Corfu Island Attractions
In summer 2007 the old town was listed in the UNESCO list for the preservation of worldwide heritage.
The old town is designated by the intense Venetian element but also by a lot of English and French influences. It is a maze of narrow cobbled streets (kantounia) overshadowed by old mansions.
SPIANADA – LISTON
Spianada square is said to be the largest square in the Balkans. It is located between the town and the Old Fort.
In the west side is Liston, an impressive building complex. It was built under the French rule, in imitation of the Parisian Rue de Rivoli. According to tradition only the gentries who were registered in the list of nobles had the right to walk here. Today it hosts elegant cafes beneath its colonnade. There is a cricket pitch opposite the Liston, which is said to be the most atmospheric pitch in Europe.
The northern side is dominated by the Palace of St.Michael and St.George,one of the finest examples of Regency Style outside Britain.
East of Spianada a bridge above the Venetian ditch leads to the Old Fortress.
On the south end you may find various green spaces, a Roman-influenced rotunda, a monument commemorating the union of the Ionian Islands with Greece and a gorgeous music pavilion, where concerts are often performed during the summer months.
PALACE OF St. MICHAEL AND St. GEORGE
It was built around1819, during the period that Corfu was under British occupation.
The building except for one spacious house for the British High Commissioner, was also used as the headquarters of the battalion of St. Michael and St. George. Today houses the Asian art museum and the Municipal Art Gallery and a lovely cafe’.
This is where the city of Corfu was located from 60 BC until the 14th century, and was built by the Venetians in order to protect the city from the invasions. Today two impressive bastions remain, which bear the names of the Italian engineers Martinengo and Savorgan, as well as later British buildings, such as the church of St. George, built in 1840, a large basilica in the style of an ancient Doric temple. Although it’s a steep climb the views from the old lighthouse at the highest point are well worth the effort.
This is situated in the northwestern end of the city. It was built on the late 16th century, by the Venetians, on St. Mark’s hill for the better protection of the continuously developing Corfu city and its surroundings. It offers a panoramic view of the city.
The building dates, in its present form from 1725. The army quarters of Grimani where situated here. After 1824 became the home of the Ionian Academy, which was the first university of the “newborn” Greek State.
Two built in plaques,(in Greek and in English) in front of this neoclassic rhythm building, are referred to the decision of the parliament on 23/9/1863 to unite the Ionian islands with Greece, which was signed in this building.
GREEK ORTHODOX CATHEDRAL
Built in 1577, the cathedral’s prize possession is the headless body of St. Theodora.
CHURCH OF SAINT SPYRIDON
It was built in 1590 and the roof is decorated with Renaissance icon paintings. Its bell tower is the highest in town. St. Spyridon is the Patron Saint of the island and its relics are housed in a silver casket, in the church.
THEATRE OF SAN GIACOMO – CITY HALL
This was named after the Catholic Cathedral, which is in front of it. Established in 1693 as a gathering place of the nobility, it was converted into theater in 1720. It became the center of Opera in Greece, between 1733 and 1892 when it was converted to the City Hall.
The Catholic Cathedral of Sts. Giacomo and Cristoforo was built in 1553 and has various appreciable works of art, one of which is the mural of Chrissoloras, dated 1756.
PONTICONISI – PANAGIA VLAHERNON
A small island, covered with pine trees, home to Pantokrator Monastery (13th century). It was named after its shape:”ponticonisi” means “mouse island”!
According to a legend it is the ship of Odysseus, turned into stone by Poseidon.
On the tiny island on the foreground, is the convent of Panagia Vlahernon, linked to the mainland by a causeway. From here you can take a boat to Ponticonisi.
Inside a green park, this mansion, “Mon Repos”, was built in 1824, in order to be given to the British commanding officer. Later became the summer house of the Greek, ex-royal family. This house was the birthplace of the Queen of England’s consort, Prince Philip.
Today it hosts the Paleopolis Museum.
Paleopolis, according to archeologists is where the center of the ancient city of Corfu used to be.
There was the market, the Doric temple of Kardaki, the roman baths. Further out north, remains the Monument of Menekratis, a circular funerary monument with a conical roof, built around 600 BC. The inscription is one of the oldest in Greece.
In the south of Paleopolis is the temple of Artemis Gorgous. Built in the early 6th century, when the island was under the sovereignty of Periander, tyrant of Corinth.
The summer residence of the Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Sissy), in Gastouri. She named the mansion “Achilleion”, in honor of Achilles and his huge statue dominates the palace’s garden. Now functions as a museum.
Pelekas is located on the west coast of Corfu, just a few minutes away from bellow villas and 12 kilometres west from Corfu (Kerkyra) town. It is a picturesque village set on a rocky hill (272 m. high, ~500 inhabitants), whose summit according to the Corfiots say – is the best place to watch the sun go down.
Above the village is the Kaisers Lookout where Kaiser Wilhelm II frequently went to admire the spectacular sunsets off the west coast.
The majestic view from the peak incorporates not only the evergreen northern and eastern side of the island, the rugged south-west coast, but also where you can enjoy the magnificent setting sun, disappearing into the crystal clear Ionian sea.
On the west coast of the island. Astonishing green beauty with amazing beaches and caves. At the top of the hill lies a male monastery dedicated to the Virgin, founded in 1225. Not far away, Angelokastro, is a Byzantine fortress, built on the summit of a steep crag.
In northeastern Corfu, a charming town with a traditional port. On the hillside you may visit the ruins of Kassiopi castle, with lovely views over the town and the harbour.