«Breathe in, explore, discover»
Where the Venetians, the French and the British used to live.
With the passage of time the island may have changed, but we can still feel the spirit of a distant glorious past . Its rich multi-cultural heritage, its historic monuments, its stunning natural landscape, its crystal clear seas, and its excellent weather all year round explain why Corfu is one of the most cosmopolitan Mediterraneandestinations weaving a powerful spell on its visitors.
Corfu (Kérkyra), unlike the rest of Greece, never fell under the Ottoman oppression. Due to the successive dominations of the Venetians, the French and the British over the centuries, the island has primarily become part of the Western rather the Levantine world. Their culture wielded strong influence in the city: it was here that the first Greek University (the Ionian Academy), the first Philharmonic Orchestra and the First School of Fine Arts were founded.
In the beautifully preserved Old Town of Corfu, a UNESCO world heritage site, Renaissance, Baroque and Classical “repertoire” came to be successfully applied to local artistic traditions. Palaces, fortresses, austere public buildings of the Venetian rule uniquely blend with lines of drying washing in tiny alleyways and small secluded squares. Strolling through a complex of narrow cobbled streets with stairways and vaulted passages, the so-called “kantoúnia”, will make you feel as if you’ve travelled to Genoa or Naples.
• Archaeological Museum: Here you can admire important finds from the temple of Artemis and excavation finds from the ancient city of Corfu.
• Byzantine Museum: It is housed in the Church of the Virgin Mary Antivouniotissa and houses an interesting collection of icons and ecclesiastic items from the 15th to the 19th century.
• The Banknote Museum showcases a collection of Greek coinage from 1822 to the present day.
• Dionysios Solomos Museum: The national Poet of Greece left Zakynthos and moved to Corfu, important intellectual centre of the Ionian islands in those years. Solomos lived in a state of self-imposed isolation, and Corfu offered him the ideal environment to work on his studies in poetry. Today his house hosts a museum dedicated to his honour.
• Mon Repos Palace was built by the British Commissioner Adams as a gift to his Corfiot wife. It is a small but beautiful palace with colonial elements, which today operates as a museum. In this luxurious dwelling, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Elisabeth the Second, was born in 1921. The park around the palace is ideal for long romantic walks.
• Kanóni (meaning canon) offers from its circular terrace an amazing view across the island of Pontikoníssi (meaning Mouse Island), one of the most photographed spots of Corfu! According to the legend, this rocky islet was a Phaeacian ship that was turned into stone.
• Paleópolis (at Mon Repos estate) stands where the Agora of the ancient city of Corfu was located. Admire the remains of several public buildings erected there along with sanctuaries, workshops and residencies.
• Achilleion is a fairy palace built among cypresses and myrtles by the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, who wished to escape from the Austrian court. Elisabeth truly fell in love with the island, and she dedicated this palace to Achilles as she cherished the belief that he represented the very soul and fairness of Greece.