Hotels in Corfu (Ionian Islands, Greece)
Hotels in Corfu
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Corfu, Greece – the city between twin peaks
Corfu is an island where myth and history meet culture and luxury. Legend has it that this was the final island Odysseus landed on before return to his homeland and as a result it has always been able to draw in visitors. The landscape provides a great backdrop for hikers and has provided inspiration for several writers including the Durrell brothers. This beautiful island is a great place to find a mix of cultures, delicious food and pick up some souvenir olive oil!
Patchwork of cultures
Over the years Corfu has been ruled by a number of different cultures which have each left their own mark on the island. The Palaio Frourio or Old Fortress was once a Byzantine castle but was transformed during the fifteenth century when the Venetians took over the island. Now it has become one of the top attractions in the area, known for its lighthouse with breath taking views and Byzantine museum. Also, tracing its origins back to the Venetians is the St Spyridon Church, a Greek Orthodox church where the islands patron saint is said to rest.
The Esplanade, a large parade ground in the middle of Corfu Town, was built during Napoleon’s rule of Corfu. If you’re staying in a central hotel then the park is a short stroll away and a gorgeous place to spend a sunny afternoon. At the northern end of the Esplanade is the Palace of St George and St Michael, once home to the British high commissioners of the 1800s but which now houses the Museum of Asian Art with its impressive, well documented collection of artifacts dating back to the Bronze Age. Some of the palaces’ rooms have been decorated in Regency style to give visitors a taste of how its original inhabitants would have lived.
Other cultural points of interest include the Municipal Art Gallery and the Corfu Reading Society which is known to host lectures and concerts. The city’s walking tour have various themes from history to food and are a great way to get a real feel for Corfu Town.
Island of olive oil
Corfu is well known for its olive oil which comes from the millions (yes millions!) of olive trees on the island, some of which are estimated to be as much as four hundred years old. With such plentiful supplies of this amazing ingredient, it’s little wonder that Corfu Town is rich with top quality restaurants and tavernas that come highly recommended. In addition to some well-established Greek eateries serving traditional dishes there are also a number of excellent Italian restaurants harking back to the days when Corfu was a Venetian strong hold.
The Liston is a great place to grab an upmarket bite and an even better one to find a drink: the ginger beer is something of a local specialty. There are a numerous bars along the street some of which are located on the rooftops of hotels with great views out to the horizon. If you’re looking for sweet treat, then head over to one of the city’s many bakeries for some homemade baklava.
Taste for exploration
Just outside of Corfu Town is Mon Repos Estate where you’ll find the Museum of Palaeopolis which gives a comprehensive history of the town and its archeology. However, the grounds are what makes the estate truly special as you can explore the sites of two ancient ruins before settling down for a picnic lunch near what is left of the Temple of Artemis.
Corfu is a great spot for keen walkers and many hotels will provide maps and guides to some of the must-see spots including Mount Pantokrator, Korission Lake and the Nymphes, where water goddess were once said to bathe. The beaches on East of the island tend to be more sheltered with calmer waters that are great for snorkeling and swimming but if you’re looking for picture postcard sandy shores then it’s worth checking out the Western coast too.
As is true of most of the islands in Greece the best way to get around is by boat. Again, these can be rented from local companies or you can join one of the day cruises that allow you to reach some of the more isolated beaches as well as explore the surrounding islands and caves.