Corfu is the second largest Greek island in the Ionian sea. This is the ideal place to rest and spend time actively. On the island you can find numerous beautiful beaches (details here) with crystal clear water as well as monuments and other interesting points. There are many ways to see the island. Hikers can benefit from the so-called Corfu Trail. This path leads from the south to the north of the island and reaches 220 km! The island can also be visited on quad or traditionally by the car.
The best place to start exploring the island is Corfu Town. Corfu is not a typical Greek city. Pastel colors of townhouses and wooden shutters in the windows, resemble more Venice than typical Greek houses. Anyway, it’s no surprising because the island was under the control of Venice for more than 300 years.
I can compare Corfu old town to the labyrinth of narrow climatic streets with cosy taverns, cafes and shops.
In addition to typical urban architecture there are two Venetian fortresses – New and Old. The Old Fortress is located on a small hill and is separated from the city by moat. From both strongholds you can admire the beautiful views of the city.
Along the main square called Esplanade (Spinada), you can see Liston – an elegant boulevard with characteristic arches, typical for French architecture.
White monastery with a view of the airport
Near Corfu town, there’s another popular tourist attraction – a small, white church called Vlacherna. The church is located on a small island and you can get there by a narrow bridge.
Beside it, you can see the green island of Pontikonisi, called also Mouse Island. It’s accessible only by boat, which costs 3€.
Close to the church you can see the Corfu airport, known from one of the shortest runways in Europe. Landing planes can be observed from the nearby hill.
Next stop is the palace of Empress Elizabeth Bavarian – known as Sisi, located close to the Gastouri village. The Empress was fascinated by Greek mythology, ancient history and she was fluent in Greek. The Palace of her design perfectly reflects her interests.
It received the name Achillion – in honor of her favorite mythical hero – Achilles. Its interior is decorated with numerous statues and paintings of the mythical gods and goddesses. Personally I was impressed by beautifully decorated “Stairs of the Gods” adorned with statues of mythical heroes. The palace is surrounded by a beautiful garden and marble statues. At the end of the garden, there’s also a beautiful view of the island.
The throne with a view of…
A little bit further, because only 13 km towards the northwestern part of the island, you can find an excellent vantage point – the Kaiser’s Throne. It is named after Emperor Wilhelm II Kaiser, who often visited this place especially at sunset. However, the views of the Ionian sea from this terrace are amazing also during the day.
Restaurant with a heart
Going further towards the north in the direction of Paleokastritsa the mandatory point for short rest is Bella Vista restaurant, located next to town – Lakones. It’s worth staying here not only for excellent fresh orange juice but also due to amazing views from the restaurant’s terrace.
Monastery on the hill
In the picturesque Paleokastritsa is another interesting point – monastery from the 13th century. The building is a very good example of Greek monastic architecture.
Located high on the cliff, it offers stunning views of the countryside.
The Casle of Angels
On the way back, it’s good to visit Angelokastro, which in translation means the Castle of Angels. It is located on a high, rocky ridge close to the the picturesque Paleokastritsa area.
Due to its strategic location, the fortress has never been taken. Moreover, it played the main role during the Turks raid in the 16th century. It is worth to add that Corfu, as the only one in Greece hasn’t been conquered by the Turks. At the moment, there are only ruins of the former fortress, but it is worth climbing to see the beautiful panorama of Corfu.
Pantokrator with Albania in the background
The best [lace to complete the trip is Pantokrator – the highest mountain in Corfu, which rises over the island, more than 900 m. At the top, there’s a small stone monastery and a number of transmitters of mobile base stations that definitely spoil the appearance of this place. However, the view from monastery includes a large part of Corfu and even Albanian mountains.