Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian sea and It is the second largest of the ionian islands.The island is part of the Corfu peripheral unit and is administrated as a single municipality. The municipality includes Corfu island and the smaller islands of Erikousa,Mathraki and Othonoi with a population of 107.879.
Corfu , the wooded isle of the Phaeacians, Odysseeus’ last stop on his long journey home to Ithaca, is the best known of the Ionian islands.
It owes its sophistication and charm to the meshing of the different civilisations that have occupied the island and to the natural beauty with which it is so abundantly endowed.
On this cosmopolitan island, you’ll be able to combine relaxation with good times and a full nightlife, for Corfu is an international tourist center, which can satisfy the demands of the most difficult visitor.
The capital of the island is also called Corfu (Kerkyra). It is built on a promontory that projects into the sea and is separated into a northern and a southern section. East of the northern part lies the Old Fortress, cut off from the town by a moat. For centuries all the popular of Corfu lived within this citadel, which was founded by the Byzantines but greatly expanded and strengthened by the Venetians.
The town of Corfu is made up of completely dissimilar elements, left over from different civilisations. It presents an enchanting picture with its broad streets and spacious squares, the popular Spianada – the town “green” – contrasting with its narrow back alleys paved with blocks of stone (known as “Kantounia”), houses with a strong Italian influence, the famous Liston, a French arcade, traditional Georgian mansions, a Byzantine church, Venetian monuments, balconies with wrought.iron railings and window grilles.
Corfu stands at a crossroads, at the centre of trade routes across the Mediterranean Sea . Since the island is also blessed with a hospitable climate, it has over the centuries been a prize for conquerors. In mythology, it was the island of the Phaeceans, where Odysseus met Nausicaa. In historical times, it belonged to the civilisation of Ancient Greece, and subsequently it was occupied by Romans, Byzantines, Normans , Angevins, Venetians, French, Russians and the British, but never by the Turks who held the rest of Greece .
In 1864 the island took its place in the modern Greek nation. Corfu ‘s history has moulded an island like no other, an island where everyone feels at home, where everyone can discover the holiday which most appeals.
In Corfu Town , a new scene is revealed at every turn. Imposing monuments and the two Venetian fortresses contrast with the maze of tiny streets of the Old Town and with the bustle of the busy port. Gardens shaded by palms and bright with bougainvillea form a counterpoint to elegant mansions from Venetian times. The innumerable shops offer a mixture of the sophisticated and the practical, from jewellery to ships chandlery. More than a dozen museums and art galleries as well as a number of picturesque old churches offer plenty to see and do, while the town’s three brass bands, symphony orchestra, opera company and choir, as well as several folkloric and contemporary dance groups, guarantee a full programme of theatrical and musical events. Corfu Town is a living city, home to over 40,000 people, and its international airport, busy port and modern road network contribute to the excellent infrastructure.
Kérkyra’s old quarter, with its arcades facing the Spianáda (Esplanade), its pastel-hued multi-storeyed dwellings, peaceful squares and slatted Venetian-style shutters, was clearly the basis for the UNESCO ranking, and amply rewards any time spent strolling.
Of the two forts which bracket Kérkyra town, the Venetian-built Néo Froúrio is architecturally the more interesting, and affords superb views over the tiled roofs of the old town. But the Paleó Froúrio on the east contains, in its former Latin chapel near the entrance, a fine collection of Byzantine icons and mosaics rescued from various monuments around the island.
Kanoni, 4 kilometres south of town is the most popular spot on the island. Here a narrow causeway leads across the water to the Monastery of Vlacherna and from there one can take a caique to visit delightful Pondikonissi and its 13th century church.
Paleá Períthia, a Venetian-era village nestled in a hollow on the north slope of island summit Mt Pandokrátor, was abandoned from the 1960s onwards, resulting in a medieval time-capsule. The most noteworthy single monument is the 14th-century church of St. Iákovos O Pérsis at the village approach. This has just been restored under the supervision of the Byzantine archaeological authorities, with brilliant frescoes being uncovered and conserved, and it may be open to the public in 2016. Since the 1990s, it has attracted both casual visitors and those after second-home restoration projects.
Paleokastrltsa, 26 kilometres west of Corfu town, a miniature earthly paradise with its crystal clear waters, enchanting coves and lush greenery growing right up to the sea.