Corfu Island

Corfu Island from the North to the South, is a brilliant base of exploration, inspiration and magic! Explore the best of Corfu in one of our Corfu private tours.

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Corfu Island
Corfu Island
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The Island

Corfu Island is the westmost part of Greece. It is a medium- sized island with an area of 610,9 km2 and its estimated population is 110.000 inhabitants while the population of the Old Town alone is 28.000. It has an international airport, a large and busy port and a dense road network. Corfu is home to the Ionian Academy that consists of 6 faculties of higher education. Corfu also has a newly equipped hospital and several Health Centers. The intense economic activity of Corfu is mainly based on tourism.

A UNESCO World Heritage Monument, added in the List in 2007, the Old Town οf Corfu is well-known for its narrow cobblestone alleyways, known as ~Kantounia~~with the washing lines hanging above and the multi-storied and densely built houses. This particularly picturesque setting along with the several remains of the old city walls, resembles a theatrical scene retaining its old-world charm.

Fortifications, secret pathways, commanding gates, the impressive fortresses and the embossed St. Mark’s Winged Leo indicate the strong Venetian influence. Liston, the most popular center of social gatherings and entertainment reflects the beauty of the French elegance and the imposing Palace of Saints George and Michael marks the prosperous period of the British rule. Today, the Palace houses the Museum of Asian Art and the Municipal Library.

The huge square of ‘’Spianada’’ that unifies the Old Fortress with the dense residential area of Old Town, is a clear evidence that the French and British had once tributed to its configuration.

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A cultural UNESCO World Heritage

Corfu has to offer plenty of cultural sights and attractions. The 3 Philharmonic Societies, the Reading Society and the Museum of Ancient History are some of them. Also, the ‘’Achilleion’’ Palace of the Empress Sissy of Austria in Gastouri and the branch of the National Library in the village “Korakiana’’are two attractions certainly worth visiting.

The Old Town is a charming ensemble of diverse influences that coexist in harmony. Its splendid atmosphere is complemented by cozy restaurants, elegant stores and popular small bars that can be found in the narrow alleyways and small squares. The very expressive and hospitable Corfiots and the usual happenings, such as the joyful or melancholic music of the Philharmonic bands that march through the streets in numerous occasions and events, complete the picture uniquely.

The Old Town is perimetrically separated from the sea with stone walls that on the east side end in ‘’Mon Repos”, a summer Royal Estate of old times. Within the area of Mon Repos, the noble mansion built by a madly in love British Officer- nowadays small museum-the botanical garden, the ruins of ancient temples, the open-air theatre, and the sapphire sea, over which the pines and oak trees of the dense vegetation bend gracefully, create a picture of incomparable beauty and energy. The wider area of Mon Repos is exactly where the ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine town of Corfu had initially been located. That is why the area is called ‘’Paleopolis’’ which means ‘’ancient town’’.

Heading towards the countryside of Corfu, one can experience an endless visual paradise of wild natural landscapes: vast olive groves, vineyards, forests, lakes, lush hills and more than 200 villages, all spread from the one end of the island to the other. Plenty of alternating landscapes follow, as well, the coastline: long sandy beaches, bright white pebbles, thick sand, caves, rocks and the dense vegetation that often reaches the waves. Despite the long over time tourist tradition, there are still many places of natural beauty to be found and explored and villages that the intense development has not yet touched.

Within centuries, Corfu became the place of colorfulness, music and flavour. The popular traditional funfairs, the local songs and dances, the traditional costumes and cuisine, the handsome mansions, the small picturesque houses, the homemade olive oil and wine, the similarities and differences between the country and city life are all parts of a unique combination.

From the North to the South, Corfu is a brilliant base of exploration, inspiration and magic!

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History & Culture

From the time of Homer to this day, Corfu built a multi-cultured character incorporating in its culture the best elements of diverse civilizations that had strongly influenced the island.

In Odyssey, Homer describes Corfu as the most hospitable of all destinations and the last one before Odysseus arrived at his home on Ithaca.

In ancient times, Corfu, a classic ancient Greek city having a Parliament, temples and marketplace, was initially located at Paleopolis. Later, a new city of Corfu was gradually constructed in the land that later became the Old Fortress and slowly expanded to the area where it is today.

In 1386, Corfu surrendered to Venice for 4 centuries. Wanting to protect the island from the repeated Ottoman invasions, the Venetians constructed walls and built one more fortress and several other smaller fortifications. Over time, the town of Corfu acquired its current form due to the defense constructions of the Venetians. The housing complex of the old town as well as the powerful fortifications were instrumental in repulsing the repeated attempts of the Ottomans to take over. The absence of the Turkish influence along with Corfu’s strong bond with Venice and the West, built the unique cultural character the island has today. The people and especially the noble of this era, adopted many of the Venetians’ customs in manners, clothing, entertainment and cuisine.

In the 18th century, the city of Corfu saw the erection of the first Opera house (San Giacomo) in Greece and since then, it is considered the island of music! At the end of the 18thcentury, Corfu was conquered by the French and later, at the beginning of the 19th century, went under the British rule and protection. Corfu is the origin of the first printing company, public library and university (Ionian Academy) in Greece. Also, the Philharmonic Society, the Reading Society and the School of Art, also established in the 19th century, were three institutionsοf immense cultural contribution that continues to this day.

Corfu was the birthplace for important personalities, artists, writers and poets, musicians and composers. Ioannis Kapodistrias, the first Governor of modern Greece, Nikolaos Mantzaros, composer of the Greek Anthem and Spyros Samaras, composer of the Olympic Anthem were born here. The great historical events, the unique architecture, musical tradition, fantastic cuisine, language, customs and lifestyle are some of the elements that built, over time, the glamorous character that Corfu has today: a deeply Greek place with European air. Both natural and cosmopolitan, maintains one of its highest characteristics: the authenticity. It is no exaggeration to say that Corfu has everything it takes to remain indelible in the memory of all visitors.