Corfu

Corfu
The noble Corfu island is the northmost island of the Ionian Sea and is situated at the mouth of Adriatic Sea. Its northeast coasts are only 2 km from the Albanian coasts. Foreign visitors call it Corfu after the two tops of the old castle which are visible as the visitor approaches the island.
Tradition identifies Corfu Greece as the Homeric Scherios or as the island of Feakes, where Ulysses was accommodated during his return from Troy to Ithaca. It is also the same island where Argonauts took refuge when they were chased by the Colchis fleet during their return from Colchis after taking the Golden Fleece. A common feature in both myths is the hospitality of Feakes as well as their ability in sailing.
Corfu, today, is an international tourism centre and a destination with highly developed tourist infrastructures which satisfy even the most demanding visitors.
Corfu island is known for its beauties, its “kantounia” and its rich cultural tradition. In Corfu town you will notice the strong Italian impact in the architecture, since the Venice domination, which combined with the Greek Corfu tradition and formed this special culture. Corfu holidays offers many visits in museums, historic monuments, religious and other sites and a rich and beautiful coastline. Its vegetated inland, without falling short, scattered with many picturesque villages, rewards all visitors.

What to Do in Corfu
• For the lovers of diving Corfu and the Near Islands are a top destination for underwater activities, especially after June when the sea is quite warm. Throughout Corfu you may find organised diving centres.
• Go on one of the favourite tours of the island from lake Antonioti, to St Catherine’s monastery.
• Taste traditional corfiot dishes, like pastitsada, bourdeto, sofrito and nouboulo with prosciutto and buy kumquat liqueur.
• Visit St Spiridon’s church where the saint’s holy relics is kept. A point of reference is the big bell tower of the church which dominates in the old Corfu town.
• Stroll in the Venice-like kantounia of the old town.
• Visit Achillion palace near Benitses and the many museums of the town.
• Stroll in the famous Spianada square and enjoy your coffee in “Liston” facing St. Michael and St. George’s palace and the imposing Old Castle.
• Photograph and enjoy Pontikonisi from Kanoni.
• Tour the Corfu castles to see its 2.500 years old history.

Click here for information about the best beaches in Corfu island

Festivities & Local Traditions
Every year on July 17th they celebrate the Sardine Festival at Benitses on Corfu.

Sightseeing Corfu (Kerkyra) includes the islands of Paxi and Diapontia islands. All this region is a sight itself, it is a living museum of art, history, nature and culture.
in summer 2007, the old town of Corfu with its two fortresses (old and new) was declared as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Monuments, as a remarkable architectural symbol, which represents an historically important era; the architectural remains cover many periods since the Venetian rule until 19th century, especially the periods of 16th and 17th century, where, according to the archives and all the elements, at the same place there was a byzantine settlement of 6th or 7th century A.D.
The historic centre of Corfu is the most important sight of Corfu island, with its kantounia, the narrow streets in the old town paved with cobblestones, with “Kampielo”, the oldest district of the island, with “Spianada”, the greatest square in Greece and one of the largest in Europe and the “Liston” arcade, to its west side, where restaurants and bistros abound.

Corfu Archaeological Sights and Castles
Corfu (Kerkyra) is being inhabited, at least, since the Palaeolithic age (year 100.000 B.C., Grava of Gardiki remains) and it is considered to be the Homeric island of Feakes (there is no archaeological proof of this). Its name “Kerkyra” or “Korkyra”, according to the local myth, it is after the daughter of Asopos and Methoni, who gave birth to Posidonas son, Feakas.
Corfu has not always been an island, but it was connected with the opposite epirotic coast when the first human presence was detected; at Aghios Mattheos mountain there were signs of Palaeolithic age, at Sidari signs of Neolithic age and at the northwestern villages Kefali, Afionas and Ermones settlements of the Copper age were found.

Corfu Churches and Monasteries
The island of Corfu (Kerkyra) is, mainly for historic reasons, full of churches. The historic churches of Corfu (Kerkyra) are connected with all the difficulties of its inhabitants during Medieval era and the continuous conquests and disasters of the island. Most of them are humble temples and there is no comparison as for their size with the temples of the West. Especially, the town of Corfu (Kerkyra) includes today approximately 35 active temples. The most important and famous temple is Aghios Spyridon, the patron saint of the island, where there are the relics of the saint.

Corfu Museums and Historical Monuments
Corfu (Kerkyra) has a very rich history and cultural tradition and is famous for its big number of museums. Its museums include rare and novel exhibits and meticulous collections and, moreover, some of them are unique, especially in Greece.
You will find important museums at the historic centre of Corfu (Kerkyra) town, which, in 2007, was listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Monuments and it is the most important sight in the island.
All the museums are situated in Corfu (Kerkyra) town or very close to it (10-15km). The richest collection, historically, is found at the Archaeological museum of Corfu (Kerkyra), where predominates the famous gable of Gorgo of the 6th century, the most ancient saved stone gable.

Corfu Settlements and Destinations
In Corfu (Kerkyra), Paxi and Diapontia islands, there are more than a hundred villages and settlements. Some villages have remains and traces of the archaic or roman era, some are influenced by the Byzantine period, the Venetian period or the traditional architecture of the 18th, 19th and 20th century, but all of them are built in a beautiful green environment. Main features of these villages are the stone houses, the typical square with the traditional cafes, the neat churches, but, most of all, the simple and hospitable local people, with their beautiful stories about myths, pirates, traditions and funny incidents…
You can visit the villages Aghios Ioannis (in central Corfu (Kerkyra), with Kostas’ s picturesque tavern), Aghios Prokopios (in central Corfu (Kerkyra) with beautiful churches and the oldest olive tree in the island) and Pelekas (in central Corfu (Kerkyra), with the Paf Graffiti & Music Festival every summer and Keiser’s watch post, from where Wilhelm II, emperor of Germany, enjoyed the view and the sunset).

Local recipies of Corfu Corfu is a rich island in history and culture as well as in unique local products, especially Kumquat.

Important local corfu products

Kumquat
The characteristic product of Corfu. It’s not produced anywhere else in Greece and is a “quality product of protected geographical status”. It look like a small orange, you may eat it without peeling it and has bittersweet flavour. It comes from the East. It came to Corfu by the Englishman Merlin in 1924. Corfiots loved it and they started producing it. The ideal location was the valley of Nimfes in north Corfu. Now the Agroindustrial Association of Nimfes is responsible for gathering, processing, standardizing and distributing the product.

Its main product is the famous liqueur. Choose a light coloured one because you can be sure that it has its natural colour. Other products are caddied fruits, preserves and marmalade.

Gingerbeer
A bubbly refreshment which you can drink frozen. It’s made of lemon, ginger, raisins, water and sugar. It is a characteristic product of the island.

Merlin oranges
A special orange variety brought to the island by the English voyager Merlin. That’s why they were named after him. He brought them from America and cultivated them in his own farm. Gradually the cultivation spread to the whole island and other Greek regions.

Other corfiot sweets are mandola, which is browned and caramelized almonds, and mandolato, a sweet made of sesame pulp, egg white, honey and whole almonds. There are also notable wines produced with classic vine varieties: Kakotrigis, white with fine scent, moschato, white with strong scent, and petrokoritho, red brusque.

Nouboulo
A traditional corfiot delicacy. A whole seasoned pork steak with many spices which cures in natural bowels, slightly smoked.

Recipes from Corfu

Veal sofrito
(Sofrito means low frying)
Ingredients: 1 kg veal in small pieces, 2 bundles of parsley, 10 cloves of garlic, ½ cup olive oil, 1 cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons flour, Salt and pepper.

Execution: Press the veal pieces to become thinner. Wash and dry the meat. Cover it first with salt and pepper and then with flour. Heat the oil and sauté the meat from both sides. In a big pot, put half the meat and sprinkle with half the parsley and garlic. Put in the rest of the meat and sprinkle again with the rest parsley and garlic. Pour the vinegar and one glass of hot water into the meat. Cover it and leave it to shimmer for 50-60 minutes, until the meat is tender and the sauce sets.

Pie with lamp and rice
Ingredients: 1 kg sliced lamp, ½ kg rice, ½ cup oil, 10-11 tablespoons all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon thick salt, ½ tablespoon pepper, 5 small glasses of milk.

Execution: In a deep pot, mix the flour, the pepper and the oil. Add a wineglass of hot water and stir until it become a pulp (rather waterish). Put in the sliced meat and stir it with a spoon to blend with the pulp and until it’s completely covered.
Oil a baking pan and spread the rice all over it. Put levelly the sliced meat and add the rest of the pulp to caver the rice. Then, to cover all the contains of the baking pan, add slowly a liquid mix from 5 wineglasses of water and 5 wineglasses of milk. While doing all that, heat the oven at 250o C and reduce it to 200o C once you put in the baking pan. Bake the pie for about 2 hours, until it becomes dry but not burnt.

Useful Telephones
Region of Ionian Islands 0030 26613 61501-6, 61555
Prefecture of Corfu 0030 2661362311
Corfu Tourist Police Service 0030 22610 39503, 30265
Corfu (Ipsos) Tourist Police Summer Service 0030 26610 93204
Museum of Asian Art Corfu 0030 26610 30443
Archaeological Museum of Corfu 0030 26610 30680
Capodistrias Museum Corfu 0030 26610 39528
Municipal Gallery of Corfu 0030 26610 39553
Archaeological Museum of Palaiopolis(Mon Repos) Corfu 0030 26610 41369
Solomos Museum Corfu 0030 26610 30674
Gouvia marina , Corfu 0030 26610 91900,91376
Corfu Hotel Union 0030 22610 36629
Association of Tourist Accommodation of Corfu 0030 26610 24303
Municipality of Corfu 0030 26610 33543, 39553
Municipality of Esperion 0030 26630 72346-8
Municipality of Achillion 0030 26610 49301-3
Municipality of Kassiope 0030 26630 91256-7
Municipality of Lefkimmi 0030 26620 22066, 23826
Municipality of Korissia 0030 26620 51429, 52009
Municipality of Melitieon 0030 26610 76134, 76143
Municipality of Feakes 0030 26610 97010
Municipality of Agios Georgios 0030 26630 71226
Municipality of Paleokastritsa 0030 26630 41995, 41771
Municipality of Parelia 0030 26610 95122, 94777
Municipality of Thinalia 0030 26630 63668, 63353
General Hospital 0030 26610 88200
Medical center Lefkimi 0030 26620 23100
Medical center Aghiou Markou 0030 26610 93815
Medical center Ipsos 0030 26610 93816
Medical center Aghios Matthaios 0030 26610 75110

Official website of Corfu: www.corfuvisit.com

Source: www.ionian-guide.com