One of the most cosmopolitan islands of Greece, Corfu is located on the northern side of the Ionian Sea. It is considered by many to be the most beautiful of all the Greek islands. It is a popular destination for families and individual tourists, but also offers interesting cultural opportunities. It charms visitors with the Venetian style, the lovely beaches and the relaxing feeling. Corfu Town charms visitors at first sight with the Venetian style that reminds very much of Italian towns, like Venice and Florence.
Many beautiful beaches are found around the island, such as Paleokastritsa, Agios Gordios, Glyfada, Nissaki and others. Corfu holidays can be a great experience for families, couples or group of friends, as it has something special for everyone. The main season includes the summer months until the end of October. It is the greenest of the Ionian Islands and probably also the best known. You will be fascinated by a beguiling landscape of wild flowers, cypress trees, olive trees and several seductively sandy beaches.
The hugely popular beach resort of Paleokastritsa is found on the west coast of Corfu, about 22 km from Corfu Town.
Paleokastritsa is considered one of the most beautiful area of Corfu and a renowned Greek beauty spot with a clutch of beaches around a wooded headland.
There six beaches in Paleokastritsa, of various sizes and clustered in three main bays enveloped by tall cliffs and forested headlands sprinkled with olive and citrus groves.
The main beach resort at Paleokastritsa lies just off the twisting coastal road that is a pleasure to drive with its impressive sea views.
This is good walking country too and a favorite trek is up the steep road to Theotokos Monastery above Paleokastritsa or to the 13th century Venetian Castrizza San Angelo.
There are plenty of tavernas bars and cafes to meet the daily demands of the summer crowds although none of them are cheap in this tourist honey pot.
There are regular buses to Corfu Town every hour for most of the day and water taxis leave the main beach daily for trips to nearby beaches.
Monastery in Western Corfu
▲On the headland above Paleokastritsa’s western end, this Orthodox monastery dates from the 13th century, although the current buildings are more recent. An easy 10-minute walk (or even easier drive) up from the beach, it’s a lovely spot, set amid colorful gardens, patrolled by contented cats, and blessed with bountiful views.
Church of Saint Spiridon
Religion is a very important part of life in Corfu and there are many churches present everywhere. In the Old Town alone you will find about twenty of them. The Church of Saint Spiridon, located in the centre of the Old Town, was built in 1590 and is a typical example of the ecclesiastical architecture of the Ionian Islands in Greece. Saint Spiridon, the patron of Corfu, was born, lived and died in this city.
Achillion The Palace
Historic building in Corfu Town
▲Set atop a steep coastal hill 12km south of Corfu Town, the Achillion Palace was built during the 1890s as the summer palace of Austria’s empress Elizabeth, the niece of King Otto of Greece. The palace’s two principal features are its intricately decorated central staircase, rising in geometrical flights, and its sweeping garden terraces, which command eye-popping views.
There’s surprisingly little to see inside, other than mementoes of Elizabeth, who was assassinated in Genoa in 1898, and of the German kaiser Wilhelm II, who bought the palace in 1907 and added the namesake statue of Achilles Triumphant.
It’s well worth getting an audio guide; the descriptions of various statues, paintings and background are excellent for context.
Architecture in Corfu Town
▲Corfu Town owes the elegant, photogenic Liston, the arcade that lines the northern half of the Spianada, to neither the Venetians nor the British, but to the French. Designed during the brief Napoleonic occupation of Corfu (1807–14), its harmonious four-storey houses were modeled on Paris’ then-new rue de Rivoli. A procession of grand, see-and-be-seen cafes sprawls under the arcade, open to both the Spianada and to Kapadistriou around the back.
Old fortress in Corfu Town
▲The rocky headland that juts east from Corfu Town is topped by the Venetian-built 14th-century Palaio Frourio. Before that, already enclosed within massive stone walls, it cradled the entire Byzantine city. A solitary bridge crosses its seawater moat.
Only parts of this huge site, which also holds later structures from the British era, are accessible to visitors; wander up to the lighthouse on the larger of the two hills for superb views.
A gatehouse contains the small Byzantine Collection of Corfu, while the temple-like Church of St George stands on a large terrace to the south.