The stunning Greek Island of Corfu – known locally as Kerkyra – is located in the western Ionian Sea and is the second largest of the Ionian Islands. This spectacular cruise destination is a firm favourite amongst travellers, especially those with a love of soft sandy beaches, fascinating ancient heritage and a wonderful Mediterranean climate. Corfu is brimming with incredible things to see and do, and this blog will discuss some of the port’s must-see attractions, so you know where to go next time you voyage to the this marvellous Greek Island.
The Old Town
The Old Town of Corfu contains a plethora of historic structures and impressive churches, boasting a unique blend of cultures from throughout the ages, incorporating Venetian, French and British influences. A great place to begin your exploration of the Old Town is the Esplanade – a large area of park ground on which to relax in the sun before setting off to observe the local attractions.
The Old Venetian Fortress is one of the Old Town’s most prominent landmarks. Built in 1546 on the site of an ancient Byzantine castle, the fortress is separated from the rest of the Old Town area by a large moat. A short walk from the this imposing fortress is the 19th century Palace of St Michael and St George, which now houses a number of terrific artefacts and exhibitions including a large collection of Asian artwork.
Old Perithia – Corfu’s oldest village – is a Heritage Protected Site located within a Designated Area of Natural Beauty, sitting in the shadow of Mount Pantokrator. The village is famous as Corfu’s ancient hideout from pirate assaults, ideally placed to provide great cover whilst also home to a tall look-out tower. The village boasts eight historic churches alongside hundreds of Venetian houses, standing as testament to the area’s illustrious heritage.
The village is also surrounding with natural beauty, in the form of towering oak trees, quaint vineyards and splendid orchids, offering the perfect place to take a stroll and appreciate the local scenery.
Aside from Old Perithia, Corfu is also home to an assortment of other historic villages, each with its owns unique character and timeless charm. The village of Nymphes is surrounding in legend and intrigue and after a walk to the area’s beautiful waterfalls it is easy to see why. Elsewhere, Lakones is a typical Corfiot village situated on the slopes of a scenic hillside. This village is a fantastic place to go hiking and explore the natural beauty of the island.
Alternatively, the traditional village of Kynopiastes boasts a number of historic landmarks and structures, including old 17th and 19th century mansions, a 17th century monastery and a beautiful marble church, as well as a museum celebrating the humble olive tree. The villages of Roda and Achilleion are also well worth visiting if you have time.
As some of the island’s most popular attractions, Corfu’s beaches consistently attract droves of tourists. The eastern coast of the island usually has calmer ocean waters, while the west side of Corfu is known for its sandier shoreline. If you are hoping for a tranquil and serene day at the beach, Glifada Beach, Pelekas Beach and Chalikounas Beach are probably the best option.
Travellers hoping for a more active beach experience while visiting Corfu should head to Sidari Beach, Kassiopi Beach or Lefkimmi Beach, known for their family-friendly atmosphere and profusion of tourist-centric shops, bars and restaurants.
The Aqualand water park, located in the Agios Ioannis region of Corfu, is the ideal place for a fun-filled family day out. The park is home to a wide range of fabulous aquatic attractions, including large pools and water slides, scattered across a massive area of around 75,000 square metres. On a hot day, Aqualand can make for an amazing excursion. While active travellers and children can splash around on the park’s many rides, parents and less energetic guests can simply relax on a sun bed and work on their tan. Aqualand truly offers something for people of all ages.
MJJR – wikimedia.org
Tim Niblett – flickr.com