Choosing Corfu as your big Greek holidays destination is a little tricky, for you won’t be seeing only pure Greek architecture and hear only Ancient myths around it. Choosing Corfu is like choosing an all-in-one option, including Greece, Venetia, Paris, Great Britain. We may draw a parallel between Corfu and a European exposition so if you want to see more than just a typical Greek island, then Corfu is the best place for you.
As the weather permits it, the island is alive all year long. The wonderful beaches invite you to take a swim in warm and crystal clear waters of Ionian Sea. The amazing rock formations create unbelievable views and romantic places. One could enumerate spectacular places to go for an eternity, but every second on Corfu feels like a moment spent beyond the time. Besides, all the magical and fascinating stories of people who have ever lived here taken into account, you can nearly forget the time and the reality. While walking through these streets it is so easy to imagine the aristocrats of all times coming here to relax and enjoy the mystical atmosphere of the island.
The island of many faces
As one of the Ionian Islands, Corfu seems to be the one with the biggest heritage of Western European culture due to its historical link to British, French, Russians and Italians. Situated on the northern side of the sea, for centuries it attracted conquerors making it the multicultural place we know today.
The Old Town of Corfu, qualified as a UNESCO world heritage site, represents Renaissance, Baroque and Classical styles all applied to local artistic traditions. Palaces, fortresses and Venetian-style buildings mix with Naples-like kantounia – a complex of narrow streets with stairways and vaulted passages. Moreover, if you like 19th century French architecture, you may like to take a look at Spianada: the largest square in the Balkans. You may also consider buying a coffee at one of cozy cafes at Liston. This place with dazzling Liston Arcade, altogether with the Reading Society, the Palace of St Michael and St Georgiou, the Ionian Parliament and the charming alleyways of Campiello, are the most impressive sites on the list.
Between surprising activities, resulting from the multicultural heritage, you can try cricket at Spianada. Otherwise, the colorful music festivals, culinary feasts, carnival inspired from the Venetian one attract visitors at any time of the year.
Indeed, this Mediterranean island is truly cosmopolitan in its looks and traditions. The most remarkable places are those related to famous figures or to myths and legends. The first one that can attract your attention is the Achilleion – an elegant Pompeian-style palace built among cypresses and myrtles by the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, also known as Sissi. Corfu became for her a refuge from the Austrian court after her son’s suicide and a place of consolation.
Another majestic building on the island is the summer residence of British High Commissioner from the 19th century – Mon Repos. In this luxurious dwelling, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was born in 1921. The park surrounding it is worth trying for long walks in the sunset.
Since Corfu has many impressive reefs, underwater caves and old shipwrecks the most important organized activity is scuba diving, especially on the northern side of the island. Sports like windsurfing and kite surfing are quite popular here but one has to bring their own equipment. Although, if you are more of a land man, many old footpaths leading to castles, mountainous villages, olive groves and secluded beaches should suit you.