Places to visit on your holiday to Corfu - Salco Holidays - Low Cost Holidays to Corfu

Places to visit on your holiday to Corfu

Achilleon Palace

This imposing palace, set up high on a hillside just south of Corfu Town, was built for the Empress Sissi of Austria. Fascinated with Greek mythology, she named the Palace after her hero Achilles, and decorated the beautifully landscaped grounds with statues of her heroes and heroines. Built in the early 19th century, the Palace was more recently seen as a casino in the James Bond film ‘For Your Eyes Only’ (much of which was filmed in Greece) and its grounds make for a pleasant visit, especially in clear weather when the views are breathtaking.

 

Mon Repos

Another stately home, Mon Repos was the former residence of the Greek royal family, and birthplace of Prince Philip. The neo-classical building and its grounds can be seen from the air when arriving on the island.

 

Kouloura

This impossibly pretty little harbour is one of the most photographed spots on the island, as the viewing spot on the coastal road can testify. In Greek the word kouloura means ring, and accordingly the harbour curls round into an almost perfect circle. Why not hire a motorboat for the day from nearby San Stefanos to discover the many hidden coves along this dramatic coast, and drop anchor in Kouloura to enjoy a light snack at its waterfront taverna?

 

Paleokastritsa

The rugged, dramatic scenery of the island’s west coast is home to Paleokastritsa. This popular resort consists of two sandy beaches separated by a headland of rock, and is reached either from the south via an inland road, or from the north by taking a scenic route through mountain villages. With cafés and tavernas aplenty, Paleokastritsa is perfect for a day trip.

 

Lake Korisson

On the southwest coast of Corfu, you can see the beautiful natural lake of Korisson. This beautiful area, which is a nature reserve, is cool, green and very peaceful – ideal for a picnic.

 

Old Perithia

Part of the appeal of this mountain village is the journey there, over the olive-clad foothills of Mount Pantokrator. At the top of the mountain is Ano (or Old) Perithea, once a Byzantine settlement and now a disused village, boasting spectacular views. There are a number of tavernas from which to admire the view over a cooling drink.

 

Kassiopi Fortress

In the heart of what is now the popular family resort of Kassiopi lie the ruins of a thirteenth century fortress, the Angevin castle, which was destroyed during the Venetian invasion. The undemanding walk up onto the headland offers the opportunity to stroll around the surprisingly large area where the fortress once stood – walls and, in places, windows, can still be made out – and provides great views across the sea to Albania. Other attractions in Kassiopi include the pretty fifteenth century church of the Panayia Kassiopitra. The village also plays host to a number of festivals throughout the summer months.

 

Old and New Fortresses

Since the sixteenth century, Corfu Town, the island’s capital, has had its skyline punctuated by the old and new fortresses. Despite their names, they were built only 200 years apart, although modified at various points over the years, mostly by occupying rulers. Once used as defences against the many invading forces threatening Corfu, nowadays they are more likely to face invasion from crowds on summer evenings listening to live music concerts, often featuring some of the biggest names in Greek music. Open from 09.00 to 19.00 during the summer, these two striking landmarks are well worth exploring, perhaps in combination with a day in Corfu Town.

 

Paxos

The nearest island to Corfu, tiny Paxos is a very different experience to its much larger Ionian neighbour. Paxos is famed for its beautiful beaches and towns - Gaios, with its Venetian style houses and harbour filled with yachts, Logos, a traditional fishing village, and slightly larger Lakka with a choice of tavernas, bars and shops. Day trips to Paxos are readily available from Corfu, and in some cases also include Anti Paxos, home to Caribbean-esque beaches and crystal blue waters. A great way to get around Paxos is by hiring a boat, as mooring is possible in all of the main towns, allowing thorough exploration of this delightful island.

 

Pelekas

Whilst Achilleon Palace was the holiday home of the Empress Sissi, the popular inland resort of Pelekas was the favoured destination of the Austrian Kaiser Willhelm II. The ‘Kaiser’s Throne’ viewing tower has magnificent views in all directions, and Pelekas itself is a pretty hilltop village.

 

Mount Pantokrator

Corfu’s highest peak stands proudly across the north end of the island at a height of 906 metres. Blanketed in olive groves and studded with distinctive Ionian cypress trees, there is an abundance of flora and fauna, changing throughout the season. April and early May see the mountain in a riot of pink from the flowering Judas trees, while from late May to June the mountain is dressed in yellow as the Spanish Broom blossoms. Throughout the high season, the hillsides remain astonishingly green due to the high rainfall the island receives during the low season and winter months. The roads over the mountain are surprisingly good, and the numerous picturesque villages on the journey give a charming impression of traditional Greek life. The fresh mountain air can come as a welcome relief on a hot summer’s day.

 

Kalami

This village off Corfu’s north east coastal road was the beloved summer home of the Durrell family. Their home, The White House, is now a taverna. The family spent many years here, and drew inspiration from the area. Laurence wrote Prospero’s Cell while actually staying in Kalami, and Gerald drew on his happy memories of the place to write My Family and Other Animals. Because of this connection, Kalami can become quite crowded in the high season, but nonetheless has a lovely beach and is worth a visit.

 

Agios Spiridonas

Tucked away in the maze of Corfu Town’s narrow streets can be found the church of Agios Spiridonas. St. Spiridon is the patron saint of Corfu, which accounts for the number of Corfiot males named Spiros. The miracles St. Spiridon is said to have performed include, among others, placing an invisible barrier around the island, sending an invading Turkish fleet either side but making the island itself impenetrable. In typical Greek Orthodox style, the atmosphere inside the church is impressive and dramatic, and bustling with Greeks visiting the church to light candles and kiss the icons. St. Spiridon’s casket is still kept here, and is the centre of the parades seen during the important religious festivals such as Easter and the Panayia festivals.  

 

The Archaeological Museum

Just a stone’s throw away from the seafront, near the Maitland Rotunda, is the Archaeological Museum, unquestionably the most noteable in the Ionian Islands. The main attraction is the 17 feet long west pediment of the Temple of Artemis, originally in Paleopolis just outside Corfu Town. Now housed in the aptly named Gorgon Room, it is covered in carved figures of panthers and various Gods, but centre stage goes to a haunting central Gorgon figure. Other attractions include a stone sculpture of a crouching lion, believed to date from the 17th century BC, and a copy of the famous Athenian statue Apollo Parnopios.

 

The Byzantine Museum

This small but fascinating museum is housed in an old church, appropriately, since the collection features Byzantine and Christian icons and artefacts. Original frescoes can still be seen on the walls from the building’s early days in the fifteenth century, and inscriptions can be seen on some of the flagstones, bearing the names of those buried beneath them.

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