Those who have visited the beautiful island of Kerkyra (Corfu), understand from the first moment why it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. The island offers everything: rich history, culture, beautiful nature, fantastic beaches and amazing local cuisine. What else to ask for your holidays?
I visited the island of Kerkyra on family holidays, about three weeks ago. We boarded on the ship from the port of Igoumenitsa and in about two hours we arrived at the port of Corfu. As the ship approached the island, it was easy to understand why Corfu is such a popular destination. The view of the island “floating” on the sea, is magnificent. The blue waters embrace the island’s fortress, giving each traveller a unique welcome!
The Old Fortress of Corfu is really impressive! It is built on a rocky peninsula and from there the citizens had complete control of the whole coast. The fortress was built after the 15th century by the Venetians on the oldest Byzantine capital of the island. The Old Fortress can be visited today, as it is an area with museums, exhibitions, a library and several outdoor events that take place there.
The old town of Corfu, with its narrow cobbled streets, is truly unique! The buildings and colourful mansions give a colourful overall image of the old city, which leaves no visitor unimpeded.
The pinnacle is Spianada, the beautiful square with Kamares, which is a strip where you will find plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars. Spianada is for me one of the most beautiful places in Corfu. Every time I visit the island, I usually go there in the evening for dinner or for a drink.
But Corfu is not just the old town. It is also Pontikonisi, which the legend says is Odysseus’ ship, which God Posidonas turned into a rock.
Pontikonisi is a beautiful little island full of greenery. Its vegetation consists mainly of tall cypress trees. It is one of the most famous sights on the island and it is really worth a visit to enjoy your coffee with a view of this beautiful little green island!
The beaches of the island are also beautiful. Sidari, Agios Stefanos, Agios Georgios, Paliokastritsa, Issos, Kavos, Moraitika, Benitses and Dassia are just some of the beaches you will enjoy if you visit the island. I personally love the unique beauty of Paliokastritsa, but all the other beaches of the island are also stunning.
Do not forget to worship Saint Spyridon, the church is in the heart of the old city and many people from all over the world visit it every day asking for protection from the miraculous Saint Spyridon.
A special attraction of the island is Achilleion. You will find it about ten kilometres outside the city of Corfu and is one of the most important villas – mansions throughout Europe. This villa – the mansion was designed by the Italian architects Raffaele Caritto and Antonio Landi at the expense of empress Elizabeth of Austria, who built it to stay on the island because of her sensitive health. The villa is dedicated to Achilles and from there it also took its name. It is worth a visit!
On the island, you can also visit some monasteries such as the Monastery of Panagia Vlahernon and the monastery of Panagia Paliokastritsa. You can also visit the abandoned village of Old Perithia, many of which characterize this visit as unique!
Of course, Corfu is a big island, with many sights, beaches and activities for its visitor. An article may simply mention some of the suggested sights or beaches, but in no case can it fully describe the tourist destination of Corfu. In short, an article can simply be the occasion to visit the island to get to know it better.
Finally, I would like to make a special reference to the excellent local cuisine of Corfu. Bourdetto (local fish dish), Panada (barley bread with oil, tomato paste, onions and herbs), Sofrito (white sauce and herbs served with mashed potatoes) and the famous Pastitsada (beef and chicken and pasta) are just a few of the famous Corfu dishes. While on the island you will taste some excellent local beers as well as the famous Corfiot liqueur Kum Kouat.
With all these and many more pictures, tastes and feelings, I say goodbye to my favourite island of Corfu. Every time I have to leave, I promise myself that I will visit Corfu again, very very soon!
*Maria Athanasopoulou is Founder of Respond on Demand, a company promoting Greek tourism to travel agents abroad and co-founder of Top Tourism, a non-profit company promoting Greek tourism and culture. She is also an ambassador for Greece to the World Food Travel Association.