Corfu Island – not just a Schengen entry point

Corfu has been widely used by yachts as their entry point to Greece when arriving from Croatian and Montenegro ports. Most common is that they are anchoring at the Garitsa bay, completing formalities and heading further south, deeper into the Ionian to continue cruising.

This season we have experienced quite an increase with private yacht requests for fuelling at Albania’s port Sarande, just a few miles off Corfu port, at tax free prices similar to Montenegro’s (abt €0.5/lt) as well as from commercial yachts embarking or disembarking at Sarande to work around the Greek charter cabotage law restrictions. Corfu has benefited from that increase as well as it is the closest destination with an international airport facility.

But Corfu has also much more to offer. The little islets to the north, Othonoi – Ereikoussa – Manthraki, Palaiokastritsa with its crystal clear waters in the NW coast, Agios Georgios sand dunes further to the south, the buzzy beach bars at Glyfada, swimming at Peroulades, tendering to Toula’s restaurant at Agni bay and the old town with its long history are all destinations not to be missed. The island is bound up with the history of Greece from the beginnings of Greek mythology.

What to see and do while in Corfu:

achillionAchilleion Palace, it is situated just outside the village of Gastouri, this building is surely the highlight of the island. Everyone who visits Corfu also visits this site to see the Palace which once belonged to the Empress Elisabeth of Austria, known as “Sissi”. Statues depicting the Nine Muses, Shakespeare, Lord Byron and of course Achilles Dying and Achilles Triumphant, adorn the garden to remind us of the lonely Empress. The garden and its view are without doubt magnificent. After the assassination of Elisabeth in 1898 the Palace stood empty until 1907 when it was bought by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, who for a few years occupied it on a seasonal basis.

Marina

Kanoni-Pontikonissi, is a modern tourist resort with several hotels and a view over the Halikiopoulos Lagoon and the airport. At the tip of the Kanoni peninsula a footpath descends to the Vlacherna Monastery, a tiny island linked to the shore by a causeway. The combined picture of Kanoni, Vlacherna and Pontikonissi has become the trademark of the whole island, and has been photographed, perhaps, by just about every camera in the world. Visit at the sunset time.

corfu-town-listonThe Esplanade, it is famed as ‘the largest square in the Balkans’ and owes its existence to a strategic manoeuvre. In 1576, the houses which huddled around the gate of the fortress began to be demolished to allow the defenders a better outlook over the area. In a period of twelve years, more than 2500 dwellings were pulled down, leaving a great space which the French later planted with trees, and which today forms the Esplanade Square. A walk around the square will lead you to the Rotonda (built in Ionian style in honour of the first British Lord High Commissioner, Sir Thomas Maitland) a popular meeting point for young people, and the Bandstand where, if you are lucky, one evening a band will be giving a performance of classical music or jazz. The Liston forms the western boundary of the Esplanade. This terrace, with its series of arches fronting the road, was designed by the Imperial French after 1807, and is a typical example of its era. Strongly reminiscent of the Rue de Rivoli in Paris, it was built at about the same time. Today the Liston is the town’s most traditional meeting place, where people gather to read the newspapers and drink coffee or ouzo at one of the old-established cafes. Here you can watch parades by the philharmonic bands or the majorettes, as well as religious processions. The Rex restaurant is our pick for lunch or dinner in the old town together with the Venetian well though the later is rather suggested for dinner time. For the fans of a more creative cuisine and the culinary art, you may try the Etrusco abt 25min drive from the old town.

 

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