The coastline of the north east coast is one of the most scenic on the whole of the island, with rich greenery, overlooking sparkling blue water. As you approach from Corfu Town along a winding road with spectacular views, you will discover an array of captivating villages scattered along the coastline. The area is peacefully quiet with a relaxed atmosphere, but hidden nightlife is there for those who want it. Along the twisting road surrounded by lush green vegetation and olive groves you will discover an assortment of typically Greek houses.
Sightseeing in Corfu:
The Mon Repos Palace was the birthplace of Britain’s Prince Philip and was used by Greece’s royal family as a summer residence. The palace has been the subject of ownership battles between the Greek government and the ex-king Constantine. Researchers discovered a document granting the royal family use of the estate and not permanent possession and the ‘royal estate’ has since come into the possession of the Municipality of Corfu.
The hub of Corfiot life is the Esplanade. Stroll around the gardens or sit in one of the many cafe bars underneath the arches of the Liston. The Liston was built by the French in 1807 in emulation of the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. During the summer months, cricket matches still occasionally take place and concerts by one of Corfu’s many philharmonic bands are often given on the bandstand. The wide-open space of the Esplanade was originally created to provide a clear field of fire from the Old Fortress.
This famous building was constructed in 1892 for Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Princess Sissy). The Empress was obsessed with the Greek hero Achilleus and she commissioned various statues including Achilles dying which can be found in the beautiful gardens surrounding the palace. The huge and magnificent statue of Achilles Triumphant gazes out over breathtaking views. Kaiser Willhelm II of Germany purchased the palace in 1907. Some of the downstairs rooms contain mementoes of both former owners. The Palace is situated in Gastouri, near Benitses, about 20 minutes drive from Corfu Town.
The first settlement of the new Corfu Town during the 6th century started on the hill that would later become the Old Fortress. Built and fortified by the Venetians, the fortress housed the entire population of the town until the 13th century. An important part in the island’s defences, the fortress was Europe’s last defence against the Turkish invasion. A stroll through the Old Fortress will take you through tunnels, past abandoned barracks to bastions and look-out points. The top of the fortress gives a panoramic view overlooking Corfu Town.
The walls of the New Fortress tower above the north-western side of the Old Town. Erected on the hill of St Mark to help strengthen the defence of the town, most of the fortification works were completed by 1588. The defence barracks were built during the British Protectorate in 1842.
A small islet housing an ancient monastery, which today has just one monk, Mouse Island is the most photographed tourist attraction in Corfu. According to legend, Mouse Island (or Pontikonissi) was formed when the ship that had taken Odysseus back to Ithaki, returning to its home port, was turned to stone by Poseidon, angry at being defied by the Phaeceans. Close by is the Convent of Vlacherna.
Kapodistrias was the first president in the Modern Greek state. The museum contains paintings and souvenirs of Kapodistrias’ life and is housed in two rooms in the Kapodistrias family residence. The Museum of Solomos Dionysius Solomos is the National Greek Poet who wrote the lyrics of the National Greek Hymn; he lived the major part of his life in the island of Corfu (1798-1857) where he wrote a great part of his work. The museum is housed in the beautiful house where the poet used to live and exhibits many of Solomos personal items, a collection of its manuscripts, various portraits and some photographic material.
The Museum of Asiatic Art
The Museum of Asiatic Art is unique in Greece and one of the most important of its kind in Europe. It contains some eleven thousand exhibits spanning the eleventh century BC to the twentieth century AD from a variety of Asian countries The greater part of the collection, more than ten thousand objects, come from China and Japan, while the rest come from Tibet, Korea, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Thailand and Cambodia.