Corfu Town - Salco Holidays - Low Cost Holidays to Corfu

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Welcome to Corfu Town

Corfu Town

Corfu Town is full of character and history but also a vibrant capital. Whatever time of year you visit the capital of Corfu – high season, low season, out of season, you will see that it is bursting with life.

It is abundant with street cafes; eastern style, French pavement style, Italian style, from which diffuses animated chatter and bustle. Waiters and waitresses pass with slick practised movements between the tables, balancing on one hand trays laden with coffees, ouzo and meze, ice-creams, pastries among the tables, distributing their welcome items with finesse.

Corfu Town has two distinct architectural areas, the old town and the new town. The old part of Corfu Town is a seemingly disordered array of tall Venetian buildings. While many have been artfully restored to their former state, there are plenty of others wearing their tired elegance with patient grace – fading shutters and peeling plaster tell a story of well-bred charm in a bygone era. Below, the narrow cobbled streets carry on regardless with the routine of everyday life.

The Boutiques of Old Corfu Town show off their exclusive labels and expensive décor, jewellery shops glisten; there are speciality pie shops next door to chocker-box antique shops, spangled souvenir shops and coffee-selling shops and the deep aroma of Greek coffee wafting through the street; dark quiet book shops next door to green-grocers with their cornucopia of Mediterranean produce bright with colour. Everything seems abundant and alive.

One of the most fashionable streets in Corfu Town is the Espanade, known to the people of Corfu as the Liston. This is almost an exact copy of the building on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris but on a smaller scale. The street is pedestrianized with cafes all along the arches and a plethora of seating on the opposite side which flanks onto a huge green. It is on this green that the Corfu Cricket Team play.

This are is the cultural hub of Corfu as the surrounding buildings are of historical and cultural importance. Across from the green is the Old Fort that looks out across the bay to the Ionian and it is in the Old Fort that the Corfu Library is housed. The Palace of St George and St Michael in neo-classical style completes the structural element of the grand square. The palace had been erected for the British High Commissioner at the time when Corfu was a protectorate of Britain. When Corfu was joined with Greece in 1864 it served as a residence for the Greek royal family. It is now a museum and small art gallery with a delightful café in the very exotic gardens overlooking the very secluded bay where the royal family used to swim.

The square adjoining the green has a band stand and is the sight of many of Corfu’s national and religious celebrations and beyond, the promenade stretches from the old fort all the way to Kanoni.

Information & Facts

Activities

There is so much to do in and around Corfu Town:

  • Visiting Kanoni – The Mon Repos Mansion – the holiday home of the Greek royal family where Prince Philip was born
  • Pontikonisi (also known as Mouse Island) because it is so tiny – the whitewashed monastery that has graced so many of Corfu’s postcards
  • Vidos Island – apparently coveted by Paul McCartney who had offered to buy it but was turned down
  • The Old and New Forts
  • The Church of St Spiridon in the heart of the old town of Corfu. St Spiridon is the patron saint of Corfu. His mummified body rests in the church and is a place of pilgrimage of Greek Orthodox Christians. On Corfu Spiros is a very common male name and Spiridoula is a common female name.

Further afield:

  • Aqualand Water Park

Climate

Corfu has hot dry summers and rainy winters. The hottests months are July and August with temeratures ranging from about 28-33 degrees Centigrade but can be much hotter. June and September are a little cooler with temperatures typically from about 26- 31. October can be wonderful on Corfu with the sea still wrm enough for swimming but can also be prone to some rain. 

The main rainy months are November and December and the weather from January to April can be moody interspersed with warm sunny days.

May is a delight, it is as though everything has suddenly sprung to life with almost every flower in bloom; the hillsides are aflame with the bright yellow flowers of the wild broom bushes and in the villages the lilac trees breathe out their intoxicating aromas.

 

Eating Out

The bars restaurants and tavernas in and around Corfu are just too numerous and all worth mentioning. Really it would be unfair to name some above others but here is a selection:

Tripa in Kinopiastes – a traditional, Greek tavern with its traditional Greek cuisine. It has a rich and colourful past with many polititans, actors and celebrities eating there.

The fish restaurants opposite the New Port – there are three or four of these all in traditional Corfu style serving simply cooked but totally fresh fish, simple wines including some of the best Retsina on Corfu. Salads, wild rocket, courgettes fried or boiled and everything that is wholesome and full of flavour. I’m sure Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver would thoroughly approve.

Gyros shops – Make sure that you have at least one gyros before you leave Corfu. Some of the shops are barely more than a kiosk – this is the best fast food imaginable. Some of the shops do have a few tables.

Getting Around

The main Corfu bus station by the port. Buses from here go all over Corfu and you can reach villages in the north such as Kassiopi and in the south.

From the Corfu bus station you can get to the mainland too. He bus takes passengers to the ferry port and then from Igoumenitsa to several mainland destination such as Salonika, Preveza, Parga, Athens.

Taxis are plentiful but check tariffs with each driver first.

From the port there are international ferry lines and ferries to Igoumenitsa. There are also day trips to Paxos and Parga.

Kids Attractions

Aqualand - one of the most exciting waterparks in Europe

Language

Greek is spoken on Corfu.

Useful Greek words you can try out on your holiday to Corfu:

Yia sou* – hello (to one person)

Yia sas* – hello (to more than one person)

*It is the same phrase for hello and goodbye as it means ‘health to you’

Yia mas – cheers (our health)

Efharisto – thank you

Parakalo - please

Pou eene i paralia? – where is the beach?

Pou eene o fournos? – where is the bakery?

Ti kanis? – how are you?

Kala efharisto – well, thank you

Mia birra  parakalo – a beer please

Ena boukali krasi, parakalo – a bottle of wine please

Ena boukali kokkino krasi, parakalo – a bottle of red wine please

Lefko - white

Thio bires parakalo – two beers please (the ‘th’ is pronounce as in ‘there’)

Money

The Euro is the currency of Greece

Night Life

Within Corfu Town the nightlife is mainly bars, Just outside Corfu Town, on what is known as the Commercial Strip or in Greek, Emporico Kentro, there are a number of exciting clubs and lively bars.

Shopping

Corfu shopping is an enriching experience. It is impossible to imagine another place that has so many boutiques, jewellers, leather goods shops, souvenir shops in one area. Another significant aspect of shopping in Corfu Town is that most of the shops are familiy run and suppiers tend to be independent designers, whether for clothes, bags or shoes. Jewellery shops too are usually also workshops - the outcome is that there is so much that is totally unique to each individual shop and that amounts to an awful lot of choice.

It may be strange at first to see a greengrocer next to a stylish boutique of a fish-monger next to a bookshop or even a hardwardware store next to a stylish cafe but there we are, this is how it is in Cofru Town. A place of contrast, always buzzing, so cheerful and vibrant.

 

Time

Corfu is two hours ahead of GMT

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