are Kassiopi (36km from Kerkyra), a small picturesque city with the ruins of a Venetian castle and Roda or Sidari, major tourist resorts with many hotels and beautiful beaches. Further into the inland you’ll come to some picturesque places that are surrounded by forests and groves, these are: Karousades, Agii Douli, Ano Korakiana, Skripero, Yzgos, Nymphes, Episkepsi. To the east of the island you’ll come across to the mountain massif Pantokratoras, the highest mountain of the island with some beautiful traditional villages on its slopes, among these are Strinylas, Sgourades, Sparylas.

The view from there is breathtaking, you can see the beauty of the island in all its grandeur with the coastline of the mainland as the background. The Adriatic facing west coast of Corfu keeps more surprises ready for the visitor. 39km northwest from Kerkyra is Arilla, a seaside resort of international fame and a fine sandy beach. It is surrounded by two narrow promontories with the islands Kravia, Diaplo and Mathraki. 26km from the capital situated is Palaiokastritsa where according from scientists stood the Homeric city of the Phaeacians.

The sea is crystal clear. Situated to the Right of the beach on a cliff with stunning views, is the “Mother of God” consecrated Monastery Palaiokastritsa. It houses in its small museum Byzantine icons and icons of recent times. In the place Krini is the Byzantine castle Angelokastro (13th century.), Which was built by the Angeli Komnini, the despot of Epirus. The Bellavista named location has a beautiful view of the sea.

A little further to the east lies the village of Lakones and further south Liapades (inside the same small bay), Ermones, a frequented tourist resort in a small bay with steep cliffs and forested hills. Also situated in the same area is the Ropa Valley with a golf course. Further south is (13 km south-west the capital) the village of Pelekas which is built in a traditional style on a hill from where you can very well enjoy the sunset. 3 km from this town lies on the coast of Glyfada, one of the largest tourist centres of the island.

Weiter in Richtung Süden, kommt man nach Sinarades, ein traditionelles Dorf mit einem Volkskunde Museum, nach Agios Gordis , einen sehr schönen Strand mit bemerkenswerten Felsformationen, nach Ano und Kato Garouna mit einer langen Tradition in der Steinmetzkunst und einer Teppichweberei und nach Agios Matthäos, ein grosses Dorf im Landesinneren inmitten einer fruchtbaren Umgebung.

Continuing on to the south, you come to Sinarades, a traditional village with a folklore museum, Agios Gordis, a lovely beach with remarkable rock formations, to Ano and Kato Garouna with a long tradition in the stone carving and carpet weaving and Agios Mattheos, a large village in the interior in a fertile environment.

Situated a little further south, is the monastery Christos Pantokratoras (4th cent.), and even further south are the ruins of a Byzantine castle, the so-called Kastro Gardikiou. There is also the Lake Korysia with an extension of 11qkm. In the south from Kerkyra you’ll come to the villages of Perama, surrounded by a large olive grove, with luxury hotels, in to the picturesque Gastouri with the “Achillion”, which was built by the Austrian Empress Elisabeth, who was attracted by the beauty of the island, lived there for a few years. Today, the Achillion is used as a museum and as an international convention center.

Following are the places Benitses (12.5km from the city), an old fishing village with nice tavernas on the beach. from there the street continues to Agios Ioannis Peristeron, Moraitika and Mesongi. At this stretch of the coast with its olive trees in the background, are many hotels and restaurants of all kinds. Continuing on to the south, you come to the coastal resorts Boukairs, Korakades, Molos and, after Levkimi (42 km south of Kerkyra), a large county town, on a canal which serves around as a water reservoir and during winter is used as an anchorage for fishing boats. In the fertile environment vegetables are grown olive and viticulture production. The road continues to Kavo, a beautiful sandy beach and after Asprokavo, the southern tip of the island.

Corfu is known for its many religious festivals and cultural events. Processions with the relic of St. Spiridon accompanied by the local orchestra (“philharmonic”) are four times a year. Then there are the customs of Holy Week and the Easter Festival, where clay pots are thrown from the balconies on the streets as a highlight on the morning of Holy Saturday.

The Carnival of Corfu is committed particularly festive: On Shrove Sunday, a big parade takes place and the figure of the “Carnival” is getting burned. In the old castle Son et Lumiere events are offered, during September the Kerkyra Festival is organised.

Vido:
Located in the entrance of the port of Corfu. In ancient times, the island was called Ptylchia.

Erikoussa:
4.5 miles north of Corfu, opposite of Sidari with a small hotel and rooms in private homes.

Mathraki:
3 nautical miles off the northwest coast of Corfu, opposite from Arilla, from where it can be reached by boat. Beautiful beaches with a fine sand beach.

Othoni:
7.5 nautical miles of the Northwest tip of Corfu with a small settlement and some rooms in private homes. The cave of Calypso can be visited by Boat. According to mythology Odysseus met with Nausicaa.

Weather in Corfu

Geography and History

Corfu is the northernmost of the Ionian Islands and the second largest after Kefallonia, (land area 529 km2 and a coastline of 217km). It is opposite the coasts of Epirus and Albania. The coastline at the west side of the island is mostly steep, flatter in the east. To the east lies the Gulf of Corfu with its main port.

The island is fertile, in vegetation and rich in water. It’s beautiful nature, mild climate, the sights, the modern resorts, the many opportunities for sports and entertainment, the cosmopolitan flair, their characteristic appearance, the hospitality of its inhabitants those are only some of the elements that contribute to Corfu as one of the most popular destinations of international tourism.

According to mythology, Jason and the Argonauts found on their way home refuge at the hospitable shores of Corfu. It is also believed that Corfu is the island of the Phaeacians who was sang by Homer in the famous verse of the 6th canto of the Odyssey. As is stated there, the island was the last station of Ulysses before his return to the longed Ithaca. In ancient times Corfu was a major sea power. In modern times, it came under Venetian French, British and Italian supremacy.

How to get there

By Plane
Connection from Athens and Thessaloniki.
Informations:
  • Olympic Airways Corfu, Tel.: 0661-38694
The airport is located 3 km south of the city. During the summer months many charter airlines fly from different European cities to Corfu.
By Ferry
Connections from Patras, Igoumenitsa, Paxi, Sagiada in Thesprotia and from Italy.
Informations:
  • OPort authority Corfu, Tel.: 0661 32655
  • Port authority Patras, Tel.: 061 341 002
  • Port authority Igoumenitsa, Tel.: 0665 - 22 235
  • Port authority Sagiada, Tel.: 0664 - 51 217
By Bus
From Athens and Patras connection with KTEL transport buses or by train.
Informations:
  • KTEL-Transport Athens, Kifissou-Str. 100, Tel.: 5136185.
  • OSE (Bahn) Athen, Tel.: 513.1601.
From Athens and Thessaloniki regular connections to Igoumenitsa with the KTEL bus coach service.
Informations:
  • KTEL-Verkehrsbetriebe, Kifissou-Str. 100, Tel.: 5129443
  • KTEL Kerkyra, TEL.: 39 985
  • KTEL Thessaloniki, Tel.: 031 - 51 86 00
Useful Telephone numbers
Corfu:
  • Area code: 0661
  • Police: 39 509
  • Touristpolice: 30 265
  • Tourist office: 37 520
  • Port authority: 33 096, 32 655
  • City Hall: 42 601, 38 553
  • General Hospital: 45 811-5

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