Corfu Town, the capital of the island of Corfu, is a charming and picturesque destination that offers a rich and diverse cultural heritage. The Old Town of Corfu, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a splendid example of the fusion of different architectural styles and influences from various European civilizations. From the 15th to the 19th century, Corfu was under the rule of Venice, France, Britain and Greece, and each of these powers left their mark on the city’s urban and port ensemble. The most prominent features of Corfu Town are its fortifications, which were designed by renowned Venetian engineers and used to defend the maritime trading interests of Venice against the Ottoman Empire. The Old Fortress and the New Fortress are impressive structures that offer panoramic views of the city and the sea. The Old Town also boasts a remarkable number of churches, both small and large, that reflect the island’s religious diversity and artistic heritage. The churches of Corfu Town combine Byzantine and Catholic elements in their design, and feature exquisite paintings, icons, marble decorations and bell towers. Some of the most famous churches are St. Spyridon, the patron saint of the island, Duomo, the Catholic cathedral, Spiliotissa, the Metropolitan church, and St. George, the former Anglican church. In this blog post, we will guide you through some of the best ways to admire the churches and monuments of Corfu Town and learn about its history and culture.
Take a walking tour of the Old Town
One of the best ways to explore Corfu Town is to take a walking tour of its Old Town, which is a labyrinth of narrow streets, alleys, staircases and squares. You can start from Spianada Square, the largest square in Greece and one of the most elegant in Europe. Here you can admire the Liston Promenade, a row of arcaded buildings that were inspired by the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. You can also see the Palace of St. Michael and St. George, a neoclassical building that was once the residence of the British High Commissioner and now houses the Museum of Asian Art. From Spianada Square, you can head to Campiello, the oldest part of the city, where you can find many traditional houses with wooden balconies and colorful shutters. You can also visit some of the most important churches in this area, such as St. Spyridon Church, which houses the relics of the saint in a silver casket; Duomo Church, which has a Gothic tower and a Baroque interior; and Panagia Antivouniotissa Church, which is a 15th-century basilica with a remarkable collection of icons.
Visit the fortresses
Another must-see attraction in Corfu Town is its fortresses, which are symbols of its military history and strategic importance. The Old Fortress is located on a rocky peninsula that separates the city from the sea. It was built by the Venetians in the 16th century on the site of an ancient acropolis. It has two peaks: one with a lighthouse and one with St. George Church, which was built by the British in 1840 in a Doric style. The fortress also contains a museum, a library and an open-air theater. The New Fortress is located on a hill above the port and was constructed by the Venetians in the 17th century to reinforce their defense system. It has several bastions, tunnels and chambers that can be explored by visitors. Both fortresses offer stunning views of Corfu Town and its surroundings.
Enjoy the local cuisine
No visit to Corfu Town would be complete without tasting its local cuisine, which is influenced by its multicultural past and its proximity to Italy. Some of the most typical dishes are pastitsada, a meat stew with tomato sauce and spices; sofrito, veal cooked with garlic, parsley and vinegar; bourdeto, fish cooked with onion, tomato and hot pepper; bianco, fish cooked with garlic, lemon and potatoes; and mandolato, a nougat dessert with honey and almonds. You can find many restaurants and taverns in Corfu Town that serve these delicacies, as well as cafes and bars that offer coffee, drinks and snacks.
Explore more attractions
If you have more time to spend in Corfu Town, you can also explore some other attractions that are worth visiting. For example:
- You can visit the Museum of Asian Art, which is located in the Palace of St. Michael and St. George and displays a fascinating collection of artworks from China, Japan, India and other Asian countries.
- You can visit the Archaeological Museum, which is located near the New Fortress and exhibits artifacts from the ancient and Roman periods, including a famous sculpture of Gorgon Medusa.
- You can visit the Achilleion Palace, which is located in the village of Gastouri, about 10 km south of Corfu Town. It was built by Empress Elisabeth of Austria in 1890 as a tribute to her favorite hero, Achilles. It has a neoclassical architecture and a beautiful garden with statues of Greek gods and heroes.
- You can visit the Mon Repos Palace, which is located in the suburb of Kanoni, about 3 km south of Corfu Town. It was built by the British in 1828 as a summer residence for their High Commissioner. It is also the birthplace of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. It now houses a museum that showcases the history and culture of Corfu.
Corfu Town is a wonderful destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you are interested in history, art, religion, architecture or gastronomy, you will find plenty of attractions to admire and enjoy. Corfu Town is also a great base to explore the rest of the island, which has many natural beauties, beaches, villages and sights to discover. We hope that this blog post has inspired you to visit Corfu Town and learn about its history and culture.