Corfu is an island in the Ionian Sea. It is known for its stunning natural beauty, with beaches of turquoise waters, lush green hills, and traditional villages. The culture of Corfu has been influenced by Italian and British dominion. Additionally, Corfu offers interesting museums, luxurious resorts, excellent gastronomy, and a tradition in the production of olive oil and high-quality wines.
History of Corfu
Over the centuries, the island acquired many other names before it received its current name, Corfu, which derives from the nymph Corcyra, daughter of the river Asopus. During the Roman period, Corfu faced pirate attacks that targeted the entire Mediterranean.
During the Byzantine period, Corfu endured constant raids from barbarians and pirates. An notable event was the spread of Christianity on the island. Additionally, Corfu was frequently used as a base by Justinian for his military campaigns. In 1081, the Normans confirmed their control over the island. In 1147, the Byzantines, with the Venetian fleet, managed to liberate Corfu from Norman occupation. In 1204, Corfu definitively passed into the hands of the Venetians.
The period of Venetian rule lasted for four centuries and was governed according to the aristocratic system of Venice. Venetian rule allowed Corfu to avoid the tyrannical dominance of the Ottomans. With the treaty signed by the Great Powers in 1863 in London, the English protection over the Ionian Islands ended, and in May 1864, Corfu finally united with Greece. Since then, Corfu gradually lost its power in favor of Athens, but the island developed politically and economically.
Despite the difficulties it faced, Corfu has become one of the most organized and beautiful tourist destinations in the entire Mediterranean. The island offers wonderful vacations and has preserved its historical heritage, despite the destruction it suffered during the two world wars.
Beaches in Corfu
- Cannon Kassiopi: One of the most impressive beaches in Corfu with a unique landscape of unparalleled beauty, located in the middle of a verdant peninsula. Large, smooth rocks and azure waters characterize Cannon Kassiopi. Although most of the beach is covered with rocks, they can comfortably accommodate umbrellas and sunbeds, offering a unique experience.
- Sidari: Here we have essentially two beaches in the north of the island, near a settlement that is a landmark for every visitor to Corfu, Sidari. The first one is organized (with sunbeds, umbrellas, and a beach bar), featuring white sand and countless options for water sports, from water skiing and canoeing to diving, regardless of age and experience level.
- Canal of Love: Right next to the beach of Sidari, there is an area of exotic beauty and worldwide fame for its turquoise waters and the white sculpted rocks surrounding it. Also known as Canal d'Amour, the Canal of Love follows a myth that states that any couple swimming in its waters will be together forever!
- Glyfada: One of the most cosmopolitan beaches in Corfu, located in the west of the island. It is not close to any settlement or village, so it mainly appeals to lovers of unspoiled beaches. However, it is an excellent choice for families due to its large sandy area and its proximity to the island's largest water park, Aqualand.
- Agios Gordios: With the church of Agios Gordios built right in the center of the beach and right by the sea, Agios Gordios beach is well-known on the western coast of the island, especially among nature lovers. Shallow, turquoise waters, golden fine sand, a green mountain filled with vineyards, olive groves, impressive rocky formations, and a picturesque village called Kato Garouna compose a picture of unique beauty.
- Agios Georgios Pagon: A vast expanse of fine sand in the northwest of the island, which includes a charming bay. Agios Georgios Pagon is surrounded by taverns, bars, and small hotels, providing the basics for visitors who prefer this beach for its relaxed atmosphere. For breathtaking views, head to the north of the beach and the settlement of Afionas.
- Paleokastritsa: Also known as the beach of Agios Spyridon, it is one of the most central, organized, and crowded beaches in Corfu. Its natural beauty and organization make it particularly beloved and popular, especially during the tourist season. It has been awarded the Blue Flag, while the calm and clear waters, the golden sand, and the pine-fringed bay that embraces the beach of Paleokastritsa are some of the reasons that can make you fall in love with it.
Sights in Corfu
- Mon Repos: The impressive neoclassical palace Mon Repos is located in Paleopolis and is a source of natural beauty on its own, as it hosts rare species of plants and animals. It was built out of love, as the Englishman Sir Frederic Adam constructed it for the sake of Corfiot Nina Palatianou, who dreamed of living in a small palace in the countryside! After the union of the Ionian Islands with Greece, it was granted to King George I, and since 1995, it has been in the hands of the Greek state and is open to the public! Today, it houses the Archaeological Museum of Paleopolis.
- Museums: In Corfu, there are many interesting museums and art spaces that will capture your attention. In my opinion, it's worth starting with the Palace of Michael and George in the old town, which houses the Museum of Asian Art. The museum's collection began to be gathered in 1927 and mainly consists of donations, with the largest one being from Gregory Manos with 10,500 pieces!
- Churches and Monasteries: Religion in Corfu, as in the whole of Greece, is an important element in the lives of the inhabitants, and one can witness this through the countless churches on the island. In the old town alone, there are about 20 churches! The most significant of these is, of course, the St. Spyridon Church in the heart of the old town. This church was built in 1590 and is a representative example of the ecclesiastical architecture of the Ionian Islands.
- Achilleion: In the third position on the list, I have placed Achilleion. The Palace of Sisi, as it is widely known, is located approximately ten kilometers outside the old town, in the village of Gastouri. Queen Elisabeth of Austria, also known as Sisi, fell in love with Corfu during her tour of the Mediterranean islands and decided to settle there, seeking to overcome the sorrow from the tragic losses suffered by her family and the tuberculosis that afflicted her.
- Paleokastritsa: Paleokastritsa is located in the northwestern part of Corfu and is considered by many to be not only the most beautiful spot on the island but also in the entire Ionian Sea! It takes its name from the neighboring Angelokastro, the oldest castle on the island, and consists of a series of beaches separated by small capes.
How to travel to / from Corfu?
The transfer from Corfu to Igoumenitsa and the return journey are easy, as there are ships departing from one port throughout the year. The route is operated by two ferry companies, Kerkyra Lines and Kerkyra Seaways. Ticket prices for this route range from 5 to 10 euros. Tickets are available for both passengers and vehicles, such as cars and motorcycles.
The duration of the journey from Corfu to Igoumenitsa is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. With Kerkyra Seaways, which is the fastest option on this route, you can reach your destination in 1 hour and 30 minutes. Direct routes to Igoumenitsa are currently available.
Below are some of the ship routes to Corfu:
- Agioi Saranta-Corfu ferry routes
- Ancona-Corfu ferry routes
- Venice-Corfu ferry routes
- Bari-Corfu ferry routes
- Brindisi-Corfu ferry routes
Once you choose the appropriate ferry route, you can easily and quickly book your ferry ticket through booktickets. Complete your reservation and secure your spot on the ship in a timely manner.