When in Corfu, exploring the Old Town is a must. We spent two half days here. Our plan was to spend one day here but found out the New Fortress is closed on Tuesdays. We arrived on a Tuesday so came again another day. This actually worked out well because the first day, when we were there, I found a dress I couldn’t stop thinking about so Steve bought it for me when we returned.
Note that driving was not much fun the closer we came to the Old Town, therefore, we parked in the first lot we came across close to the area and walked everywhere we wanted to go. The lot we found was near the New Fortress so it was fairly easy to access and depart.
About Old Corfu Town
Old Town Corfu, known as Kerkyra in Greek, has a rich history. This history can be traced back to the 8th century BC. Believed to be founded by the Corinthians in 734 BC. Corfu was an important port in the ancient world. As a matter of fact, along with Corinth and Athens, Corfu became one of the three great naval bases.
Over time, Corfu was ruled by several different nations including the Romans, Goths, Normans, Crusaders and also the Venetians. The Republic of Venice reigned over Corfu from 1386-1797. Many of the buildings in Corfu are from this time frame and are Neoclassical style. In 1797 the island came under French rule. In 1815 the island became part of the United States of the Ionian Island under British protectorate. Finally in 1864, the island once again became part of Greece. All of these different rulers has given Old Corfu town its own unique identity and also its culture. In addition, Old Town Corfu is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Old Town Corfu is notable with two large peaks across from each other. With the Old Fortress on one and the New Fortress on the other. The area between the two fortresses is the Old Town. Exploring both of these fortresses is a must do in Old Town Corfu.
The new fortress was built by the Venetians sometime during the 1570’s on the hill of St Mark and above the old port. The current inner buildings were constructed by the British from 1815-1863. Originally designed to defend the city against the Turks the fortress is quite impressive, although it was partially destroyed in WWII. I thought the Old Fortress was more impressive but the views of the town from here are very nice. It is definitely worth a walk through. As mentioned earlier, we found out it was not open on Tuesdays.
The views from the New Fortress were pretty impressive looking out over the town to the Old Fortress on one side and out to the sea on the other side.
The Old Fortress is quite impressive and must have been amazing in its prime. It is high on a peak complete with a moat. Fortification at this site can originally date back to the 6th century AD. By the 11th century, Corfu town was known to be a well fortified city and continued as such through the medieval and Middle Ages. In its day, the Old Fortress was so secure it was able to ward off all three of the major Ottoman Sieges in 1537, 1571 and 1716. The Old Fortress and also Angelokastro were the only two places not in Ottoman rule. The Old Fortress did succumb to Nazi rule during WWII and the Nazi’s used the Old Fort to imprison Jews in 1944. You can read more about WWII and and the Jewish history at the Old Fortress here.
Climbing to the top of the old fortress is quite a feat but worth the effort.
In Old Town Corfu there is a long row of buildings with arched promenade built around 1810 during the French rule called The Liston. The Liston is a picturesque area to stroll lined with cafe’s and also restaurants. Actually it is aperfect place to stop for a bite to eat, grab a drink, and also people watch. We stopped for Greek Coffee and a snack.
Across from the Liston is Spianada Square which is a large park like area that connects to the Old Fort. Gardens are also alongside the square including the Boschetto Garden below.
Gate of the Palace of Saint Michael and Georgios
We did not go into the Palace of Saint Michael and Georgios but I snapped some photos as the places is very beautiful. The palace is currently the Corfu Museum of Asian art.
Holy Church of the Virgin Mary Mandrakina
Built in the 17th century to honor the Virgin Mary, this Greek Orthodox Church suffered damage in WWII and was restored around 1950.
Ayios Spyridon Church
The Church of Ayios Spyridon is a Greek Orthodox Church built for the island’s patron saint, Agios Spyridon and also holds his remains. It was built in 1590 and is located behind the Liston, you can’t miss it as it includes a beautiful bell tower. This church is considered a prominent pilgrimage for Orthodox Christians and others as well. St Sypridon lies in an ornate silver casket in a small chapel beside the altar. Furthermore, people line up to kiss the coffin and obtain blessings from the saint. You can also see the mummified relic. Being Christian, although not Greek Orthodox, I did pass the casket and kiss it. It was a solemn moment. There were signs stating no photos so I did not take any inside the church. Also make sure to cover your shoulders and legs below the knees.
Shopping in Old Town Corfu was so much fun. Usually Steve and I are not big shoppers when traveling but we did well here. You can read about where we shopped in my next post, Shopping in Old Town Corfu.
In conclusion, I would say exploring old town Corfu is a very fun and exciting place to explore. Overall, the centuries old town combined with modern era shopping and beautiful views are blend perfectly together. All things considered, I would definitely return here again if we ever go back to Corfu.
Map of Locations
If you want to read more of my posts about our Greek travels you can click on the following links!!
NW Coast of Corfu by boat, Sept 2022
Exploring the Beaches of NW Corfu, Sept 2022
Hike to Giali Beach, Corfu Sept 2022
E-Bike Tour of Meteora, Greece Sept 2022
Hike to Ypapanti Monastery, Greece Sept 2022
Ancient Delphi, Greece Sept 2022
10 Day Greece Itinerary, Sept 2019
8 Day Greece Itinerary, Sept 2018
When researching where to go in Greece I find the web site Greeka.com to be very informative.
I like to use the DK Eyewitness Top 10 books when I travel. They are a great for resource and also include a small map. I do get a small commission from Amazon if you buy from my site at no additional charge to you. Click on the link below and check it out.
23 thoughts on “Exploring Old Town Corfu”
Lori, your photos are amazing as are your descriptions of the places you visit. Your coverage of Corfu is a great travelogue for anyone wanting to visit there. I thoroughly enjoyed the post!
Thank you very much! Corfu is such a great island. I only have to more posts from here to write but I have enjoyed blogging on it. Kind of like traveling there all over again!
Time to plan another trip!
Already planned! Crete, Amorgos, Koufonisi and Santorini in September. Some hiking, renting a boat again, beaches and lots of food🤣🤣
Sounds heavenly. I will look forward to your posts!
Old Town Corfu is so picturesque, the narrow lanes, the coast and not one but two fortresses. Curious to see the dress that haunted you 😊
I’ll send you a pic of the dress on Instagram messenger! It is not fancy, just comfy!!
I’ve heard of Corfu, but never knew just how gorgeous and quaint it is, especially its Old Town! Definitely is different from the rugged hikes you’d done, as you traded that for some shopping and wandering the cobblestone streets…glad you had a wonderful time!
We did have a great time! Corfu is for sure a gem of an island!
nice one. lovely blue skies.
Thank you! I do love the blue of the skies too!!
Your photos are all so beautiful – the old town is full of lovely little streets 🙂
Thank you! Corfu Town is very lovely! The entire island was pretty special. Lori
Great exploration, certainly the Old Town is tempting!
Old Town is very tempting indeed! A fun day !
I just finished a 2-book historical fiction series on Empress Elizabeth (Sisi) of Austria-Hungary. (The Accidental Empress and Sisi.) We went to the Hofburg Palace in Vienna many years ago and toured it along with the “Sisi Museum” inside it, but I just discovered she had a palace built in Corfu, as well. Have you been? I think it’s called the Achilleion.
We were not there but I here it is quite grand! So many places to see and just not enough time!
Great photography, very useful information and post. Thank you!
Thank you! It is such a fun town to roam!
Thank you. Adding to our list.
It is a good spot!!
Old town Corfu looks well worth exploring Lori. It is amazing to see how far the Republic of Venice spread their influence, especially through Greece. Thanks for sharing. Allan
Thanks for stopping by, Allan. It is amazing how far they did spread out, especially before any modern transportation.