Spend a day by the beach and ports of Corfu and soak up the sun
1. Wander the maze of streets and peaceful squares of Corfu Old Town, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. As you take in the charming Venetian and pastel-hued buildings you can’t fail to wonder at the history of this place, and you are also never more than a few minutes from the coast.
2. At the top end of the ‘Spaniada’, Corfu Town’s central park area, stands the Palace of St Michael and St George. This is the most significant building from the period of English rule and was originally built as the luxury residence of the then British Lord High Commissioner. It’s now home to the Corfu Museum of Asian Art – the only one of its kind in Greece, dedicated to the art of India and the Far East.
3. Corfu Town is watched over by two forts, the Venetian-built ‘New Fort’ dates from the 1500s and boasts picturesque views over the tiled roofs of Old Town. The ‘Old Castle’ dates back to Byzantine times and contains a small church and museum as well as now being a popular venue for open-air concerts and art exhibitions.
4. If you’re a keen hiker, or even if you’re not, perhaps one of the best ways to truly appreciate the island’s beauty is to walk part of the Corfu Trail. Established in 2001, the trail runs for 137 miles along the entire length of the island. You’ll find the stunning landscape changes hourly, taking you from vast beaches to rugged gorges and rolling olive groves.
5. Spend a day in the beautiful coastal town of Paleokastritsa. This hilly resort nestles between high cliffs, coves and steep slopes lined with olive groves and citrus orchards. It is rightly popular with tourists so expect plenty of amenities, but also manages to retain its charm. Its Theotókou Monastery is also well worth a visit.
6. Mon Repos Palace sits atop Analipsis hill in the Kanoni area of Corfu. A small but very beautiful palace, this is the house where Prince Philip was born in June 1921. Following many years of wrangling with the former Greek royal family, the palace is now open to the public and includes a museum packed with Ionian treasures.
7. Corfu is famed for its beaches, but the little bays around the village of Sidari are particularly renowned for their beauty. Over time erosion has formed several striking rock formations in the area, including tiny coves and narrow channels. One of them, the Canal d’amour, is so called because anyone swimming right along it is said to find the partner of their dreams.
8. There are 37 churches in Corfu’s Old Town, all within 15 minutes’ walking distance. Perhaps the most important though is the 15th Century Venetian style church named after the patron saint of the island, St Spiridon. Its bell tower is the highest point of the town.
9. Located high in the hills, off the main road between Kassiopi and Acharavi, stands the deserted village of Old Perithia. Once home to a population of 1,200, it was abandoned from the 1960s – and with records dating back to the 1400s is now effectively a medieval time capsule. There are several good tavernas located in the main village square once you’ve tired of wandering the cobbled streets.
10. The small island of Pontikanisi sits just south of Corfu Town. This famed ‘green rock’ may be one of Corfu’s ‘trademarks’ but it is a natural wonder you can admire – but not touch. During the summer it can be reached by small boat from Kanoni port, but visitors are not allowed to walk around the island or go inside its small church for fear of damaging the environment. The only exception is on August 6 each year.