Ionian Islands-Corfu

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General Information for Corfu

Corfu The famous Homeric island, according to findings has been inhabited since the Paleolithic period. Kerkyra's charms are innumerable and her fame insuperable, therefore, it is not accidental that the island's tourism is constantly increasing. Endowed with physical beauty, gorgeous shores idyllic landscapes and fertile land, it is regarded as one of the most cosmopolitan places. The modern resorts with super deluxe tourist accommodations have become extremely popular, attracting throngs of tourists constantly. Jewel of the island remains the old city - and capital - of Kerkyra. Adorned with neoclassical structures, tall bell towers, Venetian castles, verdant parks, flagstone alleys, the famous Liston - looking towards the central square of Spianada - and with other implausible sights in abundance, no wonder, Kerkyra is an island to be visited. Along the disproportionate streets of the old city scenic alleys - interrupted by monuments, Byzantine churches and stone fountains - walk to the Spianada - the famous central square - cross Liston (since the street is a copy of the Rue de Rivoli, undoubtedly you will get a taste of Paris), watch a game of cricket at the evergreen park and enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the many cafes. Begin your tour from the Old Fortress (behind Spianada), the best known of Kerkyra's monuments - built on a small isle. The fort is joined to the city by a long bridge. Inside it there is the church of Saint George, one of Kerkyra's most beautiful churches - built by the British. The New Fortress (or Fortress of St Mark) to the left of the city, was built between 1572 and 1589 by the Venetians in order to protect the city from an eventual Turkish invasion. You will be astonished by the appeal of the palace of Saints Michael and George - at the central plateia.

Other important sites worth seeing: In the center of the old city there is the City Hall - known as San Giacomo - built by the Venetians between 1663 and 1680. In the Ano Plateia (upper square) there is the Ionian style circular Building (dedicated to the first British governor, Thomas Merland).

The Temple of Apollo; Hill of Ascension (a panoramic view of the continental shores and the ruins of a Dorian temple); the Archeological Museum (tel.: 0661-30680); the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Museum (housed at the Church of Panaghia (Virgin Mary) the Antivouniotissa; Museum of Asiatic Art (tel.: 30443); Museum of Dionysios Solomos (the home of the national poet, tel.: 30674). The unique Modern Art Gallery: Hawaii. Leaving the city of Kerkyra there are interesting outskirts to be visited: the picturesque Yastouri (appr. 7 miles), where you can view the Achilleium Palace built by the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Kanoni (2 ½ miles) one of the prettiest places of Kerkyra; Mon Repos, where many hotels and restaurants are located in a very short distance from the city; Benitses (8 miles) where touristic activity is very intense; among others and approximately 26 miles from the city of Kerkyra there is Lefkimi, a wealthy town of the island located amidst the largest plain of Kerkyra.

Remote sandy beaches, with crystal clear waters, are bound to be discovered there. In the Western coast of the island there is a small bay, Ermones (9 miles) an incredible landscape with a wild primitive beauty (where, according to Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus met Nausika). Pelekas (8 miles) is a traditional settlement, built on a hill resembling a large veranda overlooking the immenseness of the Ionian. The incredible vista of the village, along with its well-known sandy beach, Glyfatha, attracts many visitors. A similar landscape - a natural balcony over the sea - is Bella Vista, a unique view not to be missed.

North of Kerkyra, you will encounter Alykes (2 ½ miles); Kontokali and Gouvia (5 ½ miles), during the drive you will come upon many hotels, restaurants, tavernas offering hospitality, good food and enterainment.

Many villages will enchant you among them Roda and Sidar (appr. 19 miles) offering some of the most beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean. The area attracts great crowds, especially the renowed shore of Kanali - where, according to folklore - one could meet his/her mate.

There are many beaches with tourists infrastructure along the coast of Kerkyra. Also in Mon Repos; Anemomylos; Glyfatha; Benitses; Miramare; Kalamos; Dragotina; Aghios Georghios; Sidari; Kouloura; Dassia among others. For more sedate holiday, the southern part of the island is recommended: Halkounas; Marathias; Skydi and Megha Horos (one of the pretiest beaches), along with Paramona and others.

For someone searching for calmness and serenity the three satellite islands northwest of Kerkyra: Erikousa, Mathraki and Othoni are ideal. There are car-ferries from Kerkyra Town and a caique from Sidari. Tourist development has been restricted on these isles, due not to the absence of lovely scenery or beaches but rather to the shortage of water, therefore, accommodation and eateries are extremely limited. Sports: In Kerkyra, lovers of sports may enjoy besides swimming and water sports, cricket, golf (where one of Europe's 16 best golf-courses is located. Tel.: (2661 94220), sailing, horseback riding, tennis, etc.