Published in Travel Guides
Corfu island,  κερκυρα, kerkyra, ionian islands, greece, hipgreece, old town of corfu


Its  beauty has drawn visitors for centuries

The blend of Ve­ne­tian, Eng­lish and French pe­ri­ods and styles in the Old Town, with its cas­tles, stone-flagged al­leys lo­cal­ly called ‘kandounia’ and the ar­cades will en­chant you. You will also be enchanted by  the sce­nic routes through the mag­nif­i­cent coun­try­side with lush green hills and superb deep­ly in­dent­ed coast­line with gor­geous beach­es.


Cor­fu is at­trac­tive as a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion at eve­ry sea­son of the year. It has nat­u­ral beau­ty, spe­cial ar­chi­tec­tu­ral inter­est and a sophisticated life­style.  The island’s main points of inter­est are the Old Town, the green­ery, the love­ly land­scape and beach­es, as well as the tra­di­tion­al vil­lag­es of the inter­i­or. If it’s peace and quiet you seek, you should avoid the stretch­es from the town of Cor­fu as far as Ip­sos, Aha­ra­vi, Ro­da and Si­da­ri, and from Be­nits­es to Mo­rai­ti­ka and Ka­vos.

The most out­stand­ing scen­ery of the is­land is on its west coast, between Pa­leo­kas­trit­sa and Agios Gor­dis



It is said that Cor­fu is the Ho­mer­ic is­land of the Phaea­ceans, the king­dom of Al­ki­noos. Ac­cord­ing to leg­end its Greek name de­rives from the nymph Ker­ky­ra, daugh­ter of the river-god Aso­pos, or Kor­ky­ra, with whom Po­sei­don, god of the sea, fell in love and whom he brought to the is­land.

In the 8th c. BC Ere­trian col­o­nists ar­rived and lat­er oth­ers came from Co­rinth. In the sub­se­quent cen­tu­ries Cor­fu evolved into a mar­i­time and com­mer­cial pow­er, which aroused the an­ger of the moth­er city of Co­rinth. In the na­val bat­tle of 644 BC between the two, it was Cor­fu who won the day. When in 299 BC the Il­lyr­ian queen Teu­ta at­tacked the is­land, the in­hab­i­tants re­quest­ed the aid of the Ro­mans who under the com­mand of the con­sul Ful­vi­us suc­cess­ful­ly re­pulsed the Il­lyr­ians and for the next five cen­tu­ries Cor­fu con­tin­ued in peace­ful co­ex­is­tence with Rome, be­com­ing a fa­vour­ite re­sort of the em­per­ors. In the 4th c. AD the is­land passed to the Byz­an­tine Em­pire and be­gan to de­cline due to re­peat­ed at­tacks by Goths, Nor­mans and Cru­sad­ers.

There fol­lowed the Ve­ne­tian dom­i­na­tion from 1204, the Byz­an­tine in 1214 and then that of the Ange­vins, French con­quer­ors of the king­dom of Two Si­ci­lies, in 1267 un­til the sec­ond pe­ri­od of Ve­ne­tian oc­cu­pa­tion be­gin­ning in 1386 and last­ing un­til 1797. It was thanks to the Ve­ne­tians that Cor­fu es­caped dom­i­na­tion by the Ot­to­mans, de­spite the latter’s sieg­es and at­tacks, and fol­lowed the ev­o­lu­tion of the West in the arts and sci­enc­es.

In 1797 the is­land was tak­en over by the French re­pub­li­cans who pub­lic­ly burned the Li­bro d’ Oro, the co­dex of the no­bil­ity, and al­so the deeds of land own­er­ship. How­ev­er, their poor ad­min­is­tra­tion dis­con­tent­ed the Cor­fi­ots and they turned to Rus­sia, who ad­vo­cat­ed the in­de­pen­dence of the Io­ni­an is­lands. In 1800, the Trea­ty of Con­stan­tin­o­ple creat­ed the in­de­pen­dent Sep­tin­su­lar Re­pub­lic which was dis­solved in 1807 by the French who this time ben­e­fit­ed the is­land with ma­jor pub­lic works. Af­ter Napoleon’s de­feat Cor­fu came into the hands of the Brit­ish, who al­so con­struct­ed im­por­tant build­ings, roads and the wa­ter sup­ply.

Even­tu­al­ly the Trea­ty of Lon­don in 1863 re­turned Cor­fu and the oth­er Io­ni­an is­lands to Greece.




Cor­fu is the part of Greece clos­est to west­ern Eu­rope, both geo­graph­i­cal­ly and cul­tu­ral­ly. It was the first ar­ea of the coun­try to be con­quered by the Ro­mans, who treat­ed their ac­qui­si­tion with be­nev­o­lence. In the course of its his­to­ry the is­land passed through the hands of the Ve­ne­tians, the French and the Brit­ish, who al­so in turn left the stamp of their cul­tures. The Cor­fi­ots have a long tra­di­tion in mu­sic, thea­tre and in­tel­lec­tu­al pur­suits. The Cor­fu Phil­har­mon­ic So­ci­ety was found­ed in 1840 and there are to­day doz­ens of bands on the is­land. In 1808 Greece’s first uni­ver­sity was in­sti­tut­ed, the Io­ni­an Acad­e­my and in 1815 the first School of Fine Arts, while the Read­ing So­ci­ety which con­tin­ues to flour­ish to this day, was al­so the first in­sti­tu­tion of its kind.

Cor­fu is 50 km long, 25 km at its wid­est and pro­duc­es olive oil, dairy prod­ucts, fruits and veg­e­ta­bles. The pop­u­la­tion is 110,000, of which 35,000 in­hab­it the town. The cli­mate is mild and hu­mid, thus ac­count­ing for the rich veg­e­ta­tion with nu­mer­ous va­rie­ties of trees, of which the olive trees — 4,000,000 ! — and cy­press dom­i­nate in the land­scape. The island’s size per­mits its vis­i­tors to choose the most suit­able spot for a hol­i­day, so that even in the  month of Au­gust when it is sub­merged by the hordes of tour­ists, any­one who so wish­es can find tran­quil­lity in iso­lat­ed ar­e­as.




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