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1. Afionas

The picturesque mountain village of Afionas is situated on the northwest coast of Corfu, around 37 km from Corfu town. The village is built on the neck of a small, green peninsula between the bays of Arillas (north) and Agios Georgios Pagon (south). The entire end of the peninsula is called the «Head of Mourgis», because its shape looks like a dog’s head.
 
Afionas is one of the most beautiful villages of Corfu, which has remained unchanged over time with colorful houses, old mansions and many picturesque alleys called "kantounia". It is very well known for the spectacular view that it offers especially during the sunset, as it overlooks Arillas bay, the most western point of the whole Greece. There is also a nice view towards Gravia island and the Diapondia islands - Mathraki, Othoni & Erikoussa. It is considered one of the oldest settlements on the island and according to tradition, owes its name to the local grape variety.
 
At the center of the village is the church of Agios Ioannis of Lampataris, with its imposing bell tower, built in 1636. The church celebrates on June 24. On the eve of the feast, a local custom "Lampata" takes place in the village, the custom in which the villagers light fires and jump over them. In Afionas a cultural club is active and helps with embellishing and cultural activities. Afionas also has highlights for hikers to offer - the hike to the twin bay "Porto Timoni" and further to Cape "Akra Arilla" with the chapel "Agios Stylianos" is one of the most beautiful and popular hiking tours on Corfu and offers many beautiful photo motifs. During the walk you can see ruins of fortifications which were built in the Middle Ages in order to be protected from the invasions of pirates. Archaeological findings demonstrate that Afionas was inhabited during the 6th century B.C.
 
Below Afionas is the famous double beach of Porto Timoni. They are essentially two beaches, separated by a narrow strip of land. The left is called Limni and the right is Porto Timoni. Access to Porto Timoni is either through the narrow paths descending from the village of Afionas, or by sea from the bay of Agios Georgios. Afionas is particularly famous for its tavernas with a great view of the Adriatic Sea, the sunset and the diapontic islands, where you can taste the famous local wine.

 

2. Lefkimmi

Lefkimmi is the second largest village on the island after the Town of Corfu. Lying at the southern tip of the island, Lefkimmi has essentially resulted from the unification of five villages (Riglades, Anaplades, Agioi Theodoroi, Melikia, and Potami). Its port connects southern Corfu with Igoumenitsa on the opposite coast. Daily ferry services, serve all those travelling from the mainland to the south part of Corfu and vice versa. The area is known from the ancient times. At the Strait of Lefkimmi took place the famous battle between the Corinthians and the Athenians during the Peloponnesian War. Lefkimi was also the scene of a rescue operation in World War II, when a Lancaster bomber crashed. Locals rescued the crew, hid them, and then led them to a safe place where they boarded on a British submarine.

Lefkimmi is set in a fertile plain full of olive groves, citrus trees and vineyards. A river runs through the eastern part of the town where local fishermen moor their wooden boats, creating a very picturesque sight. The paved piers are lined with cafes and restaurants where you can sit and enjoy a drink or a genuine Corfiot meal. Wandering through the narrow streets you can see old mansions, Venetian-style buildings, squares and beautiful churches. To a large extent, Lefkimmi has remained untouched by mass tourism and still keeps its old traditions. You can still see old women carrying goods on their donkeys in the streets and elderly men drinking ouzo in the traditional bars. It offers a good choice of bars and restaurants; however, you can hardly find any late-night bars and clubs. If you are keen on this kind of entertainment, go down to Kavos and you won’t be disappointed.

Near the village there is a lighthouse and a salt pan, an important wetland where flamingos, egrets, and many migratory birds stop to rest. The nearest beaches are Molou bay, just 2 kilometers away and Alikes bay. Lefkimmi is connected with Corfu Town with regular bus services. The small town is overall a quiet and relaxing place away from the cosmopolitan resorts of the island.

3. Sinarades

A large village with distinctive architecture, Sinarades has been declared a traditional settlement and truly, a stroll in its picturesque alleys is one you will never forget. Sinarades was built during the Byzantine years and probably its first residents came from Southern Italy. In 1669 refugees from Crete settled in the village. Even today in Sinarades the surnames ending in – akis, such as Vasilakis and Doukakis (Cretan surnames), are still maintained. In Sinarades you will find all the features of the local architecture of the Corfiot countryside: stone houses, roof tiles in the color of ochre of Byzantine type, small doors with embossed marbles, exterior, stone stairways, which end up to a veranda, the so-called «bonjo» and of course, the arches on the ground-floor of the houses.

Another distinctive characteristic in the architecture of Sinarades is the very dense layout of the houses which were stuck one to the other. In Sinarades there are 12 churches. In the center of the village dominates the three aisled basilica of Agios Nikolaos and Agios Spyridonas on which you will see an impressive, ecclesiastical organ that comes from Italy. In Sinarades is also situated the most significant Folklore Museum of the island which is housed in a traditional house where the visitors can admire the furnishings of the houses of the village from the 18th century but, also objects from the rural life during this era.

The village also has its own philharmonic which was founded in 1961 and participates to this day in all the important events of the region and the entire Corfu. Sinarades, which is built on a verdant hill, is situated above the famous Ai Gordis beach and Gialiskari but, it is not visible by the sea. From the position of «Aerostato» (Hot-air balloon) just outside the village, the view of the verdant coastline is enchanting. Just below this location is the verdant islet of Kyra Dikia, which was named after the church of the island, dedicated to Panagia. Off the islet of Kyra-Dikaia, on the northwest, there are two rocks in between, which according to tradition, fishermen had found the body of a bride which was kidnapped by pirates on her wedding day. Ever since, those rocks were called «The stones of the bride». Sinarades, which is at a distance of about 13 kilometers from the city of Corfu, is an ideal destination for those who wish to discover the Corfiot countryside and its villages. In the village you will find some hotels and rentable rooms, taverns and restaurants and also whatever you may need during your stay in a tranquil village.

4. Corfu (town)

Corfu is the capital of the island and the capital of the Ionian region. It is built on the east coast of the island on a peninsula, dividing the city into two sections. The new part of the city is characterized by large squares and large avenues.The old part of Corfu is one of the most picturesque parts of the world with the characteristic old cobbled streets known to all as the ''kantounia'' of Corfu.
 
It is a cosmopolitan city that exudes a sense of nobility, with main attractions the large square Spianada, which is the largest square in the Balkans, the Old and New Kastro, the Town Hall (San Jacomo Theater), the Canoni, the Mon Repo and the Museums Byzantine and Post-Byzantine history. The patron saint of the city is Agios Spyridon, whose indestructible relic is housed in the homonymous church. A church with very special characteristics that every year thousands of people visit it.
 
Browse the Old Town and its cantounia with the bougainvillea’s, visit the historic churches and discover hidden squares between Venetian blocks of houses. Climb to the Old Kastro to see the view of the city and finally enjoy your coffee at the famous Liston, a point of reference and sociality for locals and visitors. This array is the same as the one on the Riboli.str (opposite the Louvre museum) in Paris. The oldest and most charming neighborhood of the old town is Cabelllo, where you will walk in narrow alleys with tall buildings, carved wells, picturesque squares and ornate balconies.
 
At the northern edge of Spianada stands the Palace of Saint Michael and George, an impressive building of the British occupation, which today houses the Municipal Art Gallery and the unique Museum of Asian Art. The city of course provides all kind of modern services to visitors combining the today with the past Venetian architecture.
 

Easter in Corfu is unique celebration that you have to experience even for once in your life for a number of reasons: the custom of throwing "botidon" where from the balconies of the houses and the streets the residents throw the canoes full of water for to make a big noise and to expel the evil, the "Lazarus Carols" in Campello, the reconstruction of the earthquake that followed the Resurrection of the Lord, the grandiose philharmonic of the island singing mourning marches and the fireworks in the evening of Anastasis in the crowded square. Together with many other unique customs in the world, they make the city one of the best destinations worldwide.

 

5. Palaiokastritsa

Paleokastritsa is a coastal village northwest of the city of Corfu at a distance of 25km. It took its name from Angelokastro, the oldest castle on the island.It is a cosmopolitan resort and an ideal summer destination with beautiful beaches and an impressive landscape with ancient olive groves, pine trees and cypress trees. The Monastery of Panagia Paleokastritsa, an important Byzantine building, was founded in 1228 and is built on the top of a green hill, at the highest point of the area with a magnificent view. In the museum of the monastery you will find a remarkable collection of Byzantine icons, sacred books, vestments and ecclesiastical heirlooms.
 
The central beach of Paleokastritsa is organized with umbrellas and deck chairs and above it you will find taverns and cafes. Apart from the long beach in Paleokastritsa there are also smaller beautiful coves for swimming, such as Alypa, Agia Triada, Agios Petros, Ambelakia and Platakia. In Palaiokastritsa you can rent boats to explore these beaches and do snorkeling to explore the world under the sea.
 
In Palaiokastritsa there are many choices of accommodation, restaurants, cafes and bars, as the area has grown particularly in the tourism sector, without however altering its natural landscape and beauty.

6. Kalami

Kalami is a small coastal tourist resort on the northeast coast of Corfu, about 32 km from Corfu Town and 6 km from Kassiopi. The picturesque village is located in a lush area, chosen by many painters in order to capture its beautiful landscapes. For many years Kalami used to be the favorite destination and the place of residence of Lawrence Darrell, the famous author of the “Alexandria Quartet». The author's house, known as the white house, is described in the book "My family and other animals". The white villa operates nowadays as a guest house and a restaurant. The mansion of the Rothschild royal family is also located in the village.

Despite its prized reputation, Kalami still continues to maintain its sense of peace and beauty. Almost untouched by mass tourism, the area retains its pure character. Kalami is the perfect choice for relaxing vacations, families and excursions in nature.

Right in front of Kalami spreads a divine pebbly beach with crystal clear waters. A variety of water sports facilities are available, so if you like water adventure this is the right spot. Other than that, the sea around the village is a favorite spot of diving lovers due to the rocks in the sea and its amazing seabed. Along the waterfront there are many traditional tavernas serving fresh fish, small shops and cafes. Do not miss to visit the picturesque little port of Kouloura that lies almost 1 km away.

 

7. Palia Perithia

Palia Peritheia is situated on the attractive north east corner of Corfu, and just below Mount Pantokratoras, the tallest mountain of the island. The ruined village is the oldest example of the original mountain villages of Corfu. According to records it was first inhabited in the mid-14th century but it is believed to have been inhabited many centuries before.

Most of the approximately 130 stone houses of Palia Peritheia, built according to Venetian prototype, are now fallen into ruins. The village which is not visible from afar was built during the pirate threats in the Mediterranean and its houses are well hidden on the slopes of Pantokratoras, at an altitude of 440 meters. Approaching the ghost-village, surrounded by lush vegetation, you will feel the atmosphere of the past and you will step back in time wandering among ruined mansions covered with wild grass and trees, narrow stone paved alleyways and numerous old churches. It is said that the village was named after the many churches surrounding it in a circular way: peri (around) + theia (holy)= Peritheia.

It is worth visiting the old school, a building of special architectural interest. In Foros, the main square of the village, you will find tavernas serving delicious home-cooked meals during weekends in the summer months. Palia Peritheia was permanently abandoned by its inhabitants during the 60s when the last families settled in the seaside, contemporary village. In recent years an effort has been made for the restoration of many of the houses since the owners are trying to bring the village back in life. The village which is best visited by car is 8 km away from Kassiopi and 50 km from the city of Corfu.

 

Protected Historical Monument - ΦΕΚ 210/Β/1-3-1980

8. Old Town of Corfu

Kérkyra, the capital of Corfu, is one of the most interesting towns in Greece due to the strong influence of the Venetians who for four-plus centuries controlled the island. So it strongly resembles an Italian city, a more savoury version of Naples comes to mind for some visitors. Like the other Ionian islands (except for Lefkada), Corfu was never occupied by the Ottomans, which gives it a very different character from the rest of Greece. But the town of Corfu has had other inputs as well: from the British, the French, the Greeks and the Romans whose ancient buildings are still in evidence at several archaeological sites and the excellent archaeological museum.
 
The compact, strollable old quarter, a protected UNESCO heritage site, nestles between the two Venetian fortresses; its oldest district, the Campiello, is a particular joy to wander aimlessly around. Although the German bombardment of September 1943 caused heavy damage, including the destruction of the sumptuous Belle Époque theatre-cum-opera-house, and most of the low Venetian walls or gates enveloping the town centre (including the Pórta Reále) were thoughtlessly pulled down by the Greeks late in the 19th century, enough has survived to make a pleasing, homogenous ensemble of monumental architecture, narrow lanes (the so-called kandoúnia) and quiet little squares with fountains in the middle. The population of the Town is about 30,000, not counting a large student population at the locally headquartered University of the Ionian, which makes it one of the more cosmopolitan island capitals.
 
On the west side of the Spianáda (Esplanade plaza), Napoleonic-French style is most evident in the Listón, an elegant arcaded parade modelled on the Parisian Rue de Rivoli. Under the arches shelter some of the most popular (and expensive) cafés on the island; the Olympia (aka Tou Zizimou) is considered the most venerable and stylish. Their tables overlook the Spianáda’s lawns, which used to host weekend cricket matches (a British introduction). Alas, parking demands have shrunk the pitch here and most matches are now held at a newish stadium out at Gouviá, but you can still sit here and sip a ginger beer (another British contribution). It was the French who landscaped the Spianáda, thus creating one of the most attractive town squares in all of Greece; for the Venetians it was merely a patch of waste ground, the site of old houses demolished to permit a free field of fire from the Old Fort, which lies east of the Spianáda, beyond the Contrafossa channel dug by the Venetians and now home to a fishing fleet.
 
Although originally established by the Byzantines during the 6th century, most of the existing Old Fort is of Venetian vintage; the British demolished most of their additions before handing the island over in 1864. Today you enter at the Schulenberg statue via a metal bridge, which replaced the old draw-bridge over the Contrafossa; the adjacent gatehouse has become an excellent small exhibit of Byzantine and post-Byzantine mosaics and frescoes. Further inside, there is the British-built church of Saint George, a popular snack bar, fortifications to climb around for excellent views over town (best before noon), and on the north flank of the fortifications a small marina (with a restaurant) on the site of the Venetian galley port.
 
Bounding the Spianáda on the north is the Palace of Saint Michael and George, built between 1819 and 1824 by Maltese stone masons working for the British, and used as the official residence of their high commissioner and the seat of the rubber-stamp Ionian Senate. Today it houses two museums, by far the more interesting being the Museum of Asian Art, containing almost 11,000 Asian artefacts collected by two Greek diplomats with exemplary taste stationed in the Far East. The original, east wing comprises mostly funerary statuary and bowls, pottery and blue-and-white porcelain from various Chinese dynasties. The newer, west wing houses an impressive miscellany: Hindu and Jain deities, relief work from Gandhara (a Hellenistic kingdom in present-day Afghanistan), Buddhist devotional art from every south Asian nation, Japanese folding screens and woodblock prints by such masters as Hokusai and Utamaro.
 
Behind the palace, once past the little Faliráki Lido with its summer snack-café, chapel and pair of all-year bars, Arseníou Street curls around the Campiello, allowing fine sea views across to Albania and Vídos islet, the final resting place for the most desperately ill or wounded casualties among the retreating Serbian army in 1916. From Arseníou, a flight of steps climbs to the Byzantine Museum housed in the single-aisled, timber-roofed 15th-century Andivouniótissa church. Once a private chapel belonging to two notable families, it was donated to the state in the 1970s, and now contains a wealth of icons from the 15th to 19th centuries, many from the so-called Cretan School; after Crete fell to the Ottomans, many highly skilled artists came as refugees to Venetian-held Corfu.
 
Nearby there is an Orthodox cathedral, but the primary church in the hearts of Corfiots is the one dedicated to the island’s patron saint, Ágios Spyrídon, just off the Listón, containing Spyridon’s mummified body. Originally a humble shepherd on Cyprus, he became a monk, then a bishop, and took part in the first Ecumenical Council of Nicea in 325AD. After his death in 348 or 349, various miracles were attributed to him, and his exhumed remains were found to exude a pleasant odour, a sure sign of sanctity. They were taken to Constantinople for veneration in the church of the Holy Apostles; when the city fell to the Ottomans in 1453, his relics (along with those of Saint Theodora Augusta) were sent to Corfu, where they arrived after three years of adventures. It is claimed that Saint Spyridon has spared Corfu calamity on four occasions: twice from epidemics, once from starvation, and, at the height of the 1716 Turkish siege, on 11 August, by appearing above the defending forces with a lighted torch and scaring the invaders away.
 
That day is now a local feast day of the saint, when his relics are paraded through the streets, as they are on Palm Sunday, Easter Saturday and the first Sunday in November. The soundtrack for the procession is always provided by one of Kérkyra Town’s famous philharmonic societies, rather confusingly, in Greek filarmonikí means a municipal marching band and not a symphonic orchestra as in the Anglo-Saxon world. There are two, or perhaps even three, competing, smartly uniformed bands in the town, and very good they are. (Corfu has a rich musical tradition, and historically many of Athens’ symphony orchestra players were initially trained in the island’s conservatories). On Spyridon’s canonical feast day (December 12) there’s no musical procession, but his church stays open for 24 consecutive hours from the night before for pilgrims to pay their respects. A goodly fraction of the island’s men are named Spyros (short for Spyridon).
 
Other traces of Kérkyra Town’s heterogenous religious past can be found in the Catholic Cathedral of SS James and Christopher on the stepped Platía Dimarhíou, still open daily for use by the over 3,000 local Catholics, all descended from the Maltese masons brought here by the British, and the sole surviving synagogue at Velisaríou 4, the Scuola Greca; just 60 Jews still live here, too few to support a permanent rabbi who is brought specially from Israel for the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur holidays.
 
Above the old Jewish quarter and the Spiliá neighbourhood abutting the old port looms the New Fort, built between 1572 and 1645 in anticipation of the next, inevitable Ottoman siege. It’s a masterpiece of military architecture, with some later French and British modifications, but the main reason to show up today (in the afternoon) is for superb views over the old-town rooftops, or if there’s a special event inside.
 
Above Platía Dimarhíou, at Moustoxýdou 19, one of the many parallel lanes of Pórta Remoúnda district, is the Museum of the Serbs on Corfu, which minutely documents the experiences of the Serbian army and government-in-exile here, when nearly 140,000 soldiers took shelter on Corfu from January 1916 onwards: a little-known episode of World War I. Amongst their other notional allies, only France provided transport, supplies and medical attention to the defeated army, though a period poster, issued by a New York-based relief committee, makes interesting reading (“Save Serbia, Our Ally”) in light of the American 1990s demonization of the country.
 
The only significant sight or site in the sprawling newer quarters is the Archaeological Museum, a short walking distance south of the Serb museum at Vraïla 5. The most celebrated attraction is the menacing Gorgon pediment (c. 585 BC) from the Temple of Artemis, discovered in 1912 at Paleópolis, but rather unfairly it tends to eclipse equally noteworthy finds such as the earlier Archaic Lion of Menekrates, a small pediment from 500 BC showing the god Dionysos and a youth reclining at a symposium, and a dozen statuettes of the goddess Artemis in her primary aspect as mistress of the beasts.

Protected Historical Monument - ΦΕΚ 445/Β/29-6-1970

9. Lakones

The little village Lakones lies on the north west coast, about 25km from Corfu town. It is a listed, traditional, picturesque village with a long history, built on the slope of a verdant mountain, offering impressive views of the coves of Palaiokastritsa. Old stone houses of the 18th and 19th centuries on both sides of the narrow main road, cobbled streets, colored shutters and elderly women still wearing traditional Greek dresses, compose the scene of the picturesque village.

Although there is more than one theory as how the name derived, the most common one says that it came from the first inhabitants of the village who were from Lakonia in Peloponnese. On their trip to Southern Italy, they were caught in a storm and they settled on the coast, in the place where Palaiokastritsa lies now. But due to the fear of pirate raids they moved the village to the mountainous area. According to another theory the name derives from the Michala family with origin from Oitylo. This family was the first to settle in the village after being chased from Lakonia.

For hiking lovers there is a path that connects Lakones with Paleokastritsa. On the road towards the village there are plenty of viewing points and it is well worth stopping off to see the spectacular view. One of the most important attractions, is the Folklore Museum, housed in the building of the Music Club "Lakonites". It hosts a large collection of photographs, traditional costumes, everyday objects and archives. In Lakones you can find some traditional cafes and tavernas as well as a few small hotels and rooms to let.

 

10. Agios Stefanos

Agios Stefanos Sinion is a small traditional fishing village with a picturesque harbor. It is set in a peaceful bay, surrounded by verdant hills, on the northeastern coast of Corfu between the beaches of Kerasia and the famous Kassiopi from which it is only 3 km away.

Overlooking the Ionian Sea, Agios Stefanos has been established as a first-class resort. The majority of the accommodation is built on its slopes and is based in private villas owned by affluent Greeks and foreigners. The wider area from Barbati to Avlaki has been dubbed "Kensington-on-Sea" by the English press and media. It is named after the famous Kensington area of London which wealthy tourists prefer to frequent.

It is a quiet destination, with buildings that retain their traditional architecture. Combined with the more modern elements of the luxury villas, give the village a unique color. The village is an ideal destination for families and for all kind of people who seek peace and relaxation while enjoying the atmosphere of the lush and stunning landscape.

On the left side of the bay there is a small, pebbly beach where parasols and sun beds are available. Along the coast there are a few cafes and bars as well as some traditional tavernas, all ideally located on the harbor front, offering traditional food and fresh fish. The tiny village is quite far from the main road from where the buses pass, heading to Kassiopi and to the city of Corfu, so a car would be useful for local transportation and for exploring the picturesque villages and the beautiful unspoiled beaches around the area.

North of Agios Stefanos, are situated two important ecosystems, lake Akoli and lake Vromolimni, which are connected by a network of paths that lead to some of the most beautiful and secluded beaches of the island in the area of Erimitis. At the end of the trail is the tranquil Avlaki beach.

11. Agii Deka

The picturesque village of Agii Deka (Ten Saints) nestles on a hill some 150 meters above sea level, on the eastern slope of the namesake Agii Deka Mount, 15 km south of Corfu Town. The village was founded by Cretans who moved to Corfu after the conquest of Crete by the Arabs in 823 AD. It is believed that it was those Cretans who brought the icon of the Holy Ten Martyrs to Corfu, from where the village took its name.

Agii Deka is a quiet village that retains elements of its traditional Corfiot architecture with scenic alleys, old stone houses and shops. It is one of the most charming villages of the island with breathtaking views of the surrounding area, the neighboring villages, Corfu Town, and the airport. There is not much to do in Agii Deka, apart from wandering through the narrow alleys and tasting the authentic Corfiot cuisine in one of the traditional tavernas of the village. The village's beauty inspired Oscar Wilde in 1877 to write the poem "Santa Decca".