Greece

Top Historic Sites on the Island of Corfu (Kerkyra)

By on May 29, 2013

Despite being a small island the Greek Island of Corfu has a long and varied history, with many stories to be uncovered and sights to be seen. Holidays in Corfu can be a real history lesson as the island has been inhabited since 1300BC and been involved in many battles right up to World War II. It has always been a plentiful island located between the landmasses of Greece and Italy, making it a prime target for invasion. These days things are a lot calmer, but the relics and stories still remain ready to be discovered.

The Palaio Frourio (Old Fort), Kerkyra
image via http://www.flickr.com/photos/orientalizing/

The Palaio Frourio (Old Fort)

The Old Fort sits on the East side of Corfu town and has a small museum to explain its significance in Corfiot history. The museum is well worth a visit, even just to view some of the oldest remaining art in existence, dating back to the 1st Century. Whilst there has been a fort here at all times since the 6th Century, much of what remains today was built by the Venetians at a later date and repaired by the British in the years that followed.

gardiki castle corfu
Gardiki castle walls

Gardiki Castle

Gardiki Castle is now partially ruins, but once stood tall above the Gardiki village, protecting it from invaders. The castle is Byzantine by design and its octagonal shape was once decorated with art of the time. Sitting among olive groves, this picturesque relic is a huge attraction on the island.

Palaiokastritsa
image via http://www.greeka.com/

Palaiokastritsa, a Panagia Theotokos Monastery

The Palaiokastritsa, a Panagia Theotokos Monastery dates back to 1225 and is located in a beach resort. This strange combination makes for an interesting daytrip as the beach is notoriously clean, and the monastery houses a small religious museum, home to a supposed sea monster skeleton! The current building was built in 1700 but the site itself has many ancient stories to tell.

Islands are great places to find a wealth of history as they have often witnessed many battles and changed hands multiple times over the ages. Corfu is no exception and is a fantastic place to explore the past.

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Greece | Travel Tips | Traveling

Featuring Corfu

By on November 14, 2012
Bay of St.George

I can’t remember how many times I’ve featured Greece or its islands here and on my other travel blogs. Looking to it, I could be more of a Grecophile than a Japanophile as I have always thought I was. 😀

Growing up, the displays at home – mostly miniature statues of Greek gods/goddesses and those, have fascinated me I always asked my father for stories of his visit to the islands. It was he after all who brought me books relating to Greek mythology, sent me photos of the Parthenon and parts of Athens during his visits and it was he who brought home those displays.

Although there’s anxiety about Greece’s economic conflict, reports of protests and those, don’t let it stop you. It’s not the whole of Greece after all, strikes and demonstrations are on certain areas and you can always avoid being hassled by going to the other islands that comprise the beauty of the peninsula.

Looking around, the best islands or the more famous ones would certainly be Santorini and Mykonos but digging deeper, I’ve learned that Corfu is a nice place for holidays too! Especially for the writer in me! Which would the best travel guide be for Corfu than Lawrence Durell’s Prospero’s Cell? The novelist spent years in the enchanted island and one can actually stay at the White house, a fisherman’s cottage in Kalami, that’s where he wrote the famous write up. Also, one can relive the stories that Lawrence’s younger brother, Gerald, wrote in his book My Family and Other Animals, and  Birds, Beasts, and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods. 

corfu
serene

Aside from the literary importance of Corfu, here are some more things you can put on your checklist when travelling there.

1. Beach hopping. Canal D’Amour, Paleokastritsa, Kalamionas Beach, Arillas and Sidari are some of the more prominent beaches to enjoy in Corfu. Blue and white – the colors of the Grecian flag is reminiscent of all these pristine shores. If you’re looking for a more secluded and less-crowded coast, try Kassiopi – though there really isn’t much to do except to drink in the beauty and blueness of the scenery.

2. Horse trekking (Gouvia). Go adventurous and see the mountainous side on a horse back! It’s an experience of getting closer to nature atop those mighty, spirited creatures.

3. Museum hopping. To understand a city and its culture, visiting the local museum would be best – in any city. The Archaeological Museum of Corfu would be best recommended but, it is at the moment undergoing renovation so try the Museum of Asian Art instead for a crossover experience.

4. Enjoy fun parks. Choose from the Pyramid Adventure Park, Aqualand or the Sidari Water Park Fun Park for some fun with the kids. There’s golf, giant water slides and a lot more fun activity for adults and kids.

5. Picnics and Foodtrips. Tzatziki, Tiropitta, Mousaka, Stifado, Kelftiko, Prawn Saganaki, Oxtapothi and the local pittas are some of those you should try while in Corfu. I will not describe each but be assured that they are worth your adventurous palate! Never miss out on Baclava, Chalva and Galactoboureko afterwards…also, gulp everything down with Metaxa Brandy if you find wine a little monotonous.

Corfu is truly one enchanted island as are many in Greece. Again, don’t let the economic turmoil discourage you. There are so many reasons why it is the best time to visit Greece all in all. The scenery, the experience, the history – they’re all different for each of us but as for me, it’s another lifelong dream waiting to be fulfilled.

corfu sunset
One of the many wonderful Corfu sunsets (photo via http://cristimoise.wordpress.com)

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