Corfu is the greenest and best-known of the Ionian islands, to the west of the Greek mainland. Corfu town is both charming and sophisticated, while there’s plenty of beaches (with and without resorts) and lush interior on the rest of the island.
Corfu town is a beautiful and stylish mix of British, Italian, French and Greek influences and architecture. The old town is in the north, and is dominated by Venetian mansions, while central area has plenty of Parisian and English style buildings.
The Archeological Museum has a variety of exhibits from the island’s ancient history. This includes one of the finest Archaic sculptures found in Greece, a massive depiction of Gorgon Medusa. This was once part of the west pediment of the 590 BC Temple of Artemis at Corcyra, the ancient capital, just south of Corfu town on the Kanoni Peninsula.
Museum of Asian Art
This is probably not the kind of museum you expect to see when you visit a Greek island, but it is well worth a look. The neoclassical building was originally the residence of the British Lord High Commissioner, but was refurbished after World War II, and now houses Chinese porcelain and bronzes as well as Japanses prints, sculptures and ceramics.
The Old Fortress (Palaio Frourio)
On the eastern edge of town is the old fortress, separated from the rest of town by a moat. The area has two peaks (koryphi), which is the origin of the island’s name. On each peak is a castle, offering nice views of Albania and Corfu itself. A sound and light show is held here during summer.
The New Fortress (Neo Frourio)
You’ll find the new fortress on a hilltop in the north, between the new and the old harbour. It was initially constructed in the 12th century, and also has wonderful views.
This is a small museum dedicated to Dionysios Solomos, the writer of Greece’s national poem, who lived on Corfu for 30 years. The museum contais his desk, poems, letters and old editions of his books.
Church of Agios Spyridon
Saint Spyridon is the patron saint of Corfu, and the 16th century church with its special campanile, houses the relics of the saint in a beautiful silver coffin.
Corfu town has many shops selling jewelry, leather goods and needlework. A specialty of Corfu is kumquat liqueur, produced from fruit grown locally since the Chinese fruit was imported in the 1800s.
For a relaxed night out, try one of the cafes at the Liston or at the north side of the Espinade. The nightclubs around Corfu town go in and out of fashion, but if you want something more wild, there’s plenty to be found a couple of kilometers northwest of Corfu town, where there are discos and bars.
You can go on excursions from Corfu to several destinations, including Kefalonia, Paxi and Albania. An excursion to Kefalonia includes Melissani Grotto and Drogarati Cave, while a trip to Paxi includes the blue caves. If you go to Albania, you should visit Butrint, a UNESCO world Heritage Site.
How to get there
Corfu airport is 4 km south of the town, and there are daily flights between Corfu and Athens. There’s also regular flights to Thessaloniki.
Half a dozen times a day, ferries and hydrofoils go between Corfu and Igoumenitsou on the mainland. If you want to go to the neighbouring island of Patras, there are several ferries each week. During high season, many of the ferries between Greece and Italy also stop a Corfu.