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Corfu – A Greek Island

  • June 26, 2017
  • By 50 Shades
  • 8 Comments
Corfu – A Greek Island

My husband always told me he would take me to the Greek Islands one day, so he came good on his promise when we sailed into the port of Kerkyra or Corfu. The Greek Islands have always conjured up images of white-washed walled and blue roofed buildings, set high into steep cliff faces and overlooking the impossibly azure blue waters of the sea. Corfu – a Greek island is one of the many spectacular islands that are dotted off the coastline of Greece in the Ionian Sea.

However, the majority of the Greek Island group are in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey and that is why when I first glimpsed Corfu on the other side of Greece in the Ionian Sea, it was not what I expected. No white-washed buildings or blue roofs, but a castle city with Venetian water-coloured buildings and ancient fortresses that once protected this city.

Corfu/Kerkyra

The Greek name Kerkyra, is related to two powerful water deities: Poseidon, god of the sea, and Asopos, an important Greek mainland river. Whereas the name Corfu means “city of the peaks”, denoting the two peaks on the island of Palaio Frourio. Names from two entirely different sources.

Corfu - A Greek Island

Views of Corfu Old Town and Port from the Fortress

On our arrival into the port we weren’t alone, there were two other huge cruise ships docked and there were tourists everywhere with tour buses, taxi driver and hop on hop off buses all waiting for the onslaught. Amongst the chaos we managed to work out a plan for the day and that involved getting aboard one of the top decker buses and setting off on a tour around a small part of the island.

Corfu - A Greek Island

One of the Venetian buildings in Corfu Old Town

Corfu Old Town

So it might sound like we’re obsessed with hop on hop off buses, but we discovered that they really are a great way of getting around and they also provide you with a commentary, via ear phones, of the history of the places you are seeing. The other alternatives are group tours, private tours or grabbing your own taxi driver and hoping he has some sort of knowledge of the place. But for those on a budget, like us, we found the double deckers to be an affordable option.

Corfu - A Greek island

A Waterfront Restaurant in Corfu

Cruising around, on a beautiful fine day with the most magnificent views, with the sea on one side and the Old Town on the other, was very enjoyable. But I’m not sure how this would go on a cloudy rainy day!

Corfu - A Greek Island

Corfu Old Fortress

We wound our way through the Old Town taking in the sights, smells and sounds of the 8th century BC fortress town. The Venetian Fort dominates the skyline. It was used for four centuries to defend the island. A lot of the housing that remains is partly from the Venetian period and partly from the 19th century. We passed the open air public markets that were just starting up for the day with stalls being set up in a large open square.

Corfu Ruins

After we got out of the Old Town we followed the shoreline around to Ormos Garitsas, a wide open bay with the Naok Sailing Club and Marina and many yachts moored in the bay. There is extensive parklands adjoining the bay and a few restaurants with lovely views over this pretty bay.

Corfu - A Greek Island

The wide bay of Ormios Garitsas

We discovered some old ruins of an early christian church and Paleopolis Archeological Site. Paleopolis is the ancient city of Corfu founded in the 8th century B.C. You can stroll around the site to the the old watchtower that leads you past the temple of Athena, and joins the road to Mon Repos Palace. Just outside the palace can be seen extensive archaeological works, and inside the grounds a temple has been excavated.

Ancient Church ruins in the Paleopolis Archeological Site

The ancient city was an important trading post, and it is easy to imagine the ships of many tribes bringing their colourful wares, and bartering on the quayside.

Kanoni

We headed in a southerly direction from Corfu town to the Kanoni Peninsula. The name Kanoni (canon) is derived from the canons that were protecting the city at the entrance of the lagoon, once the main port of the island, one still standing as a reminder of its turbulent history.

Corfu - A Greek Island

Views from Kanoni Peninsula

Kanoni has lovely pebble beaches and also offers the most magnificent views of Mouse Island (Pontikonisi) with the monastery of the Panagia Vlacherna which is joined via a small bridge.

Corfu - A Greek Island

Vlacherna Monastery at Kanoni

The area has many large hotels, restaurants, clubs and other shops that make Kanoni a thriving tourist destination, there is also the Corfu Casino housed in a hotel of the area.

Corfu - A Greek Island

Remnants of one of the canons sitting on top of Kanoni Peninsula

Corfu Old Fortress

We spent hours exploring the extensive grounds, buildings and museums of the Old Fortress, that is surrounded on three sides by sea. Strolling around the grounds it was hard to picture the Byzantines of the 12th century A.D. living within the walls of this fortress city. Later on during the 15th to 16th century the Venetians made modifications to the fortress before the British arrived.

Corfu - A Greek Island

The entrance across the moat to the Old Fortress

Corfu - A Greek Island

Inside the walls of the Old Fort

At the top of the fortress at Castel a Terra, where a cross marks the spot, there are panoramic views of the town and also of the opposite mainland coast. Or take the many stairs up to the old lighthouse that offers more stunning views.

Corfu - A Greek Island

An old lighthouse at the top of the fort

Corfu - A Greek Island

Views from the Old Fort Lighthouse

Corfu New Fortress

If the Old Fortress isn’t enough and you are hungry for more history, stories of battles and sieges, then there is a New Fortress opposite the old, separated by Old Corfu Town, overlooking the old port area. The New Fortress was constructed in 1576 by the Venetians with underground cisterns, powder magazines, artillery positions and underground halls.

Corfu - A Greek Island

The New Fortress

Other Corfu Attractions

Once we left the Old Fortress we wandered through the extensive gardens adjacent to the esplanade to The Liston with arcaded terraces, Venetian lanterns and fashionable cafes, where you can sit and enjoy a coffee and people-watch.

Corfu - A Greek Island

The Esplanade Gardens in Corfu Old Town

Corfu - A Greek Island

The Liston in Corfu Old Town

The Palace of Saints Michael and George, which now houses the Corfu Museum of Asian Art and the Municipal Art Gallery, is at the far end of The Liston.

Corfu - A Greek Island

Palace of Saints Michael & George

I could feel the lure of the hundreds of narrow alleyways and little streets branching off The Liston, brimming with gorgeous shops, and sauntered off into the maze!

Corfu - A Greek Island

Corfu Old Town

Roaming through these streets of souvenir shops, jewellery, leather ware, handmade needlework, brightly coloured scarves and kaftans, olive wood products, pizzerias and gelaterias, I was in shopping paradise.

Corfu - A Greek Island

Corfu Street Performers

I re-appeared many hours later with my loot, comprising of silver jewellery, lavender soaps, lava stone earrings and a small leather handbag.

Corfu - A Greek Island

The narrow shopping laneways in Corfu Old Town

What to see on the rest of Corfu Island

Time simply did not permit for us to see some of the other wonderful parts of this island, however if you were staying for a few days you would certainly explore more of the island.

Corfu - A Greek Island

One of the Beaches in Corfu

Worth seeing is:

  • Paleokastritsa Monastery and Beach
  • Fortress of Angelokastro
  • Agios Gordios Beach
  • Myrtiotissa Beach
  • Kassiopi Fishing Village
  • Agios Matheos Mountain Village
  • Pelekas Village
  • Achillion Palace, Gastouri
Corfu - A Greek Island

More views from the island of Corfu

Our friends we were travelling with, remarked that they could easily see themselves dropping out of the rat race and sailing on a yacht cruising the Greek Isles. Corfu was just a small sample of the richness and diversity of the Ionian and Aegean group of Greek Islands. It truly fulfilled my dream of a Greek Island escape and made me think I will need to return to see more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 50 Shades, June 26, 2017 Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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50 Shades

Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.

8 Comments
  • Suzie
    June 26, 2017

    Love your tour and pics of Corfu, especially Old Corfu sounds wonderful for shopping, gelati and delightful food! Mediterranean islands are just so relaxing after a busy day touring with historical sites. Love the lighthouse! Cheers, Suzie.

    • Kathy
      June 26, 2017

      Thank you Suzie. Corfu was beautiful, but I was expecting it to be more Greek! We enjoyed all of the islands on our cruise. I could easily return to do it all again. :)

  • budget jan
    June 26, 2017

    Lovely post – it’s only added to my already ardent desire for a Greek Island lifestyle.

    • Kathy
      June 26, 2017

      You and me both Jan. It would be nice just to do a Greek Island hop for a few months. I could easily slip into this lifestyle! :)

  • Carmel
    June 27, 2017

    Thanks for posting Kathy. Brings back great memories although really glad I did it in the 70s when not so many people around.However the luxurious cruise ships certainly different from my hostelling experiences.

    • Kathy
      June 27, 2017

      Tom said exactly the same as you. He went around Europe in an old Combi van in the late 70s. Corfu wasn’t what I expected, but it did have a lot of charm with an interesting history and a beautiful coastline. :)

  • Life Images by Jill
    June 28, 2017

    Ok, I am done for – I absolutely have to go to the Med. Thanks Kathy!

    • Kathy
      June 28, 2017

      Ha ha! I know exactly how you feel Jill. Friends of ours went years ago and I was extremely jealous at the time. So I planned ahead for my special birthday and got my wish. It was delightful – every part of it! :) #TeamLovinLife

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