Corfu Cycladia Tips

Corfu Town

No matter how long you are in the island for, take at least one morning to explore the old town considered by many as the most beautiful town in Greece! The town consisting of three Venetian forts designed by renowned Venetian engineers and neoclassical housing is an architectural ensemble of outstanding universal value.

In June 2007, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as a fortified Mediterranean port town of high integrity and authenticity. Enjoy stroll around the narrow streets and alleyways with the old neoclassical buildings, exquisite Italian statues, picturesque piazzas, beautiful fountains, bell towers and tomes. Visit the baroque-style Spianada square, the Ionian Academy and the astounding architecture of the museum of Asian Art (which is the only one in Greece). Corfu has nothing to envy from Venice, Tuscany and the Italian Ravenna. Corfu town is so beautiful; it takes your breath away!

Kanoni - Spianada

Rent a car and drive up to Kanoni, located only few minutes from the Old Town. Choose one of the two café restaurants that enjoy a panoramic view of the bay, have lunch, a cold beer or a coffee. The sparkling Ionian Sea, the famous Pontikonisi and the islet of Virgin Mary Vlaherna will all be at your feet. The view is unbearably beautiful in the early afternoon before the sun sets.

Spianada is the main square of the island, the biggest one in the Balkans and one of the biggest in Europe. It’s the social hub of Corfu, where everybody goes for lunch, coffee and drinks at any time of the day. It was built according to the architectural style of European Royal Gardens and it’s surrounded by buildings of astounding Venetian and French architecture. Try it early in the morning or later at night. Everybody who’s anybody goes there!

Exactly behind Liston and Spianada Square you will see numerous restaurants that serve authentic Corfiat cuisine. Choose the one you like and enjoy dinner under the starlit sky in this picturesque pedestrian street.

Ano Peritheia – Travel back in time

Ano Peritheia is a little bit isolated and quite far from the capital town of Kerkyra but it’s definitely worth a visit, simply because it’s out of the ordinary. The ghost-town of Ano Peritheia is located on the north part of the island in the slopes of Pantokratoras Mountain.

Weird tales, urban legends and obscure narrations are linked to this place. An abandoned, mysterious and alluring medieval mountain village with deserted honey-stone and stucco mansions with rosy tiled roofs, Ano Peritheia was built at this isolated location around the 14th century by locals who wanted to be protected from the pirates, as well as the plague the island suffered.

Some people say that it was deserted when Corfu started becoming a popular holiday destination and everybody moved back to the seashore. But according to others, the plague did eventually reach the village leading to the death of many of its inhabitants and the rest just left. This entire village is a unique architectural monument and it’s definitely worth your visit. During the summer months there are two taverns with traditional cuisine, operating within the walls of this amazing ghost medieval town.

Lake Korission
If you are a nature lover do not omit to visit this beautiful saltwater lagoon, about 31 km from the city of Corfu. It’s a rare wetland, with wild vegetation and hundreds different types of birds, like curlews, egrets and oyster birds, widgeons and cormorants. There is also a small cedar forest nearby. The beach of Halikounas is at a close distance and it’s the favorite of those who prefer peace, quiet and crystal clear shallow waters.

For the Romantics
For those of you incurably romantics, there is a place you should definitely visit. Just left of the long sandy beach of Sidari, you will see the Canal d’ Amour (the channel of love). It’s basically a tunnel, between the rocks. Tradition says that whoever swims in this channel towards the other side will meet the love of their life. The entire beach is filled with small coves and sea caves and surrounding rocks have been sculpted by the winds and the sea, creating astonishing ensembles.

Paxoi – Antipaxoi

If you are planning to stay at Corfu for several days, take the flying dolphin and visit the exotic, tiny islets of Paxoi. Paxos is one large olive grove, with trees that reach all the way to the seashore. It has 64 churches, about 2.500 inhabitants and few truly exotic beaches with turquoise blue waters and pure white pebbles.

Antipaxos is about 2 nautical miles from Paxos and has 2 settlements and about 20 permanent residents. You will immensely enjoy swimming in the emerald waters and tasting the fresh fish in the local taverns. Prince William and Harry enjoyed it!

Diapontian Islands

These little islands could easily give a new meaning to the expression of a “hidden paradise”. Othonoi, Ereikoussa and Mathraki are located northwest of Corfu.

Othonoi is where one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece is located.

Aspri Ammos (White Sand) is accessible by small boats and it’s on the west side of the island. It has white sand, white pebbles and azure waters to die for.

Ereikoussa is filled with cypress trees, poplars and heathers, it’s perfectly round and it will take you about 2.5 hours to walk it over.

Mathraki has two lovely beaches, Ammos and Apidies, and two villages, Ano and Kato Mathraki. There are few traditional fish taverns and a couple of hotels, for those who prefer to enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty of the Ionian Sea.

Scuba Diving

For those of you who love scuba diving, the peculiar underwater landscape of Corfu will not disappoint you.

The most popular diving spots are:

Sceloudi Island, a small rocky islet with an exotic underworld filled with parrotfish, barracudas, breams and groupers, just off Palaiokastritsa.

Neptune’s Cave is a cavern with many narrow channels, two domes and spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.

• Odysseus is an offshore rocky islet and a top diving spot, listed among the best 100 of the world. Gigantic vertical cliffs, numerous reefs, fantastic underwater architecture and marine life.

• The Blue Eye, an underwater labyrinth, with one cavern and three large exits. The walls are covered with sponges and it’s recommended only for experienced divers.

• The Anchor is a peculiar bat cave. Divers can witness debris from a British ammunition transporter, which exploded and sunk in this very spot in 1944. The anchor lays at a 25m depth and its chain leads to the reef’s entrance.

• The Hole of Ha is a fascinating cave filled with natural light. A long underwater tunnel leads to a hall. As the ceiling of the hall has collapsed, you will have an astounding view of the trees and the sky through the water.

Legends and Secrets

The city of Corfu is linked to many legends, where the boundaries of reality and fiction are interwine. Legend has it that the entire Old Town is hollow underneath, especially the area below Spianada with underground tunnels connecting the Old with the New Fortress. These passages are closed for security reasons, but during the bombardments of 1943 many people sought refuge there. Other legends state that there are secret passages which connect the city and the Forts with the islet of Vidos (which also had a fort, demolished in 1864, just before the Union of the Ionian Islands with Greece).

Another fascinating story of the Corfiat tradition is Sagrado. These are mazy, narrow dungeons, in the basements of mansions. According to legend, during the Venetian occupation, the outlaws and the fugitives had the right to seek shelter in those mansions when the police was hunting them down. Rumor has it that the Aristocrats sometimes punished the alleged criminals and this is why these dungeons became notorious. During WW II, the Germans opened few of these Sagrados and discovered human skeletons and skulls. Seek for these dungeons in the basements of the Androutselis, Rivellis and Sordina’s mansions.

Kerasia – The Royal Destination
Kerasia is a very quiet cove of stunning natural beauty compromising of stunning architecture, breathtaking views to the cobalt blue of the Ionian Sea, roman baths, infinity pools, marble terraces, tiled floors and impeccable aesthetics. The area wouldn’t be known if it wasn’t for the famous estate of Lord Jacob Rothschild which is frequently visited by world class billionaires, hot shot businessmen, high profile politicians and members of the British Royal family.

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