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Find information on Corfu Town in our Travel Guide covering sights, foods and nightlife plus more...
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Corfu Town, Kerkyra in Greek, is one of the most interesting towns in Greece. Unlike other Ionian islands, Corfu was never occupied by the Turks and was for centuries under Venetian rule. This is the reason why the architecture in Corfu is so different from the other islands. The town is a mix of old and new with old tavernas and modern restaurants, cafes, discos and clubs catering for all tastes and interests. The old town is full of elegant churches, narrow streets and small squares as well as the old fortress built to defend the townsfolk from marauders. A Corfu Town holiday can truly be said to hold something for everyone. There are beaches and water sports, sightseeing excursions on land and sea, shops and restaurants galore, and a varied nightlife catering for older couples as well as party animals.
A Corfu Town holiday caters for a wide variety of interests having a fascinating history, beautiful architecture, shops, restaurants and tavernas, beaches and warm clear water, as well as offering a host of leisure activities.
A Corfu Town holiday has widespread appeal. Beaches with safe bathing for families with small children, water sports with varying degrees of excitement for adults, interesting historical sites, shops and markets and with a varied nightlife, it is no surprise that so many people holiday here.
Corfu’s season extends from Easter to October, the most popular time being in the summer when the temperatures rise from the low twenties to the mid thirties.
Corfu Town is situated on the east coast of the island only two kilometres from the airport thus benefiting from a short transfer time. Those who have been to other Greek islands will find the architecture somewhat surprising with its, Venetian, French and British influences. Apart from architectural style, the British brought cricket to the island and it is played to this day on the cricket green opposite the Liston, a French building, on the esplanade. It is very pleasant to stroll around the esplanade among the well laid out gardens and listen to one of the island’s brass bands playing in the elegant bandstand.
Opposite the esplanade is the old fort constructed originally in the sixth century on a man-made island in order to protect the townspeople from marauding invaders. During the summer months there are Son et Lumiere performances there. As the population grew the part of town known as Campielo was constructed. It lies between the old and the new fortresses and is a maze of narrow streets with tall houses built by the Venetians which are filled with dwellings, pavement cafes, bars an workshops.
There are many fine buildings including the San Giacomo theatre built in stone in the style of the Italian Renaissance, the Palace of St. Michael and St. George, now a museum and gallery and the Maitland Rotundra with Doric columns, built when Corfu was under British rule.
The old town is a maze of narrow streets filled with charming sights of small squares, fountains and churches. The eclectic mix of architecture is fascinating from tenth century early Byzantine to Neoclassical and beyond. St. Spyridona Square has a charm of its own with three wonderful churches, and a nineteenth century bank boasting a classical façade.
Corfu Town nightlife caters for every age group, varying as it does from quiet romantic restaurants to loud discos and clubs. There are tavernas and small restaurants along the water front with menus to suit all tastes. There are calm, peaceful areas where you can enjoy a meal and a glass or two of wine and also more vibrant venues such as the Hippodrome, known as the club with the pool. Most of the clubs are west of the new port on Ethnikis Antistasseos, the main road going north from the town.
The most interesting place to shop in Corfu Town is in the old quarter. The modern commercial centre may have larger shops but, the labyrinth of narrow winding streets of the old town, bursting with every kind of shop is more interesting. Popular buys are leather goods, items made from olive wood, handmade lace and embroidered linens. Brightly painted ceramics are also in demand.
There are many tavernas and restaurants in Corfu Town as well as fast food stalls such as Souvlatzidiki where they sell takeaway souvlakis, a type of kebab. For a more substantial snack these are sometimes wrapped in pita bread and called gyros.
As expected, fish dishes abound in Corfu with small fried fish and shellfish being firm favourites. The Garitsa waterfront has the best fish restaurants. Remember that fish is often priced by weight so if you choose a large heavy fish it could work out to be an expensive meal. Prawn saganaki is a popular dish which is rich and creamy with king prawns, garlic tomato and feta cheese. Kalamari is another firm favourite.
Local wines are easy on the palate as well as the purse.
Eating in Corfu is meant to be a pleasure and is not to be rushed. Waiters will not hover over you waiting to remove plates. Don’t mistake this for tardy service.